Talking Points by Pratibha Mehta, United Nations Resident Coordinator at the Opening Ceremony of Vietnamese Youth Model United Nations Conference 2014 (VYMUN)

Jul 26, 2014

Date: 26 July 2014
Event: Opening Ceremony of Vietnamese Youth Model United Nations Conference 2014 (VYMUN)
Venue: Thang Long University, Nghiêm Xuân Yêm Road, Hanoi

Secretary General of the Vietnamese Youth Model United Nations, Mr Ngo Di Lan
Distinguished guests and delegates

Many thanks for inviting me to speak at this Vietnamese Youth Model UN Conference. I am told that it’s not the first meeting of MUN in Vietnam but perhaps it is the largest. Mock MUN is one of the most powerful ways for young people to learn about the UN, how it works, understand its unique charter and appreciate the importance of one member one vote. More importantly, it is a forum that allows young people to engage in world affairs, learn how to put your point across, listen different point of views and agree (or disagree) in a peaceful manner, these are important life skills and not just UN values.     

Vietnamese Youth Model UN is meeting at a very crucial time for international cooperation. The world is facing many new and old challenges. The MDGs have been single most successful global anti-poverty push and have contributed in significant and substantial progress, including in Vietnam. But 500 days left to the 2015 target date, immense challenges remain. There are still 1 billion people living in extreme poverty. More than 73 Million young people in the world are looking for work. World wealth has increased enormously but so have all forms of inequalities. Gender discrimination and violence against women is pervasive. While globalization has brought the world closer, intolerance and greed is setting people and nations apart. There are new outbreaks of war, conflicts and violence. Climate change is resulting in more floods and typhoons. Natural disasters and conflicts have forced millions of men, women and children to flee their homes and countries and live as refugees.

Social, economic and environmental threats of our times have no boundaries and will spare no one. Nations can no longer protect their interests or advance well-being of their people without talking and collaborating with other Nations and stakeholders such as youth, civil society and private sector.
The future of the world cannot be shaped without involving the future leaders. So last year, Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon, asked over 2 Million young men and women in the world, including Vietnam, to tell him the future they want. Irrespective of geography young people told him that they want to see a world of equality, liberty for all and responsive governments.  These voices are now contributing in shaping the post 2015 development agenda.

The world we live in cannot be made a better and peaceful place for all without respect for each other and including all, no matter how small or big a person or nation might be. Dialogue and partnership are the only way forward for a better future and UN is uniquely placed to mobilize collective efforts.
In this spirit, I wish you a highly successful Model UN conference and I hope that Vietnamese Youth Model UN will become bigger and a regular feature in future.