Topic A: Explosive Remnants of War
Long after peace treaties have been signed and the gunfire stops, landmines continue to persist for decades or longer in many post-conflict zones. These explosive remnants are not just a safety issue; they are also a political issue. Delegates in SPECPOL will be charged with developing better ways to remove landmines forgotten by yesterday’s soldiers and find measures to prevent armed forces from leaving their harmful footprint in civilian areas across the globe. Furthermore, debate over how international law affects governmental behavior is expected when topics like historical liability are discussed, but this topic will also require an examination of the environmental, health, and developmental impacts of explosive remnants. Although this topic will predominantly look at leftover explosive remnants of war, delegates will also be encouraged to discuss current conflicts and how to limit the damage of future explosive remnants.
Topic B: Neocolonialism in Africa
Neocolonialism, or “new colonialism,” is a concept in which political, socioeconomic, and cultural influences are used to continue a model of colonialism that allows one state to control another state, the latter of which has usually been formerly colonized. The damage neocolonialism causes is most clearly seen in Africa, which experienced many of the darkest moments of the colonial era. During the 19th to 20th centuries, foreign states ruthlessly exploited Africa, dividing up its resources and peoples and imposing their own economic, political, religious, and cultural systems. While these direct colonial ties no longer exist, their harmful effects still reverberate throughout African countries in forms such as detrimental foreign aid, unfair trade deals, and resource exploitation, all of which have devastating political implications This is best exemplified by Liberia, a country that has been economically exploited so intensely by foreign powers that it has spiraled into a failed state, despite receiving over USD 700 million in aid each year. SPECPOL’s mission is to advance decolonization efforts around the world, and those efforts should not be considered complete with the independence of most former colonies. Delegates must address the various aspects of neocolonialism and focus on their political and developmental ramifications in order to effectively resolve this issue.