Committees, Topics and Guides

ALTMUN Middle School Conference | March 1st 2024 | 

NEW COMMITTEE DIFFICULTY LEVELS

A foundation of our Middle School conference is to be a teaching event, one that offers Model UN in an approachable format even to the terrified first year delegate. This year we have expanded upon our previous committee structure. We added two new specialized committees at different skill levels, introductory and advanced. In this change we hope to offer a wider range of experiences to our delegates and be a stepping stone for their MUN career. Please read the descriptions below to understand the significance of this change. 

IntROductory

Delegate Prep Work: Position Paper (PP) and List of Possible Solutions (LoPS)

Conference Experience: This committee is best for a first year delegate or someone that is unfamiliar with the format of Model UN conferences. In this committee, delegates will begin by casually learning the mechanics of debate through a slightly less serious mock debate. There will be additional support from high school staff to help these delegates find their voice before going into formal debate. Surrounded by similarly new or timid delegates, this committee offers a great environment for those who are still a little “on the fence” about Model UN.

Standard

Delegate Prep Work: PP and LoPS

Conference Experience: These committees are our conference standard with all skill levels welcome! In this committee, delegates will begin learning the mechanics of debate through the low-stakes environment of a mock debate. Then high school staff will guide them into formal debate and provide continuous support as delegates begin applying these parli pro and debate skills. Once in formal debate, high school staff will then also teach delegates about writing and introducing resolutions (the high school equivalent of LoPS).

Advanced

Delegate Prep Work: PP and Resolution 

Conference Experience: This committee is for the delegate who is ready to elevate their experience. The topic in this committee is a little more challenging than the others and may require more research. Instead of writing a List of Possible Solutions (LoPS) like the other committees, Legal delegates will prepare resolutions (the high school standard) ahead of the conference. At the conference they will still start with a mock debate but will spend less time on teaching the fundamentals of parliamentary procedures. This committee will have a docket, in which some pre-written resolutions will be selected to start the debate. This committee most closely resembles our high school experience and will surely prepare them for the next conference in the ALTMUN system.

STANDARD COMMITTEES

DISEC

Disarmament & International Security

2024 Topic:

Lethal Autonomous Weapon System

With the advent of the 21st century comes an unexpected new form of technology: lethal autonomous weapons systems, or LAWS. Fears regarding the autonomy and destructive capabilities of this type of technology have sparked international debate, causing tensions to flare between multiple countries and armed forces. Although conferences and groups of experts have attempted to quell the threat of LAWS, their efforts have remained mostly futile. This committee aims to debate possible regulations on the development and use of LAWS while considering the global atmosphere.

SOCHUM

Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Issues

2024 Topic:

Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

As digital surveillance technologies continue to develop at an unprecedented rate, the concept of privacy as we know it is transforming. Recent decades have ushered in new international controversies related to covert data collection as well as the realization of the concept of mass surveillance, carried out by numerous domestic, private, and international actors. These developments have made clear the need for a more robust international consensus on what the human right to privacy encapsulates and what these new technologies mean for the future of human rights.

UNCTAD

UN Conference on Trade & Development

2024 Topic:

The Resource Curse Regarding Fossil Fuel Dependency

Many countries rich in fossil fuels suffer from a phenomenon known as the resource curse, which refers to the negative consequences that can arise from an abundance of natural resources, particularly in the context of developing nations heavily dependent on the extraction and export of those resources. By failing to develop other industries, countries are left vulnerable to and dependent on fluctuating commodity prices, leading to economic instability. As fossil fuel reserves start dwindling and nations advocate a transition to cleaner energy, it is clear that the United Nations must focus on supporting countries whose economies will suffer as a result.

UNODC

UN Office of Drugs and Crime

2024 Topic:

Counterfeit Medical Equipment (PPE) and Medicine

 Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, demands for supplies such as counterfeit medical equipment have increased significantly overall. However, different areas in the world hold varying perspectives from those who have optimal access to standardized medical equipment to those who have minimal access and are thus influenced by counterfeits. Furthermore, the Dark Web introduces yet another aspect as it is a more hidden platform for marketers of forged stock.

WHO

World Health Organization

2024 Topic:

Global Presence of Rabies

Health officials have recognized a global increase in rabies cases stemming from the increased transportation of vectors across seas, unaddressed regional outbreaks, and poor medical infrastructure and disease control in low-income countries. Rabies results in terminal illness upon the emergence of symptoms, requiring prompt and effective treatment to avoid death and further transmission.

SPECALIZED COMMITTEES

UNEP (Introductory)

UN Environment Programme

2024 Topic:

Furthering Conservation of Wetlands to Protect Biodiversity

Levels of biodiversity loss have grown exponentially in recent years, and experts have primarily attributed this phenomenon to loss of habitat. Wetlands, which encompass any body of land covered by or saturated with water, serve as crucial habitats for a large portion of the world’s plant and animal species. However, wetlands are vanishing at unforeseen levels due to land erosion, global temperature increases, heightened industrial development, and other factors, leaving the species and ecosystems that rely on wetlands in crisis. The United Nations Environmental Programme is charged with establishing secure wetland protections as well as ensuring biodiversity for future generations.

Legal (Advanced)

UN Legal Committee

2024 Topic:

Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Law

 

Can a robot create? Since the advent of generative AI, the legal status of AI-produced materials has been a contentious issue. Worldwide, there has been a growing movement to recognize Ai generated art, but what ramifications could this have on those currently producing art? The UN must act to keep up with this new technological age. This committee seeks to find multinational consensus and paths forwards to address these new technological advancements.