Economic and Financial Committee
It is my honor to welcome you to the Economic and Financial Committee at the 65th session of Harvard National Model United Nations 2019!
My name is Chico Payne, and I am a junior at Harvard College. I am from Richmond, Virginia. For several years, I have been interested in the ways that different forces shape the systems that control our countries and our world; because of this interest, I am concentrating in Economics with a secondary in Government. In addition to MUN, I am involved in several programs within the Institute of Politics, including serving on the executive board in the Harvard Political Union. Furthermore, I volunteer for the Massachusetts Small Claims Advisory Service, which is a program that empowers socioeconomically disadvantaged clients by providing them with legal information.
Last year, I had the pleasure of serving as the director of this very committee. Having enjoyed the committee experience so much, I wanted to direct it again. Before directing ECOFIN 2018, I served as an Assistant Director at HNMUN on the Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space and at HMUN on the World Bank. This year in the ECOFIN Committee, we will combine elements of economics and public policy to better the prospects of developing nations. Both of the following topics have been persistent problems for several years, but they will become increasingly pressing in the near future.
Topic A focuses on mitigating the impact of the global skills gap. The skills gap has already been seen in most regions of the globe and is projected to become an even greater problem in the coming decades. Many employers believe that those who are entering the workforce do not possess the skills necessary to succeed in workforces with evolving technological capabilities. The intriguing aspect about this situation is that the level of skill that employers demand varies across countries. Delegates will need to decide the best method of bridging this skills gap.
Topic B concentrates on modifying the current incentives structure to promote the adoption of environmentally beneficial technologies. Many critics of the Paris Climate Agreement note that the Green Climate Fund is already underfunded and suggest that the funds are not being allocated as efficiently as possible. Others provide estimates indicating that even if the nationally determined contributions are met, global temperatures will rise more than the two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels target. Delegates will have to decide what changes, if any, to make to help shape economic future of renewable energies.
I am looking forward to seeing you grapple with the economic and policy issues that will come up in committee. I am confident that all of you can write a resolution with solutions that would make a positive impact on the lives of others. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns about the committee. I am excited to meet you all at conference!
Director, Economic and Financial Committee
Harvard National Model United Nations 2019
Topic Area A: Augmenting Human Capital to Reduce the Skills Gap
For the past few decades, industries have indicated difficulties finding workers equipped to meet the evolving requirements of the modern workforce. Due to difficulties finding workers, many of these positions go unfilled for long periods of time. Reducing frictions that employers face locating workers might allow people to find higher paying jobs.
The skills gap is pronounced in many regions around the world. Most small business owners in the United States report that there are few or no qualified applicants for the available jobs. This sentiment is felt strongly in Japan where about 89 percent of employers say that they have trouble finding qualified applicants. Latin America faces a particularly emphasized skills gap. In Argentina, for instance, 59 percent of companies report difficulty hiring workers with the right skills set. The skills gap is not only a problem in high- and middle-income economies, but also in countries undergoing rapid economic development, such as India, where only 40 percent of employers reported to the International Business Standard that new entrants to the employment market are equipped with sufficient job skills. These numbers are only expected to rise in the coming decades as technology continues to advance.
This committee will need to address how to reduce or eliminate the global skills gap to improve economic outcomes for both businesses and employees around the world. Members of the committee may suggest conventional approaches to this topic, such as improving education in developing and developed countries, or more controversial approaches, such as reducing restrictions on worker movements across borders. Ultimately, the setting the right combination of policies is in the delegates’ hands.
Topic Area B: The Economic Future of Green Energy Development
The signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016 by representatives of 196 parties raised hopes about the future of green energy development, yet, just two years after its signing, criticisms have persisted about its efficacy. Some note that even if all of the nationally determined contributions are met, global temperatures would still be expected to increase well beyond the two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels target that many had hoped. Additionally, they point out that the Green Climate Fund, which was founded under the UNFCCC and pre-dates the Paris Agreement, is likely to have trouble reaching its funding goals. Others criticize the role that the private sector plays in the fund and believe that the money will not be used in the most efficient manner possible. Many critics believe that further steps need to be taken to ensure that the increase in global temperature is held to the lowest level feasible.
During committee, delegates will have to wrestle with fundamental questions that have existed within the debate for years: What obligations do member states have in the promotion of green energy? Who bears the primary responsibility for changing the incentive structure –countries with the highest current emissions levels or those that have historically emitted the most?
With these things in mind, this committee should think about how to best shape the incentives structure to limit increases of global temperature levels. Delegates will have to consider the current geopolitical climate and be cognizant of some country’s concerns about a shift in the center of energy production. Another consideration should be made about the position that countries have towards certain sources of energy generation, such as varying feelings towards the adoption of nuclear energy. Finally, delegates will have to determine appropriate levels of adaptation and mitigation.