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):
With over 100,000 flights transporting approximately 2,586,582 passengers daily, ensuring the safety of air travel is a particularly important issue for international security. With recent incidents including attacks at airports in Belgium and Turkey, a plane shot down over Ukraine, a Russian plane bombed over Sinai, and the bombing of a plane in Somalia, “the global nature of aviation puts everyone at the same level of risk from potential terrorism.” In addition, military tests such as the North Korea’s missile test continue to put civilians at risk. The issue of ensuring the safety of the world’s skies has been a concern since the inception of the United Nations. Seeing firsthand how the sky and planes can be used as weapons to wreak havoc across the globe, the United Nations established the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1944 as a specialized agency under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council to “manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation” or the Chicago Convention. Therefore, what can the United Nations do to protect civil aviation, especially with the threat of unannounced military testing? How can the United Nations encourage multilateral solutions to airline threats? Lastly, what steps can be taken to manage the risk of global epidemics, a concern brought about by international aviation?
Conflict in Kashmir
Pakistan and India have feuded over the region of Kashmir for decades. In 1948, the United Nations passed a resolution that insisted both nations withdraw forces and a referendum take place; however, neither happened. Since then, wars have been waged, lives have been lost, and human rights violations continue. The situation is complicated by matters such as religion, politics, access to water and resources, insurgency, and more. Should the United Nations intervene once again? If so, how?
Environment (4A, 4B, 4C):
Plastics in Oceans
There are an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. While rising ocean levels pose a threat to many cities, the disturbing amount of plastic in the ocean poses a more immediate threat to wildlife welfare. The oft-cited Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now twice the size of Texas, with the plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one. Said plastic is highly detrimental to the health of the animals in the area, as one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually by plastic in our oceans. Health risks are not limited to the wildlife. The chemicals in plastics are released into the water, which plastic toxins entering the food chain, leading to human ingestion. Toxins such as BPA interfere with the natural production and function of hormones in the human body. With all these consequences in mind, how can the United Nations help regulate plastic pollution in the oceans? In addition, what steps can the UN take to limit the impact of existing plastic pollution on wildlife? Lastly, what policies should be implemented to remediate the current accumulations of plastic in our oceans?
Mining in the Arctic
For the most part, the Arctic has laid relatively unperturbed by the horrors of resource mining. That, however, stands to change in the coming years, as the cryosphere gradually opens itself up. There are an estimated 90 billion barrels of undiscovered oil deposits in the Arctic, as well as abundant deposits of valuable minerals. As companies and countries begin to pursue the Arctic’s vast stores of resources, it is important to acknowledge and address the environmental risks associated with opening up the area for commercial pursuits. Due to the Arctic’s unique geological signature, mining operations can result in various unexpected consequences. In addition, the remote location of the Arctic prevents swift relief, should any issues arise. How can the United Nations help regulate the expansion of mining in the Arctic? What steps should the United Nations take to ensure countries are conscious of the welfare of the local wildlife?
In addition to the toxic pesticides being used for agriculture, global warming is pushing bee populations to their limits. Many of the chemicals used to target pests have proven fatal to bees. Furthermore, recent studies have proven that warmer climates can cause a drastic increase in bee mortality rates, which can ultimate lead to their extinction. Because bees are primary pollinators, reductions in bee populations would disrupt ecosystems around the world. Many food chains would be destroyed, affecting many crops and jeopardizing almost all of the food we consume. How can the United Nations guarantee the protection of such a vital organism? As global warming is already an issue on its own, what regulations should be implemented and enforced to prevent further damage?
Land Degradation and Desertification
As we continue to expand agriculturally, the impacts of land degradation are becoming more prominent. In recent years especially, human activity has driven many species to extinction, threatened global food security, and accelerated climate change. Over 75% of land on Earth is already degraded, and is expected to reach 90% by 2050. Economically, for example, soil degradation costs the EU tens of billions of euros each year. While the detrimental ramifications are seen globally and are acknowledged by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), they must be solved at the local level. How can the United Nations encourage countries in their efforts to slow down land degradation? What further steps should be taken to ensure countries are informed and actively moving towards sustainability?
Security Council (SC):
Yemeni Civil War
Since 2015, two factions of the Yemeni government have fought regarding the future and control of the country. This conflict has made way for terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIL to take control over vast amounts of land, increasing their influence in the area. Furthermore, the ongoing civil war has created a humanitarian crisis in which thousands of civilians have perished from airstrikes, famine, and preventable illnesses. The ongoing famine, conflict, and widespread desperation has called into question the actions currently being undertaken by the UN, as well as ideas for future operations. This begs the question: What steps should member nations and the UN as a whole take to prevent further destruction, and lead towards the direction of sustainable peace in the Arabian Peninsula?
