OAS: Organization of American States

Topic A: Resource Extraction Effects throughout Latin America

Over the past two centuries, the global population has risen by an average of 1.1%, leading to a current global population of approximately 7.3 billion people. In large part, this was made possible by an increase in industrialization, which consequently required the extraction of resources such as iron, coal, and aluminum. Concurrent technological advances required a parallel demand for power supplies. In the Americas, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile are referred to as the “the lithium triangle” for their extensive reservoir of “white petroleum”, or lithium, a metal used worldwide to power heavy machinery as well as consumer electronic devices. Until recently, the environmental effects of resource extraction processes have been poorly monitored, resulting in a pressing need for new regulations, safeguards, and effective methods of enforcement on both a national and international level. Because of the differences in each country’s policy on this issue, there are no mainstream "one-size-fits-all" regulations; instead, the OAS must monitor and advise member countries on the creation and enforcement of safeguards and policies. Since some countries in the Americas benefit more directly from unregulated resource extraction than others do, debate on this topic will test the ability of the OAS to effectively regulate on a matter of international importance while respecting national sovereignty as a baseline principle of international organizations.

Topic B: Human Rights Violations by Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) Groups

Many countries in the Organization of the American States face extreme violence and terror perpetrated by transnational organized crime groups. Countries infiltrated with transnational organized crime syndicates such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have some of the highest human trafficking rates in the world. Newly introduced border security laws by Mexico and other OAS member states have made it more difficult for organized crime syndicates to engage in aspects of the black market trade, such as the organ trade and human trafficking. However, this has only prompted TOC groups to reroute and create new paths of transit through Central America. Transnational organized crime is a multifaceted issue that affects all aspects of state governance and trickles into civilian life. The Organization of American States plays an integral role regarding human rights violations inflicted by transnational crime, such as sexual exploitation and forced labor; these concerns have been discussed in part by the Hemispheric Plan of Action against Transnational Crime. Debate on these issues will focus on the intersection of national security and the rights of civilians, allowing delegates to explore issues such as immigration policy, black market organ trafficking, and civilian trust in institutions such as law enforcement agencies.

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