Erik Novak

“An oak that is unbending is easily broken in a powerful storm, while a reed bends and leans with the gusts of wind.” - Aesop (The Oak and the Reed)

With the end of the Cold War, the United Nations Security Council’s agenda became busier than ever before, with geopolitical bloc realignments, new States being formed, and the rapid rise of new technologies and ideologies. So, to make sure it remained effective, the Security Council, as the main deliberative crisis-management branch of the UN, devised open and responsive protocols to these new times.

Specifically, while precedent already existed for interactions between the Council and agents associated with the UN, no working method clarified how those outside the UN apparatus could immediately and directly provide their expertise to the Council, despite how their input could add nuance and intimacy to complex issues.

How could the Security Council respond to these needs?

And so, during the 1992 Council presidency by Venezuela, its Ambassador Diego Arria created a way to guarantee a timely and open channel for a specific outside eyewitness to relay a personal account to delegates, bypassing the rigid setbacks of formal protocol. And so, that afternoon at the UN Delegates’ lounge, through an informal consultation with the eyewitness in question, a precedent had been set: the Arria Formula was born!

With invitees ranging from NGO leaders to representatives of unrecognized territories, and more, the Arria Formula has become, since then, an important working method for allowing outsiders a streamlined means to impact the Security Council. Ultimately, and most importantly, it symbolizes the Council’s continued responsiveness to the ever-changing alliances and expectations of the world today. It is refreshing to know the Council remains proactive and willing to improvise, adapt and overcome in view of a better tomorrow.

Similarly, WIMUN conferences and their signature procedure are constantly evolving to always deliver on the promise of on-point accuracy and full immersion. And so, in its quest to truly embody the real UN experience, WIMUN’s Security Councils too have adopted Arria Formula procedures. In fact, our conference in Geneva in November 2019 was the first in the world whose Security Council committees held true-to-form Arria Formula style discussions. 

And this WIMUN NY HS will be no different: Security Council delegates will get to participate in this new, exciting, accurate portrayal of real-life diplomacy! The opportunity to enjoy the first attempts at establishing the Arria Formula in a MUN conference is unique and enthralling - it truly is history in the making. Will you rise up to the challenge?


For a more detailed account of the history and particulars of the Arria Formula, look here: