THE GENERAL ASSEMBLIES

As the largest principal organ of the United Nations (UN), the General Assembly (GA) is where each nation may be represented. In accordance with the ideals of the UN, this allows each and every country the ability to freely express their views on issues of global importance. The 5 substantive GA committees each have a specialised focus but they are all ultimately interconnected in their push for global cooperation and peaceful negotiation. At SMUN, we intend for the following General Assembly Committees to be represented. In turn, they will discuss topics that fall under the ambit of their expertise.

Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)

The UNGA First Committee

DISEC is the First of the Main Committees of the General Assembly. It is tasked to consider all issues pertaining to disarmament and threats to international peace and security.

DIFFICULTY:

TOPIC I

REDUCING MILITARY EXPENDITURE

In recent years, global military expenditure has been increasing, reaching its highest level in 2017 since the end of the Cold War. With tensions already high in regions such as the South China Sea, military buildups only worsen the risk of miscalculations that may result in direct military confrontation. Delegates have to consider how member states can work together to de-escalate or stabilise military buildups in conflict-prone regions, and curb reckless military expenditure that threaten global peace.

TOPIC II

REGULATING UNMANNED WARFARE

The rise in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) military deployments and research into new weapon systems with Artificial Intelligence (AI) signal a future where countries pursue ways to minimise risks to human lives during armed conflicts. Given the rapid pace of military technological advancement, the ambiguity of current international rules and regulations towards such ‘smart’ weapons could be troubling. Delegates will have to consider how existing international laws should be revised to address these issues.

 

Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM)

The UNGA Third Committee

DIFFICULTY:

SOCHUM is the Third of the Main Committees of the General Assembly. It deals with social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues that affect people all over the world.

TOPIC I

SAFEGUARDING POPULATIONS DISPLACED BY DISASTERS

In recent years, the dangers of long-term climate change are starting to manifest in tangible ways, with natural disasters becoming more devastating and frequent as time passes. Many externally and internally displaced people continue to struggle with a host of unresolved issues. Delegates will be tasked with developing solutions to assist displaced populations in the post-disaster period, as well as finding ways to mitigate the impact of disasters in the first place.

TOPIC II

SAFEGUARDING WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN ARMED CONFLICTS

Women tend to be disproportionately affected by armed conflicts, typically due to sexual or gender-based violence. Women are also often underrepresented or sidelined during peace-building processes due to prevailing local cultural and societal norms. Delegates will grapple with the long-term repercussions of such issues on women, consider how variations in local culture might assist or impede the implementation of solutions, and decide how conflict-ridden areas should be rebuilt to ensure gender equality.

 

SPECIALISED BODIES

The Specialised Bodies of SMUN offer delegates an unparalleled opportunity to hone their communicative and analytical skills in high level debate. These mentally engaging committees will simulate a range of pivotal events that have either shaped the course of history for the International Order, or are currently reshaping such order. Delegates will be expected to consider innovative solutions to this diverse range of issues, and to be able to respond with finesse to any new problems that may arise along the way.

PREVENTING DIGITAL MISINFORMATION

While the democratisation of the Internet has improved information accessibility for humans across the world, the risk of misinformation being spread has also grown exponentially. As ‘fake news’ continues to rise, and the ease of perpetuating false or partially untrue information increases, delegates will discuss possible measures that could be taken to improve the accuracy of online information, educate people in media literacy, and heighten collective resistance to false and misleading information.

SAFEGUARDING AND PROMOTING SCIENTIFIC ETHICS

The rapid development of new technologies has allowed scientific research to advance at an unprecedented pace. However, the recent spate of scandals, such as research misconduct, data fabrication, and political influence over published results, pose fundamental challenges to the credibility of the entire scientific community. Compounded with other issues such as the sensationalisation of scientific research, delegates must deal with them all, and strive to defend the ethical standards of scientific research.

TOPIC II

TOPIC I

UNESCO is a specialised agency tasked with promoting scientific, educational and cultural cooperation across the globe, so as to encourage sustainable development, as well as promote peace and respect for rule of law, justice, and fundamental human rights as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation  (UNESCO) 

DIFFICULTY:

 
 

World Health Organisation

(WHO)

DIFFICULTY:

The WHO is the specialised agency under the United Nations (UN) tasked with the coordination of international health efforts. It seeks to achieve the highest health standards possible for all people through assisting governments in strengthening health services, providing technical assistance, and promote cooperation between various institutions.

TOPIC I

CHALLENGES OF EMERGING HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES

In recent years, multiple breakthroughs in healthcare technology have created new risks that have not been sufficiently explored. Several recent experimental medical treatments have either generated controversy over their legality and ethicality, or gained notoriety when their effects were proven to be unfounded or overstated. With a constantly evolving healthcare scene, delegates will consider how new healthcare technologies can be incorporated without placing unnecessary risks on patients’ lives.

TOPIC II

IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTHCARE

Many mental healthcare issues still remain unresolved, with insufficient mental health workers and high costs of treatment further exacerbating the situation. Community-based mental health facilities are scarce globally, while the general public remain slow in accepting mental illnesses as pressing health risks. Delegates must consider how nations can sustain a proper mental healthcare system, and address the imbalance in mental health treatments between nations of varying economic status.

