1 Nov 2007
Dear Delegates, Coaches, and Parents:
My name is Joshua Adler and it is a pleasure to once again be serving as the Director of the Georgia Southern University Model UN Security Council simulation. This is my 13th year involved in one way or another with the GSU program, and I never fail to get excited about the new and exciting things that we have planned for the simulation. Before we dive into the topics, allow me a brief moment to introduce myself to those with whom I have not yet had the pleasure of working.
I first became involved with GSU Model UN while in Middle School. From there I participated in High School Model UN, and eventually National Collegiate Model UN, serving as the Head Delegate of the Georgia Southern team for two years. I have had the additional privilege of serving on the National Model UN staff for 5 years, in various capacities, culminating as the Under Secretary General of Security Councils in 2006. Truly though, of all of the Model UN experiences that I have had, my experiences with the GSU conference are some of my most treasured memories.
After two years at Georgia Southern, I transferred to American University, where I completed my BA in Russian Language/Area Studies and Intelligence Studies. After working in the DC area for several years, I completed my Masters degree in Strategic Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in the United Kingdom. I am currently back in Washington D.C. working for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton in support of intelligence in the Global War on Terror.
This year we are fortunate to have an Assistant Director for Security Council, Morgan Collins. Morgan is a student at Georgia Southern University majoring in International Relations. More importantly, she is a recent veteran for GSU Model UN Security Council simulations. Last year, she was recognized as the top delegate in the simulation, truly a remarkable achievement.
Before I launch into some discussion of procedures and changes for this year, allow me to present you with the topics that I suggest we discuss this year:
I. The ongoing situation in Darfur;
II. Addressing the Situation in Burma;
III. Recommendations on UN Charter Reform;
IV. An Open Discussion of Terrorism;
V. Non-Traditional Threats to International Peace and Security.
Please remember that the Security Council maintains an open agenda. The above topics are suggestions. A delegate that can muster a super-majority may bring any topic before the Council. Also, please note that the topics are not in any particular order. On our first meeting we will use the rules of procedure to set the order of the topics. If the Council cannot agree on the order of topics in a reasonable amount of time, I in consultation with Morgan will set the order of topics.
A further point to note; in Security Council there are no pre-written resolutions. All draft resolutions/resolutions are written in conference with colleagues as we go along. Please remember that our rules of procedure bar absolutely pre-written resolutions. As you are researching, it is fine to collect information, but please do not bring pre-written resolutions. Also bear in mind that the Security Council works in real time. Unlike other committees at the conference, time does not freeze for us on Thursday; real time events can be discussed.
Lastly, please familiarize yourself with the Security Council rules of procedure; they are not the same as General Assembly. You will find the rules of procedure attached, and even though we will review them the first day, please make sure you are familiar with them before you arrive. Knowledge of the rules of procedure will make or break your experience.
Before we proceed further, let me emphasize a point that I mention every year, but is not often heeded. The Security Council simulation is an intense, complex, pressure cooker. Competition is fierce and my expectation of delegates is large. The Security Council simulation is not the place for first time delegates to Model UN. It has been my experience of many years of participation and leadership in this conference that more ‘green’ delegates tend to not have as good of a time as more experience delegates.
As always, a requirement for your participation in this simulation is a position paper. A position paper is a way for Morgan and me to judge your research and preparation, and is a chance for you to share with your colleagues how your State feels on the issues that you want to bring before the Council. A copy of a position paper is attached for your reference. As per the tradition begun last year, we will give an award for the most outstanding position paper to be received.
This year, position papers should be no more than 2.5 pages and should discuss your States’ stance on the issues that your State wants to bring before the Council. Feel free to add or subtract issues as necessary from the list above. A good template for position papers it to utilize the two paragraph format. In the first paragraph introduce the issue, in the second paragraph advocate what policy your State will try to bring about regarding it. Make sure you answer the ‘So What!’ issue. Morgan and I are always available to provide more guidance on this issue. Please remember not to regurgitate this guide in the position paper! I know what background I wrote on the issues; I want to see your original thinking! This year all position papers are to be submitted by email no later that 1700 hours, Friday the 1st of February, 2008. Due to the debacles of years past, I will not accept any papers by regular mail, nor will I accept any later papers without good reason.
This year I want to try something a little different in order to enhance the education experience of this conference. When delegates receive this guide I would appreciate if they would contact me via email. I would like to get an email group together where the students participating in the simulation can discuss issues and receive occasional emails on pertinent information regarding our topics. I think this increase in collaboration can only enhance the learning experience. Of course parents and coaches are welcome to send their email addresses as well and be included in the mailings. I envision sending out a few articles a week along with some discussion topics.
In the pages that follow you will see some broad outlines for the topics I have suggested. Those of you that are Security Council veterans will notice that the research information is not as expansive as it has been in years past. I have purposely not done a lot of research for you this year because I have found that excessive guidance from me has stifled the creative thought and research.
