Letter from the Chairperson
With immense pleasure, I, Vedika Chawla, welcome you to the fourth iteration of the Shishukunj Model United Nations Conference as the chairperson of the United Nations Security Council.
It is well known that the Security Council is one of the most powerful organs of the UN. But any committee, as dynamic as it may be, cannot make for exciting or constructive debate without delegates who are so engrossed in the discussion, that they forget that they’re sitting at an MUN conference. That is exactly what I want you all to experience.
The agenda for the UNSC has been specifically selected to reinforce the fact that politics has much more to it than Donald Trump’s tweets. The historically neglected central African region has become the center of socio-political issues that threaten peace and security all over the continent. Debate on the multifaceted challenges in the Sahel will definitely enrich your intellect and compel you to think differently. An MUN conference provides you with the perfect opportunity to utilize your lobbying, debating, and researching skills, all at once. So, use these three days as well as possible. Participate. Debate. Socialize. But most of all, enjoy.
As for something about me, I’m an 11th grader who lives off music and humor. I wish to pursue law as my career. A bibliophile, I strongly believe in the power of words and how they can change you. I have always been interested in learning about, and understanding cultures from around the globe, and have always marveled at the ability of the human brain to think, reason, and believe.
I leave you with some words that make me think. I leave you to explore what your mind may offer.
“A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it.”
United Nations Security Council
The UN Charter establishes the UN Security Council as one of the six primary organs of the UN. Its function, initially, was to address the failure of the League of Nations in maintaining international peace. The Security Council is the only UN body which can pass binding resolutions, which makes it the most powerful organ. The Council consists of 15 members, of which 5 are permanent, and the rest are elected for a term of 2 years. All decisions of the Security Council, except procedural decisions, require a minimum of nine affirmative votes, including the concurring votes of all permanent members. Action cannot be taken on an issue that is brought before the Security Council if any one of the permanent members votes ‘no’ on a draft resolution. The Security Council meets whenever peace is threatened. Thus, a representative of each of the member nations of the Council must always be present at the UN Headquarters, so that the Council may convene at any time as required. When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council’s first action is usually to recommend that the parties try to reach an agreement by peaceful means. Promoting the spirit of cooperative diplomacy, it provides a platform for the same. If an issue escalates further, the Council may deploy UN missions, impose sanctions, issue ceasefire directives, or even call for collective military action in some cases.
Agenda: Stabilizing the Political Condition in the Sahel to Ensure Socio-Economic Development
The Sahel is a semi-arid region which stretches across western and north-central Africa. It extends from Senegal eastward to Sudan and includes the areas of Mauritania, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Eritrea. This region, which covers an area of 3,053,200 sq. km, is the site of multifaceted crises, ranging from famines to terrorism.
The Sahel has a history of food crises and famines, with the latest major one having occurred in 2012. Even in normal years, the deaths of around 200,000 children can be directly related to malnutrition. The famines, in turn, give rise to another set of problems - fragile economies. This aspect of the issues in the Sahel is a major setback for its political, social and economic development.
The most critical effect of the fragile economies has been the rising spread of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Both terrorist organizations have been causing widespread destruction and damage to resources in the Sahel and threatening the political stability in several nations. Having developed strong bases all over Africa, these groups hinder peace and security not only in the continent but also the world.
Apprehensions have risen regarding the effectiveness of the UN Peacekeeping missions in the Sahel in controlling the spread of terrorism and ensuring the safety of civilians. It has been noted that these forces are not efficient enough to deal with the socio-political scenario there.
Thus, it becomes imperative for the UN Security Council to re-establish the state of peace and stability in the Sahel.