Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus Three
(ASEAN + 3)
ASEAN+3 was founded in 1997 with the aim of strengthening regional cooperation among states. Encompassing China, Japan and South Korea in addition to the 10 member states, the council has seen increased intra-group trade and foreign direct investment in the years following. It will be discussing both economic and political matters, as well as the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
The Question of Myanmar’s Internal Situation
1st February 2021 saw a coup where Myanmar’s democratic government was overthrown by the military junta, which restored the nation to maximum government and declared a year-long state of emergency. The coup, seen as a desperate grasp for power, has resulted in huge and steadfast protests over the past year. Despite international condemnation and sanctions, the junta has not shifted. Thus far, ASEAN has pursued diplomatic means to resolve the crisis, with limited success - neither the five-point consensus nor exclusion from the 2021 Summit have shifted the needle. Member states should thus discuss actions to proceed forward with.
The Question of Advancing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
The AEC was implemented to further a competitive single market and production base across SEA, heightening regional economic integration across goods, labour, and capital. This carries out ASEAN’s aim of increasing intra-regional trade to reduce vulnerability to external shocks. The extent of this success varies, however, due to the vastly different extent of development between the economies, and hence disagreement over the AEC’s terms. States should thus discuss the broad scaffolding and details of tariffs, free trade agreements and other deals in forwarding the AEC.
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is a regional organisation made up of 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Formed as a successor to the Rio Group, CELAC was founded in 2011 to be an avenue for greater regional integration independent of the United States. So far, political differences and internal instability have hampered effective regional cooperation across the Americas. However, as the region’s problems become increasingly inter-related, Latin America and the Caribbean would have to find a way of working together to achieve greater peace, stability and prosperity.
The Question of Organized Crime in Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America and the Caribbean are known for housing transnational criminal organisations, which challenges state authority with violence and corruption. These organisations are emboldened not only by government weakness and instability, but also by almost nonexistent regional cooperation between police forces across member states. To secure long-term peace and safety for the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, states must consider how to best use the platform CELAC provides for collective decision-making to quash transnational criminal activity.
The Question of Climate Change Impact in the Caribbean
Climate change poses significant problems for the Caribbean. Beyond the long-term existential threat to low-lying island nations, rising sea levels and climate fluctuations will increase economic burdens on these developing countries, as critical industries such as tourism shrink due to infrastructural degradation and worsening natural disasters. The fundamental bond of Latin American-Caribbean cooperation will be tested as countries must both consider their own responsibility to the Caribbean as they formulate regional strategies to control and cope with climate change.
Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, was established on 15th March 2006. Consisting of 47 rotating member nations, it serves to investigate and address human rights abuses and thematic human rights issues of UN member states. Issues discussed within the council range widely from regional human rights concerns such as the crisis in Myanmar, to topics such as freedom of religion within UN member nations. As the world becomes more divided, there is an increasing need for the HRC to investigate, discuss and address these issues on the world stage.
The Question of the Sudanese Human Rights Situation
Sudan’s move towards democracy has been hampered by economic and social turmoil in the past two years. With the events of the 2021 coup weighing on the Sudanese population, allegations of human rights abuses have surfaced, such as the use of armed force on civilians and the detention of activists. Owing to the vested interests of the HRC in the peacefully and fruitfully resolving the situation in this region, states must carefully consider both the sovereignty of Sudan and the wellbeing of the Sudanese who reside in there.
Revitalising The Question of the American Treatment of Immigrants
With the mass movement of migrants to the United States’ southern border, the reception and response to these migrants is widely debated. Yet recently, concerning allegations regarding the treatment of these economic migrants by American border officials are widespread. Many migrants have complained of harsh detention conditions, lack of proper legal procedures and even cases of sexual abuse. As more migrants from South and Central America pour towards the border, these allegations cannot go un-investigated and un-answered.
United Nations Disarmament Commission
The United Nations Disarmament Commission was initially founded in 1952 to prepare a treaty on the disarmament of all forms of weapons. In its current form, founded in 1978, the UNDC operates under the General Assembly, and is a deliberative body comprising all current United Nation member states, though its focus remains the same. The UNDC discusses issues on disarmament, both in light of past paradigms and to build new understandings on the use and development of weapons. As technology becomes increasingly advanced, the Commission is needed more than ever to rein in novel weapons of war.
