UNODC: United Nations Office on Delight and Cheer

South China Morning Post

This morning, Saturday, January 28, the South China Morning Post revisited the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for the last time in the HMUN 2018 Conference. During this visit, students were asked to give their favorite stories from this year’s conference.

The representatives of Chile quickly raised their placard, eager to answer the question. They shared that, before every committee session, the UNODC moderator would put on music and listen to it, sometimes even singing along and dancing. He especially enjoyed “Finesse” by Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B, which eventually became the committee’s “special song”. The delegation of Chile highly enjoyed this daily phenomenon.

Vietnam was next to answer the question explaining the following scenario: during one committee session, the moderator was sharing the messages that come with roses. He found one of these messages particularly funny, and laughed about it for around two minutes. He thought it was so funny, in fact, that he broke into a second bout of laughter during voting procedure and said, “I can’t stop thinking about that joke.” Representative of Vietnam, as well as many other students,  thought his laughter was even funnier than the joke itself, which was, “Steve, you don’t know what those blue Crocs do to me.” Upon hearing this joke again, the UNODC moderator fell to the floor with laughter for a third time, causing the rest of the committee to follow suit.

The delegation of Azerbaijan waved their placard around frantically, excited to call out the UNODC Chair Staff for taking an entire seven and a half minutes figuring out how to lower the blinds. At this point, I decided to try to figure it out myself, only to find a control panel for the blinds on the wall about 30 seconds into trying. Azerbaijan then said that a high school senior from Upstate New York figuring out how to lower the blinds quicker than a group of Harvard students then became his favorite moment of the conference.  

When it came time for me to leave the committee room for the last time, the room erupted into applause, excited to finish the last committee session but also saddened that the 2018 conference is coming to a close. “Everyone has this way of thinking like Harvard Model UN is boring, and that the students participating are no fun,” the representative of Sweden began. “I came into this fearing the same thing. But this committee and the conference as a whole proved me and everyone else wrong. HMUN can be fun!” With that, it comes time to lower the blinds on the HMUN 2018 Conference… and to start preparing for the 2019 conference!

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How do we Protect the LGBTQ people?

Al-Jazeera

 For a “crime” that is not truly a crime, several members of the LGBTQ community from around the world are persecuted on a daily basis for their sexuality.

 An example of this would be the Orlando shooting that took place on the 12th of June, 2016. The shooting occurred at a gay nightclub and 49 people were killed.

 It’s cases like these it is essential for the government, NGOs and local organisations to intervene and take responsibility when it comes

to protecting these people.

 There are several ways this could be done:

First, governments can implement strict laws ensuring the safety of the LGBTQ community and making anyone who violates them pay huge fines.

Second, NGOs can come together with local organisations and raise awareness through educational campaigns in targeted localities designed to teach people to be more tolerant towards the LGBTQ community and accept them for the people that they are.

Third, people who do attack this community should be given heavy sentences by the court so as to instill a fear inside anyone else who might be thinking of doing the same.

 Until it is not made clear that there is protection for the LGBTQ community and that action will be taken against against any persecutors, violence towards the people of this community will prevail.

Save the Roma, make their voice heard

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As globalization takes over the world, border between countries fade away creating a bd and connected worldwide community, However, some groups still struggle to integrate their own nation and thus are pushed to the side of our linked world. Therefore, the EU discussed strategies to integrate the Roma, a minority that has been inhabiting Europe for one thousand years.

To watch the video, click here.

The Cryptic Nature of Cryptocurrency

The Wall Street Journal

The International Monetary Fund has been working tirelessly to come up with a way to expand cashless economies that takes into account the capacities of developing and developed nations. Thus far, two blocs have formed, both supporting the movement to go cashless but with different regulations. As the conference progresses, the two blocs will have to evaluate the comparative influences of the nuances within their resolutions.

To watch the video, click here.

The Risks of a Pegged Currency

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One of the most common repercussions from a free trade deal of immense magnitude, like the one being discussed by the OAS during these four days of conference, is the risk of devaluation of a country’s currency, which often occurs with  globalization. However, the entirety of the Organization of American States, minus the United States and Venezuela, have agreed on a set of actions to be taken if inflation arose in a country as a response to the trade agreement.

The nation in question should peg their currency to another nation’s medium of exchange in order to provide a temporary solution to the issue at hand,” proposed Antigua and Barbuda during a discussion regarding how to solve inflation caused by the trade agreement. He assured that the attachment of  a country’s currency to another country’s would provide the affected states the help needed until they developed an economy able to sustain itself.

