Committee Agenda Topics
Delegates must complete 2 position papers on 2 different agenda topics, with the exception of General Assembly members who only need to write 1. In February, credentialing sessions will take place. Additionally, delegates – especially Big Five ones – are encouraged to write a resolution by the Spring Conference.
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General Assembly (GA1, GA2):
Civil Tensions in Venezuela
Due to the possibility of civil war growing in Venezuela, the country’s medical supply and food supply is plummeting along with its economy. In 2003, Hugo Chaves (late Venezuelan President) put many policies into place which started capping prices and in turn farmers produced less food. This has been increased by other ongoing crises in Venezuela’s surrounding nations. The conflict between government officials over who takes the official title of president has left the people without a leader. Some people say Nicolás Maduro is in charge while others back Juan Guaidó. Due to inflation, the primary monetary system has no real value, currently at over 1 million percent (CNN). Citizens are rioting, subsequently dying, and child mortality rates have increased to over 100 percent in the past 11 years (CNN). If tensions remain between leaders, co-leaders, and citizens, the already comparatively undeveloped nation may be thrown into a civil war. If a civil war happens, it could spread into the surrounding nations of Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras where war is already close to erupting. Should the United Nations involve themselves further in political disputes within Venezuela? In what ways can the United Nations work towards rebuilding the country’s failing economy? What are ways the United Nations be providing help to the citizens?
Global Security (1A, 1B, 1C, 1D):
Military Artificial Intelligence
Many countries around the world, including the United States, China, and Russia, are actively researching artificial intelligence for military purposes. This artificial intelligence can take many forms - it can be found currently in technology such as drones, which may need no human input whatsoever to perform their missions. By removing the human element from these robots, they have the potential to cause significant harm if they are programmed incorrectly. While drones are a highly visible aspect of artificial intelligence development in countries around the world, they are only one of many parts of the issue. As AI continues to advance in capability, and approach that of a human, many experts and world leaders believe that whichever country first develops an AI which reaches human-level intelligence (an artificial general intelligence, or AGI for short) will gain a position of significant power over all other countries. What preventative measures should be taken to stop any single country from gaining control over a future powerful AI? Should AI be banned in combat? How can artificial intelligence be taken advantage of to further the mission of the UN?
Social Media Terrorist Recruitment
In recent years, social media has seen a rise in terrorists recruiting and inciting violence. With the rise in technology research and development and the increasing everyday use of the internet, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS have been found to be using social media platforms such as YouTube to try and recruit followers and create more violence through modern strategies. Even last year, videos released of a live streamed slaughter of 49 people in two New Zealand mosques were spreading across the internet despite the efforts that technology companies took to stop them. With the way that these types of attacks are spreading hateful movements all over the world, in what ways can the UN help to stop this ongoing internet and social media presence? How can regulation upon extremist groups’ usage of the Internet occur? Should the UN play a role in regulating technology companies to attempt to stop enabling these terrorist organizations?
Nuclear weapons have been a constant issue of security ever since World War II. There are 5 nuclear weapon states which have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (United States, Russia, China, France, and the UK), but there are several countries which claim to have nuclear weapons and which have not signed the treaty. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have stated that we are closer to a doomsday scenario - nuclear war - than we have been at almost any point in the last 75 years. Recently, conflict between India and Pakistan, for example, has led to near deployment of nuclear weaponry on both sides. How should the UN approach this issue to best resolve conflicts without the utilization of nuclear weapons? What steps should be taken now to ensure that nuclear war will not occur in the future? In the event of a nuclear weapon being used, how should the UN react to prevent a catastrophic war?
Increasing Speed of Information
As our world becomes increasingly interconnected via the Internet, information travels faster than it ever has before. While there are benefits to this, there are also drawbacks - conflicts escalate extremely fast, causing them to possibly spiral out of control. Leaders must make decisions on how they will approach issues very quickly. However, sometimes the rapid-fire information which leaders must react to causes a lack of understanding of the possible outcomes of their decisions, and additionally, misleading information can sometimes cause the wrong decision to be made under pressure. How can the UN help “slow down” conflicts, and stop their escalation especially under circumstances where some leaders may be acting under false information? Should the UN itself have systems to respond to issues that arise quickly, as they happen?
Global Economy (2A, 2B, 2C):
Pacing of Globalization
The UN has asserted that for developing countries, striking a balance between the fortification of domestic industries as well as gradual globalization is necessary to healthily developing an economy. Yet over the past year, economic strategies taken by developed Member States, both in the form of rapid globalization or hardline tariffs, have taken its toll on developing economies. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an increase in trade for least developed countries (LDCs) is made a priority. How should the UN implement frameworks for both developed and developing countries that promotes a balance between globalization and development of domestic industries for these LDCs? How should the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries be optimized for the current international climate? How can Member States create an encompassing framework that addresses the concerns of both developed and developing countries surrounding the pace of globalization for these LDCs?
Banks laundering money
Banks Money-laundering creates problems worldwide, It is very problematic for any
economy. In recent news, HSBC was fined in a money-laundering case for 1.9 billion
U.S. . Another example was the Danske Bank scandal, the bank were caught exporting
billions in just a couple days. Some of the cash ended up in the hands of Europeans.
The problem with this is, banks are profecting of this in a larger scale, than what they
are getting fined for doing this. Often in many known cases, money is received from
local drug cartels often knowingly. Not only this, but the laundering of illegal money only
goes to benefit these drug cartels increasing addiction rates and increasing illegal
weapon usage. This doesn’t give the banks a reason to stop laundering, if they are only
losing 1-2 billion out of the couple 20-90 billion they are earning. What can be put into
place to prevent banks from doing this? Would making the fine lager help? How can
illegal drug cartels be targeted in this financial issue
Digital money is growing more common as new technology is unfolded. People can now
make transactions through their credit cards and their cellphones. In 2019, 29 million
people in the US used mobile POS payments. Globally electronic payments are
expected to reach 726 billion by 2020. Digital money has many benefits. One of those
benefits is, its ease of use. Digital money cannot be lost, and only one thing is required
for it either a phone or a credit card. Another benefit is, digital money’s traceable, and
that can help reduce crime. Paper money can be traded in secret, but digital money
leaves behind a trace that law enforcement can use to find criminals. However, with the
traceability comes a loss of privacy for everyone, not just criminals. Do the benefits of
digital money outweigh the cost? Will turning to digital money leave developing
countries, who do not have the technology for digital money, behind? Should the global
economy turn away from paper money and focus more on digital money?
Artificial Intelligence International Trade
Various member states, both developed and developing, have acknowledged the current and future economic implications of artificial intelligence development. As both governments and private firms rapidly invest in artificial intelligence research, advancing technologies have began to increase general supply-chain efficiency, boosting the rate of international trade. As domestic productivity increases because of a surge in artificial intelligence implementation, the quality of growth may suffer. Autonomous models have begun to replace human workers, from factory line production to warehouse management, primarily because firms find it more economically efficient to do so. Recent widespread replacement of low-level jobs have proven especially dire for states with poorer education outcomes, as it leaves much of the workforce in that area at threat of being replaced. As both developed and developing countries make investments into artificial intelligence to increase economic efficiency, what precautions should be taken to ensure that artificial intelligence doesn’t harm domestic workforces? How should member states ensure not only the growth of international trade, but the quality of said trade vis-a-vis economic well being? Should the UN attempt to affect the growth rate of artificial intelligence or let its developments accelerate naturally?
Human Rights (3A, 3B, 3C, 3D):
Treatment of Detained Immigrants
Detained immigrants all around the globe are being mistreated by government officials. Failure to resolve this mistreatment in the United Kingdom is recognized. “The high-profile examination of the UK’s human rights standards comes in the wake of the ‘hostile environment’ policies aimed at migrants and critical parliamentary reports on complicity in torture of jihadi suspects.” The Guardian raises awareness on the issue. The Guardian extends the awareness, explaining that Asylum seekers do not have the right to work which leaves a majority (75%) below the poverty line. Another country dealing with mistreatment of detained immigrants by the government would is the United States of America. Immigrants detained on the South border of Mexico next to the United States deal with things ranging from freezing temperatures, dehydration, lack of water and food, disease breakouts in children, people being beaten and stripped of their clothes, among other violations in both countries. With this knowledge, how can the UN help detained immigrants with having equal humanitarian rights? How will the UN ensure that these governments and many others will follow the same policies to protect these asylum seekers? What can be done to implement guidelines of immigrant treatment
Euthanizing is normally when a patient with permission of family members or themselves, along with the correct age and sanity is then put to sleep with a lethal injection by a doctor. Since 2003, euthanasia had decreased seven percent in the Netherlands. The theory for euthanasias decline is that doctors are very reluctant to administer the injections due to backlash, and possibly personal beliefs. The Dutch ministry is hesitant to allow euthanasia because of past events involving incorrect treatment before the euthanasia took place. Cancer was the most common reason for wanting euthanasia along with dementia. The question for the doctor is whether they should allow the suffering of a patient to continue, or help them and possibly get sued by family members. What can the UN discuss about euthanasia to decrease the dislike for the treatment? Is it moral to take away people’s right to death? Is it wrong to allow patients to suffer for the long term?