The Question of Outer Space Militarisation
As governments and private entities are increasingly involved with space activities, the possibility of space-based weapons development is on the horizon. With changes to our space capabilities occurring at a breakneck pace, international regulations such as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty are at risk of obsolescence. Instead of merely launching warheads from space back to Earth, important equipment in space such as satellites are now at risk of being targeted. To prevent space from becoming another battleground, countries will need to consider recent developments and propose updated guidelines and principles on space security
The Question of Missiles in all its Aspects
Missiles, given the various ranges and warheads available, are a timeless threat to international peace and security. As polarization increases to levels not seen since the Cold War, missiles have become increasingly advanced. The relevance of Cold War doctrines such as Mutually Assured Destruction are also being tested, with technology such as hypersonic missiles. In addition to considering changing paradigms, countries should also consider how to prevent future changes to the equilibrium, as well as how to eliminate the excesses surrounding missiles in all its aspects.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
On the heels of a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) report that was named a ‘code red for humanity’ came the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which was held in the Scottish city of Glasgow from October to November 2021. It was the 26th annual summit that the UN organised to bring almost every country on Earth together to come up with solutions that would avert the climate crisis. However, despite the long line of conferences that preceded it, COP26 carried with it a unique and unprecedented sense of urgency; far from being the fringe issue that it once was, climate change had rapidly evolved into a global priority of utmost importance by the time the conference was set to take place. Following the failure of the commitments made under Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, countries had to utilise the conference to update their plans in order to achieve the goal that was adopted in Paris in 2015. The aversion of the demise of the habitable world hinged on swift and decisive action being taken at COP26, where countries had to commit to even more drastic measures than they did in Paris six years ago.
The 26th Session of the Conference of Parties in Glasgow
Some areas of discussion that will be included in the COP26 agenda are the achievement of net-zero emissions by mid-century and keeping the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach, the protection of communities (e.g. indigenous communities), ecosystems, and habitats, and the mobilisation of finance so that net-zero emissions may be achieved by countries across the world regardless of the current states of their economies. On top of that, nations must finalise the Paris Rulebook, or the details that make the Paris Climate Agreement operational, and find ways to accelerate action to resolve the climate crisis by causing governments, organisations, and society to work together.
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council stands as one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. Founded in 1945, it consists of 5 Permanent members with 10 rotating members. Within the rooms of the UNSC, resolutions that affect the history of the world are drafted and discussed, with the consequences of these decisions often being felt decades to come. With topics ranging from military intervention and peacekeeping, to multi-faceted global crises, the Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence and responses to threats to global peace and security.
The Question of Tensions in the South China Sea
The South China Sea is a resource-rich and trade-heavy marine area that bothers many countries within East and South-east Asia. Hence, territorial and maritime claims in the region are heavily contested between countries vying for maritime contro, such as China, Vietnam and the Philippines . Issues such as illegal fishing and naval exercises regularly surface in the region. With the rise of China and American geopolitical interest within the region, the maritime disputes within the seas have taken on a tone of brinkmanship. With the worry of potential conflict within the region, it is within the interest of the UNSC to ensure the peaceful resolution of the situation.
The Question of Exclusion, Inequality and Conflict in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security
As the globe becomes more interconnected, and socio-economic divisions become more obvious, there have been increasing concerns over the disenfranchisement and resentment of minorities globally. With heavy societal divisions along gender, ethnic, religious, geographic and other lines, there is fertile breeding ground for extremism or seperatist movements across the world. With such tensions, there is often violence and unrest. Thus, it is in the UNSC’s interest to ensure that such possibilities are minimised through preventive action to ensure international peace.
Established in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference, the World Bank is an international financial institution composed of two other institutions, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association. While primarily responsible for lending to low- and middle-income countries for development projects, the World Bank also partners with countries in environment, health and poverty reduction policies. The World Bank also deliberates policy recommendations for economic and financial development, such as on economic decentralisation, and the regulation of illicit financial flows to ensure sustainable growth and proper use of finances.
The Question of Economic Decentralisation
Economic decentralisation involves shifting economic responsibility away from a central government or financial institution and towards lower-level players, such as small businesses and NGOs .By involving more players, participation in the economy increases, which enables greater representation of marginalised populations. Balancing decentralisation and state regulation is crucial for the growth and development of different economies. There is hence a need for international involvement in developing frameworks and guidelines for effective decentralisation, so as to maximise social benefit for the community.
The Question of Regulating Illicit Financial Flows
Illicit financial flows (IFFs) refer to the flow of funds across borders, where the funds in question are deemed illegal due to the way they are earned, transferred, or used. In the most optimistic situation, the funds moved through IFFs merely reduces the tax revenue of a country. However, siphoned funds can also finance terrorism and other illegal activity. IFFs hence have political and economic consequences, especially in developing countries. There is hence a need to monitor how money is moved across borders, regulate how money can be used, and increase transparency to counter IFFs.