Most of the participants inside the committee room agreed this was the easiest and fastest way to counteract inflation, as it had worked plenty of times. For example, with the Bahamas fixing their currency to the US dollar in 1966 and, since then, achieved the reduction of their inflation rate from a 14.24% to a 0.9%, according to Trading Economics; or Mexico, which did the exact same thing when their inflation rate reached an all time peak of 179.93 % during 1988, which resulted in the government fixing the exchange rate to the US dollar, allowing them to lower their inflation to a 6.7%, which is high, but still manageable.

However, the representative of the United States, country to which several participants of OAS have their currency attached to, didn’t agree with the rest of the committee due to the several repercussions it could do to a country’s economy. If an increase in pegged currencies as a result of the agreement was produced, a financial crash like the one in 2007 and 2008 would be devastating for the international community, and maybe even send it into a state of recession, with the removal of international businesses and  job losses caused by the crash; a black market dedicated to currency would put the government at risk of even more inflation, as happened in Argentina when President Macri removed limits on how many pesos could be changed into dollars, which caused the official value of the Argentinian peso to drop 30% in less than 24 hours.

The delegate of the United States of America stated they would not give any kind of “special treatment” to the nations who have their currency pegged to the dollar if any repercussions developed, as the affected knew the effects their decision could have; to which the other delegates simply nodded their heads and continued to agree that pegging currency was the best way to go, completely ignoring the consequences of this imperialist practice. In the words of the Venezuelan delegate, “you should not rely on other countries to get your worth.”  Our work should determine whether we get out or not of inflation, not the influence of nations that brought it on to us in the first place with an agreement that was not wanted in the first place.

Conformity was not achieved throughout this day of conference, to what the American delegate ended up by saying, “I say we only write one clause: it’s up to each nation to deal with inflation in whatever way they want.”

SPACECRAFT CRISIS CREATES A TENNIS MATCH IN THE UNOOSA

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Day three of committee sessions commenced today for the UNOOSA, and it took a turn almost immediately. With a crisis update about a foreign and unidentified spacecraft with weapons on board being thrown at the delegates, many placards were raised during the question and answering portion of the crisis presentation. This scary and unanticipated international emergency, spawned from an anonymous Twitter account, left many with questions about who was responsible. Taking the responsibility for an unidentified spacecraft launched just moments before was a country that no delegate suspected.

After the briefing had finished, a moderated caucus took place in which delegates presented solutions and commented on the pressing issue. One of these countries, the delegation of Chad, were one of the speakers. The landlocked Central North African country, declared that they were the ones to launch the spacecraft. When Pravda asked the reasoning behind the launch directly after the announcement, they said via a letter, that the committee was getting to dry and by launching the space ship, they had a more active and pressing issue to work on. The drama did not cease after Chad however.

It was only minutes later when the delegate from Germany approached the stand and the UNOOSA was given a twist. They stated that the German government had tracked the anonymous Twitter account that was accountable for releasing the known information on the spacecraft, and the country wasn’t Chad. Instead, the European country pointed to Somalia as the culprit.

After chatter erupted from the rest of the delegations, the Dias of the UNOOSA caused the committee to turn around, yet again. The Chair declared and confirmed that before the spacecraft conjoined in the beginning of its orbit, there were two separate space ships, one coming from Chad, and the other originating from Somalia. The name for the spacecraft at first was Bradmolia, and then it was changed to just Brad, due to a recommendation from the delegation of Lebanon. Most delegations thought that Brad was an entertaining way to lighten the mood of committee, but others thought is was both irresponsible and a form of flagrant blackmail.

The country who was most the most outraged about the regulations broke by Chad and Somalia was the United Arab Emirates. The delegation was gracious enough to write Pravda a note on how they felt more in detail. They thought that Brad was “Ridiculous!” and why the country would do something so absurd when there are blocs working on developing countries like theres. Pravda went to interview them after the note was received and they told us that they “150% condemned” what Chad and Somalia pulled on the rest of the committee and United Nations.

There are always two sides to an argument, and this one reminds the journalists of Pravda of a tennis match. With the crisis starting  with just a single claim of responsibility and then suddenly it being tossed to another, it was the first of many swings during this match. From there the Dias stepped in to conduct an alteration of their own. Along with other facts that were adjusted or added, this debate was non-stop back and forth between many different parties within the committee.
Pravda always aims to answer the question: what can be learned from this and how can there be improvements when presented a similar issue later on. We think that with the use of communication, anything can be resolved well and done so in a civil manner. Having so many unknown variables in this case, caused an uproar of negativity from other countries, not just the UAE. Luckily, Pravda went back to the UNOOSA the next day to see if anything else had come from the crisis, and nothing had; the issue fizzled out. By disclosing information, avoiding a tennis match will serve all delegations well.