As modern times progress, the implementation of technologies to ease life tasks has become widespread. One major developing field in new technology involves artificial intelligence which can be applied to many different fields, including visual perception, speech recognition, voice analysis, language translation, and decision making. Although this field is still considered in its infancy as a widely applicable resource, AI has made developments. AI implementation into gaming, home devices, and now, most commonly business. Many companies have integrated AI to speed up one on one interview time, resumes and other job applications. However, recently there have been issues with bias and discrimination with AI. For example, several AI systems have shown bias against African-American males in the criminal justice system, marking them as more likely to commit crimes. This bias is due to the problems in the data that the AI was trained on - if it was trained to recognize African-Americans as potential criminals by a discriminatory criminal justice system, it will continue that discrimination. How can the UN regulate AI? Should investments be made into AI research and development for the understanding and utilization of the UN? How should the UN treat issues of AI discrimination in the future?
Uyghur Muslims in China
Currently in the Xinjiang region of China, Uyghur Muslims are being forced into internment camps. It has been recorded that the detained Muslims are being forced to give up, culture and religion, are constantly under surveillance, and are being denied of the most basic of human rights. There have also been reports of mosques and important sites of religious value being destroyed and defaced. China claims that a portion of the Uyghur Muslims are a terrorist threat so therefore are simply keeping their nation secure, however, it is prevalent that these actions are being done in part for economic advantage. Xinjiang is rich in oil and resources, and the Chinese government views the area as an essential part for growth in economy. The internment camps are reported to be holding roughly one million people. Reports of torture and death have been recorded, and the Chinese government has ordered thousands of weapons and other equipment such as police batons, electric cattle prods, rubber bullet, handcuffs, and pepper spray. This issue is one that is growing bigger everyday, and those who are being affected are unable to do very much about it. Should the Chinese government be held accountable and/or punished for these actions? How can the UN implement services for the Uyghur Muslims ? What role should the United Nations play in the issue?
Environment (4A, 4B, 4C):
Nuclear power plants are an important topic to discuss because there have been multiple devastating meltdowns that have destroyed ecosystems and the environment around it with radiation. Though nuclear power is one of the most effective types of renewable energy, it also produces the most high-profile accidents, which lead to countries such as Germany to decide against using nuclear plants. “There were many anti-nuclear protests and, on the 29th of May, 2011, Angela Merkel's government announced that it would close all of its nuclear power plants by December 2022. Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany has permanently shut down eight of its 17 reactors”(Deutsches Bundestag). Other countries are wanting to establish more nuclear plants because the product of the reaction within the plant only produces steam and energy. This can help slow down climate change and help reduce usage of fossil fuels. what should the United Nations do? Should the United Nations be anti-nuclear power plants or nuclear power plants?
Climate Change Affecting Forest Fires
With hundreds of helpless countries going up in smoke, statistics show that 5.6 billion acres have been burned in the past year just in the United States alone, and forest fires have been setting Indonesia on fire for the past few years. Calling it “The biggest environmental disaster in our region” (Far, Malcom). Countries like Australia and Indonesia have not been strangers to the effects of wildfires. Just on April 10th of 2019, the prime minister of Australia has recognised the need of “National Firefighting assets” to attempt to make the effects of climate change less life-threatening on the world. In certain cases, forest wildfires can be beneficial for the forest ecosystem because it helping the forest by forcing the plant and tree to regrow but when the forest fires get out of control, it can damage plants and houses nearby. With so many countries struggling to maintain a balance between the natural course of a forest and total consumption by fire, How can the United Nations prevent these wildfires from growing into unstoppable occurrences? How can the UN provide countries with the proper equipment and manpower to regulate these forest fires?
