United Nations General Assembly
Economic and Financial
Director: Aniket Kesari
Topic A: Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade
Although the World Trade Organization (WTO) and regional bodies have done much to lower tariff restrictions, there are other significant barriers to trade. Quotas, high administrative burdens, differing product standards, and government subsidies of exports are points of contention among trading countries, and have derailed international negotiations.
Topic B: Investment in Post-Conflict Regions
Diminished investment in post-conflict regions has become a roadblock for their economic development, since investors typically view these regions as poor-credit risks and are reluctant to fund projects. Given this trend, post-conflict regions are in danger of further political and economic instability, which can tax the resources of the international community.
Disarmament and International Security
Director: Bilal Ahmed
Topic A: Depleted Uranium
Depleted uranium (dU) is a phenomenon in which uranium metals are used to construct weaponry and armor. The mismanagement of dU has increasingly become a cause of birth defects, radiation poisoning, and environmental degradation. The problems surrounding uranium waste products and their storage during the enrichment process make dU an issue of global precedence.
Topic B: Zones of Peace
I ndustrialization, neglect, violence, and environmental degradation threaten to destroy areas of importance to the international community and require protection as zones of peace. Global policymakers have failed to commit themselves to establishing demilitarized zones prior to possible damage and must look toward protecting these areas from conflict.
Director: David Kolchmeyer
Topic A: State Responsibility in Times of Crisis
In 2001, the International Law Commission adopted the Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. These articles codify secondary law, or the laws that hold states accountable to each other for violations of primary law. However, they insufficiently address the increasing role of non-state actors and do not apply well to failed states. While numerous courts and tribunals have used the articles as a resource, there is a need for clearer rules on state responsibility in times of crisis.
Topic B: Rule of Law in Transitional Governments
Rule of law is crucial to the multilateral development of any state. However, various aspects of transitional governments in post-conflict states, such as limited judicial autonomy, challenge the existence of this concept. Despite UN aid and intervention, many transitional governments still lack the power to maintain a stable rule of law.
Special, Political and Decolonization
Director: Sivaram Cheruvu
Topic A: Right to Self-Determination
In the 93 years since Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, the right to self-determination has been awarded primarily on the basis of convenience. Due to the lack of a comprehensive protocol, the interests of the Security Council ultimately determine which prospective states are given legitimacy and a seat in the General Assembly.
Topic B: The Kurdish Question
The plight of the Kurds is one of over 25 million people. Despite having lived in the region of Kurdistan for over 3,000 years, the Kurds continue to face discrimination as a minority. The international community must address the situation of the largest ethnic group without a state or risk facing political instability and militant nationalism in the region.
Social, Cultural and Humanitarian
Director: Katherine Yabut
Topic A: Preservation of Culture Among Indigenous Populations
While some native populations in a given territory are able to peacefully coexist with surrounding host nations, others are ignored or mistreated by reigning authorities and those belonging to dominant cultures. This reality raises questions of what constitutes an indigenous group, how it should be represented in the majority population'â„¢s political process, and how its right to cultural self-determination should be protected in practice.
Topic B: Women & Urban Poverty
Today, over ninety per centÃ¯ of urban growth takes place in developing states, with nearly seventy million new residents in urban areas each year. Yet, despite the international attention the issue has received, little has been done to address the specific needs of women living in urban poverty. Within the basic concerns common to impoverished communities, limited access to employment opportunities, housing, social services, healthcare, and education, women are disproportionally affected by these restrictions.
Director: Shivana Maraj
Topic A: Mexican Drug War
The International Criminal Police Organization will face the task of combating one of the most prominent transnational networks haunting the Western Hemisphere 'â€œ the Mexican drug cartels. Delegates will have to identify targets and coordinate policies to halt the growing authority of these criminal networks, which have left civilians in the crossfire of cartel battles and government intervention.
Topic B: Organ Trafficking
The committee will also look at the rising criminal industry of illegal organ trade, which has produced a lucrative black market that targets vulnerable populations. With ties to regional mafias and local criminal networks, organ trafficking rings act on the shortage of transplantable organs and exploit loopholes in legislation.
United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
Director: Sofia Kremer
Topic A: Access to Emerging Medicines
Rapid advances in medical technology yield effective remedial agents with the potential to address major challenges in health and welfare. Although there is great value in improving global access to inexpensive medicine, there is a high-risk that mass production will increase economic disparity between developed and developing states.
