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Topic 1: South China Sea Dispute

Topic 2: The Syrian Civil War

 

Under-Secretary General: Eerika Karstila

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Countries: Australia, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden

Permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland, United States of America

Topic 1: South China Sea Dispute

The South China Sea dispute is a challenging one, that involves several states claiming maritime rights, sovereignty over small islands in the region such as the Spratlys, and exclusive economic zones belonging to these islands. The states that claim sovereignty over some or all of the conflicted area are Brunei, China (and Taiwan), Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Furthermore, states such as the USA that do not have claims of sovereignty based on their location, advocate for the protection of international maritime rights, in order to protect important international trading routes.

 

National sovereignty is an important concept to modern states, and according to the states that are claiming sovereignty, the claims of the other state’s are a violation of their sovereignty, which makes the dispute extremely complex. In order to ensure sustainable security in the region, protect the sovereignty of the involved states, and the freedom of navigation, a Security Council resolution is needed to prevent escalation into armed conflict between the parties involved.

 

Topic 2: The Syrian Civil War

The Syrian civil war has been an ongoing conflict since 2011 and the Arab spring, and involves many factions; the Syrian government, Sunni Arab rebel groups, the Syrian Democratic Forces, Salafi jihadist groups, and ISIS. Furthermore, Iran, Russia, and Lebanese Hezbollah support the government militarily, while a USA led coalition is actively fighting ISIS. Over the course of the conflict, more than 5 million people have fled Syria, over 6 million people have been internally displaced, and Human Rights Watch estimates that close to half a million people have lost their lives, making it one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern time.

 

In 2011 and 2012, Russia and China vetoed Security Council resolutions to impose sanctions on the Syrian government should they continue its military actions against its protesters. However, as late as February 2018, the Security Council unanimously approved a resolution for a 30-day cease-fire (excluding missions against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Al Nusra Front), in order to allow humanitarian aid passage, as well as the escape of civilians caught in areas of conflict. The challenge for the Security Council is now to negotiate a resolution that will end the conflict, and finally grant the Syrian people peace and security.