Vaccinations Required at AMUN

Introduction

Welcome

American Model United Nations (AMUN) is a non-profit, educational organization founded in 1989 to provide students with the highest quality, most professionally run simulation of the United Nations available. AMUN strives to combine educational quality with highly realistic simulations of the United Nations to give students an unparalleled Model UN learning experience. We return to these ideals year after year as we create the policies and applications expressed in this handbook. We are excited to have you join us for the 2022 Conference. 

2022 Simulations

In 2022, AMUN will simulate four main General Assembly (GA) Committees (Plenary, GA1, GA2 and GA3), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA), the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). AMUN also simulates a historical body, the Historical Security Council of 1993 (HSC93). A parallel online AMUN session will simulate the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board. Finally, AMUN features a simulation of the International Press Delegation (IPD), which produces the Conference newspaper, maintains the AMUN Twitter feed during Conference and covers all simulations’ work.

The General Assembly Plenary (Concurrent), First (Disarmament & International Security), Second (Economic and Financial) and Third (Social, Humanitarian & Cultural) Committees, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board are resolution-writing bodies. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA)  are report-writing bodies whose purpose is to build consensus and to write and ratify reports submitted to the ECOSOC.

The Contemporary Security Council will be responsible for dealing with international peace and security issues as they stand at the opening of the Conference. A tentative list of topics will be provided for preparation, but representatives should be prepared to discuss any and all security issues that might arise. The Historical Security Council of 1993 will simulate the events of that year; it will use contemporary rules of procedure but will role play from the viewpoint of their delegation at the time of the simulation. The Security Council and the Historical Security Council will meet all four days of the Conference, including an emergency session on Monday night and a debrief on Tuesday morning.

The International Press Delegation and the International Court of Justice are unique simulations that will meet throughout the Conference. Individuals must apply for positions on these simulations on the AMUN website (IPD and ICJ). The International Press Delegation will provide journalistic cover for the Conference, producing Accords articles throughout each day. The International Court of Justice will hear cases brought to the Court by Member States.

How to Use This Book

This handbook is published to assist representatives in preparing for the American Model United Nations Conference. This handbook provides representatives with a full picture of conference philosophies, policies and logistics, the rules of procedure required in each simulation, and substantive overviews of the simulations and topics for the Conference. The Introduction section is relevant to all participants at the Conference, while subsequent sections detail the specific rules and substantive overviews for different types of simulations at AMUN. Delegates should be familiar with the sections and chapters relevant to their Conference assignment; Faculty Advisors and Permanent Representatives will want to be familiar with the whole handbook. 

General Conference Information

Safety at AMUN

AMUN places extreme importance on the safety of our participants and guests. We hope that you have an excellent and fun learning experience while at the Conference, but encourage everyone to consider safety issues in and around the Conference hotel. Safety should always be more important than avoiding minor embarrassment to you or another person.

We suggest that you follow several common-sense rules to keep all participants safe during the Conference, including the following guidelines:

  • As a general rule, do not leave the hotel grounds without letting your group know how to find you.
  • Always let one of the leaders of your group (faculty, club officer, etc.) know where you are going prior to leaving the area around the hotel (to visit local friends or relatives, etc.).
  • Never leave any hotel alone after dark, and always travel with at least one person that you know.
  • Always remove your credentials prior to leaving the hotel so as not to advertise yourself as a tourist.
  • Help other participants to be safe by encouraging them to not travel outside of the hotel alone.
  • Inform one of the leaders of your group or an AMUN Secretariat Member immediately if you have a safety concern, or if any emergency situation occurs to you or another participant, regardless of the time.

AMUN encourages all faculty advisors and other group leaders to take time before the Conference to reinforce these and any other relevant safety instructions based on the rules of your schools. In case of an emergency, hotel security may be reached by dialing 0 on any hotel phone and requesting the security office. Also, please feel free to contact the AMUN Secretariat at any time during the Conference, day or night, if any emergency event occurs in which we can be of assistance.

Conference Policies

Minimum and Maximum Delegation Counts

AMUN strongly recommends delegations place two representatives on the following committees: the Security Council and the Historical Security Council of 1993. Each delegation may place one or two representatives on the following committees: General Assembly Plenary (Concurrent), General Assembly First, General Assembly Second, General Assembly Third, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)  and the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA). Each delegation may place only one representative on the Special Committee, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Seats on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and International Press Delegation (IPD) are assigned by application. Generally, only one person from a school can be assigned to ICJ or IPD. For the virtual committee, delegations may place one or two representatives on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board.

