In an era of Climate science denial, effectively balancing what is objectively true about the world with what people want to be true about the world is increasingly difficult. With a view of encouraging informed debates and discussions, Manipal-FAIMER International Institute for Leadership in Inter-professional Education (M-FIILIPE) organised the first ever Manipal Model WHO. The topic for the debate was ‘Climate Change and Health’. The Chief Guest of the event was Dr. H. Vinod Bhat, the Vice Chancellor of MAHE, and the Guest of Honour was Dr. Poornima Baliga, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences.
Held along the Model United Nations format, the debate consisted of students representing 8 SAARC nations namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The discussion revolved around the effects of Climate change on vector borne diseases, malnutrition, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and water sanitation. The debate consisted of three parts: (1) Position paper presentation, (2) Unmoderated caucus, and (3) Voting on the Draft Resolution. The debate was chaired by Ms. Saisiri Akondi, Mr. Myron Godinho and Mr. Aryaman Vepa.
Delegates stated their view about the problems arising due to climate change and the impact on their respective countries. All the delegates considered climate adaptation as a national agenda and outlined several initiatives their countries had taken. After the presentation and questions asked, the delegates moved into unmoderated caucus, a period of discussion where they could freely discuss policy and formulate a resolution by negotiations. A rather demure discussion then devolved into a heated political debate as soon as the voting session began. After an intense discussion on the two resolutions, the committee reached an impasse over which resolution must be voted on first.
A series of tied 4-4 votes followed and it seemed that the committee might never have reached a consensus. In a shocking turn of events however, the nation of Bangladesh that had been a vehement supporter of the first Draft Resolution proposed by the nations of Nepal and India switched allegiances and voted for the resolution proposed by Pakistan and Sri Lanka. With a 5-3 vote therefore, the resolution was adopted by the committee. After a dramatic and suspense filled final session, the delegates from the nation of Maldives, Shriya Dhaundiyal and Dr. Shubhangi were declared the winners of the first ever Manipal Model WHO.
– Written by: Ashutosh Sinha