Human Trafficking in Libya
In recent years, the world has seen an ever increasing amount of individuals fleeing their home countries to seek safety in Europe. Far too often, these individuals are taken advantage of, and are subject to inhumane conditions or even sold off in modern-day slave markets. The Security Council has implemented sanctions against several human traffickers, and such actions are often a last resort for the Council to curb massive human rights violations. However, for the victims, they are forever affected by their kidnapping and have no home to return to. How should the United Nations combat this continuing issue in Northern Africa and bring forth peace and security in the region? What other solutions are there to sanctions that can be implemented and enforced by the UN?
In February 2014, the situation in Ukraine transcended into an full-scale conflict in Eastern Europe, as Russia formally annexed Crimea from Ukraine, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty. Since then, violent clashes have continued, despite a ceasefire agreement in September 2014. Ukraine’s territorial integrity, unity, and stability have since deteriorated; continuous violations of the ceasefire are normalized, with heavy weapons formally prohibited by the agreement responsible for civilian deaths. Recently, the Security Council underlined the need to increase efforts to support civilian populations affected by the conflict by revisiting the terms of the original ceasefire. How can the Council’s call for “implementation of disengagement conditions and immediate withdrawal of heavy weapons” be upheld and monitored? To what extent can aggressor states be reprimanded for their violations of the ceasefire?
In recent years, U.N. member nations have been continually stunned by blatant disregard for international law regarding chemical weapons in several conflicts. Chemical agents have been used in airstrikes and bombings of innocent civilians. The apparent lax position of several countries on the issue has called into question the erosion of norms surrounding the use of such chemicals. The recent attention on the issue has also caused worry within the international community about potential usage by terrorist organizations. If they are able to develop their own weapons with chemical agents, it has the potential to kill thousands in a terrorist attack on a concentrated area. How can the United Nations uphold international law regarding chemical weapons without dismissal of the issue or infringement of sovereignty? What steps can be taken to minimize terrorist/extremist groups access to said weapons?
For 20 years the population of Afghanistan has suffered from the consequences of conflict, in their country. With an increase of fighting in previous months, along with continued terrorist attacks, the international community now more than ever wishes to seek out a solution to benefit innocent civilians. The conflict in Afghanistan raises the question of what to do with long-term conflicts. In these wars, constant fear is a daily routine, with damage often far beyond repair. The further along a war drags, the more complex and intricate it gets. These wars create issues of terrorism, election safety, corrupted government, humanitarian crises, refugees, internally displaced individuals, education, women’s rights, and the list goes on. What role does the United Nations and the international community have to play, if any, with ceasing long term conflicts? What steps can be taken to mitigate the chances of a conflict continuing for years, even decades? Should certain actions be prioritized to ensure international security?
Children in War-Torn Countries
Millions of children across the world have endured war, death, and tragedy throughout their childhood. Their countries have been engaged in constant conflict with fear becoming a daily routine. Many do not know what life is like devoid of the sounds of gunfire and bombs; for example, ¾ of Sudanese children know nothing but war in their country. Because of their situation, countless children are recruited into the fight, becoming recruits, soldiers, and suicide bombers. Children affected by conflict remains a humanitarian crisis, but their involvement in fighting also makes it an international security issue. Terrorist organizations can easily use children as attackers if they know the international community will not react. How can the United Nations aid children in war ravaged countries in order to protect them and international security? What solutions are there to aid children already affected and/or recruited into the fight?
Global Security (1A, 1B, 1C, 1D):
Counterterrorism & Developmental Resources
While terrorism and violent extremism remains a top priority in the road for a peaceful and sustainable future, resources needed for development programs are diverted towards costly security operations. Specifically in Central Africa, the presence of terrorist organizations as well as illegal smuggling of small arms and light weapons have forced peacekeeping operations to take control of funds once devoted to development of infrastructure in several countries. Most states agree that helping a country develop their infrastructure will create an environment less suitable to terrorist organizations, however counterterrorism operations are considered necessary to ensuring safety of civilians and developing governments. How can the United Nations assist with counterterrorism and development of countries without losing assets in both? What should the UN do to stifle terrorist activities while also encouraging countries to invest in their own infrastructures to create a peaceful nation?