World Health Assembly
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making arm of the World Health Organisation, attended by representatives from all Member States of the Organisation. The Assembly is mandated to discuss public health issues under the purview of the Organisation when determining policies that the Organisation will adopt, with the ultimate goal of maintaining and promoting the advancement of global public health. With the COVID-19 pandemic exposing the weaknesses of the global healthcare system, from the need to reduce inequities in healthcare to the unpreparedness of the world towards health emergencies, the WHA must remain alert and prepared.
The Question of Inequity in Global Healthcare
Global healthcare inequity is characterised by the divide in the healthcare status and access to healthcare of different socioeconomic groups. Income level and access to financial services are major determinants of accessibility, while social factors exacerbating the problem include rural-urban divides, gender, and education level. The WHA must arrive at a decision ensuring that every person receives unimpeded access to the health services they need, as states have a moral duty to assist one another in bridging the gaps in global healthcare.
The Question of NTDs
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has proven that the world is unprepared for the transmission of zoonotic diseases. Such diseases are often overlooked until they become a major health emergency. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and zoonotic diseases consistently prove their dangers, and are difficult to eradicate as they remain undetected in unsurveyed geographies, and demonstrate novel constellations of symptoms. The WHA must coordinate the detection and prevention of NTDs and zoonotic diseases, so as to prevent the emergence of another pandemic.
House of Commons
Having been in existence for close to 800 years, the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) House of Commons is the premier legislative body in Britain and widely regarded as the ‘Mother of Parliaments’. The model for numerous political systems around the world, the House of Commons’ prestige is coupled with a reputation for drama and theatrics that has caused it to dominate headlines in recent years. Delegates will step into the home of some of the rowdiest and liveliest parliamentary debates anywhere in the world and feel the responsibility of enacting laws that will shape an entire nation. This responsibility will be deeply felt as Members grapple with one of the most complex and exciting events in British history — Brexit.
The Question of Brexit
The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU), commonly known as Brexit, a blend of the terms ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’, is the result of years of growing Euroscepticism and populism within the country. In 2016, the majority of British people voted to leave the EU in a referendum. In 2019 when our debate is set, however, many key points of the final agreement with the EU have not been decided upon. Faced with mounting pressure from both the EU and Britons, the UK must decide how it will manage the consequences of leaving the EU whilst considering the possibility of a second referendum.
UK’s Economic Relationship with the EU
From international trade relations to political disagreements regarding fishing rights, the UK has a complicated and intricate economic relationship with the EU. Delegates have to understand and balance the trade-offs between allowing the UK to have economic freedom and maintaining beneficial relations with the EU. Currently, none of the solutions raised seem to strike a suitable balance.
Northern Irish Land Border
Turmoil in Northern Ireland was supposed to have been settled since the Good Friday Agreement. However, Brexit has raised economic concerns over border checks on Northern Ireland’s exports, with the added risk of exacerbating long-lasting tensions with Northern Ireland. The House must tread carefully, lest their actions spark explosive conflict.
With Parliament in deadlock and unable to compromise, calls for another referendum have begun to grow; for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement be put to a public vote, with some calling for a “Remain” option on the ballot paper. This referendum’s chance to overturn the outcome of the momentous first referendum, or never materialise, is now up to the House.
Cuban Missile Crisis Joint Cabinet Council
With the already known installation of NATO and USA sponsored nuclear warheads and silos in allied Ukraine near Soviet territory, the Soviet premier has decided to level the playing field by deploying his own warheads in the more Soviet-aligned Cuba. A masterful plan without the corresponding execution, the United States have already discovered the deployment of these missiles and warheads barely a few hundred kilometres from American soil. This Joint Cabinet Crisis will highlight the need to navigate a delicately hostile political landscape amongst the executives of the American ExComm and Soviet Presidium while ensuring that their respective Governments will come out victorious, while thinking of various plans, whether militaristic or diplomatic, to solve the crisis at hand.
Press Corps allows delegates to role play as journalists across a range of news agencies, reporting on the various committee proceedings and discussions throughout the course of the conference. Through mechanisms including press conferences, interviews, and straw polls, delegates will experience council proceedings first-hand and scribe down events into articles that will be published onto the SMUN publication, TORCH. Reflecting the political slants of their agencies and taking on different identities, the Press Corps will also heighten contextual awareness and writing dexterity of its participants, while potentially influencing council dynamics through their coverage.