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Infectious Disease Outbreak in Colombia

Lead Image
A mural of a girl wearing a mask is on a wall in Colombia with a Colombian guard in a mask next to it

Case Overview

Set in 2019. The threat of a potentially large-scale pandemic caused by a mysterious new disease in Colombia necessitates a global coordinated response.  

Note: This case does not reflect the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are looking for Model Diplomacy resources addressing COVID-19, see our pop-up cases here.

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The Situation


Several crises over the past decade have highlighted the inadequacy of global health governance and pandemic preparedness. Globalization and its consequences—among them population growth, global warming, urbanization, and easier trade and travel—have all contributed to outbreaks of infectious disease. Since 2000, a series of epidemics, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H1N1Zika, Ebola, and most recently coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has taken a significant toll, prompting experts to call for increased investment in global health security—efforts to help prepare countries to prevent, detect, and respond to potentially pandemic and epidemic diseases. Moreover, debate still exists over the proper strategies to address outbreaks of infectious disease, with national health officials often divided over the proper way to respond to a certain outbreak. With this division, and coordination of international pandemic response still ad hoc, an infectious disease with a greater lethality than those seen in the past decade could have devastating consequences. With a mysterious outbreak wreaking havoc in northern Colombia and threatening to spill over into already unstable Venezuela, fears grow that this outbreak has the potential to become a widespread epidemic or even a global pandemic if it cannot be contained. The UN Security Council needs to decide whether a coordinated international response is needed and what type of action, such as the enforcement of trade and travel recommendations, the outbreak necessitates. 




  • Global health   
  • Pandemic preparedness   
  • Weak states  
  • Multilateralism  
  • Public opinion   



  • Pandemic preparedness   
  • Global health governance   
  • Colombian health-care system
  • Regional security in the Americas 

See Also:

The Aftermath of the Pandemic: 

two pop-up cases from the near future

1. Global Recession Recovery

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic, already a global health crisis, will cause a global recession and risks causing a depression without a robust response. What role can and should the United States play in domestic and global economic recovery? 

Click here to view the pop-up case, published 04/09/2020.





2. Preparing for the Next Pandemic

hypothetical pop-up case set in 2025: The world has emerged from COVID-19 and is trying to learn the lessons of the pandemic and prepare for the next one. However, a recent report found many countries are still underprepared. What can and should the United States do to secure global health preparedness before the next pandemic arrives? 

Click here to view the pop-up case, published 04/09/2020.

Photo 1: Closed store signs on a window/ Photo 2: woman walks through room of empty beds

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