Topic B: Heritage & Reconstruction
Heritage is both a target of and an answer to conflict. Thus, UNESCO's initiatives in heritage and reconstruction look to highlight the role of cultural heritage in post-conflict resolution. Heritage sites and the cultural legacy of a state at large can be important factors in rebuilding peace.
United Nations Development Programme
Director: Arthi Yerramilli
Topic A: The Urban-Rural Divide
The urban-rural divide highlights the disparities between rural and urban areas in terms of socioeconomic accessibility, focusing on the gap in development that largely favors urban regions.Ã¯Â¿Â½Such inequalities not only pose problems for individuals in vulnerable rural communities, but also have long-term effects on national economic growth. Much of this divide results from issues in policy direction and infrastructure, making balanced development difficult to target.
Topic B: Poverty & Environmental Degradation
With the rapid usage of natural resources for industrialization, the environment suffers from the effects of depletion, which include erosion and loss of biodiversity. In turn, this degradation hinders the ability of impoverished communities to sustain themselves due to poor agricultural productivity and living conditions. Though environmental degradation is relevant to all populations, it adversely and disproportionally affects the poor, making it essential to address.
United Nations Population Fund
Director: Anna Boffice
Topic A: Child Marriage
Particularly in the developing world, child marriage is a widespread practice in which adolescents are forced to wed before they are physically or psychologically ready. Although human rights laws exist against this practice, cultural and religious traditions tend to override existing legislation. Eradication of child marriage is necessary for protecting adolescents' rights but calls into question cultural sovereignty.
Topic B: Population Ageing
Due to decline in fertility levels and increased life expectancy, the proportion of elderly populations is rapidly increasing. However, many states are ill prepared for the workforce challenges posed by population ageing and must reevaluate their policies to address its socioeconomic implications.
Director: Malvi Shah
Topic A: Disaster Management
Natural disasters often lead to displacement and diminished physical and social infrastructure, with states struggling to put themselves back together. Disaster management presents a challenge for policymakers because of the difficulty in predicting natural disasters and devising plans that envelop the wide range of preparedness necessary to combating their implications.
Topic B: Illegal Settlements
The transformation of slums from illegal settlements to a part of urban infrastructure is a long and arduous task. While socioeconomic policy changes can attribute to greater integration, the reality remains that millions of people worldwide live in unsafe conditions under undocumented shelters.
Director: Josh Casto |
Topic A: Debt Reduction
Unsustainable debt prevents growth, and the world's least developed countries spend billions of their funds on interest rather than social initiatives. Currently, only the most underdeveloped states are eligible for modest debt relief 'â€œ a program that must be implemented with 'Å“austerity measures, which can spur a cyclical pattern of poverty if not implemented correctly. Reform is necessary to combat the possibility of economic stagnation in an already vulnerable post-recession environment.
Topic B: Revaluating Structural Adjusent Policies
In order to gain access to International Monetary Fund loans and World Bank invesent, governments of developing states must adopt Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs). Following the 'Å“Washington Consensus of the 1990s, the developed states of international financial institutions approved policies requiring economic liberalization. However, extensive privatization has damaged the infrastructure of some developing states, calling into question the direction of the SAPs.
World Health Organization
Director: Aisha van Pratt
Topic A: TB/HIV
Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are each responsible for millions of deaths worldwide, especially in developing regions where access to medicine is limited. Although their distribution is not consistent across the globe, tuberculosis contracted by HIV positive individuals is quickly becoming an epidemic of its own. Known as TB/HIV, the issue forces countries to consider which disease to target first and how to go about treatment in an increasingly drug-resistant environment.
Topic B: Epidemics in Refugee Camps
Intended to shelter displaced persons from conflict, refugee camps have become a distinctive concern due to the increased possibility of unhygienic facilities and limited medical supplies. Refugees are vulnerable to contracting infectious diseases that circulate within the enclosed camps, a reality that internally displaced persons in Haiti experienced during the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
World Trade Organization
Director: Nicola Mammes
With medical prices and the pre-treaent waiting period increasing throughout the developed world, millions of individuals in countries like the U.S. continue to travel across international borders in the search of quick, affordable healthcare. This rapidly growing practice has even become a national industry in several emerging economies. However, the demand for this practice is accompanied by a supply that is often questioned for lower quality by developed states with differing regulations.
Topic B: Implications of Exporting Tourism
While most countries receive a level of tourism, private tour companies in countries are taking the initiative to export tourism, particularly to the developing world where prices are comparatively cheaper. However, this pattern often redistributes tourism receipts to developed states, stripping developing regions of national revenue that would otherwise come from individual travelers.