“There’s no question that the post-Soviet world order is undergoing a seismic shift.” – as a forecast of the Global Security Review says. The establishment of a multipolar world order where power is once again evenly distributed may seem like a far-fetched idea for some, however, the tendency of small steps towards states gradually questioning the legitimacy of a system based on the supremacy of the United States of America is indisputable. The question we seek to answer is: which fields furnish an opportunity for rising powers to step into the spotlight? Therefore, we have chosen bodies of the United Nations and International Organisations with relevant topics that may provide a heated debate to participants from all over the world to get to know these areas and answer our question.
Topic: Response and counter to hybrid warfare / Hybrid warfare as a complex challenge
The main topic of the United Nations Security Council revolves around a serious challenge of the 21st century. Irregular methods of warfare, such as propaganda aimed at deception or cyber and terrorist attacks, are becoming less the exception but the norm, as sabotage and deployment of irregular armed groups have long been used to destabilise adversaries. What is revolutionary about these attacks are their speed, scale and the nature of the actors. The effects of hybrid warfare against Ukraine challenge the collective European and regional security landscape. Hybrid and asymmetric methods are based on the combination of armed forces (that is still viewed as a symbol of power) and the skilful use of technology and information. Such methods not only challenge the international architecture but also the basic principles of international law. Concerns at the UN are at an alarming level, seeing how asymmetric measures and irregular warfare escalated the civil war into a full-fledged war and humanitarian crisis in Syria. Will the United Nations Security Council overcome the challenges of concepts and become ready to tackle any non-state or allegedly state-sponsored attacks?
In the 21st century, one can argue that despite the reoccurring economic instabilities and military conflicts, the true challenge of our generation is to establish a clean environment for the future. The United Nations Environment Programme’s report identifies the 25 most effective measures to reduce air pollution in Asia and the Pacific region, ranging from industry to the prevention of forest fires. Apart from that, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provided a special report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC, urging for preventive action. The melting ice caps will not only impact our coastlines but may radically alter international trade, as the Northern trading route emerges. Are the current developments such as the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement or the Federative Republic of Brazil’s newly elected president’s, Jair Bolsonaro’s proposal of running a highway through the Amazon forest the right steps taken? How will the UNEP alter the course of events and deal with the new route of commercial shipping?
The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) has a luxury not many of its kind possess: the ability to look to the future and shape it in the present. Surprisingly, the last treaty of outstanding importance was written in 1979, when Voyager 2 was roughly 600 million kilometres from earth and has travelled since an additional 20,5 billion kilometres. Members of this Chamber may be countries of significance, but there are dozens of private companies actively involved in spaceflight. For example in 2012, SpaceX has become the first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft, a feat only 12 of the world’s countries have managed to pull off. Other controversial issues convoluted with morality and legal grey areas are space tourism and earth observation that put national sovereignty and personal privacy in the centre of attention. With President Donald Trump announcing the US Space Force program, a seemingly settled situation resurfaces: Is space a “common heritage of man”? Should we prepare for an arms race or will the legal framework of the peaceful usage of outer space stay ensured?
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation has a wide variety of topics assigned to it ranging from the management of border control, migration, combating human and arms trafficking, dealing with the possible consequences of climate change to the safe preservation of the northern trading route. The management of border control raises a question of cooperation between EU member states and those member states of the OSCE that are not part of the EU. When there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security, a Schengen country may temporarily reintroduce border control at its internal border. The underlying reasons can both be security-related or aimed at countering illegal trafficking. Cooperation might be inevitable, as several countries across the globe face migration and arms trafficking of a magnitude requiring joint international action. The challenges of the 21st century require a holistic approach, combining different fields of policies, cooperation and joint action based on common goals and values. Academic studies suggest that the Northern Sea Route will gradually absorb about 5% of global shipping, furthermore, up to 13% of all Chinese trade may go through the route. How will the estimated shift of commercial trade affect countries dependent on the hegemony of the Suez canal? Will these issues tighten the bonds or cause permanent rifts between the parties involved?
The NATO/SCO is our only joint chamber, shared between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The main topic at hand starts with President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw about half of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan. This could have major and severe implications in times when the preservation of security and stability, both in the internal and the regional scenario, is a major challenge for Central Asia. The SCO, as it is now, cannot be directly compared to the NATO. But it’s recent actions may suggest a desire to build the SCO into a new form of security organisation. The burning question of Afghanistan and its future security, including the risk of spillovers such as terrorism, regional hegemonic aspirations, illegal drug and weapons trafficking might be the final straw. Can this joint chamber reach cooperation on issues of mutual interest? Is it fated to become a competition to resolve issues “unilaterally” by excluding the opposing party of influence-gaining positions?
Let’s take a look at the main topic of the Council of Europe in finding a way to promote democracy and the rule of law without interfering in a nation-state’s autonomy. The economic crisis of 2008 had a severe impact on the whole global economy and underlined the misbelief of liberal democracy is the perfect form of government every country should seek to establish. It showed that other political systems might be more capable to tackle the repercussions of the effects of the recession. Because of the seeming success of illiberal democracies, such as the financial stability and growth of the People’s Republic of China, they can be viewed as a potential alternative when it comes to a political system to be followed. The rise of populism has become a new trend in international politics in the recent decade. Nearly 25 years ago, liberal democracy had triumphed, being the only legitimate form of government both in theory and practice. Today, liberal democracies are facing external challenges: the occurrence of regimes claiming to be based on God’s word rather than the will of the people; from the success of strong-handed meritocracy in places such as Singapore, and, not least, from the astonishing economic accomplishments of China’s market-Leninist system. One of the most critical internal challenges is populism that is waging a war against liberal principles, claiming that such policies weaken the democracy and harm the people. With the rise of alternatives to liberal views like the rise of populism, religious influence and strong-handed meritocracy, the Council is tasked with the protection of democratic institutions, such as judicial independence. The UN sustainable development goals promote peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and for building effective, accountable institutions at all levels. But with the COE members stretching from the major Western democracies from Poland and Hungary to Turkey and Russia, a compromise is seemingly difficult to reach. Will these nations come to an understanding regarding good governance or is a new division inevitable?
The G20, as the Economic Chamber, is the economic backbone of the conference. Let’s take a look at the main topic of this Chamber, which is to break the cycle of economic depression. With the stock market crash and the Great Depression, policymakers pushed for governments to play a more proactive role in the economy. More recently, countries had scaled back the size and function of government—with markets taking on an enhanced role in the allocation of goods and services—but when the global financial crisis threatened worldwide recession, many countries returned to a more active fiscal policy. The economic downturn also led to the reinvigoration of the protectionism vs free trade debate drawing a wedge between developed and developing countries. Economic depressions mean terrible harm to humanity. Not only traders, business companies and employees of the financial sector suffer from them but, basically, everyone in the world is affected. Recent events, such as the USA imposing higher tariffs on the People’s Republic of China since the beginning of 2018, leads to damage regarding the economies of both parties. Agreements questioned by the United States (such as NAFTA) rebranded as United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) affects various countries within and outside the G20. Beyond the lingering threat of a trade war, growing debt in the developed world induce fear of a new crisis. Can the G20 defy all odds, avoid a trade war and establish a framework for future policies to reach economic and financial stability?
Brief topic: As the CD is an irregular chamber with the purpose to connect the work of each member of the represented state’s Delegation and fill in on spots where representation might be lacking, delegates of the CD have to have a general understanding of all topics within the conference. They should help the Head Delegate in developing a general approach to the conference.