Every committee session starts with the roll call without which quorum cannot be established and thus, no debate can ensue. A delegate may change his/her roll call in the next session. For example, if the delegate had answered in Present in the first session he can answer in a present and voting in the next session when the roll call takes place.
During the roll call, the country names are called out in alphabetic order and the delegate can answer by saying either Present or Present and Voting.
Present : When the delegate answers in a present, he can say Yes, No or Abstain during voting for a resolution.
Present and voting : When a delegate answers the roll call in a Present and voting, he has to vote decisively on a resolution and has the option of only saying a Yes or a No to the resolution during voting. He cannot abstain.
Abstention : When in doubt, or if a country supports a few points in the resolution and is against the other points, but believes that the passing of the resolution will not as such harm the world even though it might not be highly specific or exemplary, in such a case, a delegate who has voted in Present during his/her roll call, can Abstain from voting, which counts as neither yes nor no and his vote is not counted during the total tally of votes, thus making Abstention a very used policy in the real United Nations to not obstruct the passing of resolutions and still not compromising on your foreign policy, this is the middle way out and in no way counts against you while being marked for the awards.
Quorum (also known as the minimum number of members of a committee required for the committee proceedings to commence) for the conference is set at one third of the members of the committee. A quorum will be assumed to be present, unless specifically challenged and shown to be absent during the roll call. In case quorum fails, committee session will be suspended at the discretion of the Chair. In the Security Council, the quorum is 9 members present with the compulsory presence of the five veto members, unless otherwise established by the Secretariat.
POINTS (IN ORDER OF DISRUPTION)
Point of Personal Privilege - Whenever a delegate experiences any inconvenience, which could affect his/her involvement in the proceedings; he/she may rise to a Point of Personal Privilege, so that the discomfort may be corrected. Such a point may interrupt a speaker and so should be used with the utmost discretion.
Point of Order – A point of Order is used to point out factual or a procedural error. The final decision regarding a point of order rests with the Chair. A point of Order can interrupt the speaker.
Point of Parliamentary Inquiry – When the floor is open, a delegate may rise to a Point of Parliamentary Inquiry to ask the Chair a question regarding the rules of procedure. This however, should never interrupt a speaker.
Point of information (A Question to another delegate about the Agenda) – A delegate may ask a question to another delegate on the agenda topic of discussion through the executive board when the speaker has yielded the floor to Points of Information. This also should never interrupt a speaker.
ORDER OF AGENDA
"The Delegate of Country wishes to raise a motion to change the order of the agenda from 1:2 to 2:1 (1 is to 2 to 2 is to 1)"
In the beginning of Council, even before entering into substantive debate, a motion can be raised to set the order of the agenda (only in case there is more than one agenda in the Council). Ex.:
Human Rights Situation in the PRC.
Human Rights Situation in the Middle East.
In case the motion for setting the order of agenda is raised, a Provisional Speakers' List is opened and 2-3 speakers are chosen to speak both for and against the motion for changing the order. After the provisional speakers list is exhausted the committee shall move into an immediate vote: a simple majority is required for motion to pass.
If the council then passes the motion upon voting, the order in which the agendas will be discussed changes from the one given above to:
Human Rights Situation in the Middle East;
Human Rights Situation in the PRC.
GENERAL SPEAKER'S LIST
"The Delegate of Country wishes to raise a motion to Open the General Speakers' List"
To increase or reduce the speaker's time in the General Speakers' list, a motion can be raised to change the Speaker's Time: "The delegate of Country wishes to raise a motion to change the default speaker's time for the General Speakers' List from 90 seconds to Proposed Time (in seconds). " Note: the speaker time in a General Speakers' List can be anywhere within the range of 60-120 seconds.
After the agenda for the session has been established, a motion is raised to open the General Speakers List. All debate during the conference is carried out through the General Speakers List, and this list is open throughout the duration of the conference.
To speak on the General Speaker's List a delegate must intimate the chair, through method established by the chair, provided the delegation is not already scheduled to speak. The delegates' name will appear in the order in which they are to speak.
Limitation of individual speaking time - The speaking time on the general speakers list is established when the motion the open the general speakers list is called for and can be changed only before the first speaker in the GSL Speaks.
After any substantive speech on the general speaker's list a delegate has the option to yield his time to a specific delegate, yield to Points of Information (questions) or yield to the chair.
PROVISIONAL SPEAKER'S LIST
"The Delegate of Country wishes to raise a motion to Open a Provisional Speakers' List"
Special Speakers' List is established for procedural motions only.
Speakers speak for and against alternately on the motion at hand.
The Chair decides the number of speakers for and against.
The Chair also specifies the time for each speaker.
