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Day 1 Recap | Goal 16


By Matthew Hsieh
This MUN conference is debating about different topics about the sustainable development goals the United Nations agreed on in 2015. The Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) committee is mostly focused on the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar, Demilitarization of the Arctic Circle and Drug Penalties. Today’s debate is about the Arctic Circle. “The waters of the Arctic should be international waters, that will make the issue less severe.” A delegate stated. The militarization of the Arctic Circle is a severe issue in the world. The Arctic holds $300 billion worth of resources, causing different countries to fight for the area. The world is never sure about what will happen next in the Arctic, so some delegates suggested that talking it out will soothe the tension. The Arctic contains fossil fuels, and new trade routes will open up after the ice melts. One example of the trade routes is the Northwest Passage, the passageway explorers were seeking since the 1500s. A delegate thinks that the trade routes should be international to show global corporation. If any country tries to claim the international waters, that country will face opposition. Another argument is about the Arctic Council, some delegates think that the council should allow the non-arctic countries to join them since this problem involves the whole world.
The keynote speaker, Ms. Paula Bronstein, is a photographer that captures key news in pictures. When she visited the Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Committee, she spoke about the persecution and harsh condition of the Rohingya. She said that many children got shot by military forces. She was happy she was working with a company that raised about 1 million pounds! A delegate asked about what helped the Rohingya the most. Ms. Bronstein thinks that the generous people raising money and the schools within the camp were helping the refugees. Many organizations donate money and items to the Rohingya, and the people fight for the resources, indicating how desperate they are. At the beginning of this crisis, the Rohingya were not used to media and attention. As time passed, the refugees were happy that the world cares and are willing to share their stories. The Burmese Military were brutal, they beat the Rohingya up and burn their villages. Their situation was so bad that the water was contaminated, they suffered pneumonia and malnutrition. Although many refugees successfully crossed the border to Bangladesh, the only reason they accepted these people are because they received money from organizations. When the Monsoon Season comes, the refugees even fight to get on a bridge to avoid being flooded! Ms. Bronstein also experienced the harsh conditions, facing the scorching sun and the humidity. The terrain was muddy, making the ground very slippery, even her camera fell in the mud!
Even though some countries might try to claim the disputed waters, the world should allow the Arctic waters be international instead of territorial waters. The international waters will help make the Arctic problem less severe. I hope that in a few years, the Arctic will be demilitarized and the world can share the area and wealth peacefully.

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