Committee Name: Fourth Committee: Special Political and Decolonization (SPECPOL)
Organ: General Assemblies
Undersecretary-General: Claudia Alonso
Deputy Undersecretary-General: Bilva Chandra
Chair: Elodie Currier
Topic A: Women in Armed Conflict
Topic B: Child Labor in Mining
The Topic Abstract for this committee can be accessed here.
A Letter from the Chair
Welcome to the annual session of the UN General Assembly Fourth Committee (SPECPOL)! This Assembly brings together members from all 193 UN member states for the purpose of promoting international security and self-determination, especially for historically underserved and underrepresented communities. For this session, the committee will conduct a deep dive into two topics that are especially pertinent to this goal; Women in Armed Conflict and Child Labor in Mining. Both topics address both critical short term issues (i.e. how we can aid individuals in these conditions) as well as the long-term consequences of colonization and non-self-governing territories.
The topic of Women in Armed Conflict is one that is especially pressing as women become increasingly active stakeholders in global conflicts, and one that will encourage delegates to provide multi-faceted approaches to the differing natures of conflicts and women’s place in them. From lesser economically developed countries where women are often the intentional or unintentional targets of conflict to the increasing UN Peacekeeping Forces focus on empowering female peacekeepers, this issue requires a nuanced and balanced look into the factors that influence women’s place in societies and their conflicts. Given the mandate of this committee, of special interest will be women’s place in conflicts that have rendered territories unable to self-govern or self-police. Delegates will be expected to consider how especially in these complex situations, without the benefit of rule of law, we can ensure that women are empowered and served as stakeholders in armed conflicts.
The committee will also be focusing on Child Labor in Mining– a critical topic in terms of both underserved populations and colonial history. As conflict minerals and development resources become less reliable and scarcer, and the line between government and industry in many developing countries continues to blur, the use, distribution and ownership of mined resources will continue to yield significant social, economic and even political consequences. Furthermore, the effects of historic colonization and rapid decolonization often exacerbate issues of mining, considering the lack of developed non-extractive industry in many post-colonial areas. Finally, the focus on child labor, a complex issue in and of itself, adds a more narrow focus to this committee, as delegates will have to address the empowerment of youth who often need to perform work to support their families or gain any opportunity. You will be expected to consider both your countries’ stances on these issues, as well as the interests of the international community, while ultimately formulating policies that meet the mandate of the committee.
I expect an excellent weekend of substantive debate, innovative solutions, and collaborative effort. I can’t wait to meet you all!
Chair, UN General Assembly Fourth Committee