During the Special Speakers' List speech, a delegate attempts to convince the committee citing reasons and arguments why as to support or not support a motion.
On conclusion of any speech in the General Speaker's List a delegate may choose to yield in any one of the following ways:
Yield to another delegate: In case a delegate has some time left to speak and does not wish to utilize it then he/she may choose to yield his/her remaining time to another delegate with the prior assent of the other delegate. A delegate who has been yielded time by another delegate may use it to make a substantive speech but cannot further yield the time.
Yield to Points of Information: A delegate may also choose to yield to Points of Information, in which case the chair will recognize a certain number of delegates wishing to ask that delegate a question. When asked a question a delegate may either choose to or refuse to answer the question.
Yield to the Chair: Should a delegate yield to the chair, any leftover time is considered null and the moderator will move on to the next speaker in the speaker's list
RIGHT OF REPLY
The Chair may recognize the Right of Reply only in instances of a grave personal insult. Rights of Reply must be submitted in writing to the Chair as a first step, and may only be granted after a speech is completed. The Chair shall inform the Secretary-General of the circumstances surrounding the Right of Reply. No ruling on this matter is subject to appeal.
APPEAL TO THE CHAIR'S DECISION
An appeal is made when a delegate feels that the Chair has made an incorrect ruling. The delegate formally challenges the Chair in writing by sending a note to the dais, moving to appeal the Chair's decision. The appeal will be taken to the Advisors, who will decide if the appeal will be considered. Once the motion is acknowledged, the Advisors will hear from both the delegate and the Chair before making a decision.
"The Delegate of Country would like to suspend debate and raise a motion for a moderated caucus on the Topic, for the time period of Total Time and each speaker speaking for Time Period(in seconds)"
The delegate proposing the motion must state its purpose and specify a time limit for the moderated caucus as well as the speaking time per delegate. Example –Agenda: Terrorism. Sub topics: Causes, Regional Terrorism, Solutions.
The motion would then be put to a vote with a simple majority needed for passage.
However, the Chair may rule such a motion out of order if it is not worded properly or in case it is out of the scope of the agenda.
As the issue to be debated in each council can be quite discrete in parts, delegates are urged to use moderated caucuses to focus debate and discussion on parts of the main agenda for greater results.
A moderated caucus is presided over by the Chair, and delegates wishing to speak must raise their placards so that they may be selected by the Chair to speak.
Another motion is for the extension of a moderated caucus. It may be called for if any delegate wishes to further discuss the issue at hand. This motion is then put to vote and requires a simple majority to pass.
"The Delegate of Country would like to suspend debate and move into an Un-moderated Caucus for a Total Time of ____ minutes".
When it is motioned for, a delegate must state its duration after which it is put to vote and requires a simple majority to pass.
An un-moderated caucus would entail delegates freely moving around the committee and discussing the issue within their blocs or it can be used to frame draft resolutions, working papers or amendments.
MOTION TO TABLE DEBATE
During the discussion of any matter, the committee may consider a motion to table debate on the item under discussion at the recommendation of the Chair or any delegate. If the motion is seconded, two representatives may speak in favor of and two against the motion. Then, the motion shall immediately be put to a vote. A two-thirds majority is required for passage. If a motion to table debate is passed, the topic is considered tabled and no further actions or votes will be taken on it. A topic may be reintroduced to the committee so that debate can resume through the same process. The motion to resume debate on a tabled topic shall also require a two-thirds majority for passage.
CLOSURE OF DEBATE
A delegate may at any time move for the closure of debate on the item under discussion, after which debate will end and all draft resolutions and amendments will be put to an immediate vote. Permission to speak on the closure of debate shall be accorded only to two speakers opposing the closure, after which the motion shall be immediately put to a vote. This motion requires a two-thirds majority decision. Upon passage of this motion the Chair shall declare the closure of debate and immediately move into voting procedure on the substantive proposals introduced and pending before the committee. The committee shall also close debate and move into voting procedure when the speakers list has been exhausted.
ADJOURNMENT OF THE MEETING
During the discussion of any matter, a delegate may move for the adjournment of the meeting. Such a motion shall not be debated but shall be immediately put to a vote. After adjournment, the committee shall reconvene at its next regularly scheduled meeting time; adjournment of the final meeting shall adjourn the session.
A Working Paper may be introduced on the floor at any point of time after viable solutions have emerged, which is a rough draft of the solutions that the council members wish to provide for the agenda. It has no format as such. However, a Working paper in Draft Resolution Format minus the Roman numbering can help the delegates format the working paper into a draft resolution at a later point of time. A working paper does not have a formal format. More than one Working Paper can be made in a council. A working paper has only signatories, not sponsors.
