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A presentation at the office

Councils Overview

NTUMUN 2023 is proud to showcase its 12 councils, 4 of which are designed specifically for beginners.

Beginner Councils: Suitable for delegates who have little or no experience in MUN. The Academics team has prepared an introductory training programme tailored to each council. This will cover the basics of MUN such as Rules of Procedure and Resolution writing. The topics are also fairly straightforward, making it the perfect stage for you to put what you have learned from the training programme to action and adapt to the MUN environment.

The International Press Corps is also an excellent choice for delegates with a flair for journalism and literature.

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FAO

Physical

Beginner Council

Image by Womanizer Toys

UN WOMEN

Physical

Beginner Council

Image by Nick Chong

ECOFIN

Physical

Intermediate Council

Image by Ignacio Amenábar

HCC

Physical

Intermediate Council

Image by Mario Caruso

ITU

Physical

Intermediate Council

Image by Arno Senoner

UNSC

Physical

Advanced Council

Image by Aditya Joshi

US SENATE

Physical

Advanced Council

Image by Matt C

PRESS CORPS

Physical/Virtual

N.A.

Image by Andrew Leu

ILO

VIrtual

Beginner Council

Image by Noah Buscher

UNEP

Virtual

Beginner Council

Image by Maria Lupan

UNDP

Virtual

Intermediate Council

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ASEAN

Virtual

Advanced Council

Image by no one cares

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
Council type: Beginner - Physical

TOPIC 1:  The Question of Creating Climate-Resilient Agriculture 

Climate change threatens current agricultural practices, impacting agriculture through increased soil salinity, rising sea levels and changing weather and temperature conditions. There is hence a need to develop climate-resilient food production systems and supply chains, with reduced vulnerability to shocks, increased participation of all stakeholders, and alternatives to current unsustainable practices.

TOPIC 2:  The Question of Food Loss and Wastage

The global food trade has beneficial impacts on food security and sustainable development efforts. Leakages in the global food trade, however, prevents food from being utilised to its fullest. To address this, there need to be policies which address food wastage and environmental degradation at both ends of the food supply chain - the start (production) and end (consumption).

FAO
Image by Womanizer Toys

UN Women
Council type: Beginner -
Physical

TOPIC 1:  Reproductive Rights and Access to Healthcare in the South Asian Region

 South Asia includes the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The level of women’s health in many of these countries is quite low. For example, in Pakistan, one in every 38 women dies from pregnancy-related causes. Meanwhile, Afghanistan suffers from incredibly high levels of malnutrition, especially amongst pregnant women; a woman dies almost every two hours during pregnancy or childbirth. The crux of the matter is inadequate healthcare funding, as well as the lack of education in the more rural areas of these countries. It is thus crucial to reach an innovative solution to get around the many obstacles these countries face. Besides public funding, social insurance and issuance may also enable women to get their own purchasing power so they need not be overly reliant on men in these patriarchal societies.

TOPIC 2:  Bridging the Gender Gap in Digital Literacy Through Improved Access to ICT in Africa and Middle East

Currently, women are less likely to own and use digital information and communications technologies (ICT) as compared to men, especially in the sub-Saharan African region. Countries in the Middle East also have a large disparity in internet usage across gender, notably in Yemen and Egypt are two noteworthy names. As for the sub-Saharan region, Nigeria has one of the widest gender gaps when it comes to digital literacy. Kenya and Ghana both have a noticeable percentage difference in favour of men. The ability to access the internet provides many with vital opportunities for employment, healthcare as well as emergencies, as well as affording them the personal freedom to potentially break free of oppressive systems. Digitizing sub-Saharan Africa will help it combat many of the problems it currently faces – which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. These include the lack of access to vital food and medication, especially for marginalised women, as well as telemedicine, online job opportunities and education. The MENA region faces an employment and unpaid domestic work disparity; combating digital illiteracy in this region may potentially help alleviate some of these issues. While the scope of the problems faced by countries in these regions may differ, the root cause can be attributed to the gender disparity in digital literacy.
UN Women
Image by Nick Chong

