BY KATIE JONES, The Boston Globe
Gabby Schultz isn’t your average committee director. She loves her delegates, but she also knows how to crack the whip when she needs to.
Gabby Schultz, Director of UNEP, and lover of all things Noah Cominsky.
“Some of the delegates stayed up really late last night. They need to finish on time, but I guess my deadlines are too harsh,” Schultz laughed. “I’m a strict girl.”
For Schultz, there’s only two things a delegate needs to be successful in her committee.
“All I’m asking for is common decency, and above average working papers,” said Schultz.
When Schultz began to write the background guide for UNEP, she emphasized a passion for the environment and policies to protect it. Now, that’s all changed.
“I’m really into fossil fuels now,” said Schultz.
Environmental protection to fossil fuels…we’ll have to simply wonder where things changed.
While Schultz may not have a decisive opinion on the future of the environment, she does have an efficient work ethic. With a whole summer to write the background guide, Schultz knew that three months was more than enough time to produce a measly guide for delegates.
“I actually spent about two weeks in October writing it. After the summer. And…after the August 31 deadline,” said Schultz.
Outside of committee, Schultz wanted to clarify to The Boston Globe that she has the hots for Noah Cominsky.
“I LOVE Noah Cominsky. He wears an earpiece at conference. I’m a sucker for a man in a suit, what can I say?” swooned Schultz.
Besides winning a bet against Noah Cominsky, Schultz wants to take a moment to thank her mom for the Valentine’s Day package she hasn’t picked up from the mail center yet, as well as Press Corps Director Yash Kumbhat for the feature story (Yash loves you too, Gabby).
The Boston Globe would also like to note that during an interview with Schultz, a colleague walked by and asked Schultz, “Are we getting drunk tonight?”
Schultz casually looked up at her colleague, responded with a simple yes. So suave, so cool. They high-fived, and the passerby went on her way – we’ll be covering where Gabby ends up later tonight.
MITCHELL MCFARLANE, Fox News
HRC—Religious and racial conflicts lie at the center of Rohingya crisis. The majority of Rohingya people in Myanmar believe in Muslims, an identity that could be used to label them as threats to the nation. Myanmar is a Buddhist country, which makes the Rohingyas pagans in the eyes of prominent political and religious figures. They are at their most vulnerable: stripped of their citizenship, their homes burned down, their lives threatened, and their voice muted.
Again, we see the cycle of history repeating. By making the Jews an enemy of the people, Adolf Hitler transferred public dissatisfaction, and the social pressure that went with it, to one specific group. The unity of Germany was reached at the cost of the blood of the Jewish people. The Myanmar government is doing the very same thing. Apart from Germany, the doings of Myanmar officials are also reminiscent of the 2009 Ürümqi riots in China, which centered around the religious and racial differences between Muslim Uyghurs and Han Chinese.
It therefore makes sense that China will respond in favor of the Myanmar government, especially given the similar political standing the two countries hold. Internationally speaking, few countries in the western world are satisfied with China’s policies with the Uyghurs, even today. It would also make a lot of sense to stand behind a neighboring friend who’s caught up in the same religious disputes. Because if Myanmar was ever successfully intervened, China can easily be the next.
If we look at the works that China has done in the last ten years, it is clear that China aggressively tries to assimilate the Uyghurs into Chinese society, including building railroads at national debt, relocating Han Chinese in Xinjiang, and opening up reeducation camps for the Uyghurs. The effectiveness of these measures remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, that the Chinese government chooses governmental control over the uncertainty of a diverse, open nation.
That said, China will not blindly side with the Myanmar regime. Should the time come when their actions go so far that they cross the line—which seems inevitable—China will not sit idly by. This is mainly because China needs to uphold its reputation as global peacekeeper, which demands China not step aside in the event of a major human right violation.
However, the degree of China’s participation is going to be largely bound by its principle of nonintervention—choosing not to infringe on the sovereignty of other nations. It can be anticipated that China will share experiences on religious and racial assimilation with the Myanmar government, while protesting a significant intervention in the nation’s domestic affairs.