 

World Trade Organisation

(WTO)

DIFFICULTY:

The WTO is an international organisation that regulates trade between nations and determines the rules of trade, enabled by the WTO agreements. It seeks to facilitate the resolution of trade disputes as well as promote healthy trade between nations, such that producers, exporters and importers are able to conduct their businesses smoothly.

TOPIC I

PREVENTING TRADE PROTECTIONISM

The increasing volume of trade restrictions imposed globally has inundated the WTO with disputes, grinding its entire system to a standstill. The rise in protectionist policies across the world directly challenges the very foundations of free trade. With the WTO’s ability to enforce its own rules being called into question, delegates must develop measures to tweak or reform the systems at the heart of the WTO, to ensure that the organisation does not fade into obscurity and irrelevance in the long-run.

TOPIC II

CHALLENGES FACING THE MULTILATERAL TRADING SYSTEM IN AFRICA

The African Continental Free Trade Area is set to become the world’s largest Free Trade Agreement since the WTO’s founding. However, several key issues remain unsolved, such as concerns over food security, emerging worries about e-commerce and digital trade, and systemic imbalances. Delegates will delve into the complexities of how the rules of trade are currently being implemented in the region, and chart a path that brings hope, rather than helpless despair for the economic future of Africa.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

Double Delegation

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the UN. It serves several functions, including the maintenance of international peace and security. It is the only authority in the UN that may issue binding resolutions on other member states.

ADDRESSING THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

As the occurrence of extreme weathers, long-term environmental changes and resource depletion grows, nations face substantial challenges in coping with a future where conflicts are will increasingly be driven by resource scarcity and the need to survive. Delegates will discuss the exact mandate of the Security Council in tackling climate change, and decide how the world should tackle one of the greatest global security threats of modern times.

TOPIC I

DIFFICULTY:

TOPIC II

THE SITUATION IN MYANMAR

2017 marked the latest flash point of the Rohingya crisis when a clash between Rohingya militants and Burmese security forces caused widespread destruction of their villages and left thousands of Rohingya civilians dead. The rapid expansion of the refugee camps and unabated violence do not bode well for the future of the Rohingya people. Delegates must act swiftly to curb the worsening situation, and seek to address the complexities of the issues arising from the crisis.

 

REGIONAL BODIES

As implied in its name, the Regional Bodies offer delegates the opportunity to discuss issues in depth with a particular focus on respective geographical regions. These committees may also have procedural rules that differ slightly from typical SMUN rules, in order to more accurately simulate conditions in these committees. Such variations, if applicable, will be based on the respective charters of these regional bodies, and will be elaborated on in the Study Guide for each specific committee.

 

DIFFICULTY:

European Council of the European Union

Double Delegation

The European Council is one of the seven principal institutions of the European Union (EU). Comprising of the Heads of States or Heads of Governments of Member States, its primary function is to provide political guidance for the Union, acting as a collective Heads of State as well as resolve outstanding issues within the Union.

TOPIC I

TOPIC II

REVIEWING THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS OF THE UNION

One of the major criticisms the EU faces is its lack of transparency and democratic representation. There exists a worrying un-involvement of the general European public in the EU law-making process. Delegates will discuss and consider possible improvements or alternatives that can be made to the EU in order to allow the general public to be better informed about and represented in the Union’s legislative process.

STRUCTURAL REFORM OF THE EUROZONE

The Eurozone has become a hotbed of ongoing economic crises that threaten the very sustainability of the EU. While EU members have intervened to prevent the total collapse of the Eurozone, many of the emergency actions taken are unsustainable in the long run, prompting calls to restructure the Eurozone to build the EU’s resilience to future economic challenges. Delegates will evaluate the feasibility of the Eurozone and explore possible solutions to strengthen the monetary union.

 

CRISIS

The Tokugawa Shogunate

Historical Crisis Committee

GOVERNANCE IN THE EDO PERIOD

Set in the early 1600s to the mid-1800s, the Tokugawa Shogunate was the last ruling feudal militaristic government of Japan. Following the end of the Age of Warring States (Sengoku Jidai), a period of near-constant conflict within Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu was appointed by Emperor Go-Yōzei to be the first shōgun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Delegates in this crisis will represent key members of the feudal government, exploring themes such as nation-building, rebellions and uprisings, legislative issues, and socio-economic issues of the time, as well as gaining historical insight into the nature of a feudal system of governance. Through this historical crisis, delegates will be immersed in an era predating modern technology, and experience the complexity of governance arising from the uniqueness of pre-modern Japanese culture.

DIFFICULTY:

PRESS

The Press Corps

SMUN TORCH'19

The press is a crucial conduit for the public to understand the world’s social, political and economic issues. Press delegates will provide readers with accurate and informative articles on the events taking place throughout the different committees. By commenting on and critiquing decisions made by councils, press delegates will shape the international landscape of the future.

 

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City photography by Noah Sim and Jess Koh.