Committee: SPECPOL (Novice Committee; Maximum Size: 75 Delegates)
Committee Director: Katherine Kidney
Topic 1: Resolving Conflict in Colombia: the FARC and Governmental Forces
Colombia has not been at peace for a long time. From 1946 to 1958, the country was plagued by civil war between liberals and conservatives. Since 1964, FARC, a left-wing paramilitary group has employed terrorist tactics against the Colombian government. However, the group has weakened enough to be willing to sign a peace treaty with the government in August 2016. On October 2nd of 2016, Colombians went to the polls to approve or deny the treaty and denied it by 50.24%.
Topic 2: Human Rights Abuses of the Rohingya in Myanmar
Myanmar is beginning to transition to democracy, but not all citizens are being awarded equal rights. The Rohingya minority is an ethnic group of Muslims who mainly live in the Rakhine state. Myanmar denies that the Rohingya are citizens of Myanmar and instead calls them Bangladeshi. Bangladesh does not acknowledge them as citizens, leaving the Rohingya stateless and unprotected. Even Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's champion for democratic reform, has refused to act to protect the Rohingya.
Committee: ECOFIN (Maximum Size: 75 Delegates)
Committee Director: Michelle Santos
Topic 1: Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Nations
The popularity of foreign direct investment, investing in foreign companies or assets, has increased significantly over the years as globalization occurs. Global economics are just starting to realize the effects of foreign direct investment on both developed and developing nations. With these effects in mind, should international regulations be placed on foreign direct investments? How does foreign direct investments differ in developed nations compared to developing nations? What long-term and short-term consequences should be addressed when creating policy on foreign direct investments?
Topic 2: Balancing Environmental Protection Policy and Economic Growth
As countries begin to understand and acknowledge the gravity of pollution in the environment, an international standard for environmental policy must be set. Many developing nations, especially nations like China and India, have benefited economically from the lack of environmental regulations. Nations surrounding high polluting countries are also affected negatively. As pollution levels rise around the world, delegates of ECOFIN must balance environmental policy with economic growth.
Committee: WHO (Maximum Size: 55 Delegates)
Committee Director: Rocel Balmes
Topic 1: Outdoor Air Pollution
Despite the increase in environmentally-friendly legislation in the late 20th century, the crackdown on air pollutants has been slow-going. According to a 2012 Burden of Disease report from the WHO, an estimated 3.7 million deaths around the world were attributable to ambient air pollution (AAP)—88% of which occurred in low- and middle-income (LMI) countries. These deaths are linked to a variety of air pollutants and tiny particulate matter known as PM2.5s emitted through coal-burning and can elicit a variety of health issues ranging from asthma, to lung cancer to heart attacks. Though the solution seems to point to a decrease in coal-burning, many countries’ manufacturing sectors are dependent upon coal as a primary energy source. Thus, in order to reduce such emissions and, subsequently, the negative health effects associated with them, delegates will have to keep economic, social and health consequences in mind.
Topic 2: Refugees and Public Health
With over 65.3 million people forcibly displaced today—more than at any other time in history—the question of who provides healthcare to a stateless individual arises. Because hospitals have become major targets during wartime, this mass exodus of people also includes doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. As such, their countries are left without the proper personnel to help combat the physical consequences of war as well as the psychological trauma that it has wrought. Moreover, refugees often migrate to countries that are equally impoverished as they do not have the means to travel very far, exasperating the problem of health care and putting further strain on these countries’ care systems. Thus, delegates will have to carefully navigate the process of allocating proper resources while also being sensitive to other countries’ limitations.
Committee: UNDP (Maximum Size: 55 Delegates)
Committee Director: Monica Traniello
Topic 1: Brain Drain Prevention in the 21st Century
As globalization increases communication between the developed and developing words, a phenomenon known as brain drain has becoming an increasingly prevalent issue as professionals from developing countries emigrate to developed nations in hopes of attaining better living standards, higher salaries, and more stable political conditions. This widespread emigration often intensifies nations’ economic issues and make it much more difficult to continue on the path towards development.
Topic 2: Fostering Development Through Gender Equality
Gender equality has been recognized by the UNDP as an essential component of sustainable development. By empowering women to reach their full potential through protecting their rights to education, combating discrimination, and challenging stereotypes, countries are capable of attaining economic growth that is sustainable, equitable, and inclusive.