NATO is not reaching agreement, meanwhile ISIS is recruiting

The Economist

As the discussions about ISIS go further without reaching any agreement, two nations have worked on resolutions that may lead nowhere. Germany and the United Kingdom both made resolutions with very conflicting ideas, and Italy was the only nation that made an effort to try to conciliate and merge the two. However, it is impossible for Italy to reach a common ground when no one is willing to compromise. The US is not open to non-military actions and Germany won’t give up its ideas, even if its proposals only reach long term.

The United Kingdom suggested almost totally military actions, but NATO funds are low and armies are expensive. So its resolutions state that the actions combine a few NATO forces with a lot of local forces, especially the Kurdish forces. Kurdish people are eager to help, but the UK is facing difficulties trying not to interfere directly in the Kurdish- Iraq tension, alleging that they are against Kurds independence and adopting a neutral position. The UK is also proposing an economic change in the economic policy towards Middle Eastern nations, such as limiting the sending of NATO troops and taking economic sanctions so as to limit the influx of resources ISIS and its affiliates receive.
Germany, on the other hand, only focus on long-term solutions and non-military actions. This resolution consisted primarily in cybersecurity measures, with intelligence sharing among all NATO members, creating a huge database for every important information each of the countries has, and also a program to tackle down ISIS service of intelligence and its recruitment adds. It also presented measures to adopt economic sanctions (a point both the resolutions had in common). The resolution presented support for humanitarian aid organizations, too. Germany, along with the Netherlands, held the nonmilitary position very strongly, alleging that ISIS would be defeated if its ideology was defeated. For this, they proposed once more the cutting of ISIS funds, an embargo, so it would stop growing economically and classes of religious tolerance in schools worldwide. This was not given much attention inside the committee, but Italy agreed on this matter.

Italy was not a sponsor of any of the resolutions but was a signatory to both. Which was smart because the voting for a resolution has to be unanimous. So when other nations were fighting about taking or not military actions and going nowhere, Italy was trying to negotiate a common ground, focusing on similar articles by both resolutions. Italy stated that one of the most difficult topics nations are going to have to settle in is the allocation of refugees. Italy believes that some countries, such as Poland, will have a hard time discussing the matter.

It is explicit that an agreement is far from being reached. but hopefully with Italy’s efforts and UK and Germany being more flexible, a resolution can be settled.

Dealing with the Foxclaw Epidemic in the Americas

The New York Times

Have you known someone who has been addicted to foxclaw or died of a foxclaw overdose? Unfortunately, you are just one of an overabundance of United States and Canadian citizens who have been exposed to the effects of this horrible drug. In a recent survey distributed by The New York Times, a whopping 56% of people living in the US reported either abusing or knowing someone who abused foxclaw in the last month.

At the beginning of 2022, not much was known about foxclaw. Two years have passed, and officials are struggling to understand where the substance is coming from and how to treat its effects.

Of those attempting to find a solution to the issue, the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MCMFA) is perhaps working the most diligently. Since the beginning of their conference two days ago, the committee spent a great deal of time working through such issues as drug cartels and drug-related terrorism. Now, as an increasing number of younger people become addicted to foxclaw, MCMFA has decided to begin paying more attention to the epidemic plaguing the Americas.

“It’s going to be solved really soon.” Stated the minister of foreign affairs for the United States.

Possible routes of action have been discussed, such as finding treatment, funding research into what the drug is doing to individuals and how it works, stemming the rise of the drug in the US and Canada, and launching education campaigns to prevent younger citizens from experimenting with the drug. Other possibilities for ending the grip that foxclaw has on the American continent that were discussed in depth were tracking down the main sources of foxclaw and employing a larger number of scientists in the countries being represented by ministers.  

When asked about progress made regarding foxclaw, the minister from the United States told us, “We’re working on starting research to establish possible solutions.”

We also received exclusive word that according to research already conducted, a large plantation of foxclaw has been located in Argentina, meaning that there will be a better chance of locating and preventing the drug from reaching the United States.

The problem with these plans is that putting them into motion requires a large amount of funding. The OAS has limited funds shared by all 15 nations involved, and a seemingly never-ending list of problems it needs to be solving.

This issue in particular is being discussed as just as new information has been revealed regarding unethical actions by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. According to an accusation made by the International Children’s Rights Organization, the agency was utilizing young children for “covert actions”. The children being used are reportedly from developing nations, including those in South America.

Cocaine, which is another highly addictive drug plaguing the Americas, was also discussed to a somewhat smaller extent. A push was made to legalize the coco leaf itself but continue to strictly prohibit the making and selling of cocaine. The legalization of coco is expected to greatly improve the quality of living for indigenous peoples in South America, since they would directly profit from the growing, harvesting, and sale of coco.

No matter what other concerns are being dealt with by the committee, the need for action is obvious. Every day, a growing number of people are experimenting or becoming addicted to foxclaw, and that trend seems to continue with every passing day.

Do foreign nations get to decide marriage laws?

