The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has emphasised that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the world’s blueprint for dignity, prosperity and a healthy planet. “Our world today enjoys remarkable opportunities to advance common progress. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our blueprint for dignity, prosperity and a healthy planet,” said the Secretary-General in his message to the first Covenant International Model United Nations (CIMUN) conference, read by the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) for Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja.
The conference which was organised by Covenant University Ota, in collaboration with UNIC Nigeria, was themed, “Restructuring the future through innovative ideas”, and attended by over 300 delegates from 8 countries and 12 institutions at the opening plenary held on 16 January 2019. Despite the remarkable opportunities, Guterres explained, “we the peoples” also face many complex challenges: “Armed conflicts have deepened. Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War. Climate change is moving faster than we are. Inequality and nationalism are on the rise, while trust and solidarity are on the decline.”
These problems and challenges, according to him, are increasingly global – and increasingly grave. “We need less hatred, more dialogue and deeper international cooperation. Multilateralism is more important than ever. Empowering the world’s young people is also an imperative.“ He added.
Earlier in his opening remark, Mr Kayanja observed that “The achievement of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires innovative ideas. Therefore, there is no other time to discuss the theme, “Restructuring the Future Through Innovative Ideas” than now,” He added that in Model United Nations (MUN) conferences, delegates are the Ambassadors of their assigned countries to the UN. “Let your presentations reflect the reality of the countries you are representing.” He urged the delegates.
The Vice Chancellor of Covenant University, Prof A.A.A. Atayero, in his keynote address presented by Prof Sheriff Folarin, noted that “It is only by innovative ideas that we can restructure, own and control the future.” He acknowledged that the United Nations has either redefined humanity or changed the world through sustained programmes, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, environmental development programmes and erstwhile Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as its current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and several other innovative programmes and initiatives.
Of particular interest, according to the Vice Chancellor, is the trickle-down idea of simulated UN System through Model United Nations (MUN) which brings the vision, philosophy, goals and workings of the UN to the micro levels, which should solidify the UN’s reach and consolidate its gains.
“Aside preparing the youths for leadership in the future, it alsoinculcates in them the enduring traditions, disposition and skills of conflictmanagement, peace-building and a new world order in the context of peace andstability.” Prof Atayero added, “It is light of this that I commend andcongratulate the United Nations and particularly appreciate the United NationsInformation Centre in Nigeria for the cooperation, guidance and support.”
The Secretary General of CIMUN 2019 was Mr Andikara Honour Etiubon while Dr Oluyemi Fayomi of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University Ota was the Faculty Advisor.