Economic and Financial Committee (ECOFIN)
(Second General Assembly)

Council type: Intermediate -
Physical

TOPIC 1:  Deliberating Upon the Rising Use of Cryptocurrency in International Money Laundering and Illicit Money Transfers

 Cryptocurrencies are a technical and financial innovation that hold high potential for the global economy. At the same time, they are also used for criminal purposes in the absence of effective regulation. The use of this virtual currency for criminal activities and laundering of profits has grown over the past years in terms of volume and sophistication. Tools facilitating the use of cryptocurrencies are now widely available, and services dedicated to the channeling of criminal profits are well-established. As a consequence, the criminal use of cryptocurrency is no longer confined to cybercrime activities, but now relates to all types of crime that require the transmission of monetary value, with fraud being the most frequently identified predicate offense in the illegal use of cryptocurrencies. These currencies are also commonly used as a means of payment to obfuscate money flows as part of increasingly complex money laundering schemes or the (online) trade of illicit goods and services such as the growing number of for-profit schemes relating to child sexual abuse material (CSAM). There is thus a need for regulations and effective anti money laundering frameworks (AML) so as to govern the use of cryptocurrencies. 

TOPIC 2:  Addressing the Regulation of International Tax Havens

Recently, the issue of tax havens has risen to the fore of the fiscal policy debate, with tax havens being singled out as the root cause of many of the fiscal shortfalls plaguing the governments of the world. Until the 2008 financial crisis, tax havens were generally seen as exotic sideshows to the global economy, Caribbean islands or Alpine financial fortresses frequented by celebrities, gangsters, and wealthy aristocrats. Since then, the world has woken up to two sobering facts: first, the phenomenon is far bigger and more central to the global economy than nearly anyone had imagined; and second, the biggest havens aren’t where we thought they were.
Political damage, while unquantifiable, must be added to the charge sheet: most centrally, tax havens provide hiding places for the illicit activities of elites who use them, at the expense of the less powerful majority. Tax havens defend themselves as “tax neutral” conduits helping international finance and investment flow smoothly. But while the benefits for the private players involved are evident, the same may not be true for the world as a whole; it is now widely accepted that in addition to tax losses, allowing capital to flow freely across borders carries risks, including the danger of financial instability in emerging market economies. Financial flows seeking secrecy or fleeing corporate taxes seem likely to be exactly the kind that exacerbate the finance curse, worsening inequality, increasing vulnerability to crises, and dealing unquantifiable political damage as secrecy-shrouded capital infiltrates Western political systems. And as financial capital flows from poorer countries to rich-world tax havens, labor migration will follow.
ECOFIN
Image by Ignacio Amenábar

Historical Crisis Committee (HCC)
Council type: Intermediate - Physical

TOPIC 1:  The Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union
Russia was plagued with a longstanding civil war following the downfall of its monarchy, from 1917 till 1923, in which the country was divided into two parties — the Red Army and the White Army.  The Red army, led by Vladimir Lenin, championed the Bolshevik form of socialism; while the White army fought for capitalism and social democracy.  By the end of 1922, the White army had lost, as the Red army slowly grew in popularity. By the end of the Russian Civil War, Russia as a nation was in disarray.  With numerous battles having occurred and multiple ethnic groups breaking off into independent states such as current day Poland and Finland, Russia had lost major resources and manpower as a whole. With a backlog on industrialization and multiple issues such as famine and political turmoil in the newly established Soviet Union, much had to be done in order for the new communist party to thrive.
Delegates will be debating as members of the People's Commissars of the Soviet Union in their attempt to restabilise the newly formed Soviet Union. Delegates are expected to resolve political, economic and social conflicts within the region. Despite winning over the majority, the Soviet Union on a whole was ambivalent about the new communist leading party, contributing to ongoing civil strife in 1923’s Soviet Union.
HCC
ITU
Image by Mario Caruso

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
Council type: Intermediate -
Physical

TOPIC 1:  The Question of Resolving Disparities in Global Internet Use

 As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the question of ensuring that all parties have equal and equitable access to the Internet becomes a top priority for the ITU. Hence, it is important to close the divide between communities; this includes gender, geographical and socioeconomic disparities.