Animal and plant habitats all over the world are being destroyed to build homes, corporations, and farming facilities. The effects of habitat loss is severe and the effects include destroying the ecosystems of plant life, which usually alters the land so much that the species that live inside become disoriented, confused, and stressed. Ultimately, disrupting their natural way of living. This process is called Habitat Fragmentation. By inducing Habitat Fragmentation, not always will it lead to the area being completely destroyed but can still cause environmental chaos. Habitat fragmentation can separate animals from their food sources in most cases as well. This happens both in water and on land. In South America, over the last decade eight bird species have been placed on the endangered species list because of deforestation and habitat deprivation, “The Alagoas Foliage-gleaner, the Cryptic Treehunter and the Poo-uli, for example, will never be seen again” (Miller, Perry). To save these animals and plant life from going on the endangered species list, what can the United Nations do to spread awareness about the ever-diminishing habitats and the life within them? Is there any way the United Nations can stop this problem altogether, or will they have to compromise with organizations and corporations?
Bleaching of the Coral Reefs
Currently, coral reefs are naturally occuring in over 100 countries, including a majority of more than 80 developing countries. These corals sustain human society through a range of ecosystem services such as livelihoods, food security from fisheries, pharmaceutical compound sourcing, revenue from tourism, erosion prevention, and shield naturally from extreme weather events through dissipation of wave energy, lessening of inundation, and damage during storms. Due to coral reef mass bleaching, these beneficial services decrease and detriment human society. The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, has suffered from reef bleaching exponentially, as 89% of new baby corals have bleached this year alone “after the climate change-induced mass bleaching of 2016 and 2017” (NG). United National Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that we have lost between 25% - 50% of the world’s live coral in the past 30 years and predicts that by mid-century we could lose functional coral reef ecosystems across most of the world. Bearing this in mind, how can the United Nations help reduce the amount of coral reefs being bleached around the world? Furthermore, what steps can be made by the UN toward eliminating the loss of functional coral reef ecosystems and supporting the growth of healthy algae for new coral plants? Ultimately, what policies can be put into place to assuage the warming temperatures and pollution that increases bleaching of these coral reefs?
Health and Human Services (5A, 5B, 5C, 5D):
Black Market Medication
On 2014 the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) reinforced the sales of prescription drugs. The restriction made unexpected results. By enforcing the restrictions the black market medication increased drastically. The multi-billion-dollar black market for opioids and other drugs caused the United Nations to help the authorities stop the black market. Prescription drugs are mostly being sold in developing countries where medication is in need. Opioids and alternate drugs are in desperate need in countries that contain deadly illnesses. Spikes in spread of disease subsequently increases the need for medications. Last year in the USA 47,600 people died due to black market medications. India made it legal to copy medication increasing the black market spread of those drugs. Indian people can access prescription medications at a lower cost that would be equivalent to double the same price in Europe. These medications aren’t as effective and people consuming black market medication are becoming physically and mentally ill. What can the United Nation do to stop the manufacture of opioids? How can medication be strictly provided to people in need? Can the United Nations provide proper medications to developing countries in need of support?
Orphans in Developing Countries
According to the most recent estimate from UNICEF there are 153 million orphaned children worldwide, 132 million of which are located in sub-saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. 15 million of these cases are due to a loss of one or both parents to AIDS. When situations like these occur, children are more likely to be exposed to exploitation, extreme poverty, war and devaluation. Currently, the systems in place for creating safe homes and families for orphans are not as strong as is desirable. In the US, adopting from another country involves an extremely thorough process and can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000. This discourages adoption from areas where group homes do not provide children with desirable conditions or even, in cases similar to that of Little Angels Orphanage in Cambodia force them into labor. Are there systems that can be put into place by the UN to make adopting from these countries less of an obstacle? What can the UN do to help ensure that Orphanages meet an adequate standard of living?
Genetically Modified Children, otherwise known as Designer Babies, have been a controversial topic arguably since the release of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which deals with the ramifications of human genetic engineering on a person and on a society. Many people question the ethicality of designing children, how it is good and bad for humanity as a whole, and there is no lack of opinion on this topic. In the past year (2018), the first designer babies were born, these children, dubbed “Nana” and “Lulu”, were genetically modified by Chinese scientist Jiankui He, who “... announced that twin girls with a gene altered to reduce the risk of contracting HIV “came crying into this world as healthy as any other babies.” Now, if this genetic modification helped or hurt these girls is still up to debate, many scientists are wondering if this genetic operation may have damaged other genes, or may have left the editing of the HIV susceptible gene unfinished. Genome editing has been practiced in the past, just not on human embryos. A study in 2017 found that, after trying to restore sight in blind mice via CRISPR-cas9, unexpected mutations occurred (i.e. Single Nucleotide Variations), which raises many concerns regarding the accidental ramifications of editing the human genome in embryo on a global scale, which prompts the questions of: should the UN regulate scientific experiments in this field? At what point is changing a human genome in an experimental environment safe and acceptable? Could this field be beneficial to the world?
