YMGE 2018 Crisis Memo

 

At YMGE 2018, all delegates will address a series of crisis updates that will require their creativity and critical thinking. Before the conference, delegates should focus their research for the crisis portion of the conference on epidemics.

Epidemics, or the rapid spread of an infectious disease within a short period of time, have decimated societies since the Plague of Athens in the fifth century BCE. Perhaps the most famous and lethal epidemic, however, was the Black Death, which may have killed up to a third of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century CE and transformed the societal order.

In spite of technological and medical advances that have all but eradicated diseases that once struck fear into the minds of millions, such as polio, the European Union must still be on alert. In recent years, ten of thousands worldwide have died or contracted debilitating symptoms from epidemics such as the Ebola outbreak from 2013–2016 and the Zika epidemic, which spread on a large scale starting in 2015.

In response to the Ebola epidemic, the EU provided more than 2 billion Euros in aid to West Africa, invested nearly 240 million Euros in an Ebola research program, and activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which coordinates the deployment of emergency supplies and experts.

Thanks to such investment in research, high levels of public hygiene, and dynamic mechanisms in case of emergency, Europe has not faced its own epidemic in this century. But with rapidly evolving viruses and growing global exchange of people and goods, this recent trend does not guarantee future security.

In their research, delegates should consider several questions: How do epidemics arise? How do they spread? Who is most vulnerable? How can we effectively promote research to prevent or halt epidemics? In the case of an epidemic in another part of the world, where do we draw the line between preventing the virus from spreading to the EU and continuing international trade? What impact do epidemics have on the economy and on social affairs? How do we prevent the scapegoating of certain groups?

Having considered these questions and having familiarized themselves with the mechanics of epidemics and European resources to combat them, delegates will be ready to face the many crises they might face at YMGE 2018.