TOPIC 2:  The Question of Protecting Satellite Ecosystems

Harmful interference, whether generated unintentionally or maliciously, has the potential to interfere with international satellite systems. Specifically, it is of concern if it endangers radionavigation services or disrupts radiocommunication systems; while the Radiocommunication Bureau will respond to reports of harmful interference, the duty of first responder lies with governments. Cooperation between nations is hence necessary to ensure that satellite ecosystems are protected, given its utilisation in telecommunications, navigation and monitoring.
Image by Arno Senoner

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
Council type: Advanced -
Physical

NOTE: UNSC is a Double Delegation Council. Refer to registration form for details on double delegation councils. 

TOPIC 1:  Reviewing the Use of Force in the DRC — The Case of the Force Intervention Brigade

The UN has long served in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through various peacekeeping and assistance missions yet the DRC still remains plagued by violence. Most recently, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has created the Force Intervention Brigade as a robust peacekeeping force tasked with taking offensive action against the M23 rebel group. While their actions may have proven prudent in the defense of the mission, it still remains to be seen whether or not it is the most efficient or indeed the wisest action to take considering the precedents broken.

 

Delegates will be asked to discuss this issue and determine how the UN can best move forward with establishing a new robust doctrine in peacekeeping.

TOPIC 2:  Addressing the Serbia-Kosovo Tensions

On February 17, 2008, the world watched as Kosovo formally declared its independence from Serbia. The unilateral declaration of independence was fiercely rejected by Serbia, which claims that UN Resolution 1244 guaranteed the territorial integrity of Serbia, which extends to Kosovo. Although efforts have been made to normalize relations between the two parties, including the passing of the Brussels Agreement in 2013, relations have recently strained over perceived discrimination faced by ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.
UNSC
Image by Aditya Joshi

US Senate
Council type: Advanced -
Physical

TOPIC 1:  The Question of the Electoral College

Calls for the abolishment of the Electoral College intensified following the Supreme Court’s decision of  Bush v. Gore in 2000. This decision effectively decided that the presidency should be awarded to George W Bush, despite the fact that the majority of Americans voted for Gore. Since the founding of the United States, there have been 5 instances where the presidency was awarded to individuals who did not win the majority vote, the last of which occurred in 2016 when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. 
 
The Electoral College does not give voting power to people but rather to states. States are awarded electoral votes roughly, but not exactly, in proportion to their population. The current population of the U.S. is 329.5 million. Dividing this amount with the number of electoral votes means that one electoral vote should represent roughly 612,453 people. To use extreme examples, the population of Wyoming is 581,384, which indicates it deserves roughly 1 vote, however, is instead given 3. On the other hand, with its population of 39,350,000, California should be given roughly 64 votes, but instead is given 55. This results in a number of Senators, such as Senator Feinstein and Senator Merkley, introducing amendments to abolish the Electoral College. However, no bill has been debated thus far.

TOPIC 2:  The Question of Statehood for the District of Colombia and Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico and the District of Colombia are both not states, and hence are not represented in Congress. Although both send a non-voting member into the House of Representatives, this effectively means that 4 million Americans are unrepresented in the Senate, with Puerto Rico being unable to vote in presidential elections.

Although there have since been movements to grant both territories statehood, expansion of the Union to include new states have historically been about the balance of power in Congress, rather than equality and democracy. For example, when southern Missouri applied for statehood in 1819, it upsetted the balance of power in Congress that was equally split between 11 free and 11 slave-owning states. A deal when hence made to break Massachusetts into 2 to restore this balance. Other examples include Arkansas for Michigan and Texas for Wisconsin. The last time the Union was expanded was in the 1950s, when Republican President Dwight D Eisenhower was pressured by Democrats to allow Democratic Alaska into the Union if he wished for Republican Hawaii to be included. 