Al-Jazeera

Various blocs have been formed; a number of countries have come together and views from around the globe have been brought to the table. How do we go about marriage laws? Do nations decide for themselves? Or do other nations get to play a part in the decision-making process?

Countries such as Algeria and Pakistan have submitted working papers proposing that every country should have the right to sovereignty with regards to marriage rights. All humans are at liberty to identify with whatever sexuality that they may. It is not the right of any foreign nation to decide the laws for other countries as every nation has its own different set of values.

Delegates from the United States of America quoted Pope Francis “ Who am I to
judge?” All nations should ensure that foreign leaders should not affect their national
marriage laws about conventional and non-conventional marriages.

Nations such as the UAE are very strongly of the view that homosexuality should not be publicly practiced and that the values on which the state of the UAE is run should be respected. In such scenarios, countries including the United States of America should not intervene and try to enforce their own ideologies on the population of more conservative countries that might have radically different opinions on marriage equality.

All nations have their own governments and therefore should get to decide their
laws affecting their subjects themselves.

UNODC: Progressive or Passive?

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The Minister of Health and Population of Egypt, Ahmed Rady, addressed the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on Friday, January 25, to announce that legislation had been passed to ban all painkillers from fentanyl to Tylenol. This law is currently in effect. Under this legislation, any doctor who prescribes the now illegal painkillers will lose his or her medical license, and any individual who uses these drugs will be treated as a criminal.

Egypt’s intentions with this law were to curb drug addiction and its impacts on society. Rady claimed that this ban had been highly successful and urged other nations to adopt similar measures in order to eliminate the opioid epidemic altogether. However, it was announced on Saturday to the UNODC that the law is ineffective. Citizens of Egypt have replaced opioids with unconventional methods of getting high, such as sniffing paint thinners. In response to the demand for opiates, terrorist group ISIS has begun smuggling needed painkillers into the country in return for new recruits. Since there are many citizens in need of painkillers, there is expected to be a high level of recruitment. Furthermore, there are talks that ISIS will work with Boko Haram to spread needed opioids throughout Africa in return for recruitments.

Conflicts between the Egyptian military and ISIS have ensued. Unfortunately, Egypt does not have the means to treat wounded soldiers due to the lack of painkillers, whereas ISIS does. This is allegedly causing some Egyptian soldiers to abandon reason and join ISIS in its endeavors.

Many delegates of the UNODC responded with passive acceptance. For example, the delegate of Ireland declared, “While our resolutions should address Egypt, the crisis should not be the whole resolution and should only be briefly mentioned.” Delegates continue to be passive, sitting nonchalantly in their chairs as if waiting for the crisis to blow over, despite the increased tensions in Egypt. In fact, during the release of information many of them even seemed to sit back in their chairs and only a few delegates even bothered to ask questions. Representatives refuse to debate possible solutions to the crisis, despite pressure to work on solving the conflict from a few nations such as Peru and Germany. Instead, representatives in the UNODC are focusing on passing resolutions on the general opioid issue, and are ignoring the crisis altogether.

During unmoderated caucuses, the UNODC is actively working on resolutions, but no delegates even mention the Egyptian crisis. When asked to comment, only a few representatives were even willing to speak on the topic, some even ignoring questions altogether. They fill the room with regards to resolutions, but become mentally absent after mentions of Egypt.

A few delegates responded with strong voices against Egypt and its legislation, but not in support of aiding Egypt against ISIS due to Egypt’s refusal to revise the new policy. Representatives of both Moldova and Ireland strongly suggested placing sanctions on Egypt in an attempt to persuade the nation’s government to reconsider this law. The delegate of Ireland even insisted, “We must kick them out of the United Nations for this unacceptable legislation” during debate. Moldova commented, “We think healthcare is a human right and by taking away painkillers, Egypt is violating these rights. Also, by encouraging other nations to enact bans, they engaged in hate speech.”

The most extreme response to the ban came from the representatives of South Africa, who proposed the use of military action as well as sanctions against Egypt. “They’re violating basic human rights and we cannot just sit by watching people suffer in pain,” the delegates asserted. “Action has to be taken.” When asked why military action against Egypt was required to alleviate the issue, South African delegates responded, “There is no negotiating with these people. We either take action or we let people suffer.” South Africa is willing to start a war against Egypt, but are reluctant to help Egyptians fight growing terrorism. 

The UNODC is disregarding the increase of terrorism and drug use in Egypt, despite their active work on resolutions. South Africa, Moldova, and Ireland even blame Egypt for the crisis. Although the ban of painkillers may have been questionable, is it not the responsibility of the United Nations to solve world issues despite disagreements between nations? This refusal to aid Egypt is impeding necessary progress and opposes the purpose of the United Nations and must be changed.