Delegations may also designate a floating permanent representative to assist with coordination across the delegation. Representatives may also have part-time assignments at Conference as an advocate for the International Court of Justice or as a party to the dispute in the Security Council or Historical Security Council.

Schools may register up to four faculty advisors.

Dress Code

The appearance of AMUN participants provides the first impressions of their delegation to other representatives. Attention to proper appearance sets an expectation for professionalism and competence. In order to demonstrate respect to fellow representatives, Secretariat members and distinguished guests of the Conference, AMUN requires conservative Western business attire for all representatives and Secretariat during all formal sessions, including the Closing Plenary.

Western business attire is a business jacket or suit, dress slacks or skirt, dress shirt, appropriate hosiery or socks and dress shoes. Attire should be appropriate for visiting an embassy. Conservative accessories such as ties, scarves, and formal jewelry are traditional in business settings. Sweaters or leggings are too casual for Western business attire. Clothing that reveals undergarments in any way is not appropriate. AMUN will not consider any manner of dress appropriate that includes T-shirts, jeans, shorts, hats, athletic shoes or any form of commercial advertising.

Participants shall not wear the traditional or religious garb of any State or organization. The only exception to this is required traditional or religious garb of a student’s personal religion or culture. Additionally, participants should not affect the mannerisms, linguistic characteristics or any other perceived traits of a State or culture that they are representing. These affectations are inappropriate and may be seen as offensive by other students or by natives of that State or culture. Small lapel pins representing the delegation’s flag or other national symbols are appropriate.

Please be aware that representatives who are not appropriately attired or who do not follow these rules may not be recognized during formal debate in any AMUN simulation. Further, AMUN reserves the right to refuse admittance to the Conference floor to any representative who is inappropriately attired or who violates the above provisions. Decisions about appropriate attire and professional behavior are at the discretion of the AMUN Secretariat.

Conduct

Representatives are expected to conduct themselves at all times in a manner befitting international diplomats. This means that every courtesy, both in speech and behavior, should be extended to all representatives, faculty members, hotel staff members, guests and AMUN Secretariat members at the Conference. AMUN expects the same level of diplomatic courtesy in written communications, including notes passed during formal session, posts to social media sites and communications within Google Suite. AMUN reserves the right to expel any representative not acting in a courteous and professional fashion. Please refer to Rule 2.2, Diplomatic Courtesy, for more information.

To provide all participants, including representatives, Faculty Advisors, exhibitors, hotel staff and AMUN Secretariat, the opportunity to benefit from Conference, AMUN is committed to providing a harassment-free environment for everyone regardless of race or ethnicity, language, disability, appearance, religion, gender identity or expression, or any other group identity. AMUN seeks to provide a conference environment in which diverse participants may learn and enjoy an environment of mutual human respect. We recognize a shared responsibility to create and foster that environment for the benefit of all. Some behaviors are, therefore, specifically prohibited. Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Harassment or intimidation based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, language, physical appearance, race or ethnicity, religion or other group identity.
  • Sexual harassment or intimidation, including persistent and unwelcome sexual attention, stalking (physical or virtual) or unsolicited physical contact.
  • Yelling at or threatening others (verbally or physically).
  • Assault of any kind.

Speakers are asked to frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and to be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others. All participants are expected to observe these rules and behaviors in all conference venues, including online. Participants asked to stop one of the aforementioned behaviors are expected to comply immediately. Any final rulings on violations of the Code of Conduct are subject to determination by the Executive Office with consultation as needed with the Board of Directors.

If anything happens throughout the conference that makes you feel unwelcome, unsafe or that prohibits you from fully participating in the AMUN experience, please let us know so that we can help you understand your options and decide what steps can be taken to address the issue. You can contact us anytime by stopping by the Ohio Room, asking to speak to a member of the Executive Office at Conference Services; emailing us at mail@amun.org; or calling us at (773) 777-2686.

Accessibility and Accommodation

AMUN makes every effort to ensure that all attendees are able to fully participate in their respective roles. If you or any member of your delegation requires any accommodations or modifications to get the most out of the AMUN experience, please contact AMUN staff at inclusion@amun.org as soon as possible, so we can discuss appropriate arrangements. Should you realize once Conference starts that you need an additional accommodation or modification, please visit the Ohio Room on the office level and a member of the AMUN Secretariat will be happy to assist you.

