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MMUN Rules and Procedures

MMUN Rules and Procedures

These are the Rules of Procedures used in the committees and throughout the MMUN conference for the orderly conduct of debates. Please review the rules, procedures, the writing format and official vocabulary of the MMUN Conference.

1. Scope of Rules

The rules in this guide are the official rules of MMUN and will be used throughout the MMUN conference for the orderly conduct of debates. No other rules of order or procedure shall apply.

2. Quorum

At the first formal session of the committee, the rapporteur will conduct a roll call of all registered countries in the committee to determine which delegations are present. The number of delegations present at the time of the roll call determines whether there are a sufficient number of member countries to conduct business. This is called quorum. When the country name is called, delegates must say:

“The Delegation of [represented country] is present and voting.”

In this way, delegates establish voting privileges for their nation. If they come in late to the sessions, they must notify the president in writing. At least half of all delegations plus one must be present for business discussions to occur. This is called a simple majority and is used as a reference for voting to take place.

3. Agenda

The order of the agenda is the equivalent to the order in which the committee topics will be discussed. This order is proposed by a delegate and voted by the committee. Any delegate can then start the meeting by putting forward the motion to set the agenda. The delegate does this by putting up his/her placard and waiting to be recognized by the dais. Once he/she has been given permission to speak, he/she will say:

“Thank you, Mr./Ms. President. The delegation of [represented country] would like to put forward a motion to set the agenda.”

The president of the committee will then begin the voting process:

“Thank you, Delegation of [represented country]. The Delegation of [represented country] has proposed a motion to set the agenda in the following order: the topic of water first and the topic of earth second. All delegations in favor of this order, please raise your placard. All delegations opposed, please raise your placard. With 43 votes for and 3 against, this order of the agenda passes.”

Through this process, delegates have decided in what order they will discuss their committee topics. There are no abstentions in procedural votes.

4. Speaker’s Time

Next, any delegate can request the motion to set the speaker’s time. This simply means the committee will vote on how much time each country will have for its opening speech. Most commonly this would be for one or two minutes. Once acknowledged, any delegate can say:

“Thank you, Mr./Ms. President. The delegation of [represented country] would like to set the speaker’s time to one minute.”

The president will then ask for two delegates to speak in favor of and two delegates to speak against this motion. Once these selected delegates have finished their declarations, the president will hold a vote and announce the results. Simple majority again determines the vote, and once more countries vote by holding up their placards while the dais counts. Once the vote is made, it cannot be changed.

5. Speakers’ List

At this time the president will ask who would like to be on the speakers’ list. It is important that delegates raise their placards and wait until each country has been written down. Finally the speakers’ list will begin, and countries will be given a chance to speak in the order they are recorded. Usually the president will allow a few countries to say their opening speech at a time before any caucusing is done. All delegates are expected to listen to each other’s speeches and note any information that may help with resolution ideas.

6. Caucusing

Once the president says, “The floor is now open,” the delegates can request caucusing. During a caucus the delegates are allowed to speak to each other about the different topics. If a delegate hears information or opinions that he/she would like to comment on, whether to agree or disagree, he/she can put in a motion to suspend the meeting for a caucus. There are two types of caucusing. The first is a moderated caucus. This is a formal debate where delegates remain at their seats. There are a limited number of speakers allowed for a limited amount of time. To request a moderated caucus, a delegate says:

“Thank you, members of the dais. The delegation of [represented country] would like to present a motion for a moderated caucus with a total time of 15 minutes and interventions of 1 minute.”

The president will proceed with a vote. This means that 15 delegates will be able to speak for 1 minute each. The president will acknowledge as many delegates as possible. If no more delegates want to speak and slots are still available, some countries may speak twice in the same moderated caucus.

The second type of caucusing is a regular caucus. This is a formal break from the collective meeting where delegates may leave their seats to discuss with other countries. At this time delegates may also begin to draft resolutions. Requesting a regular caucus is very similar to moderated caucusing. To request a regular caucus, a delegate says:

“Thank you, Mr./Ms. President. The delegation of [represented country] requests the meeting be suspended for a regular caucus for a total time of 10 minutes.”

