2020 CIMUN: Professor Atayero Seeks Renewed Commitment to Multilateralism
The Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor AAA. Atayero has emphasized the need to reaffirm the global commitment to multilateralism as the evolving political, economic, technological and social realities of the 21st century require an all-inclusive conversation which must be future-oriented to be effective.
Professor Atayero made this call in his Keynote Address at the 2nd Covenant International Model United Nations (CIMUN) Conference. The event with the theme, "The Future We Want; the UN We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism", held virtually from July 5-8, 2020.
The UN, according to the Covenant Vice-Chancellor, had over the years presented the world with a platform for international cooperation to address global issues such as COVID-19, poverty and inequality, the climate crisis, migration and displacement, prolonged conflicts, among others. "It is, however, disturbing that in recent time, multilateralism is being shoved aside in some regions of the world. Unilateralism is on the rise as the world becomes more multipolar and polarized," he lamented.
While highlighting that the future the world desired required global cooperation to materialize, he noted that young people constituted the future, and they were the parents, professionals, workers, and leaders of tomorrow. Their genuine participation in development dialogues, he added, clouted them necessary to shape both the process and outcome.
Covenant University, said Professor Atayero, recognized that young people had the potential to sustain the advancement of sustainable development. This development encouraged the University to organize the international conference, which provided delegates with an opportunity to develop soft skills in critical thinking, build life-changing networks, and create solutions to the problems threatening the world.
He pointed out that through programmes like CIMUN, the youth were able to develop social, ethical, emotional, physical, and cognitive competencies, among others.
The Chairman, Organizing Committee, 2020 CIMUN, Professor Sheriff F. Folarin, who reiterated the call for a global commitment to multilateralism, said that the world needed to meet other demands to realize its collective dream. These, he noted, would ensure a more stable, peaceful, pandemic-free, and prosperous society.
Professor Folarin, who is the Head, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University, stated that all-round education was critical to producing men and women of reason. "The mind is nourished, malnourished or emptied by what goes into it. And with only 45% of the world's adults educated in a global community of 7.8 billion people (CIA Factbook and Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) the world is grossly under-educated," he noted.
He submitted that excellent leadership was critical for regional, international or global stability, and building bridges and flattening walls or boundaries should also be the obsessions of states to realize a future desired. He warned that "until world leaders stop paying lip service to the actualization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world may never realize the dream of a better global community. The SDGs were the express road to actualizing the United Nations 75th anniversary plan of 'The Future we want, the UN we need and Multilateralism'”.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, regretted that support for global cooperation was weakening at a time collective action was most needed. He stated that public trust in traditional institutions was in decline and relations between countries were under strain in many countries.
Mr Kayanja said that, through similar conversations as those at 2020 CIMUN, the UN aimed to build a global vision of 2045 - its centenary - increase understanding of the threats to that future, and support enhanced international cooperation to realize that vision.
He stated: "It is clear that despite the great achievements of the UN in the last 75 years, we are still far from the world we want; but one thing is certain, no single country can solve the myriads of challenges prevailing across the world alone. Our best hope lies in international cooperation and multilateralism, and the United Nations remains a major platform."
The UNIC, Nigeria Director, appreciated Covenant University and the organizers of the Covenant International Model United Nations Conference for this year, and the students. He said that they had worked so hard over the last few weeks to organize the event in peculiar circumstances.
The 2020 CIMUN Conference, which was the fist UN Model Society Conference to go virtual in Nigeria, featured 144 delegates from 76 countries.
L-R: Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor AAA. Atayero; Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, Mr Ronald Keyanja; and Head, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University, Professor Sheriff F. Folarin.