Use of Electronic Devices

The use of electronic devices, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and cell phones, is permitted in committee rooms provided they are silenced. All electronic devices must be set up and powered in a manner which does not create a safety hazard or distraction for other representatives. During formal session, groups may not congregate around said devices; all caucusing must take place outside committee rooms. Any use of electronic devices in committee rooms should relate to the purposes of the Conference and must comply with the expectation of Diplomatic Courtesy as outlined in Rule 2.2. All representatives are expected to comply with the directions of the AMUN Secretariat regarding the use of electronic devices.

Accessibility and Collaboration

AMUN is committed to making its conference accessible to all participants. Further, collaboration and consensus-building are cornerstone philosophies for the organization. To further both of these aims, AMUN requests all participants work to ensure the work of the body is accessible to all who wish to participate. The work of the body includes participating in formal debate, informal caucusing during suspensions of the meeting, note-passing, and collaborating on working documents or conducting other substantive negotiations via electronic devices and cloud computing. In this broad consideration of accessibility, we ask participants to consider language, disability, access to mobile computing devices and online tools, country of origin, and other factors that may limit some participants’ access. Ensuring accessibility is a matter of diplomatic courtesy. AMUN does not limit the tools that may be used for collaboration nor does it mandate specific access requirements, but the AMUN Secretariat is available for consultation about how to make the work of the body more inclusive and collaborative.

Plagiarism

AMUN strives to create a simulation of the United Nations which is as realistic as possible while still allowing for the fulfillment of our participants’ and the organization’s educational goals. As such, the AMUN policy regarding plagiarism focuses on an educational rather than a punitive goal. At AMUN, plagiarism involves the substantial, verbatim or near-verbatim copying of language, without attribution, in published or unpublished texts, speeches or documents. Representatives should adhere to their country’s policies at all times, but this does not give license to plagiarize existing materials. Thus, parts of speeches or position papers may be derived or paraphrased from previous speeches or papers, but should not be copied verbatim. Additionally, representatives should not copy and represent as their own the work of another representative or group of representatives. Collaboration and consensus-building is encouraged and appropriate, but representatives should take care that the authors of resolutions, reports and other documents are fully represented in the discussion of the body’s work. Collaborative work remains the work of the collaborators even when not all representatives are able to sign on to the final product.

Similarly, AMUN expects that all representatives are familiar with past resolutions at the United Nations, but the work of the United Nations should be expanded on in representatives’ work, not copied verbatim. There are some exceptions: for example, representatives are not necessarily expected to expand upon a phrase that is often or always used when a country gives a formal speech or a clause that is repeated verbatim through several years of resolutions on a topic. Generally, it is not necessary to explicitly credit such sources, although if substantial language is quoted, it should be acknowledged and cited. Final determinations on plagiarism and its consequences are at the discretion of the AMUN Secretariat.

The goal of any Model UN conference is to work toward the resolution of a problem facing the world. The documents created to this end are inevitably the work of a collaborative process; without that collaboration, States could never achieve consensus. Obtaining individual credit for the submission or sponsorship of a draft document should never be a State’s or representative’s goal during a Model UN Conference. Representatives are expected to collaborate in the drafting and submission of draft documents with the utmost level of respect and diplomatic courtesy.

Credentials

Name badges act as representatives’ credentials for the Conference. Credentials will list a representative’s name, country and the Committee to which they are assigned. Credentials for permanent representatives will state “Permanent Representative” regardless of whether they are assigned to a particular simulation. Representatives, faculty advisors and Conference guests will be required to wear their assigned credentials at all times while in the Conference area. This includes social events after normal Conference hours. No one will be admitted to any Conference area, including social events, without approved credentials.

Representatives must also wear their credentials at all times while in the common areas of the hotel. This will allow both Conference and hotel staff to easily recognize representatives and will help to alleviate any potential problems that may arise within the hotel. Representatives should always remove their credentials immediately before leaving the hotel. A convention badge worn on the streets of a large city advertises you as a tourist and can decrease your safety. Please exercise caution in this area.

Seating and Placards

A placard with the name of each delegation will be placed at that delegation’s seat in each Committee. These are the property of AMUN; the placard should not be defaced or removed from the location assigned by the Secretariat or removed from the room. Placards of Member States are generally always placed in alphabetical order, with the exact position of the placards changing at the beginning of each session to ensure equity in seating delegations. Observer States are generally always seated at the end of the Member States, and will also rotate positions when the room is reset. Exceptions to this are routinely made for representatives that require accommodations. Representatives are welcome to take their placard with them as a souvenir after their committee has convened for the last time.