Again, the president will hold a vote on the matter. Finally, at the end of the meeting, a delegate can ask to adjourn the meeting by following the same procedures.

7. Points

Delegates may put forward motions in meetings for circumstances that involve the entire group. However, when there is a matter that does not affect all groups and will not go to a vote, the delegate may ask for a point. This is done in the same manner as motions. First, delegates raise their placards and wait to be recognized. Then a delegate may say

“Thank you, Mr./Ms. President. The delegation of [represented country] requests a point of personal privilege. Specifically, the delegation of [represented country] cannot hear the debates and requests an increase in volume.”

The following points will be used at MMUN:

  • Point of Order: A public correction made by a delegate or the president when a mistake has been made while using the Rules of Procedure. It should be implemented immediately.
  • Point of Personal Privilege: A request made when a delegate’s performance or comfort level is affected by an external matter to the content of debate. (For example: if the room is very cold, if the microphone is not working, etc.)
  • Point of Inquiry: A clarification if the delegates have doubts in relation to the rules of procedure. It’s asked to the president. (For example: delegates may ask, “How do I request a break to type our resolution?”)

8. Reciprocal Rights / Right of Reply

A reciprocal right is a public response allowed by the president if a comment affects the integrity of a delegate. An example of this would be if a delegation were offended by another delegation’s comments. This request should be submitted in writing

9. Voting

Once all draft resolutions have been presented, all amendments have been made, and the delegates or the President feels that the committee is ready to moving into voting bloc, a delegate will make a motion to move into voting bloc. This motion requires two speakers for the motion and two speakers against the motion, and a two-thirds majority is needed for it to pass. If it passes, the committee is now in voting bloc. The committee can also automatically move into voting bloc if the Speaker’s List is exhausted. Once the committee is in voting bloc, will be no speaking, passing of notes, or entering and exiting of the room so that delegates are not influenced by others to vote a certain way.

The President will name different draft resolutions (typically in the order they were submitted or presented) and the committee will vote for resolutions to either pass or not pass. Every member delegation has equal voting rights – everyone has one vote that they can only cast on their behalf—and they exercise these rights by raising their placards when the President calls for all nations voting yes, no, or abstain on a draft resolution. An abstention means that the delegate does not vote either yes or no for the draft resolution, and it is typically used as a diplomatic way of not supporting a draft resolution.

Any unfriendly amendments made by non-sponsors to draft resolutions are first voted upon. Friendly amendments made by all the sponsors always automatically pass. Then the draft resolutions will be voted upon either as amended or in its original state if no amendments were made to it.

A simple majority – 50% of all delegations voting yes or no, plus one delegation – is required for a draft resolution to pass. Note that abstentions are not counted in the simple majority calculations. Draft resolutions that pass are then called resolutions and the committee will congratulate the sponsors and the rest of the committee for their diplomatic success.

In most circumstances, the President will conduct voting procedure as described above. However, delegates can also motion for the following:

•   A roll call vote is automatic once any delegate makes that motion, and the President will call on each country individually in alphabetical order to vote yes, no, abstain, yes with rights, no with rights, or pass. Voting “with rights” means the delegate is voting against their own policy and wishes to explain why after voting procedures have finished. Those who passed will get a second round of roll call vote but can only vote yes or no.

•   Adoption by consensus is when the President asks whether there is any objection to a consensus, and if there is no objection, then the draft resolution is approved by consensus. Any delegate can make this motion. If there is an objection, then the draft resolution is subject to regular voting procedures.

•  Division of the question is used when there are controversial operative clauses within a draft resolution that may cause an otherwise good resolution to fail. A delegate will make this motion with the specific clauses to divide out. Delegates will vote on whether to divide the clauses out as proposed. If that is successful, they will vote on the draft resolution without the clauses that were taken out.

10. Voting in the Security Council

The Security Council has several differences in its voting procedures. These are:

  • Nine vote to pass: the Security Council requires at least nine affirmative votes (and no veto votes) for a draft resolution to pass.
  • Veto power: all Security Council members still have voting rights, but the five Permanent Members – China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States – have veto power. A negative vote by any of these five members automatically prevents the draft resolution from passing.

11. Official Vocabulary

Click here to review the MMUN official vocabulary.

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