The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was established in 1945 along with the founding of the United Nations itself at the end of World War II. As one of the six principal organs of the UN, the Security Council is unique among the committees offered at NHSMUN in its membership, scope, and power. The UNSC’s history and structure have developed in a unique way because the UNSC has a unique, precautionary, and reactionary role in the UN: it is meant to respond to international crises and maintain international peace. In response to such crises, the Council can mandate decisive actions such as peace talks, mediations, negotiations, and meetings. Additionally, according to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council can approve the use of force if there is no other way to maintain international peace. The Security Council can also deploy UN peacekeeping operations and impose sanctions on states. Only the UNSC has this power.
Topic A: The Situation in Lebanon
The outbreak of protests through Lebanon in 2019 calling for an end to government-imposed taxes marked a convergence of long-standing concerns with modern issues. These issues stem from the country’s struggle with recessions, high unemployment and poverty rates, and sectarian divide, all of which have been met with outrage and widespread protests. Plagued for years by slowed economic growth and capital inflow, the Lebanese government is faced with reversing an overwhelming budget deficit and a public debt. In response to destruction of property stemming from the demonstrations on October 2019, the Lebanese Armed Forces have exhibited force against protestors, deploying tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition. Despite lockdowns and guidelines from the World Health Organization in 2020 in response to COVID-19 encouraging physical distancing to decrease the risk of spread, large group demonstrations have continued as protestors grow agitated due to bank restrictions, inflated price of goods, and food, water and supply scarcity. Further complicating matters is the continued standoffs between Israeli and Lebanese troops along the Blue Line border demarcation. The continuing discussion of the UN Security Council surrounding the implementation of Resolution 1701 (2006) and the deteriorating situation in Lebanon has called for intensive national dialogue and a maintenance of a peaceful demeanor by protestors, also urging the necessity of the government of Lebanon to implement economic reforms.
Topic B: The Future of UN Peacekeeping
Since its first inception and deployment in 1948, the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions have remained an important tool for the international community to promote peace and ensure stability around the world. Nonetheless, the thirteen active peacekeeping missions with over 80,000 personnel from 121 countries, are still prone to systemic and reoccurring problems. To date, there have been 3,928 deaths from Peacekeeping Missions and Special Political Missions due to acts of violence. No longer is the symbolic blue helmet equated to a neutral or protective measure, but a target to armed groups, terrorists, criminal and political exploitation, among other threats. Furthermore, peacekeeping has had an outsized environmental impact, as operating in remote regions imposes a tremendous environmental cost. In 2016 UN peacekeepers accounted for half of greenhouse gas emissions across all UN systems. UN Peacekeeping personnel have also been accused of committing human rights violations such as child and female sex abuse. In light of these systemic issues, the Security Council is uniquely positioned to leverage lessons from the past to improve UN peacekeeping by making its missions safer and more sustainable, both for personnel and those they serve to protect.