Head Chair: Jeremy Feng Vice Chair: Julia Frerk Moderator: Lynn Pham
Position papers will be due on February 2, 2018. The position paper format, and all other important conference documents, can be found on our conference website, http://lhhsconference.weebly.com/. Email all position papers to our committee email: lhhsUNICEFnov@gmail.com. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or concerns! Hello, delegates, my name is Jeremy Feng and I am your head chair. I am a senior at Laguna Hills High School. I’ve participated in MUN since freshman year and I am excited to finally be able to lead a committee. Within the Secretariat program, I am the Director of Middle School Outreach and my job is to teach an after school MUN class at the local middle school, La Paz Intermediate. In addition, I am a novice trainer, in charge of mentoring the first-year MUN students at LHHS. Most of my time is spent studying for tests and doing homework for classes, but I try to involve myself in as many fun activities as possible. I am also involved in ComedySportz, National Chinese Honor Society, the Think Pink Club, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
My name is Julia Frerk and i’ll be your vice chair. I am a junior at Laguna Hills High School and this is my third year participating in the MUN program. I’m on the volleyball team at Laguna Hills and enjoy listening to music and attending concerts. Looking forward to committee!
Hello, my name is Lynn Pham and I am your moderator. I am a sophomore at Laguna Hills High School and this year is my second year in MUN. Apart from academics, I am involved in tennis and lacrosse. Looking forward to working with you guys! Topic A: Child Labor Background:According to the US Department of Labor, a sweatshop is a factory or workshop that violates two or more laws of labor. About 50% of American garment workshops unfortunately fit under that category. It is where people, and even children, are employed to to do manual labor for unreasonably long hours and in deficient conditions, in return for extremely low pay. The workers are the target of severe exploitation such as brutal disciplines and even verbal/physical abuse. An hourly wage can be as low as 44 cents, such as that in Asia, especially in China sweatshops. Sweatshops are located everywhere around the world but are mainly in Central and South America, Asia, China, India and some areas of Europe as well. These areas are concentrated with sweatshops because companies target regions that have low wages and little human rights protections in order for companies to lower costs for more profit. The sweatshops are commonly practiced in developing countries, where about 168 million children from the age of 5 to 14 are forced to work and the workers often lack a worker’s freedoms and rights. Even though sweatshops do provide a poor economy with more jobs, it seldom helps the economy of any country. Moreover, the sweatshops are commonly used in the apparel and shoe industries, but other problematic industries include that of rugs, toys, chocolate, bananas and coffee. The reason in which people participate in these gruesome sweatshops is because they lack the necessary money to merely survive and are unaware of local labor laws/their rights. This is why NGOs such as Human Rights Watch have stepped into the issue to document and act upon it by influencing governments to enforce better labor laws in hopes of diminishing sweatshops. UN Involvement: The United Nations has attempted to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of child labor around the world, seeing that it is a clear violation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Consequentially, countries who have deemed child labor not a clear violation of human rights, have received major global backlash because of their unjustified actions. Because of this, the global initiative has been strong in combatting child labor, especially throughout the UN. In 1995, during its fifteenth session, the UN adopted Resolution 50/153. Another resolution, 51/492, passed in 1996. In 1997, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 51/77 which formed the ILO or International Labour Organization. With the implementation of this program the UN sought the regulation of child labor, with hopes of eradicating it. Although the ILO did help slow rates of child labor, perhaps the most substantial step the UN has taken toward tackling the issue of child labor was the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the General Assembly in 2015. Child labor impedes on several of the SDGs including quality education and good health and well being. UNICEF has expressed its full support of SDG Target 8.7 which declares that states, “ take immediate and effective measures to … secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”. In support of Target 8.7 UNICEF pursues a multi sector approach to the issue including legal reform, emphasis on education, social protection, and access to health services for all gender, races, and ages. In affected nations, UNICEF and its partners have strengthened services protecting children and have begun taking data annually to track the progress of eradicating child labor. Bloc Positions:Western Bloc: In the past, children in Western societies often worked to propel industries dealing with production, such as coal, agriculture, and textiles. Today, due to a large increase in school attendance, child employment rates have decreased. Compulsory schooling often makes it difficult for children to work, even if they want to. Required education laws have been known to be passed partially in attempt to lower child labor rates. During the early 1900’s in the United States, a committee known as the National Child Labor Committee swept the country, making use of many forms of propaganda against child labor. While child labor has significantly decreased since the past, it is still a threat to the safety of some children, especially in less developed areas. Western governments are encouraged to study child labor by collecting data, investigating, and monitoring in order to find the best solutions. Latin Bloc: In Latin America and the Caribbean, an estimated 10.5 million children are engaged in child labor. Efforts against child labor have proven more and more successful, yet countries have yet to meet their goals. Protection laws have proven helpful, such as those against the most harmful work environments and against criminal activity, such as child trafficking. However, much of the struggle to control child labor lies in unreliable law enforcement and the lack of a standard defining hazardous and safe work. Some police and government sponsored law enforcement are corrupt and easily susceptible to compromise, such as by taking bribes from corporations. Without a standard for safe work, it is difficult for law enforcement to discern harmful workplaces as opposed to safety. African Bloc: Africa has the largest amount of child labor, with a concerning number of 59 million children employed. In many cases, children are employed against their will in dangerous environments such as mines and stone quarries. One predominant reason children go into labor is because of poverty; some children provide for their family’s income. Government action against child labor is slow but present. More and more countries are creating National Action Plans (NAPs), but the difficulty lies in the implementation and enforcement of these plans. Asian Bloc: In Asia and the Pacific, child labor issues clearly exist; an estimated 62.1 children are exploited for labor. Some efforts against child labor have been seen in minimum age laws for work and minimum age laws for hazardous work. These laws are set up by local and national governments in order to reduce the risk of children being harmed during employment. Fruitful labor inspections have removed many children from dangerous workplaces and many nations have launched National Action Plans against the most harmful forms of labor. Today, Asian nations face the difficulty of implementing laws that prohibit use of children for other illicit activities, including drug production. Additionally, a lack of education opportunities causes an increase in children seeking employment. Questions to Consider:
How should nations respond to child labor in impoverished families that depend on their children for income?
