Rules of Procedure

Rules Of Procedure

It is sometimes helpful to think of a Model UN conference as if it were a play in which delegates are the actors and Secretariat members are the directors. The storyline of a stage show is similar to what Model UNers call the “flow of debate” – the order in which events proceed during a Model UN conference. Just like scenes in a theatrical performance, debate unfolds in several different parts. The chart below shows the various stages of debate that take place during a Model UN simulation. Being familiar with how the action will proceed, from the first “scene” to the last, is an important way to prepare yourself for a Model UN conference.

Roll Call

The Chairperson will announce each country’s name. After delegates hear their country, they should answer “present” or “present and voting”, if they wish to void the option to abstain from substantive voting.

Setting the Agenda

When Model UN committees have more than one topic available, the body must set the agenda to begin working on one of these issues. At this time a delegate typically makes a motion, stating “The country of [name] moves to place [topic A] first on the agenda, followed by [topic B] and then [topic C].” Once the motion has been made, three delegations must speak in favor of the motion, and three other delegations will speak against it. These speeches should alternate between those in favor and those opposed. Once these six speeches have been given, a vote is taken. Setting the agenda requires a simple majority vote.
The motion to establish the General Speaker’s List (GSL) follows the motion to set the agenda. The default individual speaker’s time in the GSL is 90 seconds.
However, all the committees in the AMUN 2015 only have one agenda; hence, no motion to set the agenda is required.

Debate

Formal Debate: Formal debate revolves around a speakers list. The Chair begins by asking all delegates interested in addressing the other members to raise their placards. The Chair then chooses delegates to be placed on the speakers list. A country may only be on the speakers list once, but delegates may add their country to the end of the list after their speech. Informal Debate: Informal debate involves discussion outside of the speakers list. During moderated caucuses, the Chair calls on delegates one-by-one so that each can address the committee in short speeches. During unmoderated caucuses, the committee breaks for a temporary recess so that delegates may meet with each other and discuss ideas.
1a. When the session begins, speeches focus on stating country positions and offering recommendations for action. 1b. After several countries state their positions, the committee breaks for caucuses (often in blocs) to develop regional positions.
2a. After blocs have met, speeches focus on describing bloc positions to the entire body. 2b. Writing begins as countries work together to compose draft resolutions.
3a. Delegates now make statements describing their draft resolutions to the committee. 3b. Countries and groups meet to gather support for specific draft resolutions.
4a. Delegates try to garner more support through formal speeches and invite others to offer their ideas. 4b. Delegates finalize draft resolutions.
5a. Delegates make statements supporting or disagreeing with specific draft resolutions. 5b. Draft-resolution sponsors build greater support for their resolution and look to incorporate others’ ideas through friendly amendments.
6a. Delegates present any amendments they have created.

Close of Debate

Once the speakers list is exhausted, the committee automatically moves to voting. Also, once a delegate feels that his or her country’s position is clear to others and that there are enough draft resolutions on the floor, he or she may make a motion to proceed into voting procedure by moving for the closure of debate.

Voting Procedures

Once a motion to close debate has been approved, the committee moves into voting procedure. Amendments are voted on first, then resolutions. Once all of the resolutions are voted on, the committee moves to the next topic on the agenda.

Caucusing
Model UN Preparation Guide

Caucusing, or informal debate, is an important part of the Model UN simulation because it provides an opportunity for delegates to collaborate, negotiate and formulate draft resolutions. During a Model UN conference, caucuses can be either moderated or unmoderated.
When a committee holds a moderated caucus, the Chair calls on delegates one at a time and each speaker briefly addresses the committee. During an unmoderated caucus, the committee breaks for a temporary recess from formal proceedings so that delegates can work together in small groups. To hold a caucus, a delegate must make a motion and the committee must pass the motion.
Many delegates prefer to speak during a moderated caucus rather than being placed on the speaker’s list. In a moderated caucus, speakers are usually able to convey one or two key points to the entire committee or share new ideas that have developed through the course of debate. A delegate sometimes chooses to make a motion for a moderated caucus if his or her name is close to the end of the speakers list. By speaking in a moderated caucus, delegates are able to address the committee much earlier.
In most cases, more than half of committee time is used for unmoderated caucusing. Many delegates feel this is the easiest way for them to collaborate and start to formulate draft resolutions.

