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Expo Astana Topic Brief

Written by Frank Pobutkiewicz

I'm the founder/Managing Director of the All-American Model UN Programs! If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. Happy MUNing!

December 28, 2017


Expo Astana Topic Brief

Committee Summary

The Expo Astana was an International Exposition held in the summer of 2017, in Astana, Kazakhstan, with the purpose of bringing countries, corporations, and NGO’s together to discuss the theme of “Future Energy”.[i] The event, hosted by the French Bureau International Des Expositions (BIE), fell under the organization’s classification of a “Specialized Expo”, a title given to International, non-commercial Expositions, with a specific theme, or topic of discussion.[ii] The Exposition was a major success, breaking participation goals with 115 states, and 22 international organizations in attendance.[iii]

While this Summer’s Expo focused on bringing cleaner energy to the world, this committee’s simulation of the Expo will revolve around the theme, “Securing the World ”. As BIE Expositions tend to have a very broad theme to be able to accommodate multiple weeks of proceedings, this committee will have a more specific topic, to be chosen on the day of committee, by way of a committee vote.

While the world has been lucky enough to have gone the past few decades without any major international wars, conflict is escalating in multiple parts of the globe, and the international community must work together to prevent conflicts from gaining momentum. Each country, corporation, and organization represented at this year’s expo has interests that will be easier to achieve in a safer world. For this reason, it is critical that nations work together to make sure that rogue nations are quashed quickly, and rebellious forces are not allowed to succeed.

While the exact debate topic will be chosen on the day of committee, as per the “open agenda” policy, the rest of this background guide will contain summaries of current conflicts pertaining to the Expo’s topic, which delegates are free to consider when making their topic decision.

North Korean Nuclear Crisis

Ever since the Korean War, the international community has kept a close eye on the North Korean state. With a government that values its military capability over the wellbeing of it’s people, North Korean relations with most other countries are very strained.

Just recently, North Korea has shown that it possesses a nuclear arsenal capable of hitting even the East Coast of the United States. North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un has made repeated threats against the United States, which have not sat well with the country’s current administration. US President Donald Trump has frequently exchanged insults with the Korean leader, referring to him, using such names as “rocket man”.[iv]

While much of the North Korean crisis may be exclusive to the United States, North Korea is a perfect example of a rogue state, and something that this committee can draw from, to craft a resolution preventing another rogue state from rising to power.

Terrorism by Religious Extremists

Religious extremist groups, willing to use violence, and terrorist tactics to achieve their goals, have made headlines recently, successfully carrying out attacks in major countries such as France, Spain, the UK, and the US. These groups, motivated by a common religious goal, have been able to wreak havoc upon the citizens of many nations, and strike fear into the hearts of innocent civilians. To prevent more of these atrocious attacks from happening, many nations have dedicated a great deal of funds, and manpower towards counter-terrorist efforts within their borders, however devastating attacks continue to occur, strengthening the need for an international agreement, combining efforts against terrorism.

The Islamic State, a radical terrorist organization with land claims in the middle east, has been responsible for many of the attacks on foreign soil. Operating out of Iraq and Syria, ISIL has rapidly become one of the most feared terrorist organizations on the planet, even among horrendous organizations such as Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Al Shabaab.

Countries tackling the issue of religious extremist terrorism, must keep a strong eye on their foreign, particularly immigration policy, but must also look within their borders. Many of these attacks for which infamous terrorist groups have claimed responsibility, have been committed by citizens of the very nations affected. Known as “homegrown terrorism”, this can be specifically dangerous as these terrorists can easily hide from their governments, and aren’t subjected to the same level of scrutiny as an immigrant. A United States study found that 80% of domestic terrorist attacks in the US, were perpetrated by homegrown terrorists.[v] In order to stop homegrown terrorism from expanding farther than it already has, attendants of the Expo might choose this as their topic, and discuss possible solutions and preventative measures for the future.

The Private Sector Impact on International Security

Within the realm of international security there exist many different corporate industries, impacting the international community in different ways. From military technology, to large-scale arms dealing, to private armies, the market for private corporations in the military industry has allowed for companies to make a name for themselves in the industry.

