Heated discussions on global refugee crisis at MUNSC Salient: Youth Conference on Global Matters

Keynote address by honorary patron of the conference Mr. Milan Brglez, president of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. (Photo - UNAS)

International youth conference MUNSC Salient, organized by UNA Slovenia, was successfully concluded. The conference was held under honorary patronage of Dr Milan Brglez, president of the Slovenian National Assembly.

MUNSC Salient was organized between 13 and 17 July 2015 at the Faculty of Social Sciences in cooperation with Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs Graz and Brussels Model European Union. It is a youth conference that supplements the traditional Model United Nations (MUN) experience with educational content in form of interactive lectures, roundtables, workshops and group exercises. The conference was attended by 70 participants from Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. Main theme of the conference was global refugee crisis and all three committees witnessed heated discussions. UN Security Council discussed refugee crisis and sectarian violence in Lebanon, UN General Assembly Third Committee (Social and Humanitarian Committee - SOCHUM) discussed reversing the current trend in refugee and IDP protection in Syria, and the European Council tackled revitalising European solidarity in the light of increased influx of refugees into the EU.

Keynote address by Ms Caroline van Buren, Deputy Regional Representative from UNHCR Representation for Central Europe in Budapest. (Photo - UNAS)

The conference was opened by the honorary patron Dr. Milan Brglez who emphasized the challenge of the UN to transform declarative MDGs into genuine development goals. He pointed out that 2015 will be the "make or break" milestone for the international community. Keynote speech was held by Ms Caroline van Buren, Deputy Regional Representative from UNHCR Representation for Central Europe in Budapest. After the opening ceremony, a round table with ambassadors was held on the topic of post-2015 development agenda and migration issues. Ambassadors agreed that the Sustainable Development Goals will advance the progress achieved by the MDGs. They also touched upon increased influx of refugees into the EU and role of EU to assure refugees rights.

The debate continued the second day with a round table "Fortress Europe - EU approach on complex global refugee crisis?" attended by Ms Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament, Mr Emil Ferjančič, Head of Sector for Global Challenges at the Slovene Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr William Ejalu from UNHCR Regional Representation for Central Europe and Assistant Professor Dr. Nikolai Jeffs from the University of Primorska. On distribution key Ms Fajon pointed out that those numbers are human lives. Mr Ejalu said that solving the problem by building a wall in Hungary is political nonsense. Mr Ferjančič stressed that migration issues should be addressed together with development and economic cooperation. Panellists agreed that the crucial question on refugees is how to change the narrative.

The third roundtable with representatives of Slovene Ministry of Interior, Slovenian NGOs (Slovene Philanthropy, and Legal and Information centre) and a cultural mediator from Italian refugee camp discussed challenges of assuring refugees rights. They agreed that Slovenia should further develop its integration capacities and that positive discrimination is the key for not only formal, but actual equality of refugees. 

The conference was concluded with a closing ceremony at the Municipality of Ljubljana. Lively and heated debates at round tables and three committees proved that the refugee crisis is a very pressing and complex issue.