Past Committee List

Committee information from YMUNT IV can be found below. New committees and topics will be chosen for next year's conference.

BEGINNER COMMITTEES

+ Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

MIKE YOON

Topic 1: Island Disputes in the South China Sea

News on the South China Sea has been dominating news outlets around the world. A hotbed for fishing resources and potential oil and natural gas reserves, islands previously unimportant have become an integral part of cross country discussions. The once unimportant Paracel islands and Spratly islands, alongside with other islets, reefs and shoals in the region are the islands ASEAN will be discussing, drawing a parallel to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. The region today is home to the conflict amongst China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and Japan. With armed conflict on the horizon, ASEAN will be a key player in the de-escalation of tensions in the region.

Topic 2: Human Rights in Southeast Asia and ASEAN’s Role

Though the situation of human rights has improved in recent times, Southeast Asia is still infamous for its frequent human rights abuses. Some examples include the persecution of Rahimyar in Myanmar, failed prosecutions involving murder cases of land rights activists in the South of Thailand, Malaysia’s targeting of human rights officials, etc. to name a few examples. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, language, or any other status. ASEAN will have to develop creative solutions to tackle the issue of human rights abuses for all groups, particularly women, children, immigrants, and ethnic minorities, in order to gain international and domestic legitimacy.

+ United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

JAKE FENDER

Topic 1: Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

The economies of sub-Saharan African nations experienced unparalleled growth during the early 2010's. Six of the world's fastest growing economies during the 2000's were situated in the region, and growth is expected to continue at current, and probably even greater rates in the years to come. This impressive performance, however, is coupled by the daunting reality of environmental harm brought about by industrialization, manifesting in global climate change and rising sea levels to name only two examples. The UNDP, committed to economic development and equality, must find a way to confront this tension and to ensure African nations' continued prosperity while maintaining a commitment to preserving the environment that makes that prosperity possible.

Topic 2: Closing the Global Political Gender Gap

Though strides for global women's rights have been made in the right direction, a massive amount of progress remains to be made if true equality between the sexes is to be recognized worldwide. The key to equality, including economic, educational, or healthcare equality, lies largely in ensuring equal political incorporation and representation for women. To that end, the UNDP, in keeping with its goal of economic development principles on equality, must find a way to encourage and mandate the political empowerment of women worldwide in order to ensure their eventual economic equality.

+ United Nations Women

GENEVIEVE ABELE

Topic 1: Gender-Based Violence

Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death. It negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society. Violence not only has negative consequences for women but also their families, the community and the country at large. It has tremendous costs, from greater health care and legal expenses and losses in productivity, impacting national budgets and overall development. Solving the issue of gender-based violence is essential to improving women’s health, status, and well-being everywhere.

Topic 2: Access to Education

In 1995, at the time of the Beijing Declaration and Platform For Action (PFA)’s ratification, there were roughly 960 million illiterate people in the world—2/3rds of whom were women. According to the World Conference on Education for All and the Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs (1990), approximately 100 million children lacked adequate access to primary education, of which 60 million were girls. In many areas of the world, girls are systematically prevented from getting an education, which severely impacts their potential for success in the workplace and in leadership positions. Without access to education, it is impossible to make gender equality a reality.

INTERMEDIATE COMMITTEES

+ Disarmament and International Security (DISEC)

YIXUAN YANG

Topic 1: Combating the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weaponry

With the end of the Cold War, global attention has turned towards the prevalence of localized armed conflict—or “low-intensity conflict”. Estimated to have caused over a million deaths in the past decade, this type of conflict is fuelled largely by the global trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW). SALW are light, portable and easily-operated, rendering them the ideal weapons of choice in civil, criminal and civilian conflict. There is a sizeable arms black market both inter and intra-state, while even weapons that are obtained legally often fall into the wrong hands. In this committee, delegates will examine the sources of illegal trade and debate possible solutions to stem the flow of illegal arms and mitigate its ruinous impact on populations across the world.

Topic 2: Regulating Cyber Warfare

With our increasing dependence on information technology, cyberspace has become the new warzone of the 21st technology. Cyber warfare takes many forms and agendas, from interstate warfare and espionage to those involving non-state actors such as terrorist groups, crime syndicates and radical activists. Information infrastructure has become so crucial to states that the incapacity and destruction of such systems can have a debilitating impact on society. Despite its potential for devastation, there has been scant UN action. Thus, delegates will debate and propose multilateral solutions to ensure a more secure cyberspace in future.

+ Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM)

MAX SCHLENKER

Topic 1: Islamophobia and Xenophobia in Europe

The Syrian Civil War, the rise of ISIS, and remaining conflicts from the Arab Spring have caused a large increase in Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa to Western Europe. This recent influx, combined with a history of aggression and discrimination against Muslims in Europe, has strengthened racial and religious tension throughout the continent. Many nations in Europe have seen a rise in hate crimes, terror-related violence, and attempts to halt immigration to Europe and turn away refugees from dangerous regions. This committee will attempt to bring stability and security back to the region and address immigration and Islamophobia-related violence in Europe.