What follows is basic parameters for each topic, but is not meant to be a substitute for real and deep research. As always, if you are stuck, do not hesitate to contact me or Morgan. If you are in a bind or stuck on an issue we are more than happy to help, but only after you have done your own due diligence. I have tried to format this year’s background guide more like a mystery novel than a cut-and-dry guide. I hope that in each topic Morgan and I have dangled enough juicy thoughts that you are driven to go find out more about the topic.
I look forward to hearing from all of you as you really begin to tuck into your research. Again, please, please, please do not hesitate to contact us for help or questions. Morgan and I live for this stuff. I hope you all have bountiful Thanksgivings’, Happy Holidays’, and prosperous New Years’. I look forward to meeting you all in February.
Last item. If you do not have ALL of the attachments listed below, please contact Dr. Balleck ASAP.
Joshua Adler Morgan Collins
562-394-6398 (h) Thevclub89@yahoo.com
/Rules of Procedure
/Sample Position Paper
Topic Guidance Annex
I. The Ongoing Situation in Darfur: [Morgan is the author and expert on this topic; please direct content questions to her first]
The Darfur conflict is a relatively new crisis that began in February 2003. One side of the conflict is the Sudanese military and the Janjaweed. The other side is a variety of rebel groups such as the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). You must also realize that the Sudanese government public denies its support for the Janjaweed while at the same time provides both money and assistance to the group.
While I will not provide information for every attack within the conflict, I will guide you in the direction you need to go. A ceasefire was put in place in January of 2007. It was envisioned to last for 60 days and allow for humanitarian aid. Unfortunately the ceasefire was a failure. Violence and killings continued in the region, including the killings of African Union Peacekeepers. There also continues to be massive influxes of Sudanese people into bordering countries. You will also need to familiarize yourselves with Darfur related Security Council Resolution 1706. It was passed in August of 2006 but by October the Sudanese president had already begun rejecting proposals of sending peacekeepers into the region.
With that, I bring you to the biggest issue that you will face when dealing with this conflict: The issue of national sovereignty. The problem with this conflict is that the Sudanese president can easily say that the United Nations is not wanted in the region, and in fact, he has. Sudan has stated that if UN Peacekeepers are sent into the area they will be rejected. The only way Sudanese leaders will allow for a peacekeeping mission is if it is done through the African Union. Your goal is to find out how to create a solution with the African Union without angering the Sudanese government.
Delegates must also understand that violence between the sides of the conflict is not the only contribution to the crisis. There is a primary need for water in the Darfur region. The combinations of drought, desertification, and overpopulation have furthered the need for humanitarian relief. On a positive note, as of July of 2007, reports suggested that a large underground lake was found in the Darfur region. Secondly, reports have been made that Russia and China are continually undermining sanctions. Both have been accused of supplying arms and ammunition to Sudan.
Aside from the ceasefire and UNSC Resolution 1706, you are encouraged to look over the African Standby Force, Darfur Peace Agreement, and UNSC Resolutions 1709, 1713, 1714, 1755, 1769, 1779, and 1784. The idea is to look at what has already been done, that is not working, and creates a new solution that has not necessarily been tried yet.
Questions for Further Studying and Guidance
What are the fundamental issues between the different sides of the crisis (SLM, Janjaweed, JEM, and NRF)?
What issues are continuing to plague the Darfur region and creating the humanitarian crisis?
How can the Security Council assist in humanitarian relief without violating Sudan’s national sovereignty?
What can be done to aid bordering countries dealing with the massive influx of displaced Sudanese people?
After reviewing the history of the crisis, do you think that a joint peacekeeping mission with the African Union is necessary to create a lasting peace in the Darfur region, and if so, how would you create it?
Could creating a complex irrigation and water system help to calm the humanitarian side of the crisis?
II. Addressing the Situation in Burma (Myanmar):
For about 15 years now, Burma has been ruled by a military junta that brutally oppresses its citizens and generally quashes human rights. Burma has become an international pariah for its actions and has very few reliable allies remaining. Unit very recently, the international community seemed content to ignore the situation in Burma because it was relatively quiet. Beginning in October 2007, the situation became explosive as the government ruthlessly suppressed a protest march by Buddhist monks. In the days that followed the government fired on, killed, or arrested thousands, effectively quashing the reform movement know as the ‘Saffron Revolution.’
Delegates will find information about the situation in Burma readily enough. The question that really confronts us in this simulation is not why the international community has ignored the problem for so long, but rather what the Security Council intends to do about it. The very reason detre for the existence of the Security Council is to protect the helpless, and to defend the rights for all. If the Security Council cannot agree on what to do in Burma, radical reforms are necessary to the way the Council operates.