BY FRANCISCO MANUEL MATALLANA PACHECO, Reuters
Attending the United Nations Environmental Programme, Reuters News Agency was notified about the recent developments in rural Alaska. In the past few days, polar bears have begun attacking indigenous communities in the more desolated regions of the state of Alaska.
These events, though not impossible, have a relatively low probability of occurring, making the high frequency that they have seen in the past 48 hours especially troubling. It has been reported that numerous locals have required medical attention after suffering serious injuries in these encounters.
These encounters with polar bears come as a result of the continuous melting of the polar ice caps, a direct consequence of rising global temperatures. The damaging effect of greenhouse houses and carbon emissions have led to the degradation of this region, and consequently, the damaging of the polar bears’ habitats, and the delicate ecosystems that constitute them. The displacement of wildlife is a direct result of such changes in the environment.
Reuters approached the delegation of Korea for comments regarding what is currently unfolding in Alaska.
“We’ve been looking into adaptation mechanisms”, began the delegate, referring to her and her coalition within the committee, “and if this doesn’t work, we are going to use permanent relocation strategies”. The committee is currently engaged in contentious, yet productive and progressive, talks and discussions regarding the displacement of human populations in these regions.
“We are also trying to give special focus on animal protection; given that this is a U.N. Environment Programme, we think this is really important as well”. A facet of UNEP’s function does include the protection and conservation of wildlife as well, as populations are equally susceptible to rapid environmental changes. The numerous polar bear population is also a central issue being discussed in the committee.
Further, the delegations in UNEP, among them the Republic of Korea, have stated that they are pushing for an “Ecosystem Based Disaster Risk Reduction”. The implications of this program, aimed to establish realistic and definite parameters on the damages that could be done on the environment, are being redirected and tailored to quickly suit the rapid climate changes that the arctic region is experiencing. Korea’s “Adaptation Mechanisms” have served as a pathway for other delegations, and their propositions and programs, to be integrated and put forth on a viable, proportional, and efficient solution to manage—and to certain extents suppress—the dire effects of the present issue.
Additionally, the “Adaptation Mechanisms” include guidelines on internal displacement. This encompasses a “Capacity Building Program” for the “Disaster Risk Reduction”, in order to involve the affected communities. These different programs or “pilot projects” will be tested in the local communities to find the best and most efficient fit to counteract the effects of polar bear presence.
The recent polar bear attacks come as a reminder to many delegations at UNEP of the dire need to counterattack the effects of climate change, and its consequences in the displacement of populations.
By VISHAL NAGDA, South China Morning Post
The Kurds inhabit a region that borders on Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. A population of between 25 to 35 million, they have not yet established themselves as a sovereign state.
The ECOFIN committee in HNMUN 2019 have a focus on both augmenting human capital to reduce the skills gap in the workforce and the economic future of green energy development. Indeed, a major theme that crosses both topics is technology and its impact in the 21st Century, both now and in the coming decades.
As the ECOFIN committee is preparing to submit their draft resolution to the dais, a number of blocs have formed over the last two days and deliberations on whether blocs should merge is ongoing.
One bloc, by the name of Cap Cares, aim to support the Kurdish population in Iraq by helping them grow economically through their population. Additionally, Cap Cares intend to establish a framework of human rights in the country, working hand in hand with the United Nations.
Cap Cares is an independent alliance composed of nations including Serbia, Armenia, Yemen, Oman and Canada.
The focus of the aforementioned bloc is sustainability and long-term planning. Through this, they believe, they can come up with a resolution and solution that is both realistic and effective.
BY JEREMY HOLT, Le Figaro & KATIE JONES, The Boston Globe
The United Nations has directed its International Organization for Migration (I.O.M.) and High Commissioner for Refugees (U.N.H.C.R.) components to address salient issues surrounding global forced migration. The developments take place in the years following refugee crises around the world, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Sahel countries to Syria, which has been labelled the worst refugee situation since World War II. The U.N. delegated the interweaving subjects of human trafficking and refugee education to the I.O.M. and the U.N.H.C.R., respectively.
