Pressing Political Divide — The Dual Code

In the grand, well-lit, and futuristic looking ballroom of the Legal Committee, a present and heated debate is ongoing. Hundreds of countries separate into two opposing blocs each supporting their own working paper. It seems that the room was divided by development level, with one bloc representing China, Russia, and South Africa, and another developing countries such as Argentina and Saudi Arabia. The political disagreement is intense when it comes to identifying commonalities and making compromises.

Under the topic of Offshore Resources and the Law of the Sea, major disagreement occurred on which issue should the committee address. The delegates of Mexico and of Saudi Arabia both expressed that the two blocs agree on matter of environmental regulation, demanding more administration by the UN Legal Committee. However, they diverge later on in the working papers about whether the Committee should address issues of landlocked countries accessing the ocean, or devote their resources to the territorial disputes in areas like the South China sea. The two areas are supported by developing and developed countries, respectively.

A number of developing countries, mainly in Middle East and Africa, have issues reaching the resources of sea and the oceanic trade-routes due to their geographic location. However, the access to the ocean is a crucial part contributing to the international relationship of small countries. Therefore, the bloc is demanding more support for oceanic access from the UN.

On the other hand, the stronger countries, including China, Germany and Singapore, addresses more disputes over territories, as well as accountabilities for environmental problems. The delegate of Argentina told the HIR that the working paper intends to “hold nations accountable to the waste in ocean”, and to encourage progressing “bilateral relationship together”. The delegate of Tunisia gladly provided the HIR with list of over eighty countries on the signatory, showing strong support for this working paper.


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