BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, United Kingdom – The United Nations has stood for decades as the world’s debating ground for important topics, including how to handle the issue of global poverty. Recently, students from ten different schools across Buckinghamshire, England participated in a model UN debate on how to effectively put an end to extreme poverty. As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is fast approaching, time is pressing for them to be completed as initially intended.
Model United Nations originally started in the 1920s, although it was called Model League of Nations. It is an actual simulation of the real United Nations with students acting as the delegates. Conferences may be school-wide, regional, national, or even international. The recent conference in England took place throughout the city of Buckinghamshire and had 90 students from grades 9 and 10 acting as delegates from 30 different countries. In addition, there were 10 students who wrote three news broadcasts about the debate and the issues, as well as updated a constant Twitter feed.
The day was filled with disagreement and negotiation between the would-be UN delegates. But at the end of it all the representatives of well-established and still developing countries were able to come to a peaceable decision on how they would handle the problem. Their final plan opted for using a central fund system that all countries would contribute to. Sue Imbriano, the County Council director for children and young people, acted the part of UN Secretary General. She told the students, “A very significant challenge faces us all if we are to make a real and sustainable difference to the lives of those experiencing almost unimaginable suffering daily.”
The he Millennium Development Goals are still two years from its culmination. Extreme poverty has already been reduced to half of what it was in 1990. In fact, that very first goal was met five years before the deadline in 2010. The goal to reduce world hunger by 50% is also looking like it will be completed in the next two years. While there are still gaps in gender equality in the workplace, the amount of workers living below the poverty line dropped by 294 million people from 2001 to 2011.
Regardless, there is still a lot of work to be done if the 2015 deadline is to be met. The nations will have to work together and reach common ground to see these things through. It certainly seems promising, though, with students like those in the Model UN in Buckinghamshire, and determined people all around the world, the momentum can be gathered to push through to the finish and complete the Millennium Development Goals.
– Chelsea Evans