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Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (SPECPOL)

Topic 1: Addressing the Impact of Rising Sea-levels on Small Island States

Sea-level rise is one of the major challenges identified in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5°C”. It is almost certain that we will experience at least one metre of sea-level rise, with some models estimating this will happen within the next 80 years. This will have serious implications for damage to infrastructure, loss of land and displacement of communities.

Even if we succeed in limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, sea levels will continue to rise for centuries to come, due to the emissions we have already locked in. While living on the coast has always come with a certain level of flooding and erosion risks, climate change will alter our coastlines and we must prepare for this new reality.

Small island states are the most vulnerable of all coastal areas to global climate change and accelerated sea-level rise. Many of these countries with limited resource bases are ill equipped to handle existing environmental problems such as explosive population growth, overdevelopment and pollution. 

Scientific research and effective public dissemination of this research are being expanded through the U.S. Country Studies Program for a number of small island states, including the Federated States of Micronesia, Western Samoa, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. The Caribbean nations are developing similar programs through the Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change Program. Sea-level rise impacts on existing and planned development should be considered holistically through integrated coastal zone management.

Topic 2: Neocolonialism in Africa

The decolonization of Africa is a heavily disputed topic and it comes at a crucial time of economic globalization and development in third world countries. Even though African nations gained their independence in the 1950s following the end of World War II, many people still believe that the imperialistic nature of their governments prior to the war still haunts them and is even present today. Immediately after the war, European nations deserted the continent and left the African people with a lack of political experience and arbitrary political boundaries that placed many diverse ethnic people under the same government. Therefore, decolonization after the war only materialized on paper. These countries have simply become subjects of political and economic exploitation over the past few decades. Under the guise of economic aid and neoliberal growth, the US, China, and many developed European countries have grasped at opportunities to take advantage of the abundance of natural resources on African land. However, is this form of economic and political intervention really beneficial for both sides? Or will the current dealings between African and first-world nations re-entrench the controversy of colonial Africa?