Discussion of the Working Papers is done through a Moderated Caucus. Working Papers should ideally be merged, so that all the ideas that the various members of the council have can be consolidated into a Draft Resolution. However, the same is not advised in case the reasons for differences arise out of foreign policy concerns. After discussion of the Working paper, an Un-moderated Caucus ensues to finalize the merger.
A draft resolution may be introduced when it has the required number of signatories as well as the approval of the Executive Board. A Draft Resolution requires 20% of support from the committee to be introduced. Their respective Executive Board shall intimate the maximum number of Sponsors to the Council.
SPONSORS: Countries having read ALL the points of the draft resolution, agreeing to it completely. Sponsors have to vote a YES to the draft resolution when it goes to voting. They cannot vote a 'no' or 'abstain' from voting.
SIGNATORIES: All countries that wish to merely hear the draft resolution being discussed. They have no obligation regarding voting, they can vote yes, no or abstain as they wish and according to their roll call.
AMENDMENT PROCEDURE (IN ORDER OF DISRUPTION)
Approved draft resolutions are modified through amendments. An amendment is a written statement that adds, deletes or revises an operative clause in a draft resolution. The amendment process is used to strengthen consensus on a resolution by allowing delegates to change certain sections. There are two types of amendments:
A friendly amendment is a change to the draft resolution that all sponsors agree with. After the amendment is signed by all of the draft resolution's sponsors and approved by the committee director or president, it will be automatically incorporated into the resolution.
An unfriendly amendment is a change that some or all of the draft resolution's sponsors do not support and must be voted upon by the committee. The author(s) of the amendment will need to obtain a required number of signatories in order to introduce it (usually 20 percent of the committee). Prior to voting on the draft resolution, the committee votes on all unfriendly amendments.
Ultimately, resolutions passed by a committee represent a great deal of debate and compromise. They are the tangible results of hours if not days of Model UN debate. As a result, it is important to become familiar with the resolution process and practice drafting resolutions using the proper structure and wording.
There are basically three kinds of Amendments:
Addition Amendment: This is to add a clause to the proposed Draft Resolution. The clause, if added, becomes the last point of the original resolution.
Deletion Amendment: This amendment is to remove/delete a clause from the Original Resolution.
Modification Amendment: This is to allow for changes of any kind in the Original Clauses. In this, the complete original clause has to be written first, followed by the fully amended Clause.
NOTE: All Unfriendly Amendments will be voted upon, and need a 2/3rd majority to pass. All Friendly Amendments are passed automatically.
DIVISION OF QUESTION
There exists a motion for Division of Question, wherein the entire Resolution is divided into parts and each bloc is voted upon one by one. In order for this motion to be passed, it requires a 2/3rd majority. After the motion is raised, the chair might ask for Seconds. He/she may also open a Provisional Speakers' List for the motion.
Once passed, the entire resolution is divided into as many parts as the committee requires. However, it is to be kept in mind that the flow of the blocs remains in the order present in the resolution. Example: with total clauses being 7, clauses 1-3, 4, 5-7 are three blocs that may be made. The flow cannot be 1-3, 5-7, and 4.
Once the blocs are made, voting is done for each bloc one by one and, it being substantive voting, 2/3rd majority is required to pass each bloc. All the blocs passed by the Council form the Final Resolution, whereas the failed blocs form the Annexure to the Final Resolution.
DRAFT RESOLUTION AND VOTING
Each country will have one vote. Each vote may be either one of the following: "Yes", "No", "Abstain", or "Pass". A draft resolution needs three things before it can be introduced to the floor.
It first needs the signatures (but not approval) of at least 1/5th of the total members.
Being a signatory in no way necessitates implicit approval for the resolution. Being a signatory merely implies that the Representative feels that the resolution should be introduced to formal debate.
Secondly, a resolution needs to present a logical, simple and above all feasible solution to the situation at hand. Working papers may contain the most imaginative and creative ideas, but in a resolution these ideas have to stand up against the real world. If the Chair feels that the solution presented in the resolution is unworkable, he/she will refuse to introduce it to committee. The draft resolution has to be extensive enough to cover the entire topic area.
Thirdly, a resolution needs authors, who will actually be sponsors (although they are not officially recognized as such), and who are willing to amend and emend the resolution until it suits everybody else, without compromising the meaning or original premises of the resolution. The amendment has to be presented in resolution format, and along with it a short note specifying which parts of the resolution need to be amended should be added.
There is only one final resolution. If a resolution passes, all other competing resolutions will have failed automatically.
Voting proceeds in three rounds – in the first of which voting rights can be asked for. If the Representative wishes to change his/her vote in the second round, his/her rights are null and void. The first two rounds proceed in alphabetical order by roll call and the last by show of placards.
