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First GA Research Brief

The 1st General Assembly
The Disarmament and International Security Committee deals with disarmament and related
international security issue. It does so by involving all United Nations (UN) Member states affected by
such issues and providing adequate forums for discussion. However unlike the UN Security Council, all
resolutions passed by the First GA are non-binding

Addressing piracy and its root causes
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1956)- the principal convention pertaining to
issues relating to the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world’s oceans for whatever
matter- defines acts of piracy as:

(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends
by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:

(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on
board such ship or aircraft;

(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any

(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of
facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;

(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).

Seaborne piracy against private vessels has remained a significant issue as the economic costs overshoot
$16 billion per year, and the human cost being equally high. While this is a worldwide issue, piracy has
been most prevalent in regions of developing countries with smaller navies, and large trade routes such
as those surrounding Red Sea, Indian Ocean, the Somali Coast, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
Modern age pirates have often been associated with organised crime syndicates; however most work in
small groups in times of political unrest i.e. the Somali Civil War.
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Somali Pirates have been the focus of international concern since their escalation of violent activity since
the Somali Civil War in the early 1990s. While opposing the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in
Somalia, this select group of pirates have resorted to extortion, kidnapping and murder to amass the
US$150 Million in blood money. There has been an increase in military presence on shipping routes in
the region which, with the aid of the United Nations Security Council, has greater powers in combating

The key factors of debate relate to the actions that are available to nations in fighting piracy without
breaching national sovereignty and, in turn, UNCLOS. Obviously UN Security Council resolutions have
superseded particular clauses, but it is only temporary relief. There needs to be lasting action that will
effectively bring an end to not only Somali piracy, but situations in which piracy can arise. Steps have
already been taken to combat piracy in the region that it is most rife- the Somali Coast-; however it is not
the only piracy riddled area, and Security Council resolutions should now aim to target a wider area. To
do this, nations need to establish stability in land areas in which piracy is known to occur in the oceanic
areas, and only then can piracy be weeded out.

Key Documents and Sources
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Part VII- High Seas;
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1838- Security Council asks nations with a military capacity in
the area to “actively fight piracy” on high seas off Somali
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1846- Security Council decides States and Regional
organisations may use “all necessary means” to fight piracy off Somali Coast for 12 Month Period.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851- Security Council authorises states to use land-based
operations in Somalia, as part of the fight against piracy off the coast.
Media Report 18th November 2009- Piracy off Somali coast not only criminal but very successful;
cautioned there could not be peace at sea without stability on land.
Piracy in Somalia- Wikipedia

This issue is strong in its background and controversial in its discussion. The only pressing issue
delegates must keep in mind is not spending too much time on discussion regarding the root causes of
piracy, but more so what nations can do to eradicate it. Thus I have no hesitation in recommending this
as a topic for the 1st General Assembly in AMUNC 2010.

Security Implications of Climate Change
Climate change has triggered profound global change both ideologically and physically; and these
changes pose significant risks to international peace and security. Managing these changes requires a
cooperative effort from nations around the world, and a well conceived plan of action from the United
Nations System. Preventing large scale humanitarian catastrophes from climate change-related floods,
droughts, crop failures, mass migrations and exceptionally severe weather remains the policy challenges
for this century. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) remains the primary body
dealing with these issues.
The main threats climate change poses to a collective peace and security include:
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• Violence and Armed conflict- Climate change alters the distribution of natural resources, which
can lead to prolonged armed conflict e.g. Water Competition in the Middle East
• Natural Disasters and Humanitarian Crises- The increase in people affected by natural disasters
has led to an increase in refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs). It becomes a bigger
problem when the country affected lacks the capability to help the affected populations.
• Destabilising Forces- Conditions of drought, disease and economic stagnation may reach critical
points beyond which failure of states is more likely.

Security risks related to climate change will not be evenly distributed globally and will affect some kinds
of governments more than others. While local and regional consequences of climate change remain very
difficult to predict, three types of nations seem particularly vulnerable to the security risks of climate
1. least-developed nations;
2. weak states;
3. and undemocratic states.

Poor developing countries are the perhaps the most likely to suffer from climate change. These states
lack the economic, governance, or technical capabilities to adapt to climate change. Failed and failing
states—those with weak institutions of government, poor control over their borders, repressed
populations, or marginal economies—stand a higher risk of being destabilized by climate change.
Because significant changes in climate conditions have already been occurring, and will continue to for
decades to come, the most pressing issue the UN needs to deal with is putting equal emphasis on
helping nations adapt as well as preventing further situations in which disastrous events could occur.
Preventing and responding to humanitarian crises in a timely fashion needs to be dealt with as these are
the most difficult to predict. Finally, the security risks associated with climate change need to be factored
into any discussions about multilateral cooperation and the development of new norms and institutional

Key Documents and Sources
The United Nations and Environmental Security Policy Brief- The Security Implications for Climate
Change for the UN System-
Regional Security Implications of Climate Change- http://www.adelphi-
Rising Temperatures, Rising Tensions: Climate Change and the risk of violent conflict in the Middle East-
The Security Implications of Climate Change-

While the issue of Climate Change is one that will dominate discussion for decades to come, the issue of
Environmental Security is well suited for this committee as it the phenomena is relatively new
comparative to previous topics. It engages delegates through science and security and thus I strongly
recommend this topic for the 1st General Assembly for AMUNC 2010.

• Australia
• Bolivia
• Brazil
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• China
• Democratic People's Republic of Korea
• Democratic Republic of the Congo
• France

• India
• Iraq
• Russian Federation
• Somalia

• South Africa
• United Kingdom
• United States of America
• Zimbabwe