Committees and Topics
Security Council (UNSC)
Topic A: The Venezuela Crisis: Road to Peaceful Restoration
The political and economic crisis in Venezuela is one which is unprecedented both in the country and globally, having been described as one of the worst economic crises in the world in recent times. A political tug of war and other contributing variables, such as the performance of the country’s economy as well as current political structures that are in place have led to ever-increasing unrest within the Venezuelan population. While the power struggle within the Venezuelan administration continues, civil society continues to battle surging levels of poverty with a sharp incline in the country’s inflation rate, rising levels of violence, and several other consequences of the country’s present state. The current situation has prompted international action, culminating in a meeting of the United Nations Security Council held in April 2019.
Topic B: Targeting Corruption in Power Structures
The abuse or misuse of authority for personal or organisational benefit or gain is a topic which has gained global prevalence. Transparency International captures three main elements of corruption: where it occurs (public and private sectors), the abuse of power, and the benefit resulting therefrom, either in terms of money or undue advantage. The level of corruption tolerated in each structure largely depends on the system in place in the arena in which the corruption occurs. This has prompted international debate concerning the control of levels of corruption or abuse of power, coupled with arguments on state sovereignty and the tools which are at the disposal of the international community to curb corruption as much as possible.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Topic A: Addressing the Persecution of Muslim Communities in the Far East
The United Nations has noted grave concerns circulating on the treatment of the Muslim community in the East. In a recent report published by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, members noted their deep concern about reported detentions of Muslim minorities in China, which have "turned the [Xinjiang] Uighur Autonomous Region into something that resembles a massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy”. Furthermore, the treatment of Rohingya muslims in Myanmar has also been the recipient of international attention. The Committee has been called upon to draw further attention to the persecution of these Muslim communities and others in the region in order to formulate global response and action.
Topic B: Seeking Shelter: Climate Migration
Climate change has soared to the top of the international agenda as heads of state are pressured to implement changes which will preserve our planet. However a less debated impact of climate change is slowly surfacing: climate migration. The International Organisation for Migration established a working definition of “environmental migrants” in 2008 as “persons or groups of persons who, predominantly for reasons of sudden or progressive change in the environment that adversely affects their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes, or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad”. How is the international community pledging to address the growing reality of persons who uproot and migrate due to such changes?
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Topic A: The Role of the Global Corporate Lobby in Climate Change
The spotlight on the real and imminent threat of climate change has brought to the forefront a scrutiny on practices of large corporations across the world. Short-term profit to a select group of people is being challenged with the need for corporate groups to take responsibility for the impact that they are leaving on the global environment, from intense pollution, to deforestation, and other consequences. Amidst pressure from civil society, the international community must decide the way forward on this issue.
Topic B: Geopolitical Chess: Political Power & Nuclear Energy
Nuclear power is no newcomer to the world and formation of international ties and relations. The Paris Agreement on climate change pledged a shift to cleaner energy sources, including nuclear energy. It is notable that harnessing the tool of nuclear power can serve both as a force for good as an alternative energy source, as well as a weapon of destruction, as events such as the atomic bombings in the 20th century have demonstrated. An international debate has culminated in a call for discussion on this matter.
Disarmament and International Security (DISEC)
Topic A: Power Struggle: Disarmament of Fundamentalist Groups in North Africa
A defining theme in recent North African geopolitical affairs has been the incline of fundamentalist and terrorist groups in the region. Notable groups amongst which the likes of Al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia and others are included, promote Islamic fundamentalism and the rebuke of Western ideals. Increasing levels of violence and threat to civilians has prompted international concern, both from actors of civil society as well as heads of state, as conflict in the region grows deadlier. How should the international community address this crisis for greater levels of peace in the region?
Topic B: The Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence in Conflict
Emerging from what only amounted to dreams of science fiction in the past, Artificial Intelligence, defined as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages” is undoubtedly growing and cementing itself as part of modern development. Such a tool is also being used by various States in warfare and conflict. Experts from various settings are analysing both the benefits as well as the concerns which arise from the use of such intelligence in conflict, and what the future holds for international relations within this context, given the devastating effects which may result if such a tool is used irresponsibly or recklessly.
Economic and Financial Committee (ECOFIN)
Topic A: Economic Freedom in Authoritarian Regimes
Economic freedom is a core value of a democratic society. The impact that authoritarian regimes may have on economic institutions, and, consequently, the economic freedom of wellbeing of citizens, can be devastating. Light has also been shed on authoritarian capitalism, a system where democratic rights such as freedom of expression, religion and association are repressed, while economic rights allowing functioning of markets are maintained. Varying degrees of control and authority are exercised in different states. The Committee has been called upon to discuss international influence on maintaining economic freedom of global citizens.
Topic B: The Global Growth of Cryptocurrencies
The advance of technology has seen a boom of innovation in various fields, no less in the field of economics and finance. The first cryptocurrency emerged in 2009 and cryptocurrencies have since gained traction over the past decade as a new form of money and payment. The approach taken to cryptocurrencies and their regulation or otherwise has varied from state to state, as the sector continues to grow and flourish. ECOFIN shall discuss the global growth of cryptocurrencies and whether a global international approach is merited.