Lost and Found

Any found unclaimed property can be turned in to the Lost and Found located at Conference Services. Items will be held until the end of the closing session, at which time they will be turned over to hotel security.

  • The Conference Services staff will make every attempt to contact the owner if an email, phone number, country name or address is located on the item.
  • In order to claim a lost item from the Lost and Found, the owner must describe as closely as possible the lost item.
  • Conference Services’ hours are listed in the Conference Program.

Post-Conference Surveys

The AMUN Secretariat works year-round to prepare and run a premiere Model UN conference. With your feedback we are able to improve the educational and administrative experience for our participants. Please take a moment to complete a post-conference survey. Your feedback is invaluable to us as we plan for an even more successful Conference the following year. Surveys can be completed online.

Special Conference Events

Keynote Speaker

AMUN strives to bring quality keynote speakers to the Conference. AMUN keynote speakers are usually individuals with extensive background in international affairs and have included ambassadors, United Nations employees, speakers from NGOs and notable personalities. The date and time of a keynote speaker will depend on the speaker’s schedule, and the conference agenda will be adjusted accordingly to accommodate the speaker and to maximize representatives’ time in committee. The Conference Program will provide the keynote speaker’s biographical information. If you have a suggestion for (and, ideally, a connection to) a keynote speaker at AMUN, please email the Executive Office at mail@amun.org.

After-Hours Caucusing Space

One of the draws of any Model UN conference is the after-hours informal caucusing. An informal meeting area is available in the exhibition hall of the Conference hotel, which representatives are encouraged to use after hours. Gatherings in hotel sleeping areas are strongly discouraged; these could very easily disturb other guests in the hotel, reflecting poorly on both participating schools and on the Conference.

Representative Dance

AMUN encourages all participants to attend our representative dance on Monday evening of the Conference. The dance theme will be revealed on AMUN’s website and publications in the fall. Attire matching the dance theme is encouraged, although not required.

As the dance is hosted by AMUN, only representatives wearing appropriate attire and their current conference credentials will be allowed to enter the dance. Due to security and safety concerns, NO bags, glassware, bottles or other containers will be allowed on the level of the dance. Representatives bringing any of these items will be asked to take them to their rooms. Representatives participating in the overnight crisis session for the Security Council or Historical Security Council simulations will be provided storage space, which they can access at the start of the emergency session. AMUN is not able to provide storage space for other personal belongings. This policy requires planning and special attention, especially for representatives staying at area hotels rather than at the Sheraton. While attending the dance, representatives are guests of the Sheraton hotel and must remain in approved areas of the hotel at all times. Representatives must remain diplomatically courteous during and after the dance. AMUN and hotel security reserve the right to expel any participant acting in a discourteous or disruptive manner.

Security Council Emergency Session

Representatives in each Security Council will work to resolve a simulated crisis during the Conference. This unique simulation occurs late Monday evening, during and after the representative dance. All members of the Security Councils are strongly encouraged to stay at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Hotel during their participation at AMUN. The rules of procedure mandate that each member of the Council attend the emergency session. Attendance at crisis sessions is limited to Security Council and Historical Security Council representatives, requested parties to the dispute, permanent representatives, and their faculty advisors. Observers must secure the permission of the AMUN Secretariat members in charge of the session. Secretariat members have the authority to request anyone they determine is being disruptive to leave the area and return to other areas of the Sheraton or to their hotel.

Events for Faculty Advisors and Permanent Representatives

AMUN hosts several Conference-related events for permanent representatives and faculty advisors during each Conference. They are:

  • Delegation Lottery: The Delegation Lottery is conducted at Conference and allows the current year’s attendees to select countries for the following year. A deposit for next year’s Conference is required to participate.
  • Permanent representative and faculty advisor meetings: Held on Sunday and Monday of Conference, these meetings allow you to share comments and concerns on this year’s Conference and any hotel issues your school is experiencing.
  • Roundtables and workshops for faculty advisors: Guest speakers discuss running and advocating for Model UN with Faculty Advisors in informal discussions and roundtable presentations. Consult the Conference Program for times and locations.