The creation of 3D printing machines have yielded products that have led the world into the future of technology and innovation. Despite their useful potential, manipulation of 3D blueprints and printers can lead to mechanical failure of prints, development of weapons, or worse. Furthermore, security experts from around the world conclude that 3D printing could be a serious threat to global security in the next few years, especially with the ability to print weapons such as firearms. What regulatory frameworks, if any, should be developed and adopted by the United Nations? How can regulations be enforced? How can the United Nations promote creative and necessary developments in technology while also preventing maluse of said technologies?
Gang Violence in Central America
In the past year alone, the number of individuals fleeing violence and persecution from nations in Central America, specifically Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, has risen almost 60%. In their home countries, children are forcibly recruited into armed criminal gangs, and if they refuse, they receive death threats or are outright killed. Furthermore, state police are often accomplices to murder and therefore security forces combating the gangs are dwindled. How can the United Nations work towards sustainable peace and prosperity in Central America? Should the United Nations get further involved and utilize peacekeeping forces to combat gangs? Should member states affected by criminal organizations receive financial aid, and how can it be ensured that this financial assistance does not make its way into criminal hands?
Attacks on Political Rallies Threaten Elections
In recent months, populations in dozens of countries across the world have gone to the ballot box to cast their votes in national elections. However, there has been an increase in attacks on political rallies, the candidates, and voters. In Zimbabwe, for example, forty individuals including voters and politicians were injured in an election rally. In Ethiopia, another blast injured dozens and killed one, instilling fear in the voting population. The extent to which this violence has occured threatens democracy and the ability for people to exercise their right to vote as the attacks instill fear within the voting populations. How can the UN stifle attacks on political rallies, candidates, and voters while also respecting the democratic process of said countries?
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW):
Access to Family Planning Services
The United Nations Populations Fund reports that around 214 million women, particularly in developing regions of the world, want to avoid pregnancy but are unable able to do so because of the lack of access to family planning services and contraceptives. The UN estimates that the unmet need for contraceptives resulted in the 35 million abortions and 76,000 maternal deaths. In addition, the inability for a woman to make decisions about her fertility poses threats to her education, financial stability, and her future. In countries where family planning is seen as a taboo, how should Member States work together to combat taboos and ensure all women have access to family planning services? In Member States where family planning services are available, how can the UN ensure that access is affordable and comprehensive?
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women reports that worldwide, 70% of women experience some form of domestic violence. Women who have experienced partner violence are twice as likely to develop depression compared to women who have not experienced violence, and this experience can have serious implications for their future. Even though 126 Member States have passed laws regarding domestic violence, this issue still persists. What can Member States do to prevent domestic violence against women, and make sure women have reliable avenues to report violence? How can Member States work together to ensure more data is collected about this issue?
Maternal healthcare for intended pregnancies
For women who want to have a child, access to adequate maternal healthcare can be difficult. The UNFPA reports in 2015 that there were over 300,000 maternal deaths, many of which were caused by “severe bleeding, sepsis, eclampsia, and obstructed labor”, all of which are preventable. In addition, if the mother dies during childbirth, the child is more likely to die within two years. 85% of maternal deaths come from sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. Critical components of maternal healthcare include prenatal care, skilled birth attendance, emergency obstetric care, and postnatal care. Careful implementation of these strategies greatly reduces the incidence of maternal death. How can the UN ensure that maternal healthcare for women who want to have children, is accessible, comprehensive, and affordable? In what ways can the UN ensure women, especially in rural regions, are informed of these services?
Women affected by HIV
Statistics by the UNAIDS Programme show that women account for over half of the individuals living with HIV worldwide. Women, and especially young women, are disproportionately affected by HIV because of differences in culture, biological factors, and taboos regarding receiving care. Reports in 2017 state that among young women (15-24), new infections were “44% higher than men their age”, and in eastern and southern Africa, “young women made up 26% of new HIV infections despite only accounting for 10% of the population” (UNAIDS 2017). What must the UN and its specialized arm, UNAIDS do to prevent new infections of HIV? What services must be provided to treat current HIV infections in both rural and urban areas of the world? What steps must be taken to ensure these services are dependable and accessible?