Committee: OHCHR (Maximum Size: 55 Delegates)
Committee Director: Michael Borger
Topic 1: Statelessness in the Middle East and North Africa
On estimate, millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are suffering from statelessness, or lack of citizenship. Treated often as second-class individuals whose needs are ignored and whose rights are infringed upon, these people regularly face systemic discrimination and persecution. In examining the eighteen countries within the MENA region, the committee will focus in particular on the Bidoons in the Gulf area and the Kurds in Syria and Lebanon, amongst other smaller populations scattered throughout. The policies the committee suggests and the research it conducts will, it is hoped, promote recognition and respect for those living in the Middle East and North Africa through discussions of statehood and citizenship.
Topic 2: Gender and Sexual Health in Latin America
Under the overarching umbrella of gender and sexual health in Latin America, the committee will focus on the issues of abortion, sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and domestic violence. These may seem unrelated initially, but when examined in the context of Latin America, they are all very much intertwined. On the question of abortion, the committee will investigate its criminalization in certain countries, the regulations placed on the practice in others, and the reasons behind why women seek it. For sexually transmitted infections, the committee will explore how they are present on the continent and what measures can be taken to curb their spread. Lastly, on the topic of domestic violence, the committee will determine what contributes to its ubiquity and what can be done to prevent it. As delegates will soon discover, these issues are more dimensional and culturally entrenched than they appear at first glance.
Committee: EU (Maximum Size: 28 Delegates)
Committee Director: Hanah Lee
Topic 1: Austerity and Labor Strikes
Beginning with the global financial crisis of late 2007 and 2008, the stability of the Eurozone has been in a precarious situation. Europe’s post-crisis response has been to provide financial aid to these nations through financial institutions such as the European Financial Stability Facility, but with a catch. EU bailouts also meant an agreement to strict fiscal austerity measures as well as structural reforms—largely to protect the interests of more dominant nations, such as Germany and France. Today, EU austerity has been slow to prove its worth; many European nations have shown stagnant growth, if at all. As a result, backlash against austerity has manifested in several of these countries, whether in more formal alliances across European governments or through mass protests and labor strikes. How should the EU respond to the “failure” or austerity? Why are the people angry and can their economies be saved while protecting the interests of the European Union as a whole? These are the questions that must be answered to preserve the stability of the Eurozone, which has been threatened by the rising sentiments of Euro skepticism in recent times.
Topic 2: German Dominance
The European Union could very well be Angela Merkel’s Union. As the largest economy and the most populous nation in the European Union, Germany holds considerable political weight in the European Union. In large part, this stems from Germany’s role as the EU’s largest creditor and funder of European Union programs. During the Eurozone crisis, Germany’s strong fiscal background also gave it considerable say in negotiating bailout plans—as well as pushing for its proposed austerity measures. More recently, Germany under Merkel has implemented a largely open refugee policy in response to the refugee crisis and has encouraged the other EU constituent nations to do the same. However, the reluctance of other nations to support Germany on their refugee stance has showed the limits to German dominance. Should Germany be allowed to have greater political power in the European Union, whether it be on fiscal or foreign policies? Is Germany’s financial power enough to guarantee it a position of dominance in the EU? As the European Union continues to confront multiple crises in the current age, we should take care to analyze how Germany could benefit or harm the EU by assuming a more prominent leadership role.
Committee: UNEP (Novice Committee; Maximum Size: 55 Delegates)
Committee Director: Jason Hu
Topic 1: Protecting Marine Environments
The world's marine environments are home to some of the most diverse organisms on the planet, with each playing a critical world in their own ecosystem and the world's greater ecosystem as a whole. Unfortunately, these habitats are being destroyed by various forces (both natural and manmade). The UNEP must be the leader in setting the agenda to protect these homes and habitats and provide methods of sustainable development to prevent their future destruction.
Topic 2: Deforestation in the Sahel
The Sahel region in Africa, located between the Sahara Desert and the Sudanian Savanna, has a semi-arid climate. It is home for diverse population, which is ever growing. The growth in population, however, has strained the environment. Demanding more from the land, the Sahel's people removed shrubs and trees leading to rapid deforestation, which has been heightened by drought. This deforestation has been extremely detrimental to the people of the region because it has resulted in soil erosion and dust storms.
Committee: 1950 Plenum of the Central Committee (Maximum Size: 30 Delegates)
Committee Director: Alexandra Lombardo
Topic: Transition to New Nationhood
In the early 1950’s, crucial decisions were being made in China. In the capital city alone, the new government had to decide how to portray the birth of a nation through the perfect balance of cultural preservation, modernization, and Soviet influence. In this committee, delegates will take on the role of the Chinese Communist Party leadership, specifically tasked with transforming Beijing into the new capital. Issues at hand are committee politics, rural migration, nationalization, response to traditional practices, creation of new monuments, and more. How delegates choose to respond will set an early trend for how the country is portrayed on an international stage. More importantly, it will set an early trend for how the Chinese citizens feel about the party-state. When Mao stood upon Tiananmen gate to proclaim the advent of the People’s Republic of China, the adulation of the populace was tangible. The revolutionary spirit should never die in the hearts of the masses, and the committee must make that their priority.