When considering how the Council should act with respect to Burma, I would like to present you with three words: Cambodia, Cambodia, and Cambodia. The parallels between Cambodia and Burma are more interesting than mere geography. The junta in Myanmar rose to power by overthrowing the government. Both the Khmer Rouge and the Burmese Junta govern using racist discriminatory policies. Both governments have show that they have no qualms about killing their own people to suit political aims. And both situations, delegates, were virtually ignored by the international community until they were tragedies.
The saving grace here if you will is that the Security Council response to the Cambodian situation (eventually) was a model of efficiency, international cooperation, and effectiveness. Although the political situations are different in Burma than in Cambodia (the Khmer Rouge was overthrown before the UN went in), delegates are strongly advised to study the Security Council response in Cambodia for some ideas in how to handle the situation in Burma.
Remember as you research though that money is king. Specifically, there are business interests in Burma that did not exist in Cambodia. While the Khmer Rouge systematically dismantled the economic infrastructure, the military junta that controls Burma has been very protective of it. Scratch the surface and you will see arms deals, human trafficking, and most especially drug deals. Trafficking of drugs through Burma is higher now than it has ever been. All indications are that the Junta effectively taxes the drug trade and leverages that profit to solidify their hold on power. Lastly, Burma has some powerful business friends that have a vested interest in seeing things stay the way they are (I have been deliberately opaque here and hope the thrill of the chase will drive you to learn more about this issue)!
III. Recommendations on UN Charter Reform:
This topic has been with the United Nations for a long time now. The UN was created in a political environment that has long since vanished. At the time the Charter was signed in 1946, there were really only a handful of free and independent countries on Earth. As of today, there are nearly 210 independent countries/self governing territories. The UN structure that was designed to dispose of colonialism is simply not equipped to handle the robust quorum of the modern UN. In fact, it is my opinion that the relative ineffectiveness of the UN in recent years is due mainly to a structure that is not equipped to handle modern realities.
Look at our very Council, for instance. The veto-powers of the Council reflect the victors of World War II; an event we are separated from by over 60 years now. It is really not my intention here to point out every failing of the United Nations. Examples abound from repressive States on a Human Rights Commission, to an annual vote to condemn one particular country, to the complete lack of response to horrific genocide. If you are not already aware of these issues, I am positive that you will be come well acquainted with them in your research.
What I really want to emphasize here, is that the UN has tried to address Charter issues. Conference after conference has met, debated, and decided; only to have their decisions languish in sub committees. Per the current Charter, real and meaningful reform of the United Nations Charter must start and end with the Security Council. How’s that for responsibility? Delegates, any reform measure that is backed by the Security Council never has even a small shot at being acted upon. The burden of reform lies with you and you alone.
In preparation to discuss this topic, please familiarize yourself with the relevant sections of the United Nations charter that spells out how Charter modification is to be accomplished. Also familiarize yourself with the popular (veto reform) and unpopular (committee abolishment) ideas from the reform conference of a few summers ago. I encourage you to really scrutinize the UN from the top to the bottom. Perhaps the best way to bring about meaningful reform isn’t to address the most controversial issues like SC membership first. Remember, reform no matter how small builds momentum. Now I am serious here. I want you to analyze every area of the UN from peacekeeping, to committee structure, to GA procedure; leave no stone unturned.
I do have so advice for you as you proceed. I want you all to do something that the UN has been totally tone deaf towards. Look to other organizations. For instance, NATO is a product of the same time period as the UN, yet NATO is still strong, viable, and responsive (sometimes). What has NATO done/doing that the United Nations has not. Look at organizations like SEATO that were so successful they completed their work and disbanded. What has held the disparate and conflicting countries of the OAS together for so many years? I think you will find in each case there is some factor that keeps countries engaged and productive, it’s up to you to identify and adapt them for the UN.
IV. Terrorism: Open
I can offer no wisdom here, the issue is terrorism, and the approach is anything you think will work. Think outside the box here, traditional approaches to addressing terrorism are clearly not working.
V. Non-Traditional Threats to International Peace and Security:
Wars over territory are the conflicts of the past. In the modern era, wars are or will be fought over water, sea passages to the poles, and outer space. To whit, in the last few years, Israel has used control of the water going into the Palestinian Territories as a method of reward and punishment. In the last few months, thawing sea ice has caused several countries including Canada, Russia, Greenland, and the United States to claim the North Pole as contiguous territory. China is planning a permanent moon station, Germany will launch a lunar satellite next year, and the United States is planning to use the moon as a springboard to Mars.
None of these issues have exploded into a war yet, but they certainly could; and undoubtedly, one of them will. The SC should use its prerogative to attempt to mitigate future threats, proactive for once, instead of reactive. This topic is as open as a topic could be. We encourage you to be as wide ranging or specific as you think is necessary.