Topic 2: Juvenile Delinquency Around the World

Research from the United Nations has shown that causes of juvenile delinquency change from region to region. In Africa and Latin America, crimes are typically related to homelessness, hunger, and poverty. Asian juvenile delinquency is highly concentrated in urban areas, delinquents in Europe and the US are typically charged with theft, vandalism, or destruction of property. SOCHUM delegates will create a comprehensive solution to reduce juvenile delinquency around the world as well as set standards for appropriate punishment and care of delinquents who have been detained.

+ United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC)

ANIN LUO

Topic 1: Climate Change and the Right to Food

In November, the Paris Agreement was put into effect. It was hailed as a significant turning point in the fight against climate change. In this historical background, understanding the detrimental effects of climate change is imperative. Climate change has many consequences; one of them is its impact on food sources. This significantly increases the difficulty of people's - especially the poor’s - access to food. The United Nations Human Rights Council will work together to form resolutions that specifically address the influence of climate change and the right to food, and how we can work to resolve it.

Topic 2: Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

There are millions of indigenous peoples around the world. However, many of them face discrimination, and they often feel pressure to conform to societal standards of the more dominant social group. This may lead to an infringement of their human rights. The United Nations has made great progress on the rights of indigenous peoples in the past few decades, but there is still much to be done. This committee will try to reach a conclusion on how to best ensure to rights of the millions of indigenous peoples around the world.

+ Arab League

KEVIN ZHEN

Topic 1: Combatting ISIS

Since al-Baghdadi assumed leadership of ISIS 2013, the number of crimes against humanity committed by the terrorist organization has risen drastically. Suicide bombings, assassinations, and the destruction of ancient relics and artifacts are common tactics. While the data shows that ISIS’s power has decreased over time, there is no telling when the radical jihadist group will dissipate, or if it will dissipate at all. In this committee, delegates will think critically regarding the challenges of fighting ISIS and develop solutions to bring ISIS closer to its demise.

Topic 2: Response to the Syrian Conflict

The violent civil war that began in 2011 has resulted in the displacement of approximately half of the Syrian population (6.1 million), with half of those affected being children. Peace negotiations between Syrian rebel groups and President Bashar al-Assad have been relatively unsuccessful in the past, with ISIS’s presence in the region further complicating matters. The influx of refugees has put significant pressure on border countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Delegates must cooperate to search for a way to put the violence in Syria to an end and respond to the refugee crisis.

ADVANCED COMMITTEES

BENJAMIN WALDMAN

Topic 1: The Case of Bashar al-Assad

The civil war in Syria has ravaged the country for more than five years. In that time, almost 500,000 civilians have died, and allegations have arisen about President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons, inhumane treatment of civilians, and mass killings. Those charges accelerated in December 2016, when the U.N. reported summary executions of civilians and systematic rape in rebel-held Aleppo. The Advisory Legal Panel will use the standards of the International Criminal Court to sift through reports by watchdog agencies, NGOs, and the media to determine whether Assad is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Topic 2: The Case of Drone Strikes by the United States

Since the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, the country has engaged in hundreds of drone strikes throughout the Middle East to locate and eliminate enemy combatants. However, the strikes often kill innocent civilians. Human rights groups, therefore, have raised a host of concerns about the strikes’ legality: Do they abide by international norms respecting human rights? Where do we draw the line between military action and murder? Who should be held responsible for civilians’ deaths? The Panel will seek to answer these questions, and provide clarity to an issue that has long been ignored by the international community.

+ United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

ALEX MARTINIOUK

Topic 1: 1948 — The Kashmiri Question

The day is January 1, 1948 and India has brought to the attention of the UNSC, under Article 35 of the UN Charter, the armed conflict between itself and Pakistan over the territory of the former Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. Though the Maharaja legally acceded to India on October 26, 1947, both the states of India and Pakistan claim the territory and maintain a military presence in the region. It is up to the UNSC to formulate the international community’s response to the conflict and propose an effective solution that ensures international peace. This will be the historical half of the committee, but given that the question of Kashmir still defines the geopolitical relations between India and Pakistan, the solutions proposed will have equal gravity in the greater discourse of the current state of international affairs.

Topic 2: 2017 — The Kurdish Question

With various factions of Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria representing an integral part of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), whilst also maintaining a violent insurgency within Turkey since 1984 which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands, the question of the Kurds has never been a more pressing, international issue. In particular - the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq - groups which have received international support in their fight against ISIS, maintain effective territorial control and aspirations for a Kurdish state in northern Syria and Iraq. With Kurdish populations spanning the territories of four sovereign states - Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran - the UNSC must consider its role in addressing the potential status of Kurdish autonomy or sovereignty and, in a broader sense, the international community's response to the Kurdish Question.