UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL: PRESS RELEASE

The French Republic, The Kingdom of Great Britain, The People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation and Germany would like to restate their continued support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA is crucial to ensure regional stability and working towards resolving the Middle East Conflict. Given this the above-mentioned states would like to state their disappointment and concern over the decision of the United States of America withdrawing from the deal.

The JCPOA cannot be renegotiated. However, given the concerns Iran has declared their willingness to negotiate a second parallel binding deal to address these concerns. Particularly, the concern of the European Union regarding the missiles (….). This may include the possibility of further parties, such as and not limited to the Kingdom of Sweden that has declared their support.

The supporting nations are looking forward to the negotiations. The United States of America are invited to reconsider their position on the JCPOA. If they fulfill their obligations the they and Iran will consider them becoming a party to the second parallel deal in the future.

Hope for the LGBT community in Islamic Countries?

By Franz LENTNER

Mahdi’s story begins ten years ago in Aleppo. In 2008 Mahdi was 15 years old and for the first time in his life experienced deep emotional feelings for someone else. “At First I didn’t know that I was in love and it is difficult to describe my feelings. But I was simply full of happiness when we were together and I even tried to find reasons for excluding other friends to spend time in togetherness. Yes at this time I was very uncertain about my true feelings, but by now I know that I loved Jamal. Unfortunately neither Jamal nor my family knows that I am gay and I am profoundly worried that they find it out.”

Recently the attention for gay men in Islamic countries increased and movements like “You are not alone” or the documentary movie “Mr Gay Syria” spread awareness about LGBT rights in Syria and the Middle-East.

Different diplomats tried to use this raising awareness for a new initiative to promote LGBT rights and proposed a resolution to the third committee of the General Assembly of the UN, which is concerned with social, humanitarian and cultural issues. After several discussions and strong opposition they adopted a resolution which states “that all people are born with equal rights, including people identifying as transgender or homosexual“.

Mahdi, who is now living in Berlin is grateful that the German administration along with other western countries tried to convince his home country Syria to establish better living conditions and rights for the LGBT community. At the same time he does not expect an improvement in the near future, since Syria together with other Islamic countries voted against the resolution and still does not accept homosexuality in its legal constitution.

United Nations Environment Programme’s Response to the South China Sea Oil Spill

By Julian WITTKAMP

Today satellite pictures revealed an oil spill near the Island of Hainan in the South China Sea. International politics now debate on what caused the incident, if it is man-made or natural and how to limit the potentional damage to a minimum as fast as possible.

The UNEP was requested to develop an emergency plan. To summarize the most important positions in UNEP real quick:

Philippines states this incident as a problem of international interest, especially by the countries surrounding the chinese territorial waters. They accused China of having caused the catastrophe and not informing the international community although there were chinese ships nearby and by that willingly threatening the environment and endangering many lives.

China insists on fully funding the investigation and sending its own experts. The delegate acts as if this issue would have appeared completely unexpected to the Chinese. They seem to accept international support only regarding the clean-up process, officially because it would take international experts too long to arrive at Hainan, unofficially not willing to let international experts engage in research within their own territorial waters.

India and Egypt state that it would be against the law to send experts without the agreement of the Chinese government.

The majority of the delegates, nevertheless, seems to be willing to send an international team to examine the highly political issue, which regards not only China, but the whole eco-system in the South China Sea, with the chance of even spreading towards Vietnamese territorial waters.

Council of the European Union about the future of the EU:

“We want to strengthen the role of the union, strengthen the role of the citizens and stand as a unit”

By Eva LAUWENS

On Sunday,  the 25thof November 2003, a press conference with the Council of the European Union was organised. As the European Union is experiencing new (and older) challenges at the moment, the Council of the EU wants to simplify the current legislation and the whole EU structure in a constitution, called ‘fundamental EU treaty’.

“The EU parliament will be empowered, the constitution will respect sovereignty and will simplify the current structure of the EU” Quoting the French Republic’s answer to the question how the EU wants to convince member states to ratify the EU constitution. But isn’t the real question if people are waiting for an ever closing European union in times of terror attacks in the U.S, the invasion of Iraq…?

According to the Kingdom of Spain active citizenship will, therefore, be essential to tackle eventual Euroscepticism in the future and by focussing on this topic the hope to create a framework for a European identity was expressed . Besides that the Council also hopes that states see the value in joining the union and want to tackle the lack of democracy in the EU by giving the Parliament legislative initiative.

Stating that “The principle of subsidiarity will be taken into account as it is very important. That there is value in not having a concrete list with competences that will be assigned to the EU yet and that states can choose to give the EU more competences over the course of time” the concerns about the reflection of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionally in the constitution and especially in the competences that will be assigned to the EU was addressed rather vague.

Another big issue the EU is facing at the moment are criteria for states who want to become a member. Criteria are not yet set down but the council agreed on the fact that governments and people must be committed to comply with the EU values. Therefore countries who are not yet able to do so but wish to work towards doing that would be able to become a member. The union will then work together with them on the way to fulfilment of the EU values. The union wants to grow but this at the same time doesn’t go along with having members who do not comply with the values. It seems however that the current member states have not yet found common ground about the countermeasures that will be taken to cope with breaches of the values.

The upcoming months will be crucial and will show us if the council will reach its goal to strengthen the role of the union, strengthen the role of the citizens and stand as a unit.

BREAKING NEWS: UPDATE ON THE SOUTH CHINA SEA OIL SPILL

By Kelli-Anne TIM [Editor-in-Chief] 

The situation in the South China Sea continues to develop. The oil spill is approximately 1 mid barrels, which is a quarter of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred in 2010. Our sources indicate that the oil spill is farther from the coast of China. In fact, our sources have indicated to us that the oil spill is in Vietnamese waters, if we take into account the UNCLOS. But that China is claiming that territory in the nine-dash line. The origin of the spill seems to have come from a place between the UNCLOS 200 nautical miles of Vietnam and the nine-dash line. 