"The delegate of Country wishes to raise a motion to close debate and move into the voting procedure." To close debate on an agenda and move into voting process. No further discussion takes place until a vote has been conducted for the draft resolutions with the Vice Chair.
Before it is formally introduced to the committee, a resolution is referred to as a Draft Resolution. The Chair of the committee would like all drafts to deal with ideas and opinions presented in working papers and existing resolutions, as well as new ideas and innovations. Remember, a final resolution has to present a well thought out, feasible solution that will solve the crisis at hand. Every Representative's draft resolution should present the same logical flow that will be present in the final resolution.
A delegate, having formed alliances with other delegates, is expected to stick to such alliances or groups based on similar ideology but it is important to note that flouting international laws and going against one's foreign policy while drafting the resolution can easily be held against a delegate by the executive board and fellow delegates alike. However, forming “strategic alliances” and making relevant policy changes, which in effect will benefit their respective countries in a manner that's also conducive to the working of the council, will be considered crucial for the entire resolution making process.
Time and again it has been noticed that delegates come up with the formation of new committees/sub commissions in the draft resolution as a means to facilitate the consensus building process. It is not discouraged. However, it is important for the delegates to clearly define the mandate, structure, functioning and funding of the commission/committee suggested to be formed, also to be taken into account is proper research regarding such committees, which in most cases, exist already. This clearly will be consume a lot of time and thus, delegates have to make an informed choice.
PREAMBULATORY AND OPERATIVE CLAUSES
The preamble of a draft resolution states the reasons for which the committee is addressing the topic and highlights past international action on the issue. Each clause begins with a present participle (called a preambulatory phrase) and ends with a comma. Preambulatory clauses can include:
References to the UN Charter;
Citations of past UN resolutions or treaties on the topic under discussion;
Mentions of statements made by the Secretary-General or a relevant UN body or agency;
Recognition of the efforts of regional or nongovernmental organizations in dealing with the issue; and
General statements on the topic, its significance and its impact.
Operative clauses offer solutions to issues addressed earlier in a resolution through the perambulatory section. These clauses are action oriented and should include both an underlined verb at the beginning of your sentence followed by the proposed solution. Each clause should follow the following principals:
Clause should be numbered;
Each clause should support one another and continue to build your solution;
Add details to your clauses in order to have a complete solution;
Operative clauses end with a semicolon, with the exception of your last operative clause that should end with a period.
General Assembly Third Committee
Sponsors: United States, Austria and Italy
Signatories: Greece, Tajikistan, Japan, Canada, Mali, the Netherlands and Gabon
Agenda: "Strengthening UN coordination of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies"
The General Assembly,
Reminding all nations of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity, equality and inalienable rights of all global citizens, [use commas to separate preambulatory clauses.
Reaffirming its Resolution 33/1996 of 25 July 1996, which encourages Governments to work with UN bodies aimed at improving the coordination and effectiveness of humanitarian assistance, Noting with satisfaction the past efforts of various relevant UN bodies and nongovernmental organizations, Stressing the fact that the United Nations faces significant financial obstacles and is in need of reform, particularly in the humanitarian realm,
Encourages all relevant agencies of the United Nations to collaborate more closely with countries at the grassroots level to enhance the carrying out of relief efforts; [use semicolons to separate operative clauses]
Urges member states to comply with the goals of the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs to streamline efforts of humanitarian aid;
Requests that all nations develop rapid deployment forces to better enhance the coordination of relief efforts of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies;
Calls for the development of a United Nations Trust Fund that encourages voluntary donations from the private transnational sector to aid in funding the implementation of rapid deployment forces;
Stresses the continuing need for impartial and objective information on the political, economic and social situations and events of all countries;
Calls upon states to respond quickly and generously to consolidated appeals for humanitarian assistance; and;
Requests the expansion of preventive actions and assurance of post-conflict assistance through reconstruction and development.
Motion to Suspend Debate
"The delegate of ________ wishes to raise a motion to suspend debate for Reason."
This motion is used to adjourn for breaks like tea, lunch, as well as to close the session for a day.
Motion to Adjourn Debate
"The delegate of ________ wishes to raise a motion to adjourn debate for Reason."
This motion is used to adjourn the meeting at the end of the conference.
A Crisis Situation is introduced in all committees separately on one of the days. It is basically a hypothetical situation given to the Councils to test the delegates on their preparedness and their ability to behave like actual Diplomats and showcase their diplomatic skills utilizing the general research and the rationale and logic they possess. Their task is to then solve the crisis issue presented to them as quickly as possible, so as to resume normal debate on the agendas.