In recent years, the market for private armies, or mercenary groups, has rapidly increased. Governments may hire these corporations’ highly trained soldiers to take care of a situation that they cannot handle themselves, for whatever reason. Introducing to the market units of highly trained special forces soldiers has allowed smaller countries to be able to execute the same sort of special, and covert operations carried out by world powers. Notable corporations in this field include Academi Inc (formerly Blackwater Inc), a major American private army which provides specialized services to countries such as the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.[vi]

There also exists a large market for new military technology. With many countries wanting to have a step up on their competition, companies such as General Atomic, Samsung, and others have raced to build technologies which they can sell to developed countries at exorbitantly high rates.

With the private sector military industry, there are many issues that need to be looked at. First and foremost is the debate over whether private sector participation in the military industry is a good thing. While it may provide nations with better supplies, and easier paths to victory, private military, and military technology companies can also be seen as unfairly taking on the role of the government.

Questions to Consider

  • What effect should the private sector have in terms of national security?
  • How can the citizens of the world be better protected against hostile forces?
  • To what extent should nations strengthen or weaken their weapons arsenals to create a safer future?
  • To what extent should nations work together to maintain stability in foreign countries?
  • What is a rogue nation, and how should the international community work together to prevent their development?

Committee Positions

United States of America
United Kingdom
Russian Federation
Academi Inc (formerly Blackwater Inc.)
Republic Of Korea
Amnesty International
The Red Cross
Saudi Arabia
Northrop Grumman Corp.
General Atomics
KRISS Technologies
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Committee Instructions

In order to simulate the goals of the Expo Astana, while maintaining a Model-UN style debate session, proceedings will be slightly different from those of a normal committee. Delegates to the Expo Astana will not only be representing countries, but corporations and NGOs as well. While corporations and NGOs may not publicly take as much of a stance on certain issues as countries, delegates assigned one of these roles should look at their organization’s interests, and assets to decide what position they will take on the committee’s debate topics.

In line with the actual Expo Astana, this committee’s assigned topic (“Securing the World”) is very broad. In order to produce a more narrow resolution however, a specific topic, under the reach of the provided theme, will be chosen on the day of committee. Delegates should come to committee prepared with general knowledge of the topic area, and a few ideas as to what they would like the specific topic to be. Once committee starts, debate within the speaker’s list, a possible unmoderated caucus if necessary, and a motion to set the agenda, will decide the committee’s exact topic. This committee’s background guide contains a few suggested topic areas, but the final topic is up to the committee, and delegates are strongly encouraged to bring forward interesting, and creative topic ideas for discussion.

The committee goals are as follows:

  1. Pass a single press release by consensus outlining the committee’s agreed upon common stances.
  2. Individual states or groups of states/NGOs/corporations may pass press releases independent of committee consensus.


[i] “Expo 2017 Astana,” Bureau International Des Expositions, accessed December 17, 2017, http://www.bie-paris.org/site/en/2017-astana.

[ii] “Expo 2017,” Bureau International Des Expositions.

[iii] Dina Omarkulova, “115 states and 22 international organisations to take part in EXPO, Kazakh national commissioner says,” The Astana Times (Astana, Kazakhstan), May 31, 2017, accessed December 17, 2017, https://astanatimes.com/2017/05/115-states-and-22-international-organisations-to-take-part-in-expo-kazakh-national-commissioner-says/.

[iv] Steven Nelson, “Trump: ‘Little rocket man’ Kim Jong Un is a ‘sick puppy,'” Washington Examiner, last modified November 29, 2017, accessed December 19, 2017, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-little-rocket-man-kim-jong-un-is-a-sick-puppy/article/2642069.

[v] Sarah Frostenson, “Most terrorist attacks in the US are committed by Americans — not foreigners,” Vox, last modified September 9, 2016, accessed December 19, 2017, https://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9765718/domestic-terrorism-threat.

[vi] Michael Safi and Joshua Robertson, “Australian mercenary reportedly killed in Yemen clashes,” The Guardian, last modified December 8, 2015, accessed December 19, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/09/australian-mercenary-reportedly-killed-yemen-clashes.

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