2019 Committee Topics

 

In preparation for the May 2019 Jr. Model United Nations Final Conference, student participants will work in small groups assigned to represent both a country delegation and one of two committee topics. Each student will be responsible for researching and writing a short position paper from the perspective of his/her assigned country delegation as well as drafting a final resolution recommending solutions to key issues within his/her assigned committee.  Delegates participating in the Council's 2019 Student Diplomat /Jr. Model United Nations Program will focus on one of the two following committee topics: (1) Providing Clean and Affordable Energy for All and (2) Ending Forced Labor. 

Ending Forced Labor

Two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, forced labor - also known as modern-day slavery - continues to be a significant challenge facing every country across the world. Often thought of as a problem of the past, slavery continues to affect millions of people, and fuels the disruption of families, cultures, and nations. As one of the most misunderstood human rights violations, forced labor targets men, women and children of all ages and is a serious threat to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.  Often, enslaved peoples come from marginalized communities such as religious or ethnic groups that do not have power or a voice in their home countries. Slavery is also particularly impactful on refugee or immigrant populations, who have few rights in their new countries.  In addition, forced labor has also been directly linked to the supply chains of many everyday consumer products that we buy and use - from chocolate bars to clothing and electronics. The definition of slavery has also expanded, and now includes enslaved peoples who are financially bound to a person, company or organization and do not have the ability to escape their debts.

Proponents of slavery and forced labor rely on both the globalized economy as well as local and regional conflicts to carry out their inhumane practice. Through the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has committed itself to join forces to end child labor, forced labor and modern-day slavery (SDG 8.7). Safe and productive employment are key elements of peoples’ well-being and are essential to reducing poverty, eliminating inequalities and promoting sustained economic growth.  Governments, as well as the business sector and international human rights organizations, play a critical role in developing effective solutions to end slavery and promote human rights and dignity.  In this committee, delegates will come together to develop solutions that tackle forced labor and modern-day slavery through effective international cooperation that directly addresses the second largest international crime.

Providing Clean and Affordable Energy for All

According to the United Nations, energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Access to energy is essential for improving jobs, security, climate change, food production or economic equality.  However, an alarming one in seven people around the world lives without access to electricity.  The majority of these people live in rural areas in the developing world. In developed countries, people in low-income households tend to live in inefficient homes and spend a greater portion of their income on energy bills.  In some contexts, this is due to a country’s lack of infrastructure, whereas in others, the economic reality is that access to affordable electricity is nearly impossible.  As the global population continues to rise, so will the demand for cheap affordable energy.  As the world continues to rely on fossil fuels, the increase in greenhouse gas emissions has impacted every continent and likely created drastic changes to our climate.

As the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 outlines, ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and thermal.  Clean and affordable energy is essential to good health and well-being and to a country’s overall economic development because sustainable energy has the potential to transform lives, economies and the planet. Providing clean and affordable energy in all countries is a crucial goal for member states that can both encourage economic growth and help the environment. Delegates in this committee will have to consider how cost-effective standards, best practices, expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology can help to reduce global electricity consumption and achieve the goal of providing clean and affordable energy for all.