The Economic and Social Council is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.
TOPIC 1: Devising guidelines for the prevention, readiness and response to natural disasters
Natural disasters are an issue that humans have never been able to get under control. From earthquakes to tornadoes, despite all of the effort, they often cause extensive damage. With climate change, natural disasters have begun to strike in unexpected places, where they haven’t before. They have also gained in strength and size. Even in today’s globalised world, a natural disaster is still capable of cutting off a country from the rest of the world. We need to act now to ensure the safety of people living in regions endangered by natural disasters.
TOPIC 2: Addressing the problem of deforestation and desertification, especially in the Amazon rainforest, the Sahel and the Aralkum Desert.
Deforestation has long been a controversial topic. Climate activist groups have been calling for the stop of deforestation. Animal habitats as well as whole ecosystems are being destroyed. Companies cut down rainforests for the farming of palm oil because of the soil’s quality, but because the soil doesn’t have the presence of nutrients from the rainforest plants, the soil degrades very quickly and companies are therefore forced to move on to another forested area. The causes of desertification can be natural but also man-made. The expansion of the Sahara desert is an example of both. With two thirds of the desertification caused by nature’s climate cycles and one third caused by climate change. An example of desertification caused solely by humans is the Aralkum desert. Because of the massive production of cotton, a majority of the Aral Sea has turned into desert. These problems are ones that need to be addressed now to ensure proper functioning of the world’s ecosystems.
Beginner: Federal Republic of Germany, Tuvalu, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Republic of Peru, Republic of Paraguay, Republic of the Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Intermediate: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Japan, Republic of Philippines, Republic of Kazakhstan, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Republic of Uzbekistan, Republic of India, Republic of Chad, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Commonwealth of Australia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Advanced: United States of America, French Republic, Federative Republic of Brazil, Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Indonesia