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II. Special Political Committee

A.      Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council. (124)

In the United Nations Security Council, the permanent five members (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China) have veto power on substantive resolutions. Some nations regard this privilege as a vehicle for international stability, while dissenting countries view it as an unbalanced distribution of power. Other members of the Security Council have no such privilege, and beyond lacking the ability to veto resolutions, no other members of the Council have permanent status. Rather, they rotate every 2 years. In addition to issues with the distribution of power on the Council and the temporary nature of the majority of the seats, many member states have raised objections to the lack of guarantees for geographical diversity on the Council. Delegates should consider innovative approaches to modify the structure of the Security Council in order to improve geographic diversity, increase the representativeness of the Council, and resolve the issues of the veto power and temporary seats. At the same time, delegates must consider the need for permanent member approval of any plan, and reach an acceptable compromise that balances the interests of the current permanent members.

B.       Improving the financial situation of the United Nations (139)

The United Nations has always struggled to raise money to support its mission and goals. In late 2018, the UN’s budget deficit hit its highest total ever: $488 million. A significant cause for the United Nations’ constant debt is the failure of many of the member states to pay their annual dues to the organization. As of April 30th, 2019, the UN has over $1.7 billion in outstanding payments from member countries. Although the UN is permitted to revoke the voting rights of those states that fail to pay, such a decision has considerable political implications, and makes the use of this option both rare and extreme. Each year, late payments cause the UN to sacrifice large segments of its policy initiatives, halting important progress on work that could improve the lives of millions of people currently living in poverty or distress throughout the globe. But there are important political considerations for many states to pull back on their contributions.  The failure of some states to pay their due has made others wary of stepping up to take their place, which they see as promoting a form of moral hazard. When confronting these issues, delegates should consider possible alternative income streams for the United Nations, as well as new and stronger measures to enforce the members’ dues without upsetting the delicate balance of sovereignty and community in the organization.

C.       Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (62)

The issue of conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian people has existed since the United Nations approved the division of the region into two states in 1947. While the nature of the problems between the nations has changed over time, the UN has recently expressed concern over Israeli exploitation of Palestinian natural resources in the region. Primarily, this has been on the issue of water control and preservation. Palestine has not been able to control water supplies or aquifers, and 96% of their main aquifer has been destroyed. There is very little clean drinking water in much of the region due to Israel disposing of hazardous waste into water supplies, and unsustainable extraction. A vital part of the realization of sovereignty for the Palestinian people is the control and access to their natural resources. The committee should consider the relationship between access to natural resources and sovereignty, and address the ways that this relationship is involved in the current conflict. Topics to consider may include whether the Palestinian people have a right to the natural resources of the region, whether Israel has violated that right, and whether reparations or other measures are necessary in order to compensate the Palestinian people for their losses. Delegates should keep in mind the broader social and political context of the regional conflict when considering the topic, and recognize the ways that the question of natural resources impacts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more broadly.

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