In search of better jobs and opportunities, many women leave their home communities for seasonal and migrant workers. The UN reports that more than half of migrant workers are female. However, dangerous conditions lead to many of these women to be forced into human trafficking. The UN Women’s Foundation reports that 71% of individuals caught into the system of trafficking are female. In many cases, these women are subject to sexual and labor exploitation. Once caught into this system, it becomes very hard for women to escape due to a lack of resources to recuperate from the traumatic experience. What can Member States do to prevent the growth of sex trafficking in developed and developing countries? How can Member States dismantle global sex trafficking rings, when the crimes committed are often concealed from the eyes of the government? How can the UN provide resources to help women caught in sex trafficking?
The Global Fund for Women reports that 200 million more men than women have reliable access to the internet, and worldwide, women are 21% less likely than their counterparts to own a cellphone. In an economy driven by technology, it is critical that women have the same access to technology as men. The lack of digital education for girls in developing countries and the gender gap in STEM in developed countries are just two of the many ways the technology gap impacts women globally. What must the UN do to ensure all women have access to technology and the corresponding education to utilize those devices? What must Member States do to ensure that women in developed countries have the same opportunities to engage in STEM as others?
Health and Human Services (5A, 5B, 5C, 5D):
Contamination of Water:
Every year, 2.1 billion people are unable to access safe drinking water. They are forced to use contaminated water that is unfiltered and filled with harmful bacteria. This has lead to the deaths of 340,000 children under five years old every year due to diarrhoeal diseases. With water scarcity already affecting four out ten people, it is necessary that the united nations take action in helping secure water for every individual. Although there are programs already in place to help with the increase of water access to rural areas, how can the united nations improve in making sanitary water attainable for all people across the globe? How could they better their pre-existing methods, as well?
Refugee Crisis and Shelter
As of now, there are over 65 million people who have been displaced from their homes, according to the United Nations. This level of displacement is unprecedented and is due to the break out of wars occurring in the middle east and in certain locations of Africa, where a majority of refugees originate from. Within these 65 million refugees, 10 million refugees are stateless. This meaning that they “have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.” Without a place to call their home, refugees are left in a place of constant worry and suffering. The United Nations has previously spoken out about the refugee crisis; however, the levels of refugees continue to increase. What could potentially help increase support for refugees? How can we help return refugees to their home or create locations for them to live? How should the United Nation proceed?
Mitigating the Spread of Tuberculosis
Currently, tuberculosis is one of the top ten causes of death across the world. The disease affects over 10 million people each year and kills roughly 25% of those it infects. However, the frequency of these deaths has greatly increased in low-middle economic areas where 95% of the deaths related to tuberculosis occur, according to the World Health Organization. The disease has been known to primarily affect developing countries. More specifically, countries such as Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa account for 64% of the locations where the disease infect people. In June 2018, the first ever high level meeting on tuberculosis was held. In this meeting ideas where set forth as to how to solve the problem. However, how can the United Nations do more to help fight tuberculosis? What methods are already being used to help stop the problem? And how can the United Nations use these meetings to draw attention to this issue?
Access to Education
According to the United Nations, there are, currently, 159 million children that do not have access to education before primary school: for instance, kindergarten and preschool. Furthermore, there are 57 million kids across the world who do not enroll in primary school education. This shortage of education for youth across the globe has led to over 100 million youth not procuring elementary level literacy skills. Access to education, although being the escape many need from poverty, is unattainable due to the lack of resources and materials to build schools and hire teachers. How should the United Nations proceed in helping provide every child with education? Is education a human right? What measures could be put in place to draw attention to the shortage in resources to provide education to youth worldwide?
Human Rights (3A, 3B, 3C, 3D):
Hate Crimes against the LGBTQ+ Community
Following the banning of “gay propaganda” in Russia in 2013, the number of hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia have doubled. In addition, according to the Center for Independent Social Research “murders accounted for almost 200 out of 250 crimes.” These hate crimes include the abductions, unlawful detentions, torture, beatings and killings of men perceived to be gay or bisexual. Within Russia, these hate crimes have been most prevalent in the region of Chechen. OHCHR have currently stated that they “urge the authorities to put an end to the persecution of people perceived to be gay or bisexual in the Chechen Republic who are living in a climate of fear fuelled by homophobic speeches by local authorities.” However, reports from OHCHR have shown that these persecutions still continue with the cases being reported everyday. The issue of violence against the LGBTQ+ community, however, is not just occurring in Russia. These acts of violence occur across the U.S. everyday. The United States, recently, has seen an increase in hate crimes following the election of Donald Trump, according to Pew Research. With this rise in violence, this calls into question whether or not the United Nations is doing enough to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. In addition, how should the U.N. proceed in the future.
