SOCOMUN XXI Model United Nations
Hello, Delegates! My name is Chloe Lustig, and I will be your chair for
SOCOMUN 2012. I am a senior and Full IB student at Santa Margarita who loves MUN.
I’m the president of our school’s Pink Ribbon Club, a Link Crew Member, the president
of National Honor Society, and a member of the Spanish National Honor Society too.
My experience with Model United Nations has been fantastic. I love MUN because of
the amazing topics I am exposed to, as well as the amazing people that I meet. With the
program, I have been to many away conferences, such as the University of Santa Barbara,
the Royal Russell School in England, and Brown University in Rhode Island. This
spring, I will be lucky enough to travel to China for an international conference. Even
though this is my fourth year in the program, I was once a freshman getting ready for my
first conference at Santa Margarita just like you. Do not worry! Well, enough about me!
Here is what you will be experiencing at your first ever Model United Nations
I will be explaining every procedure to you step by step so that there is no
confusion. In committee, we will be beginning with speeches that have to do with the
background of the topic. This type of speech is known as “General Debate.” After every
speaker has gone, we will continue with committee and move into “Substantive Debate.”
In this type of speech, you will be talking about your country’s policy on the topic and
your solutions. By “policy,” I mean the stance that your nation takes on deforestation.
Between the speeches, you will be “caucusing.” This is where you will meet with other
delegates and discuss your ideas and solutions. During this time, you will need to find
countries that have similar polices as you. With these countries, you will be forming
“Resolution Groups.” This is where you will be creating resolutions that will later be
debated and voted on in committee. I know this is a lot to process, but please do not be
nervous. I will be explaining everything in full detail for you in committee. Also, please
remember that your research papers are extremely important. If you prepare well, you
will have more information about your country and the topic, which will help you a lot in
committee. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. So relax and enjoy, delegates!
History of the Problems:
The Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History defines deforestation as a “wide-
ranging term to cover the cutting, using, and elimination of trees.” The World Resources
Institute explains that this deforestation is the reason that over one half of the world’s
green forests have been obliterated. In 2010, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture
Organization found that a mere ten billion acres of forest are still on earth. This small
amount of land comprises only thirty-one percent of the earth’s land, which is but a tiny
fraction. The causes of this destruction are due to the pressure of society and world
economics. Farmers are clearing land to plant crops in a process known as the “slash and
burn” technique. Here, trees are cut down and burned in order to create more space to
plant. Farming, however, is not the only cause of deforestation. With the demand for
paper products growing, logging is becoming more and more prevalent as a major cause
of deforestation. Not only is much of this logging illegal, but loggers are also destroying
more land by building roads in order to reach further into forests to chop down more
trees. Overgrazing is also a major issue. Animals are eating too much in the same area,
which drains the land of nutrients and prevents new trees from thriving. Other natural
disasters, such as wildfires, also affect deforestation. Not only is deforestation
devastating for its wildlife inhabitants, but it affects the world’s environment as well.
Deforestation that is occurring in the tropical forests is responsible for almost ninety
percent of the release of carbon dioxide. These large amounts of carbon dioxide can be
connected to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Not only do forests affect the
atmosphere, but also the land. With no trees to soak up water and nutrients, water is
running off and becoming rivers, which deprives land of moisture. This also leads to
larger floods, which wipe away topsoil nutrients and destroy land. In a 2010 article from
the “Ecologist,” it states “if we don’t keep remaining forests intact there is a danger that
some of the plant’s most life-threatening diseases could spread on a dangerous and
unmanageable scale. The experts also warn that there is a serious risk of unleashing
pandemics of new viruses into the world’s human population.” Also, by destroying
forests and natural life, humanity is depriving itself of yet undiscovered drugs and crops.
The year 2012 holds promise for the reduction of deforestation. According to the “Sky
Rainforest Rescue” Campaign, the Amazon had its lowest level of deforestation in 2011.
