“Addressing Bioterrorism as a Threat to Global Health”
The next weapon of mass destruction may not be a bomb. It may be a tiny pathogen that one can’t see, smell or taste, and by the time it is discovered, it might be too late. Bioterrorism is the intentional release of viruses, bacteria, toxins or other pathogenic agents to cause disease or death in large masses. Using pathogens as bioweapon is easier than it has ever been before. Biological agents are relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain and can easily be disseminated. They are difficult to detect and do not cause illness for hours to days. Moreover, genetic engineering makes editing pathogens a lot easier: they can be altered to increase their virulence (ability to infect or damage a person) or make them resistant to medicines. The World Health Organization (WHO) is the authority for global health within the United Nations System. Therefore, the organization should serve as a global frontline defense against bioterrorism. Even though bioterrorism is embedded into the global security discourse, it is not the WHO’s responsibility to eradicate bioterrorist threats. Instead the WHO should focus on collective public health policies and biodefense, the use of medical measures to protect people against bioterrorism. Thereby the WHO can mitigate the effects of bioterrorism through preventive measures and an adequate response to an outbreak. Tools for that already exist; they include rigorous disease surveillance, rapid response systems, and public health investment in the most vulnerable countries.
There are a few existing national action plans (e.g. USA or EU). However, there is no global public health action plan. Moreover, the WHO has not examined armed conflicts and natural disasters as fertile ground for bioterrorism. They are incubators for bioweapons because they undermine public health systems and displace populations who are forced to live in crowded, unsanitary conditions. Conflicts also create millions of malnourished and displaced people as well as refugees who are highly vulnerable to pathogens and might easily spread them across borders. Thus, bioterrorism remains an “under-addressed” issue and the WHO has the responsibility to create a comprehensive global public health action plan against bioterrorism.
2. “Combating health issues faced by women and improving health care services”
Women’s health has been a focus of attention since the beginning of time. It is one of the major issues which have been addressed both in the WHO and the UNWomen forum multiple times, and still there is much to do to improve health conditions for women. In many parts of the world, women are disadvantaged by discrimination rooted in sociocultural factors; therefore, the health of women and girls in these areas is of particular concern. This topic addresses the major problems that women face regarding health care. Women not only in developing but also in developed countries are subjected to gender violence, spousal rape, physical and psychological abuse. They are not provided proper health care due to social norms, discrimination, poverty and unequal power relationship between men and women. Women are often subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which is a major threat to their health. They face increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. This topic also addresses the health problems as well as the lack of the provision of health services to women in armed-conflict zones. The need to protect women from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) is also a major point of concern.
“Ensuring social security protection for migrant workers”
Topic & Context
The ILO defines “social security protection” as all those measures providing benefits to secure protection from the lack (or insufficiency) of work-related income caused by sickness, disability, maternity, injury, unemployment, old age, and similar factors. The notion addresses also the lack of access to health care, family support and general provision of public services. The increasing international labour mobility experienced in the recent years poses several challenges to migrants and their families with respect to social security protection. Migrant workers account for more than half of the world’s international migrants. They face the risk of either losing social security entitlements in their country of origin or that of having no coverage at all in the country of employment.
Issues to be addressed
The main challenge is the inclusion of migrant workers into national social security programmes. Being mostly active in the informal sector of the economy, they often do not comply with national criteria of eligibility for social protection. On the other hand, in countries where access exists, coverage is often not adequate and in many cases, it differs from that provided to nationals. Another great challenge concerns the coordination among countries in granting continuous social protection to migrant workers and the members of their families while respecting the differences of each country’s system. It is relevant to notice that social protection is a key component in the achievement of (global) social inclusion.
2. “The Future of Work”
The nature of jobs is undergoing profound changes due to deepening globalisation and unprecedented technology development, including new media, big data, robots and artificial intelligence. These developments provide new opportunities but also leave many people behind. In August 2017 ILO brought together leading economists, academics and representatives from governments and social partners to discuss themes such as accessibility to jobs for everyone, shaping the future of work for youth, organisation of production and governance of work. Their insights are collected in the report The Future of Work We Want: A Global Dialogue. Based on this and other reports, the committee will work on a comprehensive resolution recommending strategies for governments and non state actors to ensure equity and justice in the challenging global market which will probably keep evolving. Delegates will need to come up with creative and innovative ideas on how to balance stability and flexibility in the adjusted global economic system.
“Harmonizing the corporate tax system in the EU”
According to the Lisbon Treaty, fiscal matters are not an exclusive competence of the European Union, since each Member State is free to choose the tax system it believes most appropriate. However, recent events have shown how American giants have been able to minimize taxes and grab European market share at the expense of the local companies, raising awareness on the issue of tax avoidance. In facts, nowadays there is a considerable gap among European corporate tax rates: from more than 33% in France and Belgium to 12,5% in Ireland, which clearly raises the business attractiveness of the countries with the lowest ones.
