Topic A: Water Security in the Middle East
Nowadays water has become a valuable prize for many – and increasingly also a source of disputes. The region of the Middle East and North Africa, consisting predominantly of arid and desert states, is particularly affected by water shortages and threatened even more by climate change.
There are multiple aspects to water security. Firstly, there are conflicts over water resources, such as the dispute over the Euphrates and Tigris rivers between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Through Turkey’s building of several dams in the upper flows of the rivers has affected water management and the related functioning of economies along the lower flows of the rivers in Syria and Iraq. A similar issue is present between Israel, Jordan and Palestine in the case of the Jordan river or between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt over the Nile river in light of the ongoing construction of Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia.
Syria and Iraq are, furthermore, impacted by a second water-related phenomenon – both countries are involved in protracted civil conflict, that not only has its roots in water security, but also considerable consequences for it. One of the most publicized issues is that of the Mosul Dam, which is located on the frontline between Coalition and ISIS forces. Its eventual destruction could lead to flash floods and a death toll of up to 1.5 million people, including in the distant capital Baghdad.
Because of the overall shortage of significant water flows and the negative prospects brought forth by climate change, it is necessary to protect, preserve and manage existing water sources. What so far have predominantly been restrictive and negligent water policies, must become everything but – agreements on water sharing with a view towards sustainable development and future conflict prevention are essential for the region and its role on the global stage.
Topic B: Protection of Religious Minorities
The 22 states forming the Arab League have a population of approximately 340 million people, of which the majority is practicing Sunni Islam. While the two major branches of Islam -Sunni and Shia- are continuously contesting their pre-eminence in the Islamic world, most of the Arab League countries are ruled by people belonging to either one of the two, the rest of the population being either tolerated or secluded, and in the worst cases persecuted.
Another structure of the nations comprised of Islamic people, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation already adopted a call for respect to religious minorities in their countries, but without any notable effects whatsoever. Spanning across the territory of the breeding ground for the Abrahamic religions and inhabited by local religious minorities, the Arab League countries desire to seek unity in their human potential of pursuing a prosperous life for their societies as a whole, though there are some exceptions.
The work of a conglomerate of countries sharing so many similarities, yet each of them with its own peculiarities, could be a cornerstone in the protection of religious minorities in the Arab World, being them Christian, Jewish, Druze, Zoroastrians, Shabak, Yarsan, or appertaining to a minority population of Islamic faith.
The following positions are available (for options marked with * previous experience is recommended):
State of Palestine
United Arab Emirates