Blocs in both organizations have begun proposing their ideas in working papers. While member nations agree on the international community’s responsibility to ensure the safety of refugees, it has become evident that a number of states are doing all they can to alleviate their own burdens of accepting and providing for them. These stances of national interest have appeared — both implicitly and not — in the drafts of working papers.
In one glaring example, a U.N.H.C.R. working paper proposed by a bloc which includes France advocates for teaching systems powered by artificial intelligence which “should be tailored made [sic] … by France’s award winning EdTech startup Domoscio.” In a press conference, Le Figaro asked the French delegate if she or the French state had any ulterior motives in pushing Domoscio in such glowing terms. The delegate declined to address the question directly.
In the same press conference, Le Figaro asked the delegate of the United States if measures designed to boost refugees’ educational infrastructure in developing countries would be used to shift migrant flows away from the U.S. The American delegate responded, “American foreign policy is about freedom, and a country can only be free if the individual is free, and Epictetus said that only the educated are free … so, yeah.” The delegate had previously emphasized the U.S.’s status as the U.N.H.C.R.’s largest funder, a stance echoed by the American delegation to the I.O.M. When asked to confirm or deny the isolationist stance articulated by the U.N.H.C.R. delegate, the I.O.M. delegation declined to address the question directly.
The U.N.H.C.R. delegate from Poland had previously told a Le Figaro reporter that Poland wanted to decrease its incoming migrant flow by use of an “integration through examination” solution that filters out all but the most highly skilled and intelligent migrants. Poland did not elaborate where the remainder of the migrants would go.
In the I.O.M., delegations are primarily looking to create solutions for refugees and other victims of human trafficking. The Boston Globe partnered with Le Figaro to conduct a press conference that would establish lines in the sand on why each working paper is different.
The Boston Globe has confirmed that the United States is a “yes” on distributing civilian business information with international identities in efforts to stop human trafficking. This notion is alarming, as the United States has typically valued the protection and security of its citizens.
In the press conference the United States said, “We want to hold these corporations financially accountable and they need to be held accountable for the labor they are using — this will avoid the use of cheap labor that is the result of trafficking.”
The Delegation of the United States.
In response, The Boston Globe asked, “The United States is OK with providing private citizen business information to international entities?”
After poking and prodding, the delegation of the United States admitted yes, that it would support supplying private information on citizen activities to international entities if it meant halting human trafficking. This is a troubling statement, and it begs the question of whether this is Constitutionally legal for the United States.
Additionally, several delegations within the I.O.M. are advocating for “harsher punishments” for those convicted of smuggling and trafficking.
In several nations, including Canada and the Philippines, laws dictate a life imprisonment sentence for criminals of trafficking and smuggling. When asked what constitutes a “harsher punishment” than life imprisonment, there was a sense of vagueness and confusion among the delegates on the working paper (Better Together).
“We want all states to be at the level of imprisonment as a life sentence. It’s what we believe in, and it’s the only solution to punish smugglers,” said the delegation of Canada.
Statistics collected by The Boston Globe show a large number of prisons across the world are directly violating the International Declaration of Human Rights. For developed nations, a life sentence may mean a decent jail cell with semi-decent food. For prisons with a lack of resources and security, a life imprisonment for smuggling may violate the declarations definition of “cruel, inhuman punishment”.
This begs the question — does Canada, along with other nations in the Better Together bloc plan to violate the exact Declaration that they have signed and agreed to uphold and protect? The delegates of the I.O.M. have developed a lack of specificity in their working papers, which signals a call for concern, especially for citizens of the United States.
As human rights flounder against national interests in the subcommittees of the U.N., one recalls the words of H.N.M.U.N. Secretary-General Antonio J. Soriano at the opening ceremony of the current session: “I wish the rest of the world could see what happens in these halls over the next four days.” Amid cynicism at the U.N., one wonders if Soriano’s wishes are misplaced.
