Topic A: Maintaining Peaceful Dialogue and Cooperation with Colombian Rebel Groups
January 2016 signaled a pivotal moment in the history of the Colombian Government. After an estimated 220,000 casualties and over five million displaced people, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had finally invited the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to oversee their negotiations with the Colombian government. Based on these talks, it was decided that the UNSC would create a mission of unarmed observers for a period of twelve months in order to facilitate the disarmament of FARC rebels. While integrating an international security organization was monumental in this peace process, Colombian-FARC relations have a history of going astray with failed attempts for peace in 1984, 1991, and 1998. Although the two sides have demonstrated recent progress towards peace, it is still crucial that this progress and dialogue remain. Although a final peace deal was set to be finalized in March of 2016, disagreements over disarmament and political stabilization lead to the final deal being incomplete. Major progress with negotiations still continue with the Colombia and FARC rebels, which makes this a pressing matter for SPECPOL.
Topic B: Maritime Contention in the South China Sea
For decades, the South China Sea’s prolific natural resources and key terrain have given rise to disputes surrounding the sovereignty and territory of the land. China claims the majority of the territory, while other states such as Vietnam and the Philippines express rights to significant portions as well. Some specific points of contention lie with the Scarborough Shoal between China and the Philippines, the Chinese and Vietnamese construction of islands, and the economic zones of Malaysia and Brunei. Additionally, tensions have escalated over the past few years as armaments of powers including China and the United States have developed into a present threat. As one of the world’s most widely used shipping routes and highly popularized fishing grounds, the dispute has significant social, economic, and political repercussions.