At the Fermun 2023 conference, for three consecutive days debates took place in the UN Water committee. From my experience as a delegate at my many conferences, I loved observing the particularly virulent delegates from the beginning to the end of the debates.
Instead of explaining the concrete course of the conference in the “entity developed specifically for the conference” that is UN Water, I would like to look at a description of the delegates. Indeed, each delegation has a different style of debate, confrontations during debates quickly become a memorable event.
One of the delegations with unprecedented weight is the US delegation.
Their representatives are very sure of their victory, clearly saying “You will see us win” in the interview they gave us. During the debates they took an aggressive stance, quoting Trump and showing their motivation. We saw a strong country, confident in its abilities. Saying that “Europe is very shallow” to explain to countries looking for an alliance why they should join the American camp. They imposed themselves both during the writing of the resolutions and during the debates. Their interventions were aggressive and even provocative at times, but they were relevant and put the delegations up against a wall. Lamanna Adriano and Pilozzi Ettore, with a style of speaking that brought smiles to the faces of the assembly at times with their “Hello” followed by a pause or their turns of phrase, were able to attract sympathy and socialize with ease.
The Malta delegation has also marked all minds with a lot of saying that the translators probably have difficulties to translate. Those styles of speaking which are worrying and striking with for example the accusation towards « certain power » has allowed the delegation to access at the best of the committee. Malta delegates had a very important role during two problematic lobbying, by organizing the resolutions writing and by giving relevance ideas, they brought their unions to a prepared debate on elaborate clauses. Then a perfect pertinence, Estelle Rossetti and Sidonie Leherpeur protected their causes, that’s either dryness or the necessity of coffee proposed in the gossip box. When they’re accused that their clauses were useless, their speaking established silence in the house « Stop, Stop all that if it’s useless. Go out and do something else. ». Finally, the Malta delegation was able to tell the key rôle of the water in our life and the privileged status of certain countries, remaining serious and investing up to the end. « we don’t refuse any outdoor help. We are a union .».
However, many other delegations stood out. For example Columbia, thanks to their practical speeches fitting their country’s insight.Their interventions and specific vocabulary provoked many points of information, which they successfully answered. Bulgaria managed to change the debate with their points of information and were carefully looking for the most favorable agreement for their country. The NGO attack obtained, according to one of the resolutions, the right to manage the funds for countries in water stress. We can also mention the WMO delegation, who denounced the previous delegation and blamed them for not being capable enough to handle the situation. Kuwait pointed to the problem of violence proposed in one of the resolutions, supported by a majority of other delegations. And of course, Indonesia, who was the main submitter for the last debated resolution. They protected their country’s opinion all the conference along, despite all the attractive/tempting propositions they got.
Finally, I would like to talk about our lovely presidency. Eléonore Hasler and Raphaëlle Holroyd presided over this conference from the beginning to the end, providing comprehensive reports allowing their delegates to prepare for the conference without any worries. The chairs arrived with the desire to take responsibilities but above all to leave with good memories of enriching debates. At the end of the conference, when we asked them about the feeling, they said they were happy to be presents at Fermun this year with the same warm memory that reassured us throughout the conference