Commission on Narcotic Drugs Not Budging

Because of the complexity of the drug problem in most parts of the world, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is divided between two large blocks who want the same result, but are unwilling to budge on the process to achieve that result. This seems to be a recurring theme in most HMUN Committees; each delegation wants their resolution to be the one that is passed, even when compromise is the only real solution.

I spoke to the delegation of Pakistan regarding their draft resolution 1.2, which essentially gives smaller countries a voice when it comes to drug reform. The draft resolution also stresses education as a potential solution for corruption. While this seemed like a good idea on the surface, this was proposed to be given to the corrupted officials themselves who are incentivized to maintain their corrupt ways. Pakistan has partnered with Japan, Germany, Brazil, United States of America, and Botswana to create this draft resolution. Pakistan states they are “aware of the complications within a solution for drug reform” meaning they were expecting at least some opposition. They also expressed that the opposition has lessened with the help of some amendments and simple edits in the draft resolution.

The draft resolution stresses the option for countries to legalize marijuana if they choose which they believe could decrease the crime rate in certain countries and give governments the ability to tax the drug trade. This has come under scrutiny by countries such as Sweden and Nigeria. These delegations expressed to me their concerns with this clause because there are many farmers now who get their income through selling things like marijuana and if a portion of their income is taken away by taxation then these farmers could suffer because of it. The 1.2 draft resolution team suggested that the farmers supplement this income by planting biofuel crops, but the opposition says this would not at all be profitable. Not only is the biofuel industry not very prevalent in developing countries, but there is not a biofuel industry in most developing countries. The opposition recommended planting food crops instead.

One of the 1.2 resolution team’s values is national sovereignty, which they attempted to uphold by giving countries a choice as to whether they implement these policies or not. Many delegations saw this as ineffective and not at all concise in what the committee was trying to accomplish.

As of now the two blocks in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs are unwilling to budge on any clauses or draft resolutions on the table at the moment. The only true way to solve the problem of drug trade is compromise however, the light is very dim at the end of a long tunnel.

Nuclear Negotiations: How Do These Blocs Differ?

Working papers are underway in the International Atomic Energy Agency as three distinct blocs are currently deliberating the topic of Iran Nuclear Negotiations, 2013-2015. As I spoke with the delegation of Ghana, I came to a better understanding of the subtle differences between the three working papers.

One bloc includes the Ghana, UK, France, and Belgium, and this group in particular is mostly concentrated upon humanitarian and agricultural sanctions rather than economic ones. Ghana in particular believes that Iran should fund the production of nuclear energy and in turn decrease its reliance upon oil. The bloc requests full transparency from Iran regarding its nuclear facilities along with the implication of regulated inspections, both planned and spontaneous.

This bloc also addressed the concern of the disposal of nuclear waste, and according to Ghana plans to coordinate a “multi-lateral international organization” to regulate waste within a single facility.

The second bloc includes the  USA and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and claims that military intervention may be the best method to force Iran to comply with international agreements.

The third and final bloc is driven forward by Germany and Argentina. Their working paper has been criticized for proposing too many international organizations to regulate nuclear negotiations in Iran’s region, resulting in a lack of funding for each. The bloc persistently argues that a number of organizations working together will provide a “safety net” in the case of a potential crisis.

All in all the various delegations of the committee are working to comprise their differing ideas into coherent, negotiable ones in order to benefit the majority. “To ensure global peace, the Iran nuclear negotiations must loosen sanctions based on sectors,” says the delegation of Ghana, “and use an international task force to dispose of nuclear waste, as well as develop thorough forms of supervision.” This task force could present a new gathering of international powers which just might bring an agreement to the committee and their differing perspectives.

 

Star Wars Clean Up

More than 100 million pieces of debris from satellites and spacecraft’s orbit earth. This space debris can travel at speeds of  up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. 3.2 billion private citizens on earth rely on broadband and internet that comes from satellites. More importantly, however, the rising population of space debris over the past few decades increases the potential danger to all space vehicles, but especially to the International Space Station, space shuttles and other spacecraft with humans aboard.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has been discussing possible solutions and have formulated two proposed draft resolutions.

Countries such as the Russia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Korea have come together to propose an emphasis on the creation of a database which will track and monitor all space objects, known as Draft Resolution 1.1: Black-Blue. This will also create a forum for space agents that will meet every 3 months where a representative of every country will negotiate and communicate the location, size, and distribution of their country’s space objects. The UNOOSA will monitor the database for collision threats and store information about these objects, which allows them to not only track past and present satellites and attacks, but also being able to more easily predict collisions. Part of this plan will also include the development of space programs in undeveloped nations., in which developed nations will provide expertise, training, research, and funding to these undeveloped nations. Funding for this committee will come from a proportional based fund, which will be dependent on the countries with space programs to fund based on the amount of satellites they have put into space through percentages of GDPs.

