UNESCAP, established in 1947, is situated in Bankgok, Thailand. It is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). UNESCAP has 53 Member States and 9 Associated Members with four subregional offices. It makes policy recommendations to Member States in areas of social and economic development, and aims to provide assistance to and share knowledge with Member States in the fulfillment of the recommendations.
Topic A: Development of Elderly-Inclusive Societies
An aging society brings both, problems and prospects for the societies to consider. Negative effects such as the lack of labor force, increasing governmental financial burden and inefficient social welfare system are some issues of concern. As in the case of Asia, with the fast growing rate of the elderly group, many countries are becoming old before they become rich. This especially affects the situation in the less-developed countries (LDCs) in this region. On the other hand, well-developed countries such as Singapore have already developed complete health care systems for the elderly. The elderly are referred to as the “Pioneer Generation” in these countries, the countries believe that there's an obligation to take care of the elderly because of their past contributions. With a well-organized medical care system, long care and pension system, such countries can support their welfare policies adequately. In addition, besides hardware utilities, the issue of ensuring the elders’ spiritual satisfaction and mental health has also been brought to light in recent years. Countries in Asia differ greatly when it comes to strategies and corresponding effectiveness regarding the elderly issue.
Member states must consider how the LDCs could adopt or learn from successful examples and what hurdles they should overcome. Delegates are expected to cover all aspects and engage in further debate on this issue. What problems would arise if or when the elderly population counted for more than half of a country’s population? What would happen if sufficient resources were not allocated to support the elders? And what role can UNESCAP play in the development of elderly inclusive societies?
Topic B: Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers
According to the United Nations, th definition of a migrant worker is “a person who is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a State of which he or she is not a national. ” Migrant workers include skilled, unskilled, semi-skilled, international or domestic workers, and workers that move from rural places to urban regions. Migrant workers, especially the unskilled ones, are subject to low salaries, discrimination, and exploitation. Laws fail to protect them and some even restrict them from moving to other places as well as allow bosses to fire them with no reason. There are several billions of migrant workers from Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan who mainly moved to countries such as Singapore, which has one of the highest number of migrant workers in East Asia, and Middle-eastern countries.
The migrant workers’ issue is quite controversial, and impacts both host and home countries. Some positive impacts to host countries include, solving the problem of shortage of labor, economic growth and increasing the diversity of the countries. However, this also comes with low minimum wages, and security concerns. The remittances sent to home countries boost the domestic economies, countries such as Philippines are a prime example. The skills and experiences migrant workers might bring back after returning to home countries can also strengthen their home countries. But on the other hand, home countries may suffer from brain drain, and negative effecst on the economy.
The UN and several NGOs are devoted to guarantee the right of migrant workers. They have taken past actions such as International migrant days, and the international convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families. Sri Lanka is a great example of how a developing country might approach the migrant workers’ issue with positive results. Last but not least, delegates must consider what could be done to minimize the inequalities and uphold the rights of migrant workers in spirit as well as in practice.