Persecution of Journalists
As of now, Turkey has the largest number of journalists behind bars. In this past year alone, over 170 media outlets have closed. This outlets including newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and websites according to the Republican People’s Party in Turkey. They also state that “more than 2,500 journalists have been laid off as part of the closures and 800 have had their press cards revoked.” Human rights activist called this an attack on individuals freedom to speak against their governments. Despite this being a problem in Turkey, the silencing of journalists is nothing new to countries such as Egypt and China. Across the globe, people’s freedom to express their beliefs have been continuously silenced, illustrating how widespread this problem. This problem has created a dialogue opening, as to how the United Nations should address this problem and what parameters they should take to ensure that all individuals have the freedom to voice their beliefs.
Children in Armed Forces
The United Nations made a promise ten years ago to stop the use of children in all armies and military forces across the world. Although 65,000 children have been rescued from military groups, UNICEF still estimates that there are currently 300,000 children being used as soldiers in times of war. Over 14 countries still promote their use of children as soldiers. Children are deceived into joining the army, as they are told this will lead to an escape from poverty, famine, and will lead to a better life. Despite, “167 countries having now ratified the international treaty which bans the conscription of children under the age of 18. The UN has highlighted 14 countries where the problem is still a concern including Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan and Iraq.” How should the U.N. combat the issue of children in armed forces? Should more measures be put in place to restrict government's right to recruit children?
Treatment of Inmates
Although being placed in prison due to their own actions, inmates are still humans. Thus, they deserve the same rights as all people. However, in certain countries these rights are stripped away. While in prison, inmates face beatings, torture, and abuse. Additionally, due to a surplus of inmates, prisons are routinely over crowded, leading to a loss food, water, and other natural resources necessary to live. As of August 2017, Chilean prisons were operating at 103.2 percent capacity, rising to 117.6 percent in the Metropolitan Region and exceeding 200 percent in some prisons. In 2017, the National Human Rights Institute (INDH) “filed dozens of lawsuits for mistreatment of prison inmates, including for the new crime of torture, which was incorporated into the criminal code in November 2016”. The problem of overcrowding in prisons can be found in several nations such as Belgium, Britain, Haiti, Italy, the United States and Venezuela. This calls into question how the United Nations should proceed in securing the rights of those who have been imprisoned. In addition, it provides room to discuss whether the U.N should provide support in either developing more prisons or finding a solution to decrease the number of people commiting crimes across the world.
International Court of Justice (ICJ):
Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America
In 2016, the Islamic Republic of Iran raised allegations against the United States of America for violating the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Relations of 1955, originally put in place to encourage trading and investments as well as to strengthen their political relationship. However, for the past 4 decades, tension has ensued between the two nations, questioning the validity of this treaty, as often becoming a point of contention during conflict between the countries. Both Iran and the United States have taken each other to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over disputes regarding hostages and civilian attacks. Specifically for the most recent admission into the ICJ, Iran mainly refers to the sanctions imposed by the United States, thus freezing about $2 billion in Iran’s assets, primarily set aside to compensate the 1983 Beirut bombing victims. Determine whether or not if the United States has violated this treaty and its relevance in this case. How must these two countries move forward with the conflict? Be sure to take the consequences of the agreement, regarding the assets, on the victims and families of the bombing and the United States’ future relations with Iran.
Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda
In 1999, the Democratic Republic of the Congo sued Uganda for acts of armed aggression within its borders, including the expansion of military occupation, violations of humanitarian law, and exploitation of national resources, which it alleged were violations of the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the Organization of African Unity. Uganda countersued the Democratic Republic of the Congo, alleging that it had supported anti-Ugandan military groups and committed attacks against Ugandan civilians and diplomats. The Court ruled that both groups were at least in part guilty of the allegations against them and ordered both states to organize a reparations agreement independent of its jurisdiction. However, in May 2015, the DRC returned to the Court due to being unable to reach a reparations agreement with Uganda. The International Court of Justice must now determine an appropriate reparations amount for Uganda to award the DRC, taking under consideration the reparations already agreed upon for the DRC to pay Uganda and the extent of Uganda’s crimes against the DRC.
