TOPIC 1 – Re-evaluating Weapon Testing Regulations and Restrictions
Weapons are defined as objects or things that are designed to inflict bodily harm or physical damage. The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) defines all weapons including weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and most of the treaties, agreements and organizations that have been created in relation to the proliferation of arms and the banning of certain weapons and methods of combat. Chemical weapons, like mustard gas, have been ban since the Geneva Protocol in 1925 while other issues like stockpiling and testing of weapons such as nuclear warheads and missiles continue to threaten civilian and military populations. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996 holds those states that have ratified the treaty accountable for the nuclear technology they have and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism-Strategy was adopted in 2006 to investigate allege uses of chemical or biological weapons internationally. As of September 2017 there were no legally binding restrictions on the issue of missiles.
Current concerns have come up with the dispute between the USA and North Korea to which rumours have followed that North Korea has tested nuclear weapons and is readying them. The use of such weapons or the testing of them could lead to the spread of radiation and extreme damage to the region used or attacked. Other conflicts include the Pakistan-India border, which is still in an arms race and have in the 2015-2016 fiscal year both contributed billions more into their national defense. The conflict between Israel and the surrounding nations is at a halt as it is rumoured Israel holds secret nuclear weapons and has been testing on their own soil. There have been rumours also that Russia has been using the Middle East as a weapons testing ground for some time. No rumours have been confirmed yet.
The major issues for this topic are:
- Should there be a set of guidelines to restrict and regulate weapons whose possession is discouraged and/or ban?
- What measures should be taken to ensure the safety of the populations within those regions?
TOPIC 2 – Transfer of Nuclear Knowledge (Civil and Military) to Extremist Groups
Nuclear knowledge is any information in the nuclear domain such as the use, transport, storage or development of nuclear material into technology or devices this can range from energy plants to warheads. Transference of nuclear knowledge is key to developing clean safe nuclear technology that will increase the use of clean energy in place of energy sources that are damaging the environment such as burning coal or wood. The UN is a strong advocate of sharing the information, which has lead to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) creating various departments and systems managing the research, industry and the spread of such information including the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) in 1969. Although UN has established Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones as of April 1999 under the UNODA, those parties who work outside of UN and state regulations such as terrorist factions or extremist groups may still choose to undergo nuclear weapon development despite state laws and agreements.
An extremist group is defined as a derogatory term for an individual or group of people who hold extreme political or religious views who advocate using illegal, unsanctioned, violent or otherwise extreme action. Unregulated transfer of knowledge such as to an extremist group from a source is not always complete; information can be lost along the way to the receiver and may be detrimental to work with nuclear material. Nuclear technology information in the wrong or careless hands could lead to nuclear meltdowns, unsuccessful safe holding of nuclear material could spread harmful radiation to the surroundings or the information could be used to make the nuclear material into weapons. There is government documentation on the reports submitted regarding the measures that have been taken to prevent terrorists from acquiring the information they need on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) of which Nuclear weapons are considered.
With the recent escalations between North Korea and the USA as well as past conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Asia, nuclear terrorism is a threat and unprecedented nuclear knowledge transference will only increase the likelihood of an attack powered by an extremist group using nuclear material, aimed at nuclear power plants or research stations. The concern now is to stop the transference of any nuclear knowledge to extremist groups and to find out if, how or why they have been receiving this knowledge.
The major issues for this topic are:
- What are the main methods of unauthorized transference of Nuclear Knowledge?
- How can we stop the transference of Nuclear Knowledge to extremist groups?