Graduate School and Career Expo

The Expo is a great opportunity to meet with representatives from graduate schools and organizations across the country and plan your future. The Graduate School and Career Expo will be held this year on Monday, 21 November 2022 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event and exhibitors will be announced and highlighted both in our Conference Program and the AMUN Chronicle. The Expo will be located in the main corridor on the Ballroom level, outside of the primary meeting rooms that hold most of the Conference events. Students will be introduced to the Expo area on their way to and from the open Monday morning meeting sessions.

The AMUN Approach to Model United Nations

AMUN Philosophy and Realism

One of the core principles of AMUN is to mirror the practice and dynamics of the United Nations as much as possible. To that end, AMUN strives to create and conduct simulations that are a realistic representation of diplomacy at the United Nations and within the broader international system. We believe this commitment furthers AMUN’s aims to create a fair and fun experience for all representatives and that it enhances the educational mission of the organization.

For any issue before the United Nations, each Member State or Observer State will have a variety of responses available to it; however, a realistic simulation will consider only those options that would have reasonably been on the table for a State at a particular moment in time. In other words, there will always be options States do not consider or dismiss out of hand because they have limited capabilities or due to historical, cultural or political constraints; in a realistic simulation, these options are not appropriate.

In conjunction with our policy on delegations that are “Out of Character,” AMUN members of the Secretariat will work with representatives to ensure the highest-quality, most realistic simulation of the United Nations as possible, while still allowing room for innovative and creative thinking to open up new possibilities for the United Nations and the international community.

The Purview of Each Simulation

Each background guide contains a brief overview of that simulation’s purview, which provides a general outline of the types of discussions each simulation might have on the topics in question. Purview is an extremely important, though often informally understood, concept in the United Nations system, where a variety of different committees, councils and commissions may discuss different aspects of an international problem. Not stepping on another body’s toes or into its territory is a matter of diplomatic courtesy, respect and an acknowledgement of specific expertise. Representatives should research their topics carefully, so their deliberations can focus on the piece of the problem considered within their simulation’s purview.

Purview is usually best understood through an extended example. To illustrate the concept, this paragraph explores the issue of development and how it might be approached in a variety of committees, councils and commissions. The General Assembly First Committee might discuss the relationship between disarmament and development. At the same time, the General Assembly Second Committee may discuss a variety of financing initiatives to assist Least Developed Countries. Similarly, the General Assembly Third Committee might discuss the social and humanitarian considerations that stem from a lack of development, including gender issues, economic concerns or the impact on underrepresented populations such as the elderly or disabled. And the General Assembly Fourth Committee may discuss the development issues of Non-Self-Governing Territories. The General Assembly Concurrent Plenary might discuss the problem in its entirety or address issues that cut across the mandates of the committees. By contrast, the Economic and Social Council would focus on how the United Nations specialized and technical agencies work with Member States to support economic and social development. The Security Council would address the interlinkages between peace, security and development.

Clearly, different aspects of a single problem are regularly discussed in different bodies. More importantly, at the United Nations, delegations are typically careful to only discuss those aspects relevant to their own committees, councils and commissions, leaving other aspects to others in their delegation to address in the appropriate forum.

Representatives participating in the AMUN Conference should be familiar with the history of the United Nations and with the changing role the organization plays (and has played) in international affairs. This section provides a brief introduction to the United Nations system and some of the issues it faces today.

Introduction to the United Nations

Representatives participating in the American Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference should be familiar with the history of the United Nations and with the changing role the organization plays in international affairs. This section provides a brief introduction to the United Nations system and some of the issues it faces today.

History of the United Nations

Origins of the United Nations

The United Nations came into existence on 24 October 1945. On that day, the United Nations Charter became operative, following ratification by the 51 original Members. The concept of all States uniting to settle disputes peacefully was born of the desire to avoid repeating the horrors of the First and Second World Wars. The United Nations developed as a successor to the League of Nations, which represented the first modern attempt by the countries of the world to achieve this unity.

United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the term “United Nations” in 1942, when 47 countries signed the Declaration of the United Nations in support of the Atlantic Charter. In 1944, representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China prepared the first blueprint of the United Nations at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference. The final details for the United Nations were established at the Yalta Conference in 1945. On 26 June 1945, 51 States signed the Charter of the United Nations in San Francisco.

Purpose of the United Nations

The primary purposes for which the United Nations was founded are detailed in Chapter I, Article 1, of the Charter:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Structure of the United Nations

The United Nations has six primary organs. Understanding what each of these bodies does and how it interacts with other United Nations bodies, agencies and affiliated organizations is a critical part of Model United Nations preparation.

