Delegates to the recent United Nations (UN) general assembly, held in Windhoek, have agreed, among others, that the use of fossil fuels is damaging the ozone layer at an alarming speed, thereby contributing to ongoing global warming.
Although it is not the real UN general assembly, usually attended by heads of state and government, what is real is the fact that fossil fuels are not good for the environment.
Hosted by the United Nations Information Centre in Windhoek in partnership with the British High Commission in Namibia, the Model UN Assembly saw 61 learners representing 30 countries, deliberating, lobbying and negotiating on the topic: ‘The role of fossil fuel production in the climate crises’.
The learners from 11 Windhoek schools met for two days at the UN House in Klein Windhoek in a simulated UN general Assembly setting to discuss the ongoing climate change challenge.
It took place around the same time world leaders gathered in Scotland for the UN Climate Change Conference.
The schools are Rocky Crest High School, Hochland High School, Concordia College, Hage Geingob High School, Jan Möhr Secondary School, Windhoek High School, Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School, Chairman Mao Secondary School, Windhoek Gymnasium, Combretum Trust Secondary School and Windhoek International School.
The assembly successfully adopted a resolution supported by China, Russia, Egypt, India and Brazil that called for countries to replace 60% usage of fossil fuels by using alternative energies such as renewable energy by 2030, investing in solar and wind farms, hydropower stations, geothermal energy.
The Best Speaker award went to Windhoek Gymnasium learner Zest Hill, who represented Germany. Vimbayi Musavengana from Windhoek International School (Ethiopia) won the Special Recognition Award.
Hill told Youth Corner the conference was an amazing experience, and he was in awe when he observed how brilliant the learners grasped the diplomatic collaborations on bringing forth solutions to global problems.
Joint Best Delegate award winner Yanessa Oliveira (Brazil) applauded the conference, and said it was grateful for the esteemed opportunity.
“It was eye-opening on how different countries feel on a worldwide issue,” added Oliveira.
The winning delegates handed over the resolution passed in the assembly to British deputy high commissioner Charlotte Fenton, along with artwork as a reminder of the conference and the ideals fostered during the conference among Namibian youth.
Fenton emphasised the importance that this experience gives to youth, not only in core diplomatic and negotiating skills, but using the platform to boost the power of their voices in tackling this critical global issue.
“It has been an honour for the British High Commission to Namibia to support and partner with the United Nations on this Model UN. It is fitting that this conference has taken place now to engage the youth of Namibia,” said Fenton.
On his part, UN Resident Coordinator Sen Pang said the programme enriches the lives of Namibian youth as an extracurricular activity.
“I believe Model UN is a stepping-stone for young people to take their place in civic engagement as global citizens, where they learn how to use the power of their voices through advocacy and activism to bring about positive change,” said Peng.