Disarmament and Social Security Committee (DISEC)
1. Evaluating the relevance of sanctions in maintaining international peace and security
Economic sanctions are commercial or financial penalties imposed by one country or group of countries on another. They are a non-military solution that restricts, and in some cases prevents, international trade with a state or a non-governmental organisation, in order to make the country act in a certain way. They can take different forms, including arms trade embargoes, complete trade bans, disrupting communication channels, restricting transactions, tariffs, etc. and their aim is to punish countries that have violated international law.
Both non-military and military sanctions have been widely used by the United Nations as a coercive tool to change the behaviour of a state or non-state actor. However, nowadays we are witnessing a serious debate about the effectiveness of these sanctions, which have been accused of worsening the country’s situation. They affect the country’s economy and revoke arms trade agreements, while significantly influencing imports and exports between countries.
Imposing sanctions has proven to be a useful measure in several conflicts, but it has sometimes failed to produce the desired result. In addition, economic sanctions have come under criticism for damaging the economy, thus harming citizens and post-conflict recovery. What role can these sanctions play in the 21st century in terms of peace and security? It is time to question their effectiveness – do they really help us to maintain peace and guarantee international security? How can they be used effectively without causing civilian suffering and obstructing progress on the Sustainable Development Goals? Are these two notions not controversial? Last but not least, we must reconsider their importance in maintaining peace and international security.
2. The threat of biological and toxin weapons in the twenty-first century
The use of chemical and toxin weapons by extremist groups is far from new. The objective of these groups is no longer the destruction of territories, but rather their destabilization by various means – biological and toxin weapons included. It should be noted that these groups are not alone in their use of such weapons; this use does, however, constitute a real danger for the international community.
Since the end of the twentieth century, civilians have been the group most affected by wars and conflicts, which raises questions about the State and its role, since it has failed in its mission of ensuring the safety of its citizens. Consequently, we must ask if biological and toxin weapons help to ensure the safety of the State or if they compromise it.
It is the responsibility of the international community to develop prevention policies in order to protect civilians from these harmful and toxic weapons. This debate cannot be considered solely in terms of security; it also has significant political and economic implications.
Study Guide DISEC: disec-study-guide-en-final