The question of maritime piracy in Africa
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea defines piracy as “illegal acts of violence or detention” committed on the high seas against ships or aircraft and emphasizes the extreme dangers maritime piracy can pose to the safety of vessels and crew members, but additionally the economies of countries that are affected. Piracy was predominantly an issue in Somalia’s Gulf of Aden, which is now on the decline with incidents falling in recent years. However, it has now spread to West Africa, with the majority of attacks in the region occurring in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Region. The Africa Centre for Strategic Studies points out that “national security and economic policies rarely emphasize maritime security” frequently attributed to a lack of awareness of the economic consequences piracy can pose. Delegates on this committee will be tasked with providing comprehensive solutions to secure the oceans and developing economic protocols for dealing with piracy and the detrimental impacts it can have.
The question of managing the production of biological weapons
Biological weapons refer to weapons used in biological or ‘germ warfare’, which is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents including bacteria, viruses and fungi with the intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or planets for the purpose of war. Two multilateral bio-weapons treaties exist, including Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons (BTWC) And the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous, or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (Geneva Protocol). Despite existing legislation, it has become apparent that a more modernized and comprehensive solution to limit the production, stockpiling and distribution of bio-weapons is needed, with recent scandals such as the charges against scientists in Italy for illegally selling samples of avian influenza, and possibly even spreading it, to profit off the avian flu epidemic in Europe. The greatest risk posed by bio-weapons today still stems from nation-states, given their increased resources and technology that make the manufacturing, stockpiling and use of bio-weapons more effective as compared to generally less advanced non-state actors. However, as the technology becomes more accessible, a greater risk of non-state actors obtaining the means to produce and use bio-weapons is becoming more apparent. The responsibility of this committee is to produce a comprehensive resolution that takes into account the flaws and strengths of existing legislation to limit the production and stockpiling of bio-weapons for both nation-states, and non-state actors.