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 is a concept in which political, economic, and cultural influences are used to continue a model of colonialism that allows one state to control another (usually a formerly colonized state). To understand neocolonialism, one must take a look back at the history of colonialism in Africa itself. During the “Scramble for Africa,” European states ruthlessly exploited the continent, divided up its resources and peoples, and imposed their own economic, political, religious, and cultural systems. Although Africa largely decolonized after the breakdown of the colonial system after World War II, many believe that the lasting effects of colonial imposition still reverberate throughout the region. Neocolonialism can manifest itself in many ways, most commonly through economic exploitation with methods such as foreign aid or resource extraction. A powerful example of neocolonialism in Africa can be seen in Madagascar where, in 2008, South Korea leased roughly half of the country’s rural land in order to grow food for export, leaving the already malnourished Malagasy population without food, land, or viable income. Evidently, Africa continues to suffer from the colonial policies of outside states, and as one of the communities at the forefront of decolonization efforts, SPECPOL must work to address these policies.