On the other side of debate lays a similar plan, Draft Resolution 1.2: Rainbow, for cleaning up the space junk, but with some differences. When asked what the main plan of attack for their resolution paper, the United States responded that, “we call for the creation of Committee of Space Objects (CSO) for specific management of the space debris environment, as well as the shared funding according to space launches frequency.”

This committee will function as a subsidiary committee under the UNOOSA to allow member states of UNOOSA to efficiently manage and legislate on matter concerning operational interstellar spacecraft’s and practices. A research panel will be created under the CSO to study the effects of space debris of the space environment by providing scholarships for students from all nations in order to inspire the next generation of astronomers. This fund will be led by the United Kingdom, United States, and Japan.

The largest discrepancy between both resolutions is funding. Draft Resolution 1.2 calls for the initiation of an annual fund, provided by governments with establish aerospace research programs. All countries in UNOOSA will hold a vote at the beginning of the calendar year, and set the percentage of the tax for the year by setting the minimum tax rate at 2%. 32.5% of all funds will go to groups with projects in place, such as the Surrey Space Centre in the United Kingdom and the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, and another 32.5% will be saved and distributed as research grants for future technological development.

The committee votes later this afternoon to determine a solution for clean up.

 

Bloc party in Outer Space

Delegates in the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs have already had a busy day full of compromise and collaboration. Yesterday, delegates worked to form six separate working papers, titled by color names, in order to reach a solution to the problem of space debris. Today, the main focus of committee was joining forces and merging these working papers. The delegation representing the Republic of Korea described the merging process as “insane.”

The first groups to merge were Red and Green, followed by Orange and Yellow and Black and Blue. Finally, the Red/Green paper combined with Orange/Yellow to form the Rainbow paper, while the Black/Blue paper stood on its own. “It’s been really difficult [to merge papers] because every country essentially has similar ideas, but it is hard for people to compromise and change their own writing to include new information from other countries,” noted the delegate representing the Republic of Korea.

At first glance, the Black and Blue paper, (Draft Resolution 1.1) and the Rainbow paper (Draft Resolution 1.2) look very similar. The Black and Blue paper focuses on a four-pronged approach of standardization, transparency, enforcement, and prevention, which is stated in Clause 2 of their draft resolution, while the Rainbow paper focuses on pursuit, protection and prevention.

However, the devil is in the details. “The divisive issue between the two blocs is funding and taxation,” explained the delegate representing Portugal. “I guess Black and Blue just don’t want to join the rainbow,” added the delegate representing Japan.

Open Borders, Closed Minds

The European Union is currently divided between a very large majority and a very small minority on the topic of open borders. Many believe that there should be open internal borders and closed external borders across the EU, while others believe it should be the choice of the nation whether their borders were closed or open. There was also a major development in which France and Germany wanted to leave the EU in a similar way as Britain, and a terrorist attack resulting from the conflict over this issue.

A block containing the majority of the delegations in the EU is currently taking leadership. While it does contain some smaller countries such as Lithuania and Luxemburg, there are also some larger, extremely influential powers involved such as Sweden, Spain, Germany, and Ireland. They collectively agree with the implementation of internal open borders and external closed borders across the entirety of the European Union. This position is largely based, they said, on Angela Merkel’s position on the subject in 2014, which involves technology advancements, intelligence sharing, and EU legislation so as to prevent things like xenophobia.

The mentioning of xenophobia begged the question of the block’s position on Brexit, to which they responded  with a collective thumbs down (literally). In further explanation, they spoke of the connection between Brexit and xenophobia and their goal to combat xenophobia in all of the EU. When discussing this, another country came up that has been found to want to leave the EU- France. Frexit was regarded by most as extremely similar if not the same thing as Brexit and should be treated as such. Britain and France have apparently been trying to implement a more nationalistic approach to the border issue, which has met opposition by the majority of the committee. They expressed resentment for these countries for wanting to betray the EU and firmly stated that these nations should not have a say in how the committee runs.

Another revelation specific to this committee was the possibility of Germany leaving the EU, leaving the delegation of Belgium in a very uncomfortable position. They are now in the “vigorous position” as they put it, of being the moderator between Germany and the EU.

