Represented by Malte Gregorzewski and Thomas Heinrich
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. After the number of the members has been increased in 1965 and 1973 it now comprises 54 states. The membership is attributed on a geographical basis. Fourteen members have to come from Africa, thirteen from Western Europe, eleven from Asia, ten from Latin America and six from Eastern Europe. The ECOSOC acts under the authority of the General Assembly. According to Articles 62-66 of the UN-Charter ECOSOC’s tasks consist among other things of drafting resolutions and carrying out research in the areas of economy, culture, education, health and other related topics. The following topics were presented to the Delegations during the NMUN 2008 Conference:
- International Cooperation for Migration Management;
- Global Management of Water and other Resources;
- Review of the Role of Civil Society.
After the opening ceremony, at the first meeting the setting of the agenda was to be discussed and eventually voted on. The "Agenda Setting" is of great importance to such a conference, because it sets the course of debate. The Japanese Delegation therefore tried from the beginning to successfully defend its own interests and ideas about the sequence of the topics discussed. Japan’s top priority was “Global Management of Water and other Resources”, followed by “International Cooperation for Migration Management” and “Review of the Role of Civil Society”. All three subjects are highly topical and of enormous sensitivity, which is why the discussion of the issues in ECOSOC seemed promising. The position of Japan regarding the preference of the issues reflects the recognition that the dispute over scarce water and other raw materials can have dramatic influence on conflicts and wars. In times of increasing raw material shortages, the situation is likely to worsen in the near future. The lack of water and other scarce resources is nowadays one of the main causes of increased worldwide migration. In this context, an important question is the role of civil society. How can and should we adapt it to the changing circumstances? How e.g. can it ensure a better integration of migrants into the society? Japan holds the view that primarily water shortages, but also the depletion of other resources, are the origin of many conflicts and, consequently, refugee flows. Consequently, from a Japanese perspective, the search for effective ways to improve the access to water for the largest population possible is fundamental. For this reason, Japan hosted the Third World Water Forum in 2003 in Kyoto.
The outstanding importance of topic 2 was recognized by most Member States and it thus quickly became clear that a sufficiently large consensus on the agenda would prevail in the body. The ECOSOC could therefore start already on the first day with the substantive discussion of the second issue. The Japanese Delegation here immediately started talks and negotiations with potential partners. From the start, the U.S. were the main partner of Japan. The talks between both countries were based on mutual respect and it quickly became clear that the cooperation would be fertile and that it would be possible to work on a common resolution. Both countries already worked closely together on water-related issues before the start of the conference. For instance, they initiated the “Clean Water for People Initiative”. At the same time the Japanese Delegation started talks with other Western countries, such as Canada and Germany, as well as the most important neighboring countries of Japan. During the conference, interesting and stimulating discussions were especially led with the People’s Republic of China. Unfortunately the talks did eventually not result in a common position.
Japan’s main objective in the negotiations was to promote the concept of “Human Security”. The almost ten-year existence of the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security did however not change the fact that the negotiating partners have never heard about it before. The Japanese Delegation therefore spent a lot of time explaining and promoting this concept. Thanks to the unobtrusive, polite but firm way in which Japan held the talks the majority of Member States soon knew of the “Trust Fund for Human Security”, his background and tasks and welcomed its existence. The reception of the Fund and the concept of Human Security was so large that this essential part of Japanese foreign policy was included in the working paper of the United States, Canada, Japan and other partners. Parallel, the Japanese Delegation constantly worked on convincing other countries to join the working paper and on informing about the concept of Human Security. This work was however only partially successful.
The focus of the North-American and Japanese resolution was on the active promotion of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). This is in the interest of Japan, because as the largest donor on water- and sanitation-related issues, Japan wants to be sure that the payments will not soar and PPP’s represent an alternative to the increase of the main donor countries contributions. The explicit strengthening of PPPs therefore seemed appropriate to all countries - mainly the donor nations – that participated in the elaboration of the resolution.
At the end of the conference, the chair approved eight working papers. They consequently became draft resolutions. During the course of the longest day of debate, the so-called “melt-down Thursday”, the ECOSOC voted on all draft resolutions. The resolution 2/6, in whose elaboration Japan was decisively involved was adopted with a large majority. This confirmed the good work of the Japanese Delegation, which put a great effort on including its proposals in this resolution and on convincing as many countries of the goodwill and excellent ideas of this resolution. Japan, however, assumed that at the end of the conference two to three draft resolutions with opposing or complementary ideas and priorities were going to be adopted. The fact, that, at the end, all draft resolutions were adopted, was therefore slightly irritating. Especially because some countries evidently behaved completely arbitrary, as their behavior during voting procedure was not in compliance with the ideas and concepts they promoted during the course of the conference. The result was consequently the existence of eight partly conflicting resolutions.
Nevertheless, the Delegation of Japan is happy with the outcome of the conference and looks back satisfied and with joy on a remarkable cooperation with the United States of America. Concluding, Japan’s gratitude goes to all delegations that consistently represented their country’s position (like China) and enjoyed the time in New York despite the hard work.