This is thanks to not only to “public pressure at home and abroad,” but also “high-tech
satellite monitoring systems [that have] made it possible to track, understand and
effectively tackle deforestation on the ground.” The demand for materials from forests,
however, is still at an all-time high. The United Nations has recognized deforestation as
a major world issue. In the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
the Division for Sustainable Development has devoted one of its core missions to
reducing and restoring the detrimental effects of deforestation. The UN has also created
the UN-REDD program, which is the “United Nations Collaborative Program on
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing
Countries.” This organization focuses on individual nations and their policies. The
United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) also works with individual nations to develop
policies, aid countries, and encourage international cooperation. This sector of the UN
also submits voluntary monitoring reports in regards to the status of deforestation in
The following are a few solutions that I believe could be successful. However,
delegates, I encourage you to come up with your own individual ideas as well. Please
keep in mind that funding will not be a concern because any solutions that we pass in
committee will automatically be assumed to receive funding from the United Nations.
Helicopter logging, or heli-logging, is a good and unique way to reduce the impact that
forests suffer from logging. It reduces the damage that is created by loggers who build
roads through which they access and drag trees. With this form of logging, the work is
done in the air, so the trees do not need to be dragged through forest floors. Another idea
is to create national plans that are unique to each nation’s specific needs. Here, policies
can be adopted that form borders and national conservation sites where no logging is
permitted. The size of these national forests should be based off the country’s size,
population, and amount of forestry. Understanding that forests are also illegally cleared,
delegates should also consider encouraging the implementation of national and
international laws that will result in strict punishments and fines for those who are
illegally logging or clearing land. In regards to farming, vocational training should be
created that will educate farmers on how to rotate crops seasonally so that the nutrients in
their soil does not deplete. This will prevent farmers from drying land and continuing on
to other forests. Another solution is to further develop the satellite monitoring previously
mentioned. Delegates, when coming up with your own solutions, please feel free to be
creative (but also realistic). The more unique your solutions are, the more you will stand
out! Also, please remember that you will be more successful in committee if your
solutions answer who, what, where, why, when, and how.
Questions to Answer:
Delegates, when writing your papers, please remember why it is so important for
deforestation to be reduced: the UNFF states that the world’s forests “play an important
role in the achievement of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals on
eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental stability.” The
following are questions that you may want to consider when writing your papers. Please
note that you do not have to literally answer these questions during committee; they are
simply here to help you focus your research and form policies and solutions.
1. How can the United Nations persuade individual nations who rely on raw
materials for their economy to create laws and policies that protect forests?
2. How can the United Nations spread awareness about the necessity to conserve
forests and be environmentally friendly?
3. How will the United Nations begin restoring lands that are highly affected by
deforestation, such as tropical forests?
4. What are long-term and short-term goals in regards to reducing deforestation
and restoring land?
5. With which lands should the United Nations begin the process of restoration?
What are your nations’ priorities?
6. How is your nation affected by deforestation? Are you in a stable condition in
which you are able to help the United Nations?
7. Which other nations have the same national policies as you?
"A Positive Start for 2012 as Amazon Deforestation Drops." Sky Rainforest Rescue. Web.
3 May 2012. <http://rainforestrescue.sky.com/our-campaign/news-items/positive-
"Deforestation Facts." Environment Facts - National Geographic. Web. 3 May 2012.
"Deforestation Slowing - UN." BBC News. Web. 3 May 2012.
"Deforestation." The Global Change Program at the University of Michigan. Web. 3
May 2012. <http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/
Degradation, Forest. "UN-REDD." UN-REDD Programme. Web. 3 May 2012.
"Division for Sustainable Development." United Nations. Web. 3 May 2012.
Hawkins, David. "Deforestation Could Fuel Deadly Spread of Malaria, Yellow Fever and
Lyme Disease." Ecologist Dec. 2010. Science Reference Center. Web. 3 May
"Helicopter Logging." Forestry and the Forest Industry. Web. 3 May 2012.
"National Geographic: Eye in the Sky--Deforestation." National Geographic. Web. 3
May 2012. <http://www.nationalgeographic.com/eye/deforestation/effect.html>.
"Seeing the Wood." Economist 25 Sept. 2010. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 3 May
"United Nations Forum on Forests." UN News Center. UN. Web. 3 May 2012.