Common Law students recommend comprehensive measures to fight COVID-19 in simulated UN Security Council meeting

Posted on Monday, November 30, 2020

On November 16, a United Nations Security Council’s simulation with Common Law students representing Council members took place as part of Dr. Saeid Mirzaei Yengejeh’s Law of International Organizations course. The mock Security Council considered ways of combating the COVID-19 pandemic and unanimously passed a resolution calling for coordinated action to address the multidimensional aspects of this catastrophe.

The resolution states that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a threat to peace and security. While endorsing the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, the mock Security Council decided to extend a durable humanitarian pause for all parties engaged in armed conflict through the end of the pandemic to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance.

For two months leading up to the meeting, nine students trained under Mirzaei. They prepared several draft resolutions. Then, they engaged in negotiations to merge their draft resolutions into a single draft, which was unanimously adopted by the mock Security Council. Their draft resolution sends a clear political message that the international community’s legitimate concerns on world peace and security should prevail over national interests in Security Council decision-making.

Mirzaei’s hands-on seminar allows students to learn how the UN system works and gives them a chance to practice functioning as delegates before mock UN organs. It’s an invaluable experience for students interested in international law.

The students’ resolution acknowledges that “the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic extends well beyond the disease itself, as communities are beginning to experience the long-term impacts of the pandemic, including hunger, poverty, conflicts, and displacements.”

It also calls upon all states to cooperate in “the timely sharing of scientific knowledge.” More importantly, it calls for the recognition of potential vaccines, medicines and all other medical-related supplies for COVID-19 “as a global public good that should be distributed in a fair way.”

Finally, the resolution calls upon all UN members to redress “disruptions to trade that adversely affect the flow of medical-related supplies and humanitarian aid, particularly in developing countries, as disruptions to trade setback much of the social and economic progress made to date.”

Following the adoption of the resolution, each student made a statement outlining the priorities of the state the student represented. Several students criticized the Security Council for its carelessness in addressing the threats posed by the pandemic, since the real Council has only adopted one resolution on the pandemic in the past nine months.

This simulation was the fourth one organized by Mirzaei in his course. Previous simulated meetings covered topics such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons in North Korea, the situation in Yemen and the Iran nuclear deal, Mirzaei will continue this practice-oriented approach in his Seminar on Documenting UN practice (CML 4108 and DCL 6121), which will be taught for the 11th consecutive year in the January-Winter 2021 terms, as the Faculty of Law marks a 10 year partnership with the UN.

Mirzaei has over 30 years of experience at the United Nations, both as an international civil servant and a governmental representative. To learn more about his background and work, see Mirzaei’s profile.


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