Antibiotic and Antifungal Resistant Superbugs
Typically, antibiotics and antifungal medication are intended to help fight off bad bacteria in one’s body, eliminating the illness. However, in rare cases, there are antibiotic resistant bacteria and fungi causing many different issues when eliminating the bad bacteria. Antibiotic resistant superbugs can’t be treated with certain medication, because the sickness is resistant to most if not all treatment. These antibiotic superbugs, specifically Candida auris, is found in hospitals, and causes fever, chills, and effects for people with weakened immune systems. This issue poses a threat to modern medicine techniques and can negatively affect society, and people in general. If action isn’t taken on these antibiotic resistant superbugs, possibly by 2050, the increase in people contracting these bugs could be around 10 million. This fungus lands on medical equipment, certain common surfaces, and can easily spread from one person to another. Around 70 cases were linked to this fungus in the U.S. between 2015 and 2017. In February 2019, there were 587 confirmed U.S. cases of the fungus in 12 states. Candida auris is a fungus that can’t be treated with antifungal medication, and it’s affecting the U.S.A, Australia, India, Germany, Israel, Venezuela, South Africa and increasingly more and more countries. What can the United Nations do to combat this issue? can something be used to sterilize medical equipment and raise awareness of these antifungal/antibiotic resistant organisms? How can the UN help developing countries with eradicating these illnesses?
Security Council (SC):
Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts
In the issue of armed conflicts, sexual violence has always existed but has hardly been the forefront of humanitarian efforts. Sexual violence has been heavily linked to the conflicts and aftermaths of conflicts in Bosnia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Liberia, and Rwanda. For a long-time data collection for sexual violence in armed conflicts was limited due to the difficulty of collecting the data. Regardless of the difficulty of collecting data, it is still an issue that is extremely civil war. In the Bosnian Civil War (1992-1995) there were an estimated 20,000 rape cases. For the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2008 and 2009 more than 15,000 rapes were reported. Most of the statistics for sexual violence in armed conflicts are primarily from estimations from surveys and the reports that are received. Due to the nature of the collection, the statistics can be misrepresented or even miscalculated. For example for the Liberia Civil War, it is widely claimed that 75% of Liberian women were raped in the conflict, however most peer review journals agree that the number is around 10-15%. The 75% number was taken from a sample that did not accurately reflect the women of Liberia. How can the United Nations help resolve Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts? How can the United Nations help with the collection of data so the severity of the issue is understood more? How can the United Nations make it safer for women to report rape?
Ethnic cleansing is an issue that has common in all periods of history with primary instances occurring with the Roman Empire, United States of America, and recently the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. In Myanmar, there have been an estimated 66,000 people fleeing from Myanmar into Bangladesh as well as 22,000 people internally displaced. This was all part of a campaign of “area clearance operations” led by the Myanmar security forces. The people are fleeing from Myanmar because of the fear of the security forces. The United Nations reported that the Myanmar security forces have tortured, raped, and killed many Rohingya Muslims with victims as young as 8 months old. For years the Rohingya Muslims have been persecuted by the Myanmar government. They have no right to free movement or higher education, have been denied citizenship in Myanmar making them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and are subject to forced labor and other restrictions from the government. Another instance of ethnic cleansing in the 21st century is the recent ethnic cleansing of Uyghur Muslims in China. The Chinese government has forced the Uyghur Muslims into internment camps, give up their culture and religion, and are deprived of fundamental human rights. How can the UN provide services to groups that are subject to ethnic cleansing? How can the UN hold these governments accountable?
Due to climate change, many environments around the world have shifted drastically, because of the drastic changes there has been a spike in environmental migrants. Environmental Migrants are people who have been forced to leave their normal environment due to sudden changes such as environmental disasters or changes that have been occurring over time. With climate change becoming worse and more people in need of somewhere safe to stay, the question of where they will go arises. According to the IMDC (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre) 17.2 million have had to leave their homes in 2019 due to disasters that have negatively affected their environments. Examples being: desertification, ocean acidification, and coastal erosion. What are ways that the UN could ensure safe places for environmental migrants to stay? What type of regulations should be put into place to ensure the reversal of climate change before it is too late?
