Within the UN system, the World Health Organization (WHO) is the specialized agency for health issues. It has already been founded in April 1948. The representatives of the member states - in most cases the health ministers - meet once a year (usually in May) at the WHO Headquarter in Geneva to approve the budget, set new policies or discuss the existing ones and - every five years - appoint the Director-General, which is currently the Chinese Dr. Margaret Chan. The organization's four main goals are the provision of health care for everyone, the prevention of chronic diseases, the enhancement of global health security, and the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals. Besides the reduction of child mortality and the improvement of maternal health, the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS is one of these goals.
The AIDS issue was also part of our provisional agenda which had been prepared to be discussed by the NMUN Secretary-General:
- Twenty-five years of HIV/AIDS: Evaluating the Epidemic and Global Response,
- Combating the Spread of the Avian Influenza, and
- Developing Stockpiles and Distribution Strategies for Antibioterrorism and Related Agents.
In our committee, about 125 delegations were present. In the WHO most of the resolutions are adopted by consensus. This made us think in the beginning that the negotiations might not be as difficult as in other committees dealing with security issues because all countries should have at least similar positions on avian influenza or HIV/AIDS. But our expectations were shattered soon.
Immediately after the opening of the first session, many delegations moved to be put on the speakers’ list. Then, the chair accepted a motion by the delegation of Georgia for a minute of silent prayer to commemorate the presidential election in Georgia. Fortunately, the chair managed to convince the delegation to amend this motion to a more general topic: the expression of hope for democratic elections. Only a few minutes later and to our surprise, the provisional agenda was already adopted and the HIV/AIDS topic became the first topic to be discussed. Due to the short duration of our conference, it remained the only issue we dealt with.
Due to the size of our committee, we struggled hard to present our position during the ongoing negotiations within the different groups of countries and to make our voice heard by other countries. Already during the first hours of the conference it became obvious that many countries had completely different interests about HIV/AIDS and tried to get their positions accepted. Most Sub-Saharan African countries wished to concentrate on education, whereas the majority of Asian countries preferred to talk about prevention programs.
Soon, it became clear that it would be extremely difficult to combine all these topics. Therefore, numerous working groups were formed that dealt with different ideas. As the Kingdom of Morocco is part of the Arab world as well as a close ally of the Western countries and also interested in supporting the Sub-Saharan countries, it was hard for us to keep up with the ongoing negotiations within those groups as the committee was characterized by a high fraction not just within the regional groups but also inside this groups which contributed to a large number of working papers. This was the reason why we tried to persuade our fellow delegates in our speeches to look for a more comprehensive approach instead of just dividing the committee into various groups.
On the evening of the second day, about 25 working papers circulated within the committee. Some of them were in our interest or were reflecting Moroccan positions such as the reasonable use of existing resources and a comprehensive approach in the fight against HIV/AIDS instead of creating new entities so that we became signatory of these papers. After having evaluated some of the papers in the committee, we decided to sponsor a paper mainly drafted by Central Asian countries with the aim of creating a conference in Qatar, where the fight against HIV/AIDS could be evaluated, and to urge countries to deliver medical treatment to everyone in need without any discrimination. On both the second and third day we put a lot of work into this paper, which soon became truly “our” paper and then a draft resolution.
After having convinced other countries, discussed paragraphs and rewritten sentences several times, the result was the support of more than 70 states as signatories as well as numerous sponsors. We were absolutely sure that this would give us a perfect basis for the voting procedure.
Although the chair had urged the working groups several times to merge their working papers, there were still 16 drafts on the floor during the voting procedures on the last day of the conference. Except one, which was – unbelievable, but true - ours, all of them passed. By these 15 resolutions, new entities such as a body for the transfer of technology were founded and quite unconventional ideas such as an engagement of the International Cricket Council and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were demanded. Unfortunately, none of these resolutions was revised by the ECOSOC the following day.