.Written by Germaine Zhi En NG of Inkling for UWCSEA MUN.
The second day of the conference began with committees presenting and debating resolutions. In the World Health Organization committee (WHO), the first resolution proposed aimed to mitigate the threat of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics first became a common medicine to combat infectious diseases in the 1940s. Due to its great success and power, scientists did not acknowledge the possible detrimental effects of overuse. However, it has gradually become a widespread crisis that threatens even ordinary bacterial diseases to be immune to antibiotics. As a result, the time taken curing bacterial diseases, the cost for medical treatment, and the mortality rates all increased.
The situation has been internationally recognized by the WHO as a pressing matter that must be eliminated at all costs. The resolution, which was main-submitted by the delegate of Peru, attempts to alleviate this situation. The delegate first expressed the urgency of the issue. “Antibiotic resistance is jeopardizing past achievements which effectively controlled the spread of life-threatening diseases... These inhabitants will not respect natural order, eventually affecting every single one of us”. They then continued to give a brief summary of their intention. “Our resolution primarily aims at educating the population on what it means to reduce the rate of antibiotic resistance. Additionally, it aims to help LEDC who do not have many global resources to avoid antibiotic resistance.”
The representative then began to explain that the misuse and overuse of antibacterials is the main reason behind the issue. People who live in countries with loose treatment guidelines are often inappropriately prescribed antibiotics by pharmacists and healthcare workers. Overprescription can rapidly increase the number of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Furthermore, prescribing antibiotics for the wrong situation, such as for a viral infection, will lead to a higher chance of catching an infectious disease. Some countries even allow the public to buy them without any prescription at all, worsening the situation.
During the debates, amendments to the resolution by other delegates were discussed. For instance, encouraging countries to share research and information about antibiotic resistance was a controversial subject. The delegate of India did not believe this to be feasible. “Confidential antibiotic breakthrough that is still in development should not have to be shared with the public until the research is finished and ready for implementation within the worldwide countries.” The representative also believed that prohibiting the selling of antibiotics in unlicenced places is impossible. However, the delegate of Zimbabwe, a co-submitters of the resolution, argued against these claims. The delegate stressed the importance of banning illegal medical shops. “It would incentivize many of the licensed shops to turn in their illegal and oftentimes faulty antibiotics that could cause more harm than good”.
Other questions and concerns were highly debated as well. The delegates of Germany and Nigeria questioned how LEDC’s and rural areas can provide educational programs for antibiotics if they lack the resources to do so, while the representative of the South African Republic brought up the fact that the resolution lacks specificity and does not have a detailed plan of action that can be taken if the resolution is passed.
At the end of the debate, the resolution did not go through. Although all countries recognized the urgency of the problem, an overwhelming majority found the solutions to not align with their country's needs or beliefs. This situation especially highlights the complexity of the UN and political affairs in general. It shows how there is never an absolutely right or wrong answer, and thus it is vital that issues are discussed with every nation to find the most viable solution.
Inkling is UWCSEA East's Literary Magazine. It is a student-led publication that aims to showcase the diversity and creativity of our school through its output.
Use this section to catch up on all the exciting resolutions that were debated at UWCMUN 2021