Entries to the Sanction List
The Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter “...sets out the UN Security Council's powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to ‘determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression’ and to take military and nonmilitary action to ‘restore international peace and security’.Around the world, terrorism has been on the rise for years and so the UN has had to put more sanctions/rules into place. The United Nations Security Council regularly updates the list of people who (under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter) individuals who have been deemed a security threat to the world and will undergo travel bans, frozen assets, and arms embargo. Individuals involved with Al-Qaida or other terrorist groups or movements. List of individuals: www.interpol.int/en/How-we-work/Notices/View-UN-Notices-Individuals. Should the UN reevaluate said peoples? Though the list is updated regularly, should further sanctions be put?
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW):
Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” The United Nations views Female Genital Mutilation as a human right violation. Today FGM affects more than 200 million girls and women, in 30 countries (WHO). There are four types of Female Genital Mutilation: clitoridectomy, excision, infibulation, and type IV which consists of all other of procedures to the genitalia of women for non-medical purposes, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization. It is estimated that around 90% of cases include clitoridectomy, excision or cases where girls’ genitals are “nicked” but no flesh removed (Type IV), and about 10% are infibulations (WHO). The reason that FGM is so dangerous is because the procedure can result in death through severe bleeding leading to haemorragic shock, neurogenic shock as a result of shock and pain, and overwhelming infection and septicemia. FGM is often preformed in a religious capacity and it is important to respect the role that religion plays in society. However, protecting the human rights of these women and girls must take precedence. In countries where these religious ceremonies are performed, how can Member States protect women and girls while also respecting the religions and sovereignty of these countries? How can the UN ensure that women and girls are no longer victim to these painful and life threatening procedures?
Spread of HIV From Mother to Child
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is frequently spread from mother to child, but it is also easily preventable by antiviral medication. As of 2017, 24% of pregnant women with HIV did not have access to antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) to prevent the transmission of HIV to their child. As of the same year, approximately 160,000 children were diagnosed with HIV. In 2016, 120,000 children died globally due to HIV/AIDS. This is because children aged 0-4 are the mostly likely to die of HIV/AIDS than any other age group. Stopping the spread of HIV from mother to child is essential to eradicating HIV and AIDS globally. How can the United Nations aid developing and developed countries in providing ARVs to all pregnant women? What steps must be taken by member states to place access to maternal health care above conflict?
Disproportion of Women in Government Positions
In February 2019, it was recorded by the UN that only 24.3 percent of all national parliamentarians were women. When women are left out of the conversation of legislative agendas, issues such as gender-based violence, childcare, women’s health and gender equality are commonly left out. While women’s participation has increased 11.3 percent since 1995, there is still significant barriers to a woman’s involvement in politics. Women may be given less resources than men to run a campaign effectively, or they may fear going to polling stations located in unsafe areas in order to vote. The UN has previously put in place the UN General Assembly resolution on women’s political participation in 2011, however not enough has been done to increase the number of women in elected office worldwide. What is the top priority of the UN in order to encourage women participation in governments? What steps can Member States take in order to reach gender balance in elected office? How can Member States ensure that women have the same political opportunities as men in their government?
Incarceration of Women
In many nations worldwide, the rate of female prisoners has increased at a much faster rate than male prisoners. For example, in the United States between 1977 and 2004, the number of women serving more than a year in prison grew by 757 percent, compared to a 388 percent increase in the number of men in prison serving more than a year. In some countries where legislation is dictated by religious law, women can be discriminated against at much higher rates, which leads to more women being incarcerated for minor and non-violent offenses. Not only are women incarcerated at higher rates, but they are also denied gender-specific services and support that are offered in gender-specific ways to men once imprisoned. Women may also face higher rates of sexual abuse, physical and mental health concerns, and substance dependence issues while incarcerated. How can the UN and Member States guarantee that incarcerated women are receiving the gender-specific services they need? What must Member States do to ensure that women are receiving fair treatment for their crimes?
