General Assemblies are large committees which debate on more general topics. A great place to start if you're new to Model UN!
International Labour Organization
The ILO will be working towards protecting the rights of migrant workers, combating the decline in labour regulation associated with globalization, and creating mechanisms to safeguard workers in light of increasing automation. As more and more people cross borders and move abroad to find work, strengthened protections for migrant workers have become increasingly necessary. The continuous rise of major transnational corporations has yielded a “race to the bottom” in global labour standards as states reduce their regulations to remain competitive, undermining the bargaining power of workers in both global north and south. Rapid strides in automation have created labour insecurity for many, leading to widespread support for basic income structures and other mechanisms to combat the fear of unemployment. Delegates to the International Labour Organization will be tackling these pressing issues in global worker’s rights, ensuring that the new labour challenges of the 21st century are met with an appropriate global response.
Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee
SOCHUM will be focusing on the living conditions of indigenous peoples, the protection of cultural heritage sites under threat from both combat and climate, and the ownership of disputed cultural artifacts. As Standing Rock and Attawapiskat have made international headlines, global attention paid to the plight of indigenous peoples has increased; the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People must be backed up with global action to ensure the quality of life of indigenous groups is increased worldwide. The destruction of cultural sites in Syria by ISIL and the rapid decay of the Great Barrier Reef from ocean acidification necessitate a global response to ensure that integral heritage sites are maintained and protected. The legal status of artifacts gained through colonialism has come into dispute in the past few years, with former colonies suggesting that artifacts in institutions such as the British Museum, amongst many others, amount to plunder and should be repatriated to their original nations.
World Health Organization
The WHO will be looking at today’s prominent public health crises – global drug addiction and the health ramifications of anthropogenic climate change. The worldwide drug trade has yielded a global crisis, as overdoses from Fentanyl and other potent opiates have mounted in both the developed and developing world. It is up to the WHO to lay the groundwork for a solution to this drug dilemma. As climate change increases year-by-year, respiratory illness from air pollution and water-borne illness from water pollution have increased and will continue to do so. Can the WHO create the mechanisms to combat and mitigate the health effects of climate change worldwide?
United Nations Environmental Programme
The UNEP will look both at the flora and fauna, aiming to reduce deforestation, stop overfishing, and cut-off illegal poaching operations. The rapid removal of forests worldwide has had devastating ecological impacts and exacerbated global warming. The World Wildlife Fund aims to achieve net-zero deforestation as soon as 2020; can the UNEP act effectively enough to make this reduction in deforestation possible? Unsustainable fishing practices have depleted the world’s oceans, disrupting ecosystems and threatening an integral source of global food, making it integral that the international community organize to maintain global fishing supplies. Illegal wildlife trade, most notably the ivory trade, creates endangered species and threatens vulnerable animals with extinction. To maintain ecosystems, the UNEP must create a strong response to illegal poaching.
Disarmament and International Security Committee
The international drug trade has yielded full-out civil conflict in Mexico and the Philippines, along with creating instability in many other countries across the globe. Drug trafficking creates dilemmas in border security and safety and must be met by a coordinated global response. The problems of nuclear proliferation which had subsided in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War have resurfaced, as a rogue North Korea has rapidly come closer and closer to becoming a nuclear power. Additionally, increased military posturing from the United States and Russia have brought the debate over nuclear weaponry to the forefront for the first time in the 21st century. DISEC must broach the topic of nuclear proliferation, ensuring that the instability of the arm’s race does not return. With the War on Terror being a conflict that crosses borders, intelligence cooperation between states has been pivotal to guaranteeing security. However, intelligence sharing has been faced with opposition, as concerns have been raised over domestic privacy. The role intelligence sharing plays in the fight against terrorism, ensuring that threats and plots can be stopped, will be an important conversation for DISEC to have.
United Nations Human Right’s Committee
The UNHRC will combat state violence, challenge the widespread usage of the death penalty, and fight for a free press. Violence from the state, present globally through police brutality in the United States, anti-drug squads in the Philippines, or chemical attacks in Syria, is a pressing human rights concern for the 21st century and must be tackled by the United Nations. Next, the global campaign to abolish the death penalty and advocate for humane correctional services must continue to pressure states to maintain judicial systems that prioritize human rights. The disappearance of journalists worldwide, part of a populist campaign against media, is a pressing issue for the international community, as the maintenance of free media is integral to stable political systems and the fight against authoritarianism.