UN Educational, Scientific, and cultural organization (UNESCO)
Head Chair | Adam Umemoto
Vice-Chairs | Jacob Hands, Suma Thati, Emily Yan
UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that works to address a variety of global issues that the world faces, primarily with regard to ensuring quality education for all, promoting the proper and continued use of science and technology to better the global community, and the protection and safeguarding of our history and cultural diversity. They work with relevant organizations to protect at risk populations as well diverting a significant amount of their resources to the protection of children across the globe; hence the immense focus by their organization on eliminating the use of children in conflict. Though they may not have the jurisdiction to legally bind any of their 195 member states or 9 associate members to any agreement, they function as an integral organization spearheads a multitude of campaigns in order to create frameworks for action plans that will be utilized to meet their set goals. They have remained incredibly influential and are the primary sponsors of world-changing campaigns, namely the “Education for All” mission. Their goal is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.
Topic 1 | Child Soldiers: The Rights of Children in Armed Conflict
+ More Information
The use of children in armed conflict has been an issue that has persisted for centuries. Despite significant efforts spearheaded by UN and their affiliated bodies, a plethora of member nations, and NGOs like Invisible Children, World Health Organization, Watchlist, etc., children’s rights and their exclusion from conflict is still something we as a global community have yet to achieve. Despite recent victories in conflict-ridden zones like the Middle East and Central Africa with countries like Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo that have previously employed the use of children in warfare finally ratifying and following the UN Security Council’s demilitarization Action Plans, a resurgence in instability especially with regard to a rise in power of certain groups like the Islamic State has lead to continued violation of children’s human rights. New legislation and further support is required by all involved parties to quickly to stem this growing trend. Not only is the prevention of child and minor recruitment a formidable force to battle, the betterment of this issue must involve enhancing and increasing the accessibility of resources available to former child soldiers in an attempt to rehabilitate and reintroduce them into society; focus on this area has been largely lacking in the past decade. All in all, this issue threatens to destabilize a significant portion of the global population, a population that UNESCO has been trying to protect and will continue to support until they are no longer forced to be subject to the horrors of war.
Topic 2 | Reconsidering the 2030 Education Agenda
+ More Information
With the end of 2015, 4 of the 5 documents that have been fundamentally supported by UNESCO’s Education Sector and the UN have now officially expired. These include the action plans laid out to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 2 and 3 (originally set out to be completed by 2015), the UN Literacy Decade 2003-2012, UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014, and perhaps most importantly the Dakar Framework for Action that reached its end at the start of 2016. Despite the creation and ratification of the new Incheon Declaration towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all to be carried out by 2030, the problem of applying a blanket single-pronged approach to a multi-faceted problem still persists. There is little baseline in defining the meaning of the levels of education for example which differ greatly depending on the nation in question. In some cases these levels of education are of exceedingly low quality/standard and may not appropriately educate children and people on the skills necessary to thrive in that area or region. Unrealistic strategies or requirements in curriculums of certain nations are posed resulting in the creation of isolated generations of individuals who aren’t adequately prepared to function in their respective environments. Whatever the case, the 2030 Education Agenda largely set forth by the Incheon Declaration must be re-evaluated to ensure its efficacy and realism so that true appropriately catered education can be provided for all.