BY ALEXENDER MELTZERWERNER, Korean Central News Agency
The Arctic has long been a point of contention between various nations because of its abundant amount of natural resources. Not only are there approximately 200,000 species unique to the Arctic, it contains an estimated one third of the world total undiscovered natural gas. The interests of Indigenous people have typically pushed aside in favor of economic gains from various countries, but as permanent consequences rear their head, the Arctic Council is talking the issue of indigenous representation, economic interests, and research opportunities to be had.
A recent merger has occurred between the proposed resolutions Ideal Arctic, which focuses on sustainable extraction of resources and indigenous representation, and FIRE which has the same sentiments, but which also included expanding research task forces. The new proposal is called Ideal FIRE and through balancing all these issue hope that the entire Arctic Council can come to a peaceful resolution that will help not only Indigenous people but future generations through the reduction unsustainable extraction of natural resources. “The current condition of the Arctic is far from ideal. What Japan wants is something simple, to strive for this ideal Arctic, the Arctic of the future,” said the delegation from Japan. Japan and other observer countries believe the Arctic Council itself should be reworked to be more efficient through the creation different expert groups to handle specific topics.
However, nations with sovereignty of the Arctic have a different proposal in mind. Correspondents with both the Russian Federation, and China have told the Korean Central News Agency, that they support the resolution called Invest, Protect, and Organize (IPO). Russia emphasizes, “we want to emphasize that resource extraction is an inevitability. It makes up over 20% of our GDP as of now. When we extract resources, we are not doing so to intentionally hurt the environment, we are doing so to protect the millions of people within Russia,” a statement with much weight to it considering that the natural gases extracted from the Arctic to Russia held power all of Europe. IPO wishes to encourage investments from sovereign nations to expand not only research task forces but help empower Indigenous people have more of a voice in the Arctic Council.
One point of agreement for all nations is that the current treatment of the Indigenous people should be changed to better include them in the affairs of their homeland. Delegates are confronted with the challenge of balancing the harmful extraction of natural resources that are necessary for keeping the lights on, vs a more sustainable solution that helps preserve that natural beauty of the Arctic for future generations and helps the Indigenous people. It depends on all delegates to focus on both short term and long-term solutions.
BY ISAAC BYKHOVSKY, Financial Times
Saturday morning started with The Netherlands opening debate by stating that the committee “needs accountability.” The next speaker, Japan, fought accountability and touted responsibility by stating “Non-Arctic states need to ask permission to speak and vote…in such a council.” By the third day of committee, the merits of unity and cooperation had melted away from delegates minds—and the discussion on the responsible use of resources in the Arctic becomes contentious.
Iceland and Sweden both echoed the sentiments of Japan—indicating an unfortunate alliance which seemingly alienates non-Arctic states. Granted, these sentiments may be a bi-product of the resolutions from those non-Arctic states. In an interview, France states “The extraction of resources [from the Arctic] is acceptable, as long as conducted through the merits of sustainable development.” From an economic perspective, the Financial Times agrees with this statement. The opportunity for economic development in the Arctic is the next frontier for innovation—yet the importance of safe resource use must be pivotal for this committee. There have been notable examples for economic downturn due to unsafe natural resource use throughout the world—specifically in Youngstown, OH in the United States.
Figure 1 The delegate from France leads the Protect IPO bloc
When the fracking industry came to this rust belt town, residents of Youngstown were eager to be apart of this growing energy industry. The added employment and economic stability were accepted with open arms by the locals—but soon this boom became literal. Within months of starting this fracking operation, residents of the city noted that their water supplies were catching fire, and there were numerous reports of earthquakes throughout the city. After months on investigation, it was found that natural gas from the fracking process was leaking into the water table, causing gas to penetrate water supplies and shift the ground of the city.
It is clear in The Arctic Council that every state wants to prevent such occurrences in their respective countries, but unfortunately there is no cohesive plan to do so. Central and Western European nations continue to view the Arctic as a prosperous frontier which they hope to utilize and respect, while Nordic states see the Arctic as a nature preserve in their backyard—solely focused on its protection, and not its use.
In the coming hours, the Financial Times will lead a Press conference focused on the economic ramifications of resource extraction from the Arctic.