Hello delegates! My name is Nedda Bozorgmehri, and I will be one of your co-chairs for SOCOMUN this year. I am senior at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, and this is my fourth year being involved with Model United Nations. MUN has provided me with the incredible opportunity to increase my knowledge on current international issues and look at the world from a whole new perspective. I really enjoy researching the interesting topics, brainstorming innovative solutions, learning more about international problems, and presenting my ideas as a delegate from another country. I especially enjoy meeting delegates from other schools, giving speeches, and engaging in stimulating discussions during caucus. I have participated in a diverse range of committees such as, UNICEF, UNEO, General Assembly, World Bank, and Security Council to discuss a variety of topics such as illegal poaching, deforestation, and chemical and biological weapons. Traveling is one of my favorite parts about MUN. During my sophomore year I was invited to the prestigious conferences at Brown University and UC Berkeley. During my junior year I attended Royal Russell in East Croydon, U.K. This year I will be traveling to a conference in Beijing, China. Aside from MUN, I am actively involved in school as a Full IB Diploma Candidate, Student Ambassador, National Honors Society Member, President of the Teen Library Blog Club, and Co-Founder of Peacemakers club. I enjoy playing basketball and doing taekwondo. I love to read, draw, listen to music and spend time with my friends. I hope that all of you will have an amazing experience at SOCOMUN and are motivated to continue with MUN!
I will now provide you with a brief description on the set up of committee, but we will go into further detail on procedures, motions, and rules on the day of the conference. We will begin committee with speeches regarding solutions for the topic going down the speakers list. During the speech, delegates can present their country policy and a few of their solutions. Delegates can also motion for a caucus, which provides an informal platform to present their solutions and interact with other delegates who have similar policies and ideas in order to establish resolutions. The resolutions will be specific to the topic of landmines. Once resolutions are drafted, they will be presented to the committee and voted upon. I strongly encourage all delegates to spend time researching the topic and understand the different aspects that could be discussed in committee. Furthermore, it is crucial to understand your country policy on the topic, and this will help you know which resolutions you support or don’t support. Also, when coming up with solutions, try to think of the most effective ways to solve the issue while also being creative and unique – think outside of the box! If you have any questions, please, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Best of luck with your research and preparation for SOCOMUN and I look forward to meeting you in committee and hearing your ideas for this topic.
A Khmer Rouge general once said, “A landmine is the perfect soldier: ever courageous, never sleeps, never misses” (UNICEF). Although they are incongruously compared to a “perfect... sleepless soldier” landmines are far from being innocuous. Landmines are explosive, fatal weapons typically hidden under a thin surface of ground and activated by the weight of personnel or vehicles, which is why they are considered one of the most destructive forms of weaponry. There are two main types of landmines: antipersonnel (targeted towards injuring, incapacitating, or killing people) and antitank (used for large scale destruction of military tanks and vehicles). Landmine production augmented during the Cold War, their use prominently seen during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
They continue to create severe problems for various countries today. 70 people are either killed or incapacitated by landmines every day. Some areas that are most affected by these dangerous weapons include Egypt (23 million mines), Iran (16 million mines), Angola (20 million mines), and Iraq (10 million mines). Landmines remain on or under the ground and instantly explode when their trigger is activated or set to self-destruct, however they cannot distinguish combatant from civilian. Landmines that remain left behind after war pose danger to civilians, especially children, living in the area. This concern occurs primarily in developing nations with high illiteracy rates. The children who cannot read signs warning the presence of landmines will wander into dangerous territory and may be fatally harmed by the explosives. After experiencing severe physiological trauma, those effected by landmines do not have access to proper medical facilities and post-traumatic treatment.
Landmines also affect environmental and socioeconomic situations in nations where the mines are present. For instance, if a landmine is found in a national park or wildlife reserve, it can negatively impact tourism and revenue. Landmines also pose a threat to a countries biodiversity. Mines have been the cause of over 100 elephant deaths in Mozambique. Disarmament of landmines is a highly expensive and incredibly challenging. The cost of removing all the weapons throughout the world is estimated to be around $33 billion dollars.
Ever since 1980, the United Nations has played an active role in preventing the use of landmines in warfare. The UN added the use of landmines to the Inhumane Weapons Convention in 1996. Additionally, the UN Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, production, and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Mine-Ban Convention) was established to support the global eradication of landmines. 156 states have ratified this convention. The NGO International Ban to Land Mines spearheaded more global cooperation regarding the use of landmines. HALO Trust is an organization with highly trained specialists that carryout demining programs and provide humanitarian relief in affected countries.
When coming up with solutions, it is important to take into consideration key issues regarding landmines, and focus on how to solve them. Researching past UN resolutions can help provide you with an idea of what actions the UN has taken in the past and which ones have worked and which ones have not. Focus on the best way to solve the problem and prevent it from escalating in the future. Make your proposal as specific and detailed as possible. The more detail you include in developing your solutions, the easier it will be to effectively discuss and present your solutions in committee. After developing your own solutions, you will have the opportunity to work with other delegates and merge your ideas to draft a solid resolution.
Although the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) works with many countries to remove landmines, there are various countries that have not signed the treaty including United States, Russia, and China. One possible solution would be to find specific incentives that can be used to encourage these nations to sign the treaty. Another solution might be to develop an entirely new treaty and include why this new treaty would be more effective than the first. You could consider researching new technologies or methods that can be used to disarm landmines in a less expensive way. For example, chemical degradation is a process that inserts certain chemicals into the landmines causing them to gradually decompose over time. Consider including specific NGOs in your solutions, such as War Child International and Human Rights Watch, as these organizations can help countries work towards eradication of the landmines and humanitarian assistance. Also, keep in mind that funding will not be an issue since any solutions approved by our committee will be assumed to receive funding from the UN. While these are just a few basic ideas that you can use as a starting point, don’t forget to be creative and unique when it comes to forming your own solutions!
Questions to Consider:
The following questions are available as a helpful guide to your research and preparation for the conference. You do not have to answer them explicitly at the conference. However, I would highly recommend using these questions during your research to help you develop a deeper understanding of the topic and your country’s position.
What is your country’s policy on landmines? Is your nation affected by landmines? If so, how?
Are there past UN resolutions either written or supported by your country?
Does your country have stockpiles of landmines?
If your country has landmines, is it trying to remove them? If so how exactly is your country eradicating these landmines? Are there any specific technologies or mechanisms your country is using?
Has your country signed and/or ratified the Mine Ban Treaty? If not, why doesn’t your country support the treaty? What can be changed to make the treaty more effective or should there be an entirely new treaty drafted?
What specific non-governmental organizations can work with nations during the process of eradicating landmines or preventing development of stockpiles? What do these NGOs do and what countries would they be employed in?
What are some cost efficient ways to get rid of landmines?
Does your country believe land mines should be eradicated entirely, or not? Would any potential conflicts or disagreements arise if they are banned completely?
How can we provide medical aid to nations that have victims of land mine explosions?
What can the international community do to prevent landmines from causing further destruction, and protect lives of innocent civilians endangered by these weapons?
How can we help the nations that have landmines continue to develop economically and environmentally, considering these weapons inhibit development?
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