Head Chair: Sarah Donahue Vice Chair: Stephen Masson Moderator: Diana Huynh
Position papers will be due on February 2, 2019. 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: lhhsWHOnov@gmail.com. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or concerns!
Hello delegates, my name is Sarah Donahue and I will be your head chair for the WHO novice committee. I am a senior at Laguna Hills High School, and this is my fourth year in MUN. Outside of MUN, I am involved in IB, National Honors society, Spanish Honors Society, Lion’s Heart, cross country, and several other organizations. This will be my second year as head chair. I’m very excited to hear your innovative and creative solutions!
My name is Stephen Masson and I will be your vice chair for the WHO novice committee. I am a junior attending Laguna Hills High School, and this is my first year of being in MUN. Outside of MUN, I play Laguna Hills Boys Volleyball, am involved in Lion’s Heart and IB, and enjoy surfing and hanging out with friends on the weekend.
My name is Diana Huynh and I will be your moderator for the WHO novice committee. I am currently a sophomore at Laguna Hills High School entering my second year of MUN. Besides MUN, I play for the Laguna Hills Girls Soccer Varsity Team, participate in ComedySportz, and spend time hanging out with my friends.
Topic: Human Genetic Engineering Background: As the world today becomes more technologically advanced, human genetic engineering is rising in effectiveness, popularity, and efficiency. Human gene engineering is about genetically modifying a human’s genotypes before their birth, gathering the most ideal features of a human and implementing them into the fetus. Gene therapy is a major benefit from human genetic engineering, having succeeded in finding the root of many heart diseases genetically. From even before birth, the ability to preview if a child will have any certain type of diseases will be open to the parents who have the choice to genetically modify their child still in the womb to ensure a healthy baby. However, human genetic engineering is still widely unsuccessful because of its relatively new introduction to the science world. The chances for mutations and side effects are very high. Cloning and human genetic engineering poses a special threat to some religions and is banned in several countries. The idea of creating a society of full of modified people and or clones raises threats and concerns to the people who support human individuality and are against the idea of such genetic enhancements that would create an even larger gap between the wealthy and the lower classes. Although human genetic engineering has the possibility of alleviating many live-saving threatening ailments, the cost of performing the act is also way too expensive, resulting in the practice only being primarily available to the wealthier, developed countries who have the ability to afford such demanding performances. Human genetic engineering has the potential to become one of the greatest scientific feats of mankind, as well as one of the worst events to split our society.
UN Involvement: With recent advances in the world’s ability to more efficiently genetically modify organisms, the World Health Organization has had to take several steps to help restrict the amount of experimentation done on/with the human body and genome, and employ rules and regulations to ensure that treatments are being done safely and with as little risk as possible. For instance, in 2001, the WHO produced an in depth guide with several pages of guidance on the proper way to regulate the use of animal organs for transplant into humans. Furthermore, according to the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA57.18, created in 2004, members of the UN are urged to ensure that xenotransplantation is well regulated and surveillanced within their states. However, this topic was again later discussed in more depth in November of 2008, which produced the Changsha Communiqué. This document gave suggestions for the WHO to use as requirements for regulating xenotransplantation operations as well as recognizes both the benefits and potential harm that xenotransplantation trials would have in the world. This document proposes the WHO should do several things, including, but not limited to, keeping track of xenotransplantation trials, in addition to those who have an amount of expertise on the subject and could consult with member states, as well as have a system for identifying and reacting to an outbreak of any xenotransplantation infectious diseases quickly.Finally this document also asks several things of the Member States and investigators/proposers of xenotransplantation trials directly. And once more, several years later, in October of 2011, this topic was discussed again, but focused more on responses to disease outbreaks, optimizing and standardizing tests for xenotransplantation associated infections, and standardizing criteria for xenotransplantation operations. This document also explored the effects and level of transmissibility of Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses, or PERV, has on the human body.
Bloc Positions: Western Bloc: Many countries are opposed to the field. The principles behind genetic engineering often conflict with their dominant religions, raising many strong opinions. There still is significant research being conducted by people who are hopeful about the potential benefits of the technology. Latin Bloc: Many nations are hesitant to enter the field. Many are worried about revoking past issues with movements regarding “purity of race” under dictatorships that led to brutal genocides. Latin America has been, however, a significant contributor to research in the field, beginning in Argentina in 1925. African Bloc: Citizens are often skeptical of the benefits of human genetic engineering. Some countries have stated that they are in favor of furthering the research, as long as it is not applied to human fetuses. Others have stated that they want to continue genetic research specifically in plants so that they can improve their agricultural yields. Asian Bloc: There have already been many instances of human genetic engineering, though it is not widely accepted. For instance, China has been nicknamed the “Wild West” of research due to their pioneering efforts. Japan has also announced plans for research projects in the sector.
Questions to consider: 1. Does your country federally fund research regarding the engineering of human genes? 2. How is your country’s view on genetic engineering affected by its culture, religion, disease-rates, etc.? 3. To what extent does your country support genetic engineering? Does your country support genetic engineering to prevent the development of certain diseases? What about choosing traits in babies such as gender or eye color? 4. What, if any, regulation does your country propose to apply to this research? 5. Who, if anyone, does your country plan to allow access to genetic engineering capabilities? Will the technology be reserved for extreme conditions? Will it be made into a public service for a high price? If so, how will your country protect the health of its poor population while their richer citizens are able to rid their babies of several diseases?