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Report UNWC

Represented by Miriam Müller, Julia Bernhardt, Juliane Mendelsohn and David Stein,

In addition to regular committees, HNMUN staff had for the first time decided to convoke a United Nations World Conference for the 2006 session. This was a novelty, but we were promised that it would be one of the most innovative committees ever held at HNMUN so our expectations were high.

The task of the World Conference was to draft a comprehensive treaty on Unilateral Acts of States, a topic that the International Law Commission has been working on for more than ten years without much tangible outcome – although some success had been achieved lately. To sum it up: We were facing a challenge of high topicality.

The Conference itself was divided into three specialized subcommittees. These had different tasks: The Definitions Committee had to find an all-embracing legal definition that would serve as a basis for the work in the other committees, a delicate and difficult assignment that demanded a high level of accuracy. The Applications Committee had to apply the definitions in case studies in order to examine their impact on the political reaction of states. The Enforcement Committee eventually had to consider how non-complying states could be sanctioned.

At the end of the conference, all three subcommittees met in the largest hall of the hotel in order to complete the work, i.e. to draft a treaty comprising the main results of each subcommittee. Finally, we had to vote on the treaty and then to sign it.

Consequently, the UNWC required extensive preparation, an excellent understanding of international law and a good sense of feasibility, i.e. of what could be achieved in the conference.

As we were in different committees, there was little chance to modify our positions or strategy in the course of the conference. Therefore, we had spent innumerable hours in order to formulate our national priorities and to agree on what Bangladesh would maximally accept as an outcome. All in all, we were well prepared but a bit sceptical about the task that lay before us.

David Stein