Youth Calls for International Ethical Code for Natural Resources
Paris, 31 May 2015 The last week of spring in Paris finished with a heated discussion amongst over 70 youth delegates at UNIDO model negotiations which were scripted and directed by World Resources Forum under the auspices of Paris International Model United Nations (PIMUN) 2015. In the first simulation of its kind, MUN delegates were encouraged to tackle the core issue WRF is dealing with: sustainable and equitable international governance of natural resources.
During the Opening Ceremony of PIMUN, Angel Versetti of WRF remarked: “Natural resources management is a key element in the sustainability agenda – because even as we move towards a service-oriented global economy, the pressures and needs on raw materials only keep increasing”. Following the Opening Ceremony, negotiations and debates ensued immediately and lasted three full days.
WRF enabled undergraduate and graduate students to understand the complexities surrounding negotiations of natural resources governance between countries and offered its expertise on the scientific part of natural resources management, complementing the international relations and diplomacy skills that delegates learned at their universities. Issues such as sovereignty over domestic natural resources turned out to be a point of contention amongst delegates representing countries with different levels of endowment of natural resources, with resource-rich countries taking a firmer laissez-faire approach towards supranational governance of natural resources. An interesting point was proposed by a delegate of Hungary, who noted: “The Coal and Steel Community worked despite all odds and became a foundation for the future European Union. I don’t see why a similar approach could not work at international level”.
The final resolution, which was adopted by the Committee by securing a simple majority of votes, “recognis[ed] the need to reshape the global demand for raw materials to ensure that the carrying capacity of the planet is not exceeded”. Delegates were deeply concerned by the irresponsible and opaque exploitation of natural resources and the socio-environmental externalities that it has been creating.
Amongst other things, there was a strong consensus on creation of the International Ethical Code for Natural Resources which would include the following elements:
- Creation of state-level incentives such as subsidies and tax breaks to reward investments into resource-efficiency and sustainable management of resources
- Development of standards for fair wages and safe work conditions for workers in extracting and recycling industries worldwide
- Fostering of closer cooperation between different stakeholders – including governments, corporations and the civil society – on natural resources management
WRF will reflect the vision of youth on the future of resources governance in its upcoming activities and it warmly appreciates the great contributions that delegates showed during the debate. We also extend our thanks to PIMUN Secretariat for making the first cooperation with WRF a huge success!