Simply put, child marriage is a human rights violation. The UN Populations Fund reports that globally, one in every five girls is married or in union by the time they’re 18, a rate which is doubled in less developed countries. Child marriage has a broad effect on a girl’s mental and physical health, education, and future. Girls can be subject to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections such as HIV that increase their risk of death due to child marriages. Many factors contribute to the rate of child marriages around the world, however the basis of the issue stems from gender inequality. The United Nations has acknowledged this issue in the Convention on the Rights of a Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, but not enough preventative measures have been taken to protect girls forced into marriage every day. What steps can the United Nations take in order to ensure that girls are protected from the effects of child marriage? How can Member States be accountable for protecting girls forced into marriage? What should the UN do to protect girls that are already victims of child marriage?
Effect of Climate Change on Women
As the effects of climate change worsen globally, vulnerable groups, such as women, are impacted more heavily. With 70 percent of those living below the poverty line globally being women, women are by far the most vulnerable group facing the effects climate change.
For example, in Senegal, drought conditions that are worsened by climate change have caused a scarcity of water, which has made it more difficult for women to collect water for their household as a part of their domestic duties, forcing them to walk longer distances for viable drinking water. Overall, the life expectancy of women is shorter due to more severe disasters, resources are less available to women in domestic settings, and womens’ jobs in agriculture are at risk, most commonly in less developed countries. Vulnerability to climate change between men and women is not only determined by differences in biological and physiological characteristics, but also by differences in social roles and responsibilities. How can the UN ensure that women are not disproportionately affected by climate change? What actions can be taken by the UN and Member States to provide resources for women affected by the increasing development of climate change globally?
International Court of Justice (ICJ):
India v. Pakistan
India maintains that Pakistani authorities arrested, detained, tried and sentenced to death on 10 April 2017 an Indian national, Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav. Initially, on 25 March 2016 India was informed about the alleged arrest of Jadhav and that very day India sought consular access. On 30 March 2016, India sent a reminder reiterating its request for consular access. In addition, thirteen more reminders were sent. India has maintained that Jadhav is its national and a former naval officer who was carrying out his business in Iran. While he was in Iran, he was abducted, brought to Pakistan, and tried on fabricated charges of espionage and terrorism in the Pakistani Military Court. Meanwhile, the facts according to Pakistan are somewhat different. It alleges that Kulbushan Jadhav is a spy, a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent, working in Balochistan, on “India’s official policy of terror.” Pakistan cites grounds of national security to support its claim. It is incumbent on the ICJ to determine who is at fault in this case.
Guyana v. Venezuela
Venezuela claimed more than half of the territory of the British colony of Guyana at the time of the Latin American wars of independence, a dispute that was settled by arbitration in 1899 after the Venezuela Crisis of 1895. In 1962 Venezuela declared that it would no longer abide by the arbitration decision, which ceded mineral-rich territory in the Orinoco basin to Guyana. The disputed area is called Guayana Esequiba by Venezuela. A border commission was set up in 1966 with representatives from Guyana, Venezuela and Great Britain, but failed to reach agreement. Venezuela vetoed Guyana's bid to become a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1967. In 1969 Venezuela backed an abortive uprising in the disputed area.
Under intense diplomatic pressure, Venezuela agreed in 1970 to a 12-year moratorium on the dispute with the Protocol of Port-of-Spain. In 1981, Venezuela refused to renew the protocol. ip.
The ICJ must determine who is at fault here.
Somalia v. Kenya
On 7th April 2009 Somalia and Kenya signed an agreement bound by international law. This written document was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU confirmed that both parties will make submissions to the UN agency charged with settling maritime border disputes, Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). CLCS will analyse the submissions and make recommendations without prejudice. CLCS received the submissions from both parties, (Kenya on 6th May 2009 and Somalia on 14th April 2009) and also received subsequent objections from both parties as a consequence. In August 2014, Somalia initiated proceedings to take Kenya to the International Court of Justice over the maritime dispute. The ICJ must weigh what happened in these instances and ensure that they decide who is correct in this case.
Bahrain, Egypt, and UAE v. Qatar
Saudi Arabia's state news agency announced the cutting of ties Monday, saying it was seeking to "protect national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism." All ports of entry between the two countries will be closed, according to the statement. Gulf allies have repeatedly criticized Qatar for alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood, a nearly 100-year-old Islamist group considered a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The UAE accused Qatar of "funding and hosting" the group in its statement announcing the severance of ties. It also cited Qatar's "ongoing policies that rattle the security and sovereignty of the region as well as its manipulation and evasion of its commitments and treaties" as the reason for its actions. Saudi Arabia accused Qatar in its statement of "adopting" groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar denies that it funds or supports extremist groups. What can the ICJ rule to better the relationship between the two countries?