Qatar v. United Arab Emirates
Qatar is suing the United Arab Emirates for alleged violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, drafted in 1979 to prevent member states from imposing restrictions or bestowing privileges upon residents based on race or national/ethnic origin. Qatar contends that on June 5, 2017, the United Arab Emirates implemented measures against Qatari nationals specifically on the basis of national origin, such as expelling all Qataris within its borders, prohibiting them from passing through or entering the UAE. The United Arab Emirates counters this by claiming that there has been no mass expulsion of Qatari people and it has been limiting any sanctions or restrictions to target the Qatari government for alleged support and financing of rogue terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda, the Al Nusra Front, Da’esh, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Hamas. It is incumbent upon the Court to examine the validity and factuality behind both states’ arguments whether and make a determination as to what extent the United Arab Emirates has violated the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Costa Rica v. Nicaragua
In 2014, the Nicaraguan army’s intrusion upon Costa Rican coastline of Isla Portillos, the San Juan River, and maritime boundaries in the Caribbean Sea, violating the nation’s sovereignty, was taken to the International Court of Justice for hearing. According to Costa Rica, Nicaragua was found in activities concerning canal development and establishment of a military existence. This, in turn, lead to the Costa Rica’s loss of free navigation of the San Juan river, impeding on provisions set out by both the 1858 Treaty of Limits and the Fournier-Sevilla Agreement, damages to the wetlands, and loss of Costa Rica owned oil concessions. However, Nicaragua claims to not have violated any of Coasta Rica’s territory in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, a confusion for which much of the dispute results from a territorial overlap, if these boundaries are set on the basis of the nations’ coastlines. The ICJ ruled that Nicaragua would have to compensate Costa Rica for the damages incurred on its territory, amounting to about $379,000 for reparations paid by Nicaragua. However, Costa Rica contends that this amount greatly undermines the full amount of compensation owed. Additionally, the two nations have yet to fully come to terms on the case of maritime delimitation. The Court must analyze the Nicaraguan debt owed to Costa Rica, determine whether or not if the reparations paid fully compensate the damage to Costa Rica, and come to consensus for as to how the maritime entitlements are two be derived.
Global Economy (2A, 2B, 2C):
Decline in multilateral trading
The UN has stated that multilateral trading is the key to a strong, healthy, and resilient economy. However this past year, various Member States have instigated attacks to this system of trading, by instituting tariffs and attempting to dismantle multilateral trade agreements. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for exports of developing countries to double by 2030. How can the UN institute framework that will promote multilateral trading and ensure the 2030 goal is met? How can Member States ensure that the trading system is rules-based and open for all, including developing countries?
For all countries, borrowing is a critical way to finance investments and other developments. However the burden of high debt can hamper economic growth and sustainable development. Debt sustainability is defined as the ability of a country to meet its debt obligations without requiring debt relief or falling into debt distress. With many developing countries facing emerging debt challenges, such as rapid debt accumulation, how can Member States work together to guide HIPCs (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) and LICs (Lower income Countries) towards sound financial decisions? How should developed Member States work together to ensure there are dependable frameworks to ensure debt sustainability for advanced markets.
Trade deficits and effective protectionism
While powerful industrial countries such as the United States have voiced concerns about inequitable trade balances, developing countries are often the most adversely affected by trade deficits with other nations. Developing, impoverished nations often rely heavily on imports to sustain their economies, contributing to a skewed balance of payments and disincentivizing domestic production, which stagnates the industrial progress of the nation. Additionally, excessive reliance on international markets often makes developing nations vulnerable to exploitation by predator multinationals and fluctuations in resource availability. To this end, how should the United Nations encourage developing nations to build sustainable domestic markets while also maintaining free trade? Is there any necessity for developing nations to engage in market protectionism—for example, imposing tariffs on certain products in order to encourage greater domestic production? What distinguishes effective protectionism, which promotes industrialization and greater market efficiency in developing countries, from ineffective protectionism?
Regulating global financial markets
In 1995, the World Trade Organization was founded to regulate and assist free trade, as well as to settle disputes pertaining to free trade agreements between its 164 member states. However, no international organization exists alongside the WTO to regulate financial markets, which contain derivatives and equities trading and systemically powerful financial actors. Due to this lack of international regulation, financial actors, such as major shareholders, may use their financial influence to forge monopolies or exclude competition within international finance. Moreover, powerful shareholders often engage in cross stock holding with other domestic businesses that discourage investment in foreign markets, acting as an unregulated non-tariff barrier to free trade. Considering the rapidly increasing amount of capital existing in the global financial marketplace, should the United Nations help facilitate the creation of an affiliated international body to help regulate finance? If so, how and to what extent would such an organization function?