Economic and Social

The Question of Protecting the Status of Women in Developing Countries

Women are obviously a vital part of the economy of all countries and therefore important both economically and socially. In some countries women are treated as second class citizens and suffer from discrimination, something that is against the UN Declaration of Human Rights and which led to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Most countries are likely to be united on the importance of solving this problem so any debate is therefore likely to revolve around possible solutions. Areas that could be covered by a resolution include:

  • Women’s education
  • Rural women
  • The prevention of gender discrimination in jobs
  • The role that women can play in promoting economic growth
  • Women in power and decision making

The UN Women Watch page has huge amounts of information on many different areas that could be included in your resolution. It’s quite a broad question so you can look at whatever area(s) interest you the most. Try to think of imaginative solutions (and avoid the traditional mass media campaign clause).

You can use this link to find out how strong discrimination against women is in your country. If you have any of the countries with a large amount of discrimination then this question is likely to be relevant and interesting. Many countries on this list will want to try and improve, so you can look at any research they have done into why there is so much discrimination and also at policies they’ve implemented to try and combat the problems. These reports are normally easiest to find on the specific government’s website but the UN also normally has some country relevant information, there is also information on every country on the following website.

There will be a few countries whose governments do not really want to promote gender equality. If you have one of these countries any resolution you write is unlikely to pass but will normally create very lively debate (and therefore increase your chances of being recognised for a delegate award) so don’t be put off trying to write a resolution. Even if you don’t write a resolution I would recommend you know why your country doesn’t promote gender and equality, how strongly against it is and which specific areas it has more of an issue with.

There are huge numbers of resolutions and UN topics on women’s rights so it should be easy to find enough material to start writing a resolution.

The Question of Protecting the Interests of Developing Countries in Global Trade

When researching this question I would highly recommend reading Joseph Sliglitz’s book ‘Making Globalisation Work’. It isn’t too long and gives you enough information to write a comprehensive resolution with only a little additional research into your own countries perspective. It is also fairly relevant to most economics courses and can go straight on the personal statement of anyone planning to do economics or a related subject at university.

This question is concerned with the fact that globalization and increased trade benefit the developed countries far more than the developing, who struggle to be heard as most of them have too little influence. The large countries unsurprisingly try to protect their industries and their own interests which means that they are largely the countries that benefit from trade, despite the potential trade has in promoting growth in developing countries.

The current issues with globalization include:

  • The setup of trade lobbying does not allow developing countries’ voices to be heard
  • The WTO can be undermined by bilateral trade agreements (which normally have more benefits for the developed country involved than the developing)
  • Intellectual property rights issues – where developed countries (the US is particularly guilty of this) try and patent the traditional and tribal natural medicines from developing countries
  • The problem of drug patents limiting the availability of cheap medicine to developing countries
  • The WTO or even other developed countries are normally unwilling to place trade sanctions on powerful nations
  • The miss-use of emergency powers by developed countries (look at America’s protection of its cotton)
  • Developed countries trying to protect their industry and wages using escalating tariffs – increasing the import tax at every stage of production of goods to encourage manufacture to continue to happen in their own countries
  • The abuse of developing countries natural resources and environments by corporations from developed countries

Even the developed countries do want to address these issues, even if just because it can make them look bad. So most countries are likely to be supportive in trying to solve the problems, although developed countries probably want slightly less drastic changes than the developing. However, for a resolution to be successful it is going to need the support of the developed countries so all resolutions should try and be pragmatic.

Possible solutions that could be included in resolutions include:

  • A change in the lobbying system to help developing countries group together and stand up against the developed countries
  • Introduction of support to the developed countries during lobbying so that they fully understand this implications of any agreements
  • Increased WTO powers and a ban on bilateral trade agreements
  • Change in patenting laws or financial support to developing countries if they try and stand up for their intellectual property rights
  • The WTO enforce rules that force developed and middle-income countries to completely open up their markets to developing countries (the EU have pretty much already done this)
  • Also stop any non-tariff barriers to entry (for example emergency measures such as safeguards and dumping duties)
  • Stop all developed countries from subsiding any industries
  • Allow developing countries to protect their own industries (through subsidies)
  • Allow developing countries to keep tariffs even while developed countries reduce theirs to help them raise revenue and protect their own industries
  • Subjecting developed countries’ corporations working abroad to their national environment protocols
  • Helping developing countries reach fair agreements where their natural resources are involved

This website has huge amounts of information on the current trade situation and what is currently being done by the UN to address problems.