Is a universal child labor protection plan ideal? Or do child labor laws need to be tailored to specific cultures and regions?
How can education affect child labor?
What are the advantages of short term plans? Long term plans?
How should organizations appease companies and employers who rely on children as their primary workforce?
What is the root of the issue? Where should nations focus when attempting to solve the problem
Topic B: Infant MortalityBackground:The death of children below the age of five is referred to as child mortality. About 21 of these deaths occur every minute worldwide. Child mortality occurs especially in developing countries, where many of the children die of preventable causes such as diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, neonatal infection, preterm delivery or lack of oxygen at birth. These six causes contribute to at least 70% of 11 million child deaths every year. Due to scarcity of needed technology and even basic resources in the developing countries, children in these poor countries are 10 times more likely to die before reaching age five than children in developed countries. Specifically, Africa and South-central Asia contain the highest child mortality rates, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, where 1 in 9 children die before reaching age five. This is more than sixteen times the average for countries that are already developed. Children and infants are lacking the nutrition they need to survive in these deficient countries and ultimately die, increasing child mortality rates and numbers. Fortunately, child mortality is rapidly decreasing though due to the actions of NGOs such as UNICEF and WHO. The current global child mortality rate is 4.3% . Both UNICEF and WHO have partnered with various governments in efforts to better provide health interventions for children lacking nutrition and other necessities, dwindling the child mortality rate. UN Involvement:In 2000, infant and child mortality was addressed in Millennium Development Goal (MDG) #4. MDG #4 specifically targets a decrease in the mortality rate from children between the age of 0-5 by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. In 2010, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon initiated the global strategy for Women’s and Children’s health which would ultimately improve the health of pregnant mothers, birthing conditions, and health of the newborn child in their first couple of years of life. Within this, the UN aimed to improve health services and build stronger health systems that could increase the probability of a mother delivering a healthy child. In 2016, the Global Strategy partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to achieve health related Sustainable Development Goals, including those causing premature death amongst children 0-5. Furthermore, in 2012, world leaders began to directly emphasize the need for decrease in child mortality rates worldwide. This change of events led to the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2016 which have hopes of decreasing child mortality to 25 deaths per every 1,000 live births by 2030. Through UNICEF, vaccines containing micronutrient supplements have been distributed to affected children and mothers in order to combat prevalent diseases associated with infant mortality. Additionally UNICEF leads the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN-IGME) which is an organization supported by a data system that reports on the status of infant and child mortality annually. It provides information on specific cases in nations while overall analyzing the trends in infant mortality nation by nation.
Bloc Positions:Western Bloc: Despite technological and medical advances, life expectancy at birth of western nations has decreased very slightly in the past few years. Newer and updated procedures and tools emerge for the medical world regularly, such as the “Cesarean Section”. Taking a step back and examining the data within the last 15 years, we see an even more significant increase in life expectancy at birth. In European nations, approximately 18.4 infants die before reaching 1 year of age, equivalent to about .37% of babies. Interestingly, the United States has a higher rate of infant mortality than European nations. Perhaps worth studying is the fact that a significantly greater number of infant mortality exists in families of a lower socioeconomic status. Latin Bloc: In Latin America, there is a wide gap between low and high rates of infant mortality, ranging from 20 per thousand in Cuba to 100 per thousand in Haiti. The development of primary and secondary healthcare present in certain regions and absent in others is responsible for the disparity in infant mortality rates. Sanitation and public healthcare improvements have proven successful in decreasing infant mortality rates in countries such as Chile. African Bloc: Although sub-Saharan Africa has the highest risk for death in infants’ first months, it has recently seen a fast decline in its under-five mortality rate. In other words, sub-Saharan Africa has terrible conditions, but is undoubtedly improving. Infant mortality in Africa is caused by many factors, including childbirth infection, diarrhea, pneumonia, and other diseases. A proposed solution to preventing childhood deaths is the distribution of vaccinations. Asian Bloc: Generally, infant mortality rates seemed to decrease as increases in the mothers’ education were seen. Also, urban areas experience lower mortality rates due to increased medical access amongst many other factors. Meanwhile, death in children seems to depend on economic development, access to food and nutrition, and health services. Countries in Asia tend to strive to combat infant mortality rates by passing health laws and supporting healthcare systems and services, which are generally successful in dealing with disease, due to compliance on both the healthcare giver and patient sides. Questions to Consider:
To what extent does society and cultural value affect child mortality? (for example, the preference of male over female births in certain cultures)
To what extent do population limitation attempts, as seen in China’s one child policy, affect child mortality?
Can a universal plan be implemented to lower mortality rates? Or must each region be treated specifically?
How can education help lower mortality rates? What kind of education?
How should cultural values be considered while implementing health care services (such as vaccines)?