MMUN Rules of Procedure
MMUN, like most model UN conferences, has used Parliamentary Rules of Procedure. However, the United Nations is not a Parliament and has its own Rules of Procedure. The UN Rules of Procedure are simpler and provide for more time in negotiation, in the interaction among delegates with one another and, during resolution drafting, with the Bureau.
There is only one point: Point of Order. All other points (Inquiry, Information, Personal Privilege, etc.) fall under Point of Order. To make a motion, delegates make a “T” with their placard and their hand. And there is no seconding of motions — seconding actually contradicts the principle of sovereignty, because it would mean that a member state could not make a motion on its own and needs another member state’s permission. (Best Delegate)
Formal Meeting (Debate)
Now, the MMUN Staff and Bureau will pre set each Committee’s Agenda (the order of the discussion of topics) and the Speaking Time. Delegates are invited to send in their request to be added to the Speakers List when they submit their position papers. In this way, the committee opens with the set Agenda, Speaking time and Speakers List. Delegates can always be added to the Speakers List by sending a note to the Bureau. The adoption of the Agenda is the first order of business when the committee opens.
The Right of Reply is used at UN conferences. The Right is used to respond to another delegate’s speech. Delegates have a single opportunity to make a formal speech on any of the agenda items. However they can request a Right of Reply from the Chair by sending a note to the Chair. If the Chair grants the request, the Delegate is allotted time to speak at the end of the Speakers List.
At previous MMUN Conferences, the debate has been fluid, alternating between speakers list, unmoderated caucus, and moderated caucus using motions to move among these components. However, at the UN and now at MMUN, the delegates work is often exempt from the Rules of Procedure (ROP). “Formal Meetings” (formerly the speakers list) are guided by ROP. After the Formal Meetings, the delegates have “informal consultations” that do not follow any ROP — these meetings replace the moderated caucus.
Informal Consultation (Negotiation)
The “informal consultations” (formerly, the unmoderated caucus) will occupy much of the committee time, providing excellent opportunities for delegates to hone their communication and negotiation skills as they move towards a resolution, first in their political or geographic bloc and then with their full committee. The informal consultation is in effect an extended unmoderated caucus until a single resolution has been developed from the many blocs and whose content can be adopted by consensus or by a majority with dissent noted and given time to speak. At past MMUN conferences, when delegates started writing resolutions during unmoderated caucus, they tried to find delegates with similar policies.
In the real UN and now at MMUN, member states meet in regional groups first for the purpose of discussing and drafting their common positions on agenda items. After reaching consensus on a draft resolution that meets the needs of their bloc, they will then begin negotiating with other blocs as those blocs complete their resolutions. As a group, the blocs will draft a unified resolution. Regional groups are an important part of UN activity, and sometimes a member state may be part of more than one bloc. For example, Grenada is part of “the small islands” bloc and the “Commonwealth bloc” of former UK colonies. Each bloc exists to meet different needs of the member states.
In the informal consultations, delegates address differences between working papers of the blocs and diligently work toward an acceptable compromise in order to achieve consensus. However, during such negotiations, each bloc must still respect its needs and interests. Consensus by compromise means everyone gives a little and gains a little. It does not mean a delegate should sacrifice what is important to his/her country.
The draft resolutions are worked out in the informal consultations.
Formal Consultation/ Line-by-Line Review
A final reading of the proposed resolution is held in a formal meeting and the delegates review and debate the language line by line. Each paragraph of the draft resolution is read aloud and any member state can object, eliminate or substitute a different word or phasing. If there are no objections to the change, then it is included in the paragraph. If there are objections, the formal meeting is adjourned so that the Chair can mediate between the conflicting parties to reach resolution. The Chair determines the amount of time allotted for the mediation to be concluded. If resolution cannot be reach, the paragraph is again brought back into the formal consultations and a vote is taken. If the majority votes to support the change of language, then it is included in the draft. If a Co Sponsor objects to a word or phrase and the objection fails, then they lose their Co Sponsor status. The line-by-line review does not have a time limit to fully support consensus building.
Action Taking (Consensus or Voting)
At previous MMUN conferences’ delegates voted on motions and draft resolutions. However, in most UN sessions, voting does not generally occur except in the Security Council because of the Permanent Member’s veto power. Now at the MMUN Conference, motions and resolutions will be adopted by consensus or if even one member state objects, by a majority vote. When it is time to vote on a motion or resolution, the Chair, says, “If there are no objections, this resolution will now be adopted by consensus. If there are objections, it is put to a vote.
At UN Committees, resolutions are not often voted on; instead, 80% of General Assembly resolutions are adopted by consensus. This goal of consensus at the UN fosters a diplomatic culture.
New this year at MMUN, each Committee will elect three Delegates to represent the will of the Committee for each draft resolution. They will go to the Podium at the Closing Ceremony to share with all the delegations the major points of the Draft Resolution. The committee then adopts the resolution by consensus or, if not possible because of objections, proceeds to a vote.