Economic and Social Council
Topic A: Combatting Cybercrime
If at the beginning of the Information Age, hacking was considered to be a rarity, in recent years, multiple words referring to internet crimes have become part of our colloquial language, as cybercrime is progressing in front of our eyes, at an incredibly fast pace. Granted that the access to the internet is more and more common amongst all countries, with 48% of the whole population being internet users, this has transformed it into the perfect place for crimes.
Cyber Attacks are classified by the United Nations into Cybercrime – when a person is harmed by an individual or a group by means of any type of modern telecommunication network – and Cyberwarfare including cyber offences that cross international borders, such as espionage or terrorism. While these kinds of Cyber Attacks can affect the economy on a global scale, with nearly 600 billion US dollars being lost to cybercrime every year, close to 0.8% of the Global GDP, there are some instances in which illegal activities on the internet have been conducted in all good reasons.
One of the most famous cases is Anonymous, a hacktivist group (which uses technology to promote certain political agendas, ideologies and social movements) who started in 2003 but had its first official campaign in 2008, with many following. Over the years, they became known as the digital Robin Hoods or freedom fighters. Similarly, Julian Assange published millions of secret and illegally obtained documents through the WikiLeaks site, as he would call it, “for the greater good.”
Taking into consideration both the social and economic implications of this delicate issue, the delegates are invited to a debate which will establish the “wrong” or “right” status of hacking and hopefully will end with a clear legal framework proposition.
Topic B: Below-replacement Fertility
At a first deceptive glance, one might fear Malthusianism (the idea of overpopulation of Earth) come to life. Paradoxically, the younger generation is becoming narrower and narrower hence two children are no longer born to demographically substitute their parents after their death in order to maintain a constant number of individuals.
Today a record high of 83 countries, representing about half of the world’s population, report below-replacement level rates. By 2050 we will be talking about two-thirds of the world’s population being in this situation. Our tremendous and essential machine called the economy is running out of fuel causing likewise effects.
It follows that the lack of services and taxes trigger the difficulty of paying pensions and healthcare insurances by the governments, given the fact that between 1901 and 1981 the number of elders along with the costs of their pensions has doubled, whereas the one of newborns has halved.
Simultaneously, the lack of workforce results in work efficiency not being met and people receiving smaller wages due to the pressure put by the initial payments. Majorizing the retirement age is foreseen, but the overall productivity will be comparably lower as a result of an increase in the median age of the workforce.
To complete the disastrous scenario, a study has found that “10 % growth in the population ages 60 and older decreases growth in GDP per capita by 5.5%.” The consumer market, the good and services demand, the incentive to immigrate and self-sustainability are endangered. ECOSOC Committee, will you accept the challenge?
Topic C: Issues of External Debt
External debt is the amount of debt a country owes to foreign creditors: other governments, private commercial banks or global economic institutions such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Commonly, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) need to take out loans in order to continue their progress towards the market economy since they fail to deliver enough money to invest in development projects. Needless to say, they are not the only ones indebted (see Germany’s unpaid debt from World War II).
Nevertheless, more attention has been shown to the LDCs due to the rapidly growing debt recorded by António Guterres, the Secretary-General to have reached “7.1 trillion dollars in 2016, an increase of 80% since 2009…”. This evolution is caused, in many instances, by unforeseen social and economic changes, namely recessions, issues regarding the government of a country or simply delays in the time needed to reach the goals of the project the funds were used for, which overall triggers a vicious cycle.
A government which has to give large sums of money to external creditors may be compelled to reduce funding on vital sectors, such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, even plans regarding the protection of its environment, but scarcely military. Prolonged periods of time in which these departments are deprived of much-needed money can cast the economy into a recession from which it would be nigh impossible to recover from without help.
All things considered, numerous economists have come up with solutions, from which writing down or forgiving debt is the most debated and well-known one, although it can be considered morally wrong. This year’s ECOSOC meeting is expected to discover solutions in order to put an end to this complex and apparently unfathomable matter.
|1. Afghanistan||11. Luxembourg||21. South Korea|
|2. Belgium||12. Mexico||22. Spain|
|3. Brazil||13. Niger||23. Syria|
|4. Canada||14. North Korea||24. The Netherlands|
|5. France||15. Norway||25. The Philippines|
|6. Germany||16. People’s Republic of China||26. The Republic of Moldova|
|7. Greece||17. Poland||27. The Russian Federation|
|8. India||18. Portugal||28. The United Kingdom|
|9. Italy||19. Romania||29. The United States of America|
|10. Japan||20. South Africa||30. Turkey|