United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
Topic 1: Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen
Believed to have had roots from the Arab Spring when Pro-democracy protesters took to the streets in a bid to force the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to end his 33-year rule. He responded with economic concessions but refused to resign. By March 2011, tensions on the streets of the capital city, Sana’a, resulted in death of the protesters at the hands of the military. The crisis has been escalating since the start of the Saudi-led intervention in March 2015. Having claimed that Iran was smuggling weapons to Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia imposed a partial blockade of Hodeidah port—the gateway to northern and central Yemen—and has since tightened it, restricting the supply of staples such as wheat, rice, and cooking and fuel oil. Combat has worsened the crisis leading to cataclysmic catastrophe.
The key issues in Yemen are manifold. The country and the government is unstable due to the ongoing civil war and heavy shelling and sea blockades disrupt every aspect of civilian life. The situation in Yemen therefore poses a threat to international peace and security for many reasons: due to a civil war with significant outside involvement, growing terrorist activities, an unparalleled humanitarian crisis, and a refugee crisis.
Topic 2: Reforming the UN peacekeeping operation
The earliest armed peacekeeping operation was the first UN Emergency Force deployed during the Suez crisis in 1956. Since then, the UN has deployed more than 70 peacekeeping operations. Currently it has more than 78000 soldiers and 25000 civilians coming from over 100 member states, dispersed across 14 countries.
UN Peacekeepers are now undertaking a wide variety of complex tasks, from establishing sustainable governance structures, human rights monitoring, security sector reforms, to the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants. However, there exist variety of problems within UNPKO like lack of doable and visible mandate, deteriorating trust or image by peacekeepers, operational constraints and structural problems. With today 1.5 billion people living in fragile and conflict-affected countries, the UN must strengthen and adapt its peacekeeping instruments to handle the current challenges. Hence, peacekeeping operations require reforms to allow quicker and more effective responses to these challenges.