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United Nations General Assembly
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is the main organ of the United Nations for discussion between member states, and under Article 13 of the UN Charter, is mandated to “initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of assisting in the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”.
Topic 1: Sports diplomacy
With the global unrest and pandemic crisis creating diplomatic strains between nations, it is of growing importance to find a means to promote peace and harmony. In a post-pandemic context, there is potential for sports events to give athletes a platform to promote pertinent global causes. Sports has notably also been a source of conflict in the past and moving forward; hence it is crucial for international sporting events to be conducted in a way that does not promote class divide or display political rivalries on a global stage. The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, among other sports events, provides an opportunity to debate the impact on the lack of this avenue for diplomacy. Delegates will have to discuss how the value of sports in global relations can continue following the pandemic, and how important it is for athletes to have a platform to use their voice for social change while remaining aware of current global tensions.
Topic 2: Sustainability of international sporting events
"The promised legacy of the Olympics achieving a safe city for all people was not delivered. Instead a legacy of human rights violations endures." - Amnesty International, in its post-Rio 2016 Olympics human rights report
It is debatable whether countries that have hosted international sporting events such as the Olympic Games have reaped long term positive benefits in terms of soft power. Preparations of hosting a major sporting event can boost investment in housing projects, infrastructure and public transportation in the given city. However, large-scale investment in infrastructure developments can have a severe negative impact in future years, such as the disuse of sporting venues after the event and inequality as a consequence of rapid development. Delegates must unite and discuss what the international community can do to limit the negative externalities associated with large scale sporting events on host nations’ economies and societies.
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