UN Special, Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL)
Head Chair | Trevor Dowds
Vice-Chairs | Alex Liu, Sarah Yue, Lucia Zhang
4th is the United Nation's General Assembly Committee that deals with special political and decolonization issues. Initially, 4th was mandated to tackle issues relating to decolonization after World War II. However when most colonies had gained independence by 1990, “Special political” responsibilities were given to 4th. Together, special political and decolonization issues address a variety of topics including refugees, human rights, peacekeeping, mine action, outer space and more.
The breadth of topics makes 4th arguably the most versatile committee in the United Nations General Assembly. Furthermore the depth of these topics encourages lively debate between nations with opposing interests. Therefore, the issues addressed in 4th will give delegates the opportunity to take on the most challenging but important topics in the world today.
Topic 1 | A Review of UN Peacekeeping Operations
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Following the end of the Cold War, the scope of issues peacekeeping operations addressed changed dramatically. As the nature of conflicts shifted from being interstate to intrastate, peacekeeping operations found their mandates to be wholly inadequate in addressing the complexity of these issues. Peacekeepers were vastly underprepared to handle the violence that emerged following the end of the Cold War nor were they capable of supporting any statebuilding initiatives.
Despite the lack of resources and leadership necessary to address these kind of conflicts, demand for peacekeeping operations increased and so did the complexity of the roles they needed to fulfill. As a result several reform efforts have been made by the UN to better handle statebuilding, peacebuilding and peacekeeping missions. However there are a number of issues that the UN faces in order to improve their peacekeeping operations.
Every year 4th does a comprehensive review of its peacekeeping operations. As delegates you will do just that by debating what mandates are necessary to address conflicts in our world today along with issues of budget and individual misconduct that plague peacekeeping operations.
Topic 2 | Situation in Sudan and South Sudan
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On July 9, 2011, South Sudan declared itself an independent country. This secession followed from a relatively peaceful referendum earlier in the year along with two civil wars and a host of humanitarian violations that have occurred since Sudan was liberated from British and Egyptian colonial rule in 1956. In that time millions of lives have been lost and displaced due to war, genocide, famine and disease.
In the time since South Sudan achieved independence, the world’s newest country has spun into its own civil war. Accusations within the leadership of the new country has set off ethnic violence that has further contributed to the region’s death toll and to what the UN Security Council has called the worst food crisis in the world today. Furthermore political and economic issues have yet to be resolved between Sudan and South Sudan over border demarcation, ownership of past civil war debt, accountability of war crimes, ownership of oil and other natural resources, and displaced civilians.
It will be 4th’s responsibility to address the stability of South Sudan and the political and economic issues that persist between Sudan, South Sudan and the international community.