General Assembly 4th Committee: Special Political and Decolonization

Committee to look at the core mandates of peacekeeping, decolonization and self determination

By Rachel Sutton, Journalist

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During the upcoming North American Model United Nations conference, delegates from across the world will come together to form the General Assembly 4th Committee: Special Political and Decolonization (SPECPOL). In this committee they will tackle political, real world issues, which range from challenging the authority of peacekeeping to assessing the level at which colonization has been imposed on the Kurdish people.

One of the core topics of The Fourth Committee is the instances when, and extent to which, excessive force should be authorized by the United Nations in peacekeeping missions. Co-Chair Angela Hou shared with The Emissary that “[I] hope our delegates can walk away from NAMUN having learned about and experienced the difficulty of negotiating such contentious topics, and appreciate the "messiness" of these issue areas”.

The background guide provides in-depth examples of instances when force has been used in peacekeeping missions versus ones where it has been omitted, and provides justifications and weaknesses for each case. Delegates will be tasked with using this information to determine the legitimacy of how various nations define peacekeeping, and whether it should be thought of as the UN’s precedent or exception in missions.

The other issue SPECPOL confronts is the colonization of the Kurdish people and their effectiveness to self-determine through existing systems and structures in the region. Co-Chair Brandon Yih stressed the importance of the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum that took place this past September saying, “[it] is a pivotal issue that will affect how delegates attempt to resolve or mediate the situation”.

In the background guide, Yih touches on the importance of delegates keeping up with the constantly evolving situation in Kurdistan, so that they are up to speed on the implications of events still unfolding in the region. All these change and instabilities could either improve, or worsen, with the involvement of the UN and implicated nations the guide points out.

Both Co-Chairs have been hard at work since the summer to preparing background guides, becoming well versed in NAMUN’s procedures, and participating in simulations to work out the finer logistical details of the conference to make sure nothing but excitement is felt in the lead up to the conference. NAMUN runs from February 22nd to 25th at Victoria College at the University of Toronto.