Tips for Effective Caucusing

  • Enter the caucus with a plan in mind: Formulate ideas on what your country would like to see included in a resolution. Decide which clauses you are willing to negotiate on and which you are not.
  • Find delegates in your regional bloc: This is the easiest way to seek out allies. However, if you find that the group you are working with is not meeting your needs, do not be afraid to switch groups.
  • Provide ideas: Tell others what your country is hoping to achieve. If you do not agree with an idea, do not hesitate to say that it is against your country’s policy.
  • Negotiate: While it is often necessary to give up something that you want, make sure that you are not giving up anything too important.
  • Listen: By listening to what others are saying you will able to build on other people’s ideas and add more to the discussion. Listening also shows respect for each delegate in your group.
  • Do not interrupt: Allow other delegates to finish their thoughts rather than interrupting others in the middle of a sentence. It sometimes helps to write down your idea so that you can bring it up when the delegate is finished speaking.
  • Record ideas: Start to formulate a resolution in writing. Rather than waiting until the last minute, begin recording fellow delegates’ ideas right away.
  • Be resourceful: By providing fellow delegates with resolution text, maps or information as they need it, you will show that you are valuable to the group.
  • Have one-on-one conversations: Speaking with an individual or in a small group is the best way to find out a delegate’s position on an issue. Larger groups are better suited to brainstorming.
  • Stay calm: In caucuses, delegates can sometimes “lose their cool.” Staying calm will not only help your group be more effective, but will be noticed by the conference staff. Always keep your voice at a normal level. If you see that you are becoming upset or raising your voice, excuse yourself from the group for a few minutes.
  • Use time effectively: Make sure you have enough time to hear everyone’s ideas so that you can discuss them during formal debate. Try not to waste time arguing over small details that do not seriously affect the draft resolution.
  • Show respect: Never give orders or tell other delegates what they should or should not do. Be polite and treat all your fellow delegates with respect.
  • Provide constructive critique: Rather than negatively criticizing another delegate, focus on providing constructive critique. If you dislike an idea, try to offer an alternative. Critique ideas, not people.
  • Establish connections with other delegates: Although it can be tempting to call a fellow delegate “Pakistan,” “Brazil” or “Sweden”, you can form a better connection with a delegate by learning his or her name and where he or she comes from. Ask the delegate about his or her ideas and impressions of the debate. Showing interest in your fellow delegates at the beginning of the conference will help you gain more support later on and can help you to form lasting friendships.

Model UN Preparation Guide
Rules of Procedure | Chart of Rules and Motions

Basic Model UN Rules of Procedure Required to Pass
motion to set the speakers time sets or changes the amount of time each delegate has to speak. Simple majority vote
motion to open the speakers list allows delegates to sign up to speak. At some conferences a motion to close the speakers list closes the list for the remainder of the session or topic. However, at most Model UN conferences the speakers list can be opened and closed multiple times. This motion requires an immediate vote. Simple majority vote
Delegates propose a motion to suspend debate for the purpose of holding a caucus. If you move to suspend the meeting, be sure to specify the purpose and the amount of time. Simple majority vote
motion to adjourn meeting ends the committee session until the next session, which might be the next year’s conference, or after lunch or dinner. Simple majority vote
motion to adjourn debate (also known as motion to table debate) is not the same as a motion to adjourn the meeting. Rather, it is used to table, or put on hold, all of the work that the committee has completed on a particular topic. At some Model UN conferences you can return to this topic later, while at others the topic cannot be discussed again. Two-thirds majority vote
A delegate makes a motion to close debate in order to move the committee to a vote, usually when the delegate has made his or her country’s position clear and there are enough draft resolutions on the floor. Two-thirds majority vote
point of order is used when a delegate believes the chair has made an error in the running of the committee. The Delegate should only specify the errors they believe were made in the formal committee procedure, and may not address the topic being discussed.
A point of order may also be raised to point out a gross factual inaccuracy that another delegate has made during their speech. The delegate raising this point must quote, what according to them, was the factual inaccuracy and state the correct fact.
Decision of Chairperson
point of inquiry (also known as a point of parliamentary procedure) can be made when the floor is open (i.e. when no other delegate is speaking) in order to ask the chairperson a question regarding the rules of procedure. No vote
A delegate may raise a point of personal privilege in order to inform the chairperson of a physical discomfort he or she is experiencing, such as not being able to hear another delegate’s speech. No vote
A delegate raises a point of information in order to pose a question to a speaker during formal debate. The speaker chooses whether or not to yield his or her time to points of information. Decision of speaker
A delegate makes an appeal to the chair’s decision when he or she feels the chairperson has incorrectly decided a point or motion. At some conferences, this formal challenge must be made in writing. The appealing delegate speaks and the chairperson defends himself or herself before the vote. Two-thirds majority vote

Delegates please note that certain rules of procedure may vary from committee to committee and the chair may exercise his discretion to do what he deems to be fit. Additionally, these rules of procedure do not apply to any of the specialized committees.