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Friday, November 16, 2012

News Brief: Environment (Day 2)

The very first resolution reviewed was submitted by the delegate of Japan, concerning the management of electronic waste. Co-submitters consisted of Chile, Laos, Lebanon, and Belgium. The purpose of the resolution was to empower countries to find solutions geared towards sustainable development to the issue at hand, “e-waste.”

By citing statistics from the UNEP saying that e-waste could increase by 500% in the next 10 years, the delegate of Japan urged the other delegates to help pass the resolution which would result in a 6% “green tax” on home appliances and electronic goods produced by MNCs.

To avoid the tax, the producers would have to pass continuous checks on their proper handling and disposal of electronic waste by environmental government agencies in cooperation with the UNEP.

Despite the revenue it would bring to the government, many nations expressed objections. South Korea, in particular, expressed fear in that these taxes would only raise prices of electronic gadgets for consumers, lowering demand and hurting the economy. “Japan may not be affected by this decrease in GDP, but we can’t afford it,” He said.

The delegate of Singapore also expressed disapproval against Chile, who advocated the resolution, citing that this would cause bankruptcies in many small Chilean businesses. However, the delegate of Chile responded that much more was at stake if the resolution was not passed, because their main source of income, tourism, was at risk from the fall of biodiversity.

The resolution was debated back and forth with many clarifications asked on particular words. An amendment was added to clarify the clause asking for nations to focus on creating awareness.

Ultimately, the e-waste resolution did not pass as only 10 out of a total of 31 states voted for it.

The second resolution discussed was submitted by Chile and concerned the issue of protecting biodiversity. Niger, Qatar, Poland, Sweden, and Bangladesh were co-submitters.

The delegate of Chile started off her speech with an analogy of black cats representing bad luck to humans being misfortune to the Earth. She deplored over how many nations have prioritized economy over environment and asked all delegates to collaborate for future generations through multilateral talks, campaigns to educate the public, and fines to protect endangered animals or plants.

Mexico, however, saw the resolution as unrealistic and ineffective and went to compare it to a novice plumber fixing a pipe with duct tape, only increasing awareness.

After many speeches going back and forth to “for” and “against,” the resolution had to be cut short because of time. We look forward to the final decision on this resolution tomorrow morning.

-Daphne L. (10)

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