In 2019, we have the following Official Agenda:
The committee guides will be presented by 1 February, bar the Security Council and the Crisis Security Council.
Please note that four committees of the Assembly of Councils - the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization - only have one topic, as they have a joint crisis scenario to be debated on the third and fourth day of committee sessions.
Please note further that this year, the committees of the General Assembly have a primary and a secondary topic, meaning the primary topic shall receive a greater emphasis during the committee sessions. However, delegates should not neglect the secondary topics and are therefore expected to prepare for both issues. In this list, each committee features their primary topic first and the secondary below that.
The topic of government surveillance is a very neglected one since most of the superpowers and powerful countries are involved in it. It is a question of privacy and freedom versus security. There is no obvious answer to this issue, but some limits have to be set since the current actions of a number of countries violate people's rights to privacy.
Child labour, child soldiers, sexual exploitation - an enormous amount of worrying issues connected to this topic. The problem is not just limited to third world countries, we have to deal with the violation of universal human rights on a global scale and tackle the issue with a comprehensive solution that covers all the various and different fields connected to the exploitation of children.
After the 911 attacks on the United States, the US invoked article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and announced the 'War on Terror’ along with its NATO allies. This lead to the military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, North-West Pakistan and other regions where terrorist groups operate, however, all of these actions brought questionable consequences with themselves. The right to self-defence is an inherent right of member states, provided by article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, however, the way this right applies in cases of terrorist attacks is questionable from both a legal and a moral aspect.
During the numerous wars between Israel and the Arab states, going back to the end of WWII, thousands of Palestinians had to flee the Jewish majority territories where the State of Israel was formed. This issue led to the adoption of General Assembly resolution 194 of 1948, which called upon Israel to either let these people return to their homes or to pay reparation for their properties they left behind. However, Israel rejected the right of return of Palestinian refugees several times, while many of their descendants are still living in refugee camps, claiming their right. Therefore, this question has remained unresolved since the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948.
Though this may be tough to accept, at the moment we do not have a ready plan for when mankind starts running out of fossil fuels. The development of renewable energy sources is certainly to be welcomed, but if the current rate of technological improvement and overall well-being of people in the developed world is to be maintained, we have to learn using energy more efficiently. Consuming less does not necessarily have to mean a significant drop in living standards, in case significant planning is put into outlining more sustainable practices for governments and large companies, as well as individuals.
The news about a trash island on the Pacific ocean three times the size of France can be ignored by an individual living in a developed country. Pictures and videos of marine animals suffering due to plastic waste are certainly sad, but this issue still does not seem to affect an average person. But if nothing else convinces people that continuing to produce these amounts of plastic waste could have disastrous effects, it might be time to bring up the fact that plastic is now consumed by humans as well, for example through the fish that we eat. This issue has ceased being solely about marine biodiversity and is now very much about protecting humans’ health too.
Education is the single most significant factor in reducing inequality. That is why it is essential that all children (as well as adults in necessary cases) are granted access to an equally high level of education, regardless of their social and financial background. Besides ensuring that the same institutions are accessible to all, it is also highly important to end discrimination inside the institutions as well, as in many cases children can suffer severe disadvantages based on factors such as their race or gender. No country can allow this to happen if they wish for a prosperous society.
In a conflict zone, preserving heritage sites is not the most important factor that the sides consider. However, this needs to change since it shall not be in anyone’s interest to destroy World Heritage Sites. For example, in the Middle East severe damage was dealt in the past decade to numerous prestigious pieces of infrastructure and other buildings as well, the most sites were hindered because of the Syrian Civil War. The United Nations has to organise a joint effort in order to tackle this issue.
The communication of terrorists is conducted mainly through social media, and they also gain supporters with the use of propaganda there as well. Although a lot of sites have tried to take measures to ban this type of content, a comprehensive collaboration is needed, with universal guidelines set to how to deal with such pictures, videos and texts, and there needs to be a compromise regarding sanctions on websites openly spreading fundamentalist or terrorist propaganda. While tackling this issue, the universal right to freedom of speech is also to be kept in mind all the time.
The constant arms race between the great powers in the Middle East has raised several questions regarding the nuclear weaponry development of these states. Currently, there are two Middle Eastern states in the focus of this issue, as Israel allegedly possesses nuclear weapons, while president Trump has just withdrawn from the JCPOA, which would have ensured the cessation of Iran's nuclear development. Therefore, nuclear proliferation is still a relevant topic in the Middle East.
Globally, mankind now produces plenty enough food to comfortably feed every single person on the planet. Yet the issue of hunger is a devastating problem in many developing nations to this day. Meanwhile, excessive levels of deforestation and the meat industry threaten the biodiversity of many countries and significantly contribute to climate change. One-third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted. If these trends remain unchanged, the food security of not only developing but also rich and stable nations could soon be lost. This highly complex issue is of key importance in the global efforts for sustainability.
In the past decades significant efforts have been made to combat some of the most terrible diseases and epidemics of our time. However, the burning issue of mental health seems to have been neglected in the healthcare policies of most nations. The 21st century poses many questions, as a higher number of people feel isolated and lonely than ever before, despite being constantly connected through modern technology. These feelings can devastate one’s mental and ultimately even physical well-being and should certainly be put into the focus of governments when outlining healthcare developments in their countries.
Some countries with a history of communist or socialist leadership have long been accused of implementing policies which provide them an unfair advantage in international trade. However, with increased focus on national interests in the Western world, this is now an issue that involves many nations around the globe. One of the main goals of the WTO is to ensure free and fair trade between all countries, which could ultimately benefit their development. With the threat of trade wars between some of the biggest economies becoming a real possibility, it is of utmost importance to try to resolve these disagreements through diplomacy.
Many countries fall into the trap of basing the majority of their economy on one specific field, for example the export of certain minerals that they might be quite rich in. However, as the trends of international trade change, so can the prices of certain products which, in extreme cases, can lead to severe economic crises in certain nations. It has become evident that a modern country requires a diverse economy in order to be stable on the long term. Therefore, numerous countries need international assistance to strengthen certain economic capacities of theirs that might not have been properly exploited before.
Crisis scenario to be announced at the beginning of the conference.
Wealth inequality in the developed world has been constantly growing since the end of WWII. While some developed states believe, that the government shall focus on reducing the wealth gap in the society, others believe that wealth inequality can make the economy more dynamic and flexible to change and therefore the focus should be shifted to improving the level of social mobility. The choice between these two policies will have a huge impact on how modern developed societies will be formed throughout the 21st century.