Balim Barutcu is a rising senior at Harvard studying Social Studies, which is, as she puts it, "essentially a combination of Politics, Philosophy and Economics." She is Turkish, though she grew up in the United Kingdom and Singapore. Balim has previously served as a Committee Director and a Crisis Director at Harvard's Boston-based conferences, HNMUN and HMUN, and most recently served as the Under-Secretary-General of Committees at HNMUN-LA 2018. She is incredibly excited to be returning to Lima this coming January, and she believes the world has much to learn from the Latin-American understanding of friendship and hospitality. In her free time, Balim loves to read, write poetry, perform theatre and dance, listen to music and watch movies.
Topic: Reform of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
The Legal Committee will be looking at how to best improve and operationalize international maritime law. Specifically, the committee will be discussing reform for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was established in 1982, and enforced in 1994. Today, its relevance is not only emphasized due to the complex state of affairs in the South China Sea, but also due to the fluctuations in global trade. The high seas have since the dawn of modernity been the primary carrier of international exchange, as nations proudly float their products from one partner in trade to the next on colossal vessels. Yet, as private entities begin to play a larger role in world politics and as maritime pollution and aggression make the front page with such frequency, it is becoming increasingly crucial to establish firm norms and consequences for violations of international maritime law.
As such, the Legal Committee will approach the UNCLOS with a critical eye, looking for holes and areas of potential improvement in the document. Further, in the name of international security, and, perhaps in the grander scheme, in the name of international cooperation and the effectiveness of its institutions, the Legal Committee must also maintain an imperative dual mandate of sorts. This dual mandate is to both render the Law of the Sea more robust and also more favorable to the international community – the effectiveness of any given international agreement naturally depends on its number of ratifiers and champions. Members of the United Nations General Assembly must hence come together and affirm their belief in the value of collective security and cooperation on the high sea, in hopes of perhaps inspiring the same spirit of partnership in the skies and on land.