With the belief that debate and diplomacy are vital in bringing about changes in Pakistan’s political arena, the LUMS Model UN Society (LUMUN) will be hosting the fifth edition of the Youth Leadership Parliament. In February 2014, LUMUN’s first YLP gathered nearly 300 students, who adopted the duties of legislators to debate vital issues in the country. YLP 2020 will serve as a platform for its participants to discuss, deliberate and analyse the challenges that the country faces, imbibing these individuals with the knowledge and will to adopt a rational and systematic approach towards resolving these issues. At YLP, delegates will act as legislators belonging to different parties and constituencies, and focus on driving policy to deal with the issues under scrutiny. The theme for Youth Leadership Parliament 2020 is علم كے سائے میں بلندی کی جانب (Ilm kai Saye mein Bulandi ki Janib). This theme emphasises the need to develop nuanced conceptions and to grow in knowledge of not only the ills plaguing Pakistan, but also the remedies to those ills.
In light of our broader vision, we will be simulating the following four committees at Youth Leadership Parliament 2020:
- The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs
- The National Commission on the Status of Women
- The Standing Committee on the Regulation of National Health Services
- The Standing Committee on Climate Change.
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs
The purpose of this committee will be to reevaluate some of Pakistan’s older commitments towards traditional allies in light of the newer approaches being made to and from other nations. It will also seek to evaluate means of engaging with the geopolitical scenario in South Asia on a political and diplomatic front and explore questions revolving around the nature of our associations with the Gulf and Western Nations. These will be explored in the context of developments such as the recent economic aid extended to us by the Gulf nations and the sway that they exert over Pakistan with that aid. The committee will include discussions that involve its relationship with India and Afghanistan in the realm of geopolitical security. It will also debate Pakistan’s relationships with the Middle East, the benefits and drawbacks of those and within that explore how Pakistan can branch out into forming newer relationships with other regions such as the Far East and Africa.
National Commission on the Status of Women
As of 2019, Pakistan ranks 151 out of 154 nations on the Gender Equality Index and while the last decade saw marginal improvements, women remain largely disenfranchised from the socio-political and economic spaces of Pakistan. Incidents of violence against women remain rife and challenges of economic disempowerment and cultural limitations deny women the ability to access an adequate quality of life. Laws and regulations are often insufficient to tackle the deep-rooted problems faced by women and the state has been unable to devise proper mechanisms by which the safety and empowerment of women can be guaranteed. Within this scenario, it becomes essential to concentrate attempts towards the resolution of these obstacles. This committee will remain focused on finding solutions and developing mechanisms by which the difficulties facing women can be addressed.
Standing Committee on the Regulation of National Health Services.
Healthcare facilities in Pakistan have continually struggled to cater to large majorities of the population. Private healthcare is priced exorbitantly, severing access to the vast number of Pakistanis. Public healthcare delivery has faced myriad hurdles in terms of resources, human capital and efficiency. Healthcare infrastructure remains limited and waiting times for patients are significant. Medical personnel continue to agitate for better working conditions. The infrastructure that does exist is constrained in its ability to address the health needs of the population sustainably. Examples of recent changes and potential improvements include the expansion of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in Karachi, the dissolution of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and provision of ‘Sehat’ cards indicate a renewed emphasis on healthcare in Pakistan. The committee will seek to address the general development of public health infrastructure, addressing key causes behind health problems within the population, and steps taken by governments such as those listed above.
Standing Committee on Climate Change
Pakistan stands to be one of the top ten countries to be affected by climate change in the near future. Scientists across the globe have identified the heating of the planet as a serious and looming existential threat. Evidence of this has manifested in extreme weather around the world In recent years, Pakistan has faced a number of extreme weather incidents, particularly heatwaves in the Southern half. Climate change may prove deadly to our crop production and endanger the lives of millions of people. Hence, the need of discussing this particular crisis cannot be overstated. This will involve a discussion of how Pakistan can best minimise and prepare for the effects of climate change in terms of its water usage, food production, areas under threat of flooding and desertification etc. Crisis of air pollution such as the recent waves of deadly smog in Punjab will remain a pertinent issue. It will also explore how Pakistan can play a role in international forums such as the United Nations in the fight for better global climate policies, particularly in relation to major polluters of the world.
LUMS Model United Nations Society (LUMUN) is a student-run organization at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
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