The current situation therefore makes it clear that a project to balance the corporate taxation system has become indispensable. A first step towards harmonization has already been made through the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), which has been re-launched in 2016: its aim is to create a common European tax system. It is now up to the delegates to defend their country’s position on the issue, acting on their best interests to find common ground on this controversial issue.
2. “Completing the European Banking Union”
The European Banking Union was created in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis as it was noted that due to the unique structure of the European Union, with countries bound by a monetary union, problems in the financial sector can spread very quickly, even across national borders. Currently, the Banking Union consists of two mechanisms’: The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which ensures consistent supervision across member states and ensures the safety of the entire EU banking system, and the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM), which was created to determine when banks are failing or likely to fail. The SRM has a board (Single Resolution Board or SRB) that outlines the most efficient resolution to ensure that the failure of a bank doesn’t spread through the system.
However, there is a last step that the European Commission believes is essential to complete the Banking Union. This last leg is called the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). Some believe that this measure is a risk-sharing instrument while others point out that it reduces overall risk. Delegates should now decide if this third mechanism is adequate considering the great amount of public debt that some countries in the EU hold.
“Human Trafficking and Migration”
Libya is one of the most important transit and destination countries for the African and Asian population, out of around 700,000 to 1 million migrants are expected to be within the country. The current situation consisting of insecurity and a lack of rule of law has eased the activity of smuggling networks that traffic with human beings. At any given time in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people were in modern slavery, including 24.9 in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage. Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million in forced labour imposed by state authorities.
In 2006 the IOM commenced activities in Libya including direct assistance, a protection unit and community stabilization programs. In the aftermath of the Libyan Civil War the United Nations established a Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). For its part, the European Union passed the Malta Declaration on 3 February 2017, with the aim of providing measures to stem the flow of immigration from Libya to Italy and the EU. However, the already existing operations seem to be insufficient as this last November the CNN issued a report that shows the existence of human beings auctions.
In this committee, you will need to work on possible solutions to protect migrants’ rights in Libya as well as measures to improve political stability in the country in order to stop human trafficking.
“Addressing the challenges of the Rohingya migration flow”
The IOM has been producing world migration reports to increase the understanding of migration throughout the world. Going through the World Migration Report 2018, it’s apparent how concerned the IOM is with the issue of the Rohingya displacement and suffering. This ongoing crisis needs to be solved immediately for the security and lives of many migrants are at stake.
In just three months (September – November 2017) an estimated 624,251 Rakhine people (Rohingya refugees) have crossed into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, fleeing from violence and oppression in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine State. This brings the total population of Rohingya seeking safety in the district to about 836,000 people.
Since Bangladesh is a developing country with large population, providing shelter for migrants who have sought refuge to save themselves from the ongoing genocide will be more than an issue.
Rohingyas migrate not only to Bangladesh, but also to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the UAE, Malaysia, and other states. Even those journeys that do not have Bangladesh as a final destination are very risky. Moreover, successful emigration does not imply easy immigration and inclusion – food, shelter, language barrier and immigration rules are sources of further struggle, as are racism and extremism. The IOM is working in Bangladesh and in different countries to help immigrants. It hopes to solve this issue and bring to it the attention of global leaders and the wider public.
“After ISIS: Addressing Violent Non-State Actors”
This topic discusses an issue that has not come up in conversations related to international security nearly enough. Violent Non-State Actors have presented the international community with complexities that have detracted from the ability of individual states to protect and serve their citizens.
Organizations like Boko Haram, FARC, Lashkar-e-Taiba, tribe-based militias, the Russian Mafia, the Syrian rebels, and different mercenary groups are among those classified as VNSAs, their diversity in how they are organized, how they sustain themselves, and where they are located among the challenges they present. Until now, there has been little international effort to classify, engage with, and recognize these organizations as members of the international security equation, many of which span multiple nations.
Though some individual nations have provided standards and protocol for handling these organizations, international protocol simply has not been sufficient and thus little coordinated action has been taken. Some important questions to consider include: what organizations should classify as VNSAs? Should they be separated into categories to be handled differently? How should they be handled, and how should the international community coordinate these confrontations if they become necessary?
“Revising global regulations for Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS)”
Autonomous weapons are a rapidly developing technology, and with the advent of Artificial Intelligence it is expected that completely autonomous weapons will be conceivable in the future. Autonomous weaponry may be used in armed conflict or outside, having severe implications in both cases. Despite the Convention on Conventional Weapons meeting multiple times to discuss any possible regulation of the LAWS, there hasn’t been any significant step taken. The possible use of any Autonomous Weapons raises legal and moral questions, and also poses a threat to local and international peace and security. The scope of these autonomous systems ranges from autonomous missile systems to auxiliary warfare devices like automated arms as well as robots, and it raises in its entirety questions about accountability and security.