This is a developing story. 

BREAKING NEWS: OIL SPILL IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

By Kelli-Anne TIM  [Editor-in-Chief] 

An oil spill has been discovered off the coast of the Hainan Island by satellite images in the South China Sea. It has begun to spread across the Chinese territorial waters. The danger is that it could even begin to spread towards Vietnamese territorial waters. As seen in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, an oil spill can have severe environmental consequences.

This is a developing story. 

OSCE convoy attacked – four people dead, 21 injured

Luhansk – An OSCE convoy which was according to the Minsk (I) agreement inspecting the ceasefire at the front between the forces of the Ukrainian government and the pro-russian rebels in Luhansk has been attacked yesterday. During the artillery fire four people died and 21 were injured. Our intelligence sources claim that the attack was performed by pro-russian rebels with Russian weaponry and the support of Russian military advisers.  In a statement the Russian Foreign Ministry announced: “The Russian Federation is deeply concerned about this tragic incident and condemn it. However we have to carefully analyze the situation and therefore the Russian Federation requests an independent investigation conducted by the OSCE.”

CCTPP: An Answer to the Trade Conflict between the U.S.A and the PRC

By Lucas WAGENER 

BONN – In many and long debates, the delegates of the G20 Committee talked about the current state of the world economy regarding the rise of protectionist tendencies by many member states. Especially the United States of America (U.S) who was often criticized for the measures taken under the Trump Administration. Many delegates felt the urge to point out that they are concerned about the relationship between the U.S and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The current tariffs imposed by both Member States might just be the start of an upcoming trade war, which needs to be avoided.

A solution for this conflict, at first, seemed out of reach. The U.S strongly stood with their “America First Policies”, which would protect the American worker from “unfair international trade agreements” that seek to exploit the U.S. The PRC, on the other hand, was not willing to let these implementations pass: “Your Tariffs are an insult to the People’s Republic of China!”, as the delegate of the PRC pointed out. The delegate of the U.S made it clear that an end to the tariffs would only come with the cooperation of the PRC on topics like the safety of intellectual property and an end of too one-sighted trade deals.

A potential solution to this conflict came in form of the proposition of the PRC in which the delegate showed the willingness to cooperate to a certain degree on the above-mentioned points, if the US and the PRC would unanimously join the CCTPP, the follow up of the Trans-Pacific-Partnership trade agreement. Since the delegate of the US seems to be in favour of this, the question remains how far these potential cooperation’s on China’s side would go. Also the potential political influence the PRC would get as the second biggest economy in the CCTPP after the U.S could undermine the status of the U.S as the leading nation in trade affairs.

Breakfast in the CoEU

By Eva LAUWENS 

BONN — The Council of the European Union (CoEU) started quickly on Friday morning. Delegates dived into the „constitution for the EU“ discussion very enthusiastically, switching extremely fast between moderated- and unmoderated caucuses; one could say they went from breakfast to lunch and dinner really quick.

The input of citizens; merging the pillar system; legislative initiative for the EU parliament; sovereignty and referenda to ratify an eventual constitution are all very important topics that have been discussed within the first hours of committee sessions. However, delegates have been switching between all of these topics without really agreeing on them or even agreeing to disagree on them. The delegate from France, the country that actually came with the EU constitution initiative, has presented a possible working paper, to which the press has had access.

The document is proposing more concrete solutions to topics that have been discussed. As the other delegates have had access to that document, we are expecting a whole lot more of interesting debates and hopefully concrete results today.

Besides the topics that have been the subject of debate so far; there are some more pressing issues we believe to be of the utmost importance. What about the membership of the union issues? For example a suspension of rights if member states do not comply with EU law or the voluntarily withdrawal of member states. What about the EU voting system, which should probably be reformed as a large wave of Eastern European countries are looking to join the EU?  Hopefully, these and other issues will be the focus of a fruitful debate soon.

The CoEU committee is ready for more, ready for another day of debates, and ready for this constitution.

Establishing a Solution for Plastic Waste

By Julian WITTKAMP

BONN – It’s usually kind of hard to find a consensus between many parties with different interests. There are many negotiations to be done, debates, speeches and informal conversations to be held and conclusions to be made. This is what the UNEP is working hard to achieve. The main topic of interest: The worldwide reduction of plastic waste. 

The delegates chose to differentiate the problem into two main sections. The first being the reduction of existing plastics. How can we deal with a vast amount of plastic bags, cups, straws, fishing nets, and so on that are swimming in our oceans, lying on the beaches and are even eaten by fish, spread across the whole wolrd? That´s what also the delegates asked themselves. They talked about it, made statements, agreed on others positions, but didn´t really make a progress in the process of finding consensus in general in order to create a valid plan. But they did, indeed come up with lots of interesting ideas, mainly proposed by China.

However, the second section is regarding the future plastic production. The delegates gathered Ideas about what to do on reducing plastics, how to replace it as an important substance in economy and how to encourage companies on replacing it. Brazil even presented a plan for establishing an ecological economy in the midterm.

At the end of the day, they agreed to further discuss a proposal China came up with:

A cap and trade system on plastic waste. This innovative idea states that companies should be forced by law to buy tradable licenses for plastic consumption, which are getting more expensive every year. This would encourage them to use alternative materials and reduce their generation of plastic waste.

In conclusion, the delegates should try to work towards a goal rather than just stating their own opinions. But today we have taken a great step towards environmental goals in discussing innovative and novel ideas.

Now it´s time for you, dear delegates, to achieve your goals.

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