Perhaps the biggest road block for Puerto Rican statehood is a 1901 Supreme Court decision that ruled that Puerto Ricans couldn’t be citizens. Downes v. Bidwell ruled that Puerto Rico was “domestic in a foreign sense” and the island was “inhabited by alien races, differing from us.” Washington D.C. was historical a predominantly black city, and was made an easy target by segregationists and former slave owners who argued against letting them vote.

Today, both territories are predominantly democratic. While democrats cite the values of democracy and equality to argue that they should be let in, Republicans argue that these attempts are nothing more but a Democratic attempt to grant themselves more power. As such, although bills exist to grant these two territories statehood, neither of which have come to fruition.

US Senate
Image by Headway

Press Corps
Council type: N.A. -
Physical / Virtual

OVERVIEW:

The general purpose of the press corps is to cover developments in the various committees. Delegates will become journalists from different news agencies around the world and will be required to report on the various happenings within the MUN. One must align themselves with their news agencies stance, writing style and political affiliations – just like any other delegate representing their respective entities within the MUN. It is important to be aware of every committees’ agenda, as most press delegates will be attending the majority, if not all (as per schedule constraints) of the committees in order to get a feel for as many as possible. 

PRESS CONFERENCES:

About 10 minutes in length. The focus is on asking relevant and pertinent questions, which can incite debate or challenge a delegate’s stance on a particular issue. 

Interviews: can take place during unmod sessions, or during free time – however, it is completely up to the delegate’s discretion regarding whether they want to do it or not. Interviews should be concise and to the point, with select questions prepared beforehand. 

 

ARTICLES:

Must be concise and relevant. Should also align with the agencies’ affiliations – for example, the Global Times cannot badmouth or question a delegate representing China’s stance!

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Would be nice to have photos with every article – but try not to disrupt committee sessions or cause general chaos in the pursuit of the best photo!

Press Corps
Image by Andrew Leu

International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Council type: Beginner - Virtual

TOPIC 1:  Eradication of Modern Slavery With Specific Focus to Forced Labour

 Forced labour refers to situations where people regardless of age or gender are trapped in jobs into which they were coerced or deceived and which they cannot leave. According to ILO’s most recent global estimate, there are at least 20.9 million victims of forced labour in the world today. Stemming from poverty and discrimination, this situation is most common in developing countries such as China and Bangladesh. The rise of the sweatshop culture, where workers in factories of the global exporters work in extreme conditions that take away safety and benefits, is a prime example of forced labour. Though global interest in combating forced labour has grown in recent years, responses still fall far short of addressing the full scale of the problem. Moreover, with the global market for fast fashion growing exponentially, the phenomena of sweatshops and the resultant forced labour is bound to rise.

TOPIC 2:  The Question of Improving Job Stability and Employment in Developing Countries

During the pandemic, unemployment rates in many countries increased, especially within the developing countries. In fact, the ILO found that there was a 17.6% increase in the unemployment rates from 2019. Although some progress has been made in the past 2 years and more people are being employed, there is a lot to be done to increase the poor employment rate in these countries. With many developing countries having poor labour market rules and regulations, little protection and opportunity is offered to both the employed and unemployed. It is also noteworthy that though these issues have escalated recently, they have been present in these counties for a long time. As such, it is important to address the deep rooted problems that exist in the labour market of the developing countries currently and provide innovative solutions to combat these problems to improve employment and job stability.
ILO
Image by Noah Buscher

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Council type: Beginner - Virtual

TOPIC 1:  Use of Disruptive Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

 With the increase in climate disasters in recent years, the use of digital technology has become integral in both disaster risk reduction (DRR) and rapid response. Examples of disruptive technology include early-warning systems such as the mobile volcanic monitoring equipment and drone technology for digital mapping. The use of these technologies has helped spread critical information more quickly, improve understanding of the causes of climate disasters, enhance early warning systems and more. However, without proper regulation and guidelines, such technology could prove dangerous. Hence, it is vital to address the regulation, scaling and impact (both positive and negative) of disruptive technologies.