Committee: UNSC (Maximum Size: 15 Delegates)
Committee Director: Brian Kitano
Topic 1: Peacekeeper Reform
Recently, WikiLeaks disclosed top secret reports of Peacekeeper misconduct in Central America, Eastern Europe and Africa. Allegations of corruption, sexual abuse, and trafficking had been suppressed by the UN, and have yet to be reconciled. What should the UNSC do to remedy the situation, and how should Peacekeepers proceed to keep peace?
Topic 2: Cybersovereignty
The explosion of the World Wide Web has completely transcended the notion of sovereignty in the 21st century. Governments regularly share and exploit each other's information infrastructures, leading countries prey to such globalization vulnerable to internal strife, such as elections fraud, energy destabilization, and economic collapse. How can the UNSC intervene on behalf of national sovereignty in an increasingly technological world?
Committee: ICJ (Maximum Size: 16 Delegates)
Committee Director: David Jiang
The International Court of Justice is the world’s premier adjudicator of all international disputes between member states. Fifteen Judges hear cases presented by advocates on a structured court schedule. The cases scheduled to be heard over the course of the conference are as of follows.
Case Docket #: 201708001, United States of America v. Russian Federation, for the alleged cyberattacks to the Democratic National Committee
Case Docket #: 201708003, United States of America, et. al. v. People’s Republic of China, for pollution and other environmental health concerns
Committee: Advisory Panel on Latin American Narcotics (Maximum Size: 30 Delegates)
Committee Director: Genevieve Abele
Topic 1: Internal Security and Drug Trafficking
Throughout Latin America, in both drug production and trafficking areas, there has been an upsurge of violence, corruption, and human rights violations caused by the emergence of powerful organized crime groups and drug cartels. Central America is now home to some of the world’s most dangerous cities, with the highest global homicide rate found in Honduras, at 82.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The region has become unsafe for human rights defenders and journalists that expose the violence; for politicians and security officials that refuse to be corrupted by drug trafficking groups; and, most of all, for its citizens that get caught in crossfire between rivaling gangs. In order to stop the immense violence associated with the narcotics trade, Latin American nations need to develop new approaches to now decades-old security problems.
Topic 2: Addressing Root Causes of the Narcotics Boom
Economic stagnation and poverty have largely caused the surge in the narcotics industry and have prevented the region from succeeding in efforts to eliminate the drug trade. At $100 billion dollars, cocaine has brought significant revenues for drug producers. For countries whose economies are still developing, cocaine production can comprise a large percentage of GDP. The enormous profits from drug sales have entrenched various cartels in Latin America, which over the course of decades have consolidated and often inserted themselves into governments due to their ability to bribe officials with large sums of money. Any solution to the narcotics problem in Latin America must address the root causes of poverty and economic failures that have led many to join the narcotics industry.
Committee: AIIB (Maximum Size: 57 Delegates)
Committee Director: Muriel Wang
Topic 1: Addressing Indonesia's Proposed Projects
Given the AIIB’s status as a relatively new multilateral body, its actions in the first two years of existence are extremely important to examine. With the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank as precedents, the AIIB has the chance to learn from their successes and failures in terms of funding the projects that both further AIIB's interests and member states' national interests. Of all its member states, Indonesia has specifically proposed several projects up for consideration, in addition to having received US$216 million for its national slum upgrading project. The AIIB must now consider the role Indonesia plays in contributing to the Asia-Pacific region, and whether or not the continuous funding of Indonesian projects over others is viable and fair. Furthermore, the AIIB must examine the current extreme infrastructure shortage in a country like Indonesia and how the money spent can be used in an effective and long-lasting manner.
Topic 2: Setting up an Accountability Framework
There is currently a pressing need for the AIIB to address the creation of a sustainable and comprehensive accountability framework before funding any more projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Today, one of the biggest criticisms facing the AIIB is the fact that China has almost all the control over the allocated funds and the oversight of the body as a whole. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to immediately craft a document that reflects the AIIB's commitment to acting as a clean, fair, and accountable system for infrastructure development in a region that is fraught with corruption, instability, and unaccountability. The AIIB will create a framework to accommodate the national interests of all member states while addressing the potential to check the large role China plays in the body as whole.