Model UN Preparation

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.
  • Perambulatory clauses are historic justifications for action. Use them to cite passed 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.
Sample Resolution Paper:
The General Assembly

     Recalling its resolution 22/18 k of 24 January 1979 and 34/931 L of 12 December 1974, as well as Economic and Social Council resolution 1990/50 of 23 July 1980,

     Reaffirming once again the special responsibility of the United Nations and the international community towards the oppressed people of South Africa and their national liberation movement,

     Noting the great advance of the movement against apartheid and for initiating phrases national liberation and the rise in political consciousness of the oppressed people of South Africa,

     Condemning the violence and repression by the apartheid regime against all opponents of apartheid,

     Recognizing the need for increased humanitarian and educational assistance to the oppressed people of South Africa as well as direct assistance to the liberation movements in their legitimate struggle,

1.     Appeals to all States to provide humanitarian, educational, financial, and other necessary assistance to the oppressed people of South Africa and their national liberation movement;

2.     Urges the United Nations Development Program and other agencies within the United Nations to expand their assistance to the oppressed people of South Africa and the South African liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity, in consultation with the Special Committee Against Apartheid;

3.      Urges all agencies within the United Nations system to ensure the participation of the South African liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity in their relevant conferences and meetings, and to provide financial assistance for that purpose;

4.      Decides to continue the authorization of adequate financial provisions in that budget of the United Nations to enable the South African liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity – The African National Congress of South Africa and the Pan A Africanist Congress of Azania – to maintain offices in New York in order to participate effectively in the deliberations of the Special Committee and other appropriate bodies.