TOPIC 2:  Development and Application of New Sustainable Technologies

High consumption has caused a rapid depletion of our natural resources. It is predicted that the world would run out of natural resources by 2060, if we do not shift towards alternative energy soon. The use of natural resources emits tons of harmful chemicals and toxins into the air and water, which only increases the factors contributing to climate change. The depletion of natural resources has resulted in water shortages, loss of forest cover, oil shortages, habitat degradation, and much more. As such, there needs to be policies which address the overreliance on natural resources, increase in usage of renewable energy and further discussion about the possible alternatives to natural resources.
UNEP
Image by Maria Lupan

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Council type: Intermediate - Virtual

TOPIC 1:  Addressing the South Asian Development Paradox

 With the rise in industrial and technological developments within the South Asian region, many of its countries have begun to accumulate more wealth, as these nations become home to an ever increasing number of business owners, entrepreneurs and investors. With this boom in expanding industries within South Asia, it should then follow that more job opportunities are now being open to a greater population of individuals within the region, which should help raise the current productive worker skillset and the average level of education the future generation can afford. Yet, it seems that the number of individuals living in poverty has increased, and wealth gaps in the region have been consistently widening. This paradox is best exemplified by India, whose poverty rate fell from 60 percent to 40 percent while simultaneously, their proportion of population in poverty rose from 420 million to 455 million. This shows a lag in poverty reduction as poverty rates do not decrease at a quick enough rate to produce economic growth sufficient in accommodating the lifting of poor people out of poverty. This topic will thus explore the reasons behind what perpetuates the South Asian Development Paradox, and devise a framework that addresses the root of the issue.

TOPIC 2:  Addressing the Cost of Transitioning to Cleaner Energy Sources With a Focus on Oil Industry

As the energy sector seeks new and more profitable business models, we see several mergers and a few more bankruptcies. Rather than reinvent the wheel, the largest oil companies may seek to acquire some of today’s clean energy providers. This may help the large shareholders swim in profits, but for the common employees, this will lead to drastic changes. The same goes for the economies of certain countries, with those expected to be hit hardest by the transition to renewable energy being the largest exporters of crude oil: Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iraq; in 2019, Saudi Arabia derived 68% of its revenue from the sale of oil, while Russia received slightly over 50% of its revenue from petroleum exports. The expected transition towards cleaner energy sources would be painful for economies that rely heavily on oil exports, with workers in the industry facing the brunt of it. Thus the development of an economic transition plan to soften the impact is vital to prevent an economical crisis from occurring with this sector.  With high unemployment rates from COVID-19 and economies at an all time low, it is paramount for the UNDP to prevent the transition to sustainable energies to be another economic crisis.
UNDP
ASEAN
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Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Council type: Advanced - Virtual

NOTE: ASEAN is a Double Delegation Council. Refer to registration form for details on double delegation councils.

 

ASEAN cities have been sinking - Jakarta, Manila and more. Besides that, extreme weather is plaguing the cities in SEA and Asia. Poor infrastructure, unsustainable development coupled with growing poverty levels have only made the situation worse.

TOPIC 1:  Addressing the Issue of Flooding

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that heavy rainfall will become more intense and frequent across Asia in the coming decades. This means river basin floods will become more devastating and costly, especially in rapidly urbanising cities. With climate change expected to only keep causing more typhoons and floods, disaster prone areas of SEA and Asia are finding themselves incredibly unprepared, barely recovering from the previous disaster only to be hit by the next. What can countries do to build their capacity and help communities whose homes have been washed away to rebuild? How can countries work together to ensure the survival of these rural communities?

TOPIC 2:  Addressing the Issue of Sinking Cities

Related to Topic 1, many Southeast Asian cities have been sinking. Jakarta is sinking at a rate of 4.4mm per year and Ho Chi Minh City at 16.2mm. Causes for this include: unsustainable urban development and excessive groundwater extraction. How much political will is needed to mitigate the problem? If groundwater extraction is causing the problem, how can governments work together to deal with the water shortage problem? Can nature-based countermeasures such as mangroves be part of the solution?
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