Friday, June 6, 2008


From the 28th to the 31st of May, the annual SIMOTAN – a NATO Council Simulation – has taken place in Lisbon.
The event has been organized by the Portuguese YATA, in association with the Portuguese Atlantic Committee, the Institute of Political and Social Sciences (ISCSP) and the Tecnica University of Lisbon.
The participants, twenty-seven Portuguese and eight foreigners from Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and United States, had to face an international crisis as if they were delegates at the North Atlantic Council.

Each one represented a NATO country different from his/her own: USA, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Canada were represented in the Council.

This year’s scenario, was managed by a professor of the Institute and was based on an humanitarian crisis in the border between Chad and Sudan.
During the simulation, the participants worked a lot, making Position papers, Draft Communiqués, Amendments, facing a Press Conference, a NATO Intelligence Briefing and an Instant Press Release.
After two days of work, long and exhausting debates, and many coffee breaks, the delegates managed to reach a consensus on Saturday morning, for the first time in SIMOTAN history (as Hugo Palma said).

As expected, not everybody got involved in the same way during the simulation, due to the different personalities and individual approaches to the activity. Some of us were more focused on wording and held some long discussion on that, while others were more into "second track" diplomacy.
To conclude, the kindness of the Portuguese organizers, especially of the Portuguese member staff, their good capacity in dealing with the scenario, both in a serious and enjoyable way, with their funny presence in the many leisure time during the staying, made the experience absolutely worth it and unforgettable for everyone.

Ilaria Pitton
Italian Participant
Youth Atlantic Club of Gorizia

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

World Food Summit

From the 3rd to the 5th of June 2008, more than 50 Heads of States and Governments gather in Rome for the World Food Security Summit "The Challenge of Climate Change and Bioenergy".

Food prices are at their highest in more than three decades and stores are extremely low.

It has been said that the current situation relies in various root causes:
- increasing growth of crops for fuel
- protecionist farm policy in developed countries
- shift to meat eating in many developing countries
- large food purchased by growing countries
- reduction in international assistance to poorest countries
- fluctuating climates in many food-production countries

One of the most interesting speeches was delivered by Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil. In 2003 he launched the Zero Hunger Programme which contributed to giving meals to thousands of hungry brazilians. Mr Silva criticized the reports that were accusing ethanol producing countries, such Brazil, for the recent increase in food price. Biofuel, ha said, help to create more jobs and clean energy, and reduce pollution. Furthermore, he acknowledged the relevance of soaring oil prices, which amount for the 30% of the final cost.

The reason for the increase in food price relies in the above mentioned set of causes. A single country cannot be blamed for that, despite the criticism that the media always put on few of them.
FAO has reaffirmed its twin-track approach (alleviating impacts of high food prices and implementing short and long term agricultural policies) and has proposed the following options to be undertaken:
1) increase safety net and social protection
2) improving trade policies, either as export restriction or as import barriers
3) stimulating agricultural investments.