To complicate matters more, there was a terrorist attack on a train traveling from Germany to France. This has been identified as domestic terrorism and the casualty rate is unknown. This sparked an immediate act to combat domestic terrorism in the EU and in surrounding nations because now the safety of their people is at stake over this divisive issue

Space Crisis

The United Nations Office on Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) was surprised by a crises this morning. The acclaimed Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson asked for the committee help on a video, informing that the satellite USA-266 (lunched just under a year ago) is in a collision course and out of control with partner USA-248, lunched two years ago. Dr. deGrasse Tyson urged the committee about issues, highlighting the fact that “without a full constellation of active GPS satellites, services in almost every related sector are lost”.

As GPS boosts our productivities and make the people lives more connected and practical, US Air Force, NASA and privates enterprises are doing everything they can to save and protect this technology, tough the collision is almost certain and is just a matter of time. there are 31 GPS satellites in the Medium-Earth Orbit, around 20,000 kilometers up and it is only needed 24 of them operating to have full Global Positioning System. The collision would be life changing.

UNOOSA seemed worried about the crises. However, as it was said by the delegate of Democratic Republic of Congo, the resolutions and working papers were all almost complete and satisfactory for the situation. “A couple more clauses should be enough for us to solve the issue”, he said.

Including the satellites problem, the resolutions are trying to define terms like “space objects”, develop and systematize taxes for Debris cleanup, advance in the scientific divulgation of the topic, standardized the dispatch of space objects.

A Star Studded Crisis

In the unglamorous world of space garbage removal, an inspiring and exciting face reported dire news to the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Astrophysicist and science icon Neil deGrasse Tyson told the committee of their latest crisis: that United States satellite USA-266 had been disconnected from communication by unknown causes and was on a direct collision course with partner satellite USA-248. This rogue satellite could prove disastrous if it indeed collided with USA-248 as it would take out a key satellite needed for the collection of critical GPS information that affects nearly every facet of the general population’s lives. “GPS boosts productivity across industries, from agriculture and construction to mining and surveying. It saves lives by preventing air traffic collisions, speeds the delivery of emergency services and disaster relief” Tyson reminded the committee via video, setting a somber mood within the group.

The committee, which had succeeded in merging a large number of similar working papers into two distinct blocs, was forced to revise the papers to address the problem of space debris at the mid-level orbit. “It is clear we have been addressing the wrong level of orbit” a delegate from Japan asserted during moderated caucus, adding that his bloc would be “immediately integrating” solutions to the crisis into their working paper as well as provisions to prevent further mid-level debris disasters. A delegate from Brazil passionately argued for the “need for an emergency response system” and delegates from Somalia “urged nations to work together”.

When interviewed about their respective position papers, representatives from Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo were happy to point out the major points of their papers and their respective strengths. The new “Rainbow Coalition” composed of former red, green, orange, and yellow draft resolutions explained that their primary goal when crafting their resolution was including all nations, large and small, and space programs of all size. They explained the role that smaller nations would play by providing labor, research, and tech development with larger nations contributing more monetary funding. Brazil also explained that their resolution focused on investment of new technology and the limiting the activity of space launches to reduce future space debris and a potential emergency response program to prepare citizens should space debris exit near orbit and enter the Earth’s atmosphere with the possibility of colliding with the earth. Such precautions would minimize human loss of life in the event of a crisis.

The Black and Blue block explained that while their bloc had many similar ideas to that of the Rainbow Coalition, the main problem they had with the Coalition’s draft resolution was their dependence on donations from participating countries. The bloc also disagreed with the Rainbow Coalitions formation of a sub-committee within the bloc. The representative from the Democratic Republic of the Congo explained the bloc’s STEP program. The acronym described the four step plan composed of: standardization of data concerning tracking and monitoring in the form of an accessible database by all participating countries, transparency on the part of all countries regarding the number and positions of satellites, enforcement of all rules and suggestions by holding countries accountable for the space debris they collect and fail to remove, and prevention of future crises by creating guidelines that while not mandatory, would be heavily recommended. The delegate from Congo expressed the blocs to foster space development and exploration while limiting launching only what really needed to enter either near or mid earth orbit. The delegate cited the fact that 30% of space junk originated from useless parts of a launch, for example launch pads that don’t need to leave the ground and could be minimize space debris.

Throughout the crisis the delegation seemed unsure what to focus on: the fact that Neil deGrasse Tyson delivered them a personalized (if dire) message, or the impending crisis that the world and communication system could be facing. With their eyes set on perfecting draft resolutions and passing the best one available to the committee, the group is sure to maintain their focus as they reach the homestretch of their drafting and debating.