Resolution Writing

Resolution Writing

Resolution Overview
Model UN Preparation Guide

The final results of discussion, writing and negotiation are resolutions—written suggestions for addressing a specific problem or issue. Resolutions, which are drafted by delegates and voted on by the committee, normally require a simple majority to pass (except in the Security Council). Only Security Council resolutions can compel nations to take action. All other UN bodies use resolutions to make recommendations or suggestions for future action.

Draft Resolutions

Draft resolutions are all resolutions that have not yet been voted on. Delegates write draft resolutions alone or with other countries. There are three main parts to a draft resolution: the heading, the preamble and the operative section. The heading shows the committee and topic along with the resolution number. It also lists the draft resolution’s sponsors and signatories (see below). Each draft resolution is one long sentence with sections separated by commas and semicolons. The subject of the sentence is the body making the statement (e.g., the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, or Security Council). The preamble and operative sections then describe the current situation and actions that the committee will take.

Bringing a Resolution to the Floor for Debate

A draft resolution must always gain the support of a certain number of member states in the committee before the sponsors (the delegates who created the resolution) may submit it to the committee staff. Many conferences require signatures from 20 percent of the countries present in order to submit a draft resolution. A staff member will read the draft resolution to ensure that it is relevant and in proper format. Only when a staff member formally accepts the document and assigns it a number can it be referred to in formal debate.
In some cases a delegate must make a motion to introduce the draft resolution, while in other cases the sponsors are immediately called upon to read the document. Because these procedures can vary, it is essential to find out about the resolution process for the conference you plan to attend.

Tips for Resolution Writing

  • Be sure to follow the format for resolutions provided by the conference organizers. Each conference may have a slightly different format.
  • Create a detailed resolution. For example, if your resolution calls for a new program, think about how it will be funded and what body will manage it.
  • Try to cite facts whenever possible.
  • Be realistic. Do not create objectives for your resolution that cannot be met. Make sure your body can take the action suggested. For example, the General Assembly can’t sanction another country – only the Security Council can do so.
  • Try to find multiple sponsors. Your committee will be more likely to approve the resolutions if many delegates contribute ideas.
  • Preambulatory clauses are historic justifications for action. Use them to cite past resolutions, precedents and statements about the purpose of action.
  • Operative clauses are policies that the resolution is designed to create. Use them to explain what the committee will do to address the issue.

Preambulatory Clauses and Operative Clauses
Resolutions Overview | Model UN Preparation Guide

Preambulatory 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.

Sample Preambulatory Phrases

Affirming
Alarmed by
Approving
Aware of
Bearing in mind
Believing
Confident
Contemplating
Convinced
Declaring
Deeply concerned
Deeply conscious
Deeply convinced
Deeply disturbed
Deeply regretting
Desiring
Emphasizing
Expecting
Expressing its appreciation
Expressing its satisfaction
Fulfilling
Fully alarmed
Fully aware
Fully believing
Further deploring
Further recalling
Guided by
Having adopted
Having considered
Having considered further
Having devoted attention
Having examined
Having heard
Having received
Having studied
Keeping in mind
Noting with regret
Noting with deep concern
Noting with satisfaction
Noting further
Noting with approval
Observing
Reaffirming
Realizing
Recalling
Recognizing
Referring
Seeking
Taking into account
Taking into consideration
Taking note
Viewing with appreciation
Welcoming

Operative Clauses

Operative clauses identify the actions or recommendations made in a resolution. Each operative clause begins with a verb (called an operative phrase) and ends with a semicolon. Operative clauses should be organized in a logical progression, with each containing a single idea or proposal, and are always numbered. If a clause requires further explanation, bulleted lists set off by letters or roman numerals can also be used. After the last operative clause, the resolution ends in a period.

Sample Operative Phrases

Accepts
Affirms
Approves
Authorizes
Calls
Calls upon
Condemns
Confirms
Congratulates
Considers
Declares accordingly
Deplores
Designates
Draws the attention
Emphasizes
Encourages
Endorses
Expresses its appreciation
Expresses its hope
Further invites
Deplores
Designates
Draws the attention
Emphasizes
Encourages
Endorses
Expresses its appreciation
Expresses its hope
Further invites
Further proclaims
Further reminds
Further recommends
Further requests
Further resolves
Has resolved
Notes
Proclaims
Reaffirms
Recommends
Regrets
Reminds
Requests
Solemnly affirms
Strongly condemns
Supports
Takes note of
Transmits
Trusts