The General Assembly (GA)

The General Assembly is the central deliberative organ of the United Nations. The General Assembly has been described as the nearest thing to a “parliament of mankind.” All Member States are Members of the General Assembly, and each Member has one vote. The General Assembly makes recommendations on international issues, oversees all other United Nations bodies that report to the General Assembly, approves the United Nations budget and apportions United Nations funds. On the recommendation of the Security Council, the General Assembly elects the Secretary-General and holds the authority to admit and expel Member States. Voting in the General Assembly is ordinarily by simple majority, but most of the body’s work is adopted by consensus.

The Security Council (SC)

The Security Council’s primary responsibility is maintaining international peace and security. It has the power to employ United Nations peacekeepers and direct action against threats to the peace. Fifteen Members sit on the Security Council, including five Permanent Members (China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) and 10 at-large Member States, which the General Assembly elects for rotating two-year terms. A majority in the Security Council consists of nine Members voting “yes”; however, a “no” vote by any of the Permanent Members has the effect of vetoing or blocking actions.

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The Economic and Social Council is the primary body dealing with the economic, social, humanitarian and cultural work of the United Nations system. It also has a mandate to coordinate the activities of United Nations technical and specialized agencies and programs. The Economic and Social Council oversees five regional economic commissions and nine functional, or subject-matter, commissions. The Economic and Social Council is composed of 54 Member States elected by the General Assembly for three-year renewable terms.

The Trusteeship Council (TC)

In 1945 there were 11 Trust Territories, which were regions without their own governments. These 11 regions were placed under the Trusteeship Council, which helped them prepare for and achieve independence. With the admission of Palau as a United Nations Member State in 1994, the Trusteeship Council has now completed its original mandate. Today, the Trusteeship Council is inactive but is formally composed of the Permanent Members of the Security Council.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ)

The International Court of Justice, or World Court, is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations and decides international legal disputes. All United Nations Member States are able to bring matters before the International Court of Justice; however, States must agree to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice before it can decide a dispute involving that State. Fifteen judges serving nine-year terms sit on the Court.

Secretariat

The Secretariat is composed of the Secretary-General and the United Nations staff. Approximately 44,000 people are employed as the staff of the United Nations, only 5,000 of whom work at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The vast majority work for various subsidiaries of the United Nations. The Secretary-General serves a five-year renewable term.

In addition to the six main bodies, the United Nations system includes a number of autonomous technical and specialized agencies and programs. Examples include the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). While most of these agencies and programs have independent governance structures, the Economic and Social Council coordinates their activities.

How the United Nations Seeks to Achieve Its Purpose

Since 1945, the United Nations has established itself as a forum for discussing international disputes. The United Nations seeks, through both its principal organs and various subsidiary bodies, to settle disputes through peaceful means without resorting to the threat or use of force. Through their participation in the various bodies of the United Nations, Member States recognize and legitimize the established machinery of the United Nations and its relevance to solving international problems. It should be understood that the United Nations is not a world government, nor does it legislate. Rather, the actions of the United Nations, in the form of resolutions passed by its bodies, have a strong moral persuasive effect. Member States frequently find it in their own best interests to follow United Nations recommendations.

Bloc Politics at the United Nations

Historically, Member States with mutual interests have used a system of bloc politics to organize their efforts within the United Nations. These blocs tend to be made up of Member States with similar political, historical or cultural backgrounds and are often, but not exclusively, formed on a geographical basis. By organizing themselves with other Member States that hold similar interests, bloc members hope to increase their influence above the level that they would have as a single Member State in the General Assembly.

Regional groups were formally established at the United Nations in 1957 with an endorsement by the General Assembly. As the number of Member States increased, the groups were realigned to form today’s five groups: Latin America and the Caribbean group (GRULAC), the Asia-Pacific group, the Africa group, the Eastern European group and the Western Europe and Others group (WEOG). These regional groups are still used today to manage the elections to various United Nations bodies, including the Security Council, and to determine who will serve as Vice Presidents of the General Assembly. Other smaller regional blocs with more specific affinities and interests, such as the Nordic countries or the JUSCANZ group (Japan, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) are also important, but they lack the formal recognition granted to the five regional groups.

Regional groups are not the only blocs active at the United Nations. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), formed in 1967 as a group seeking a middle course between the Western and Eastern blocs of the Cold War, rapidly became an active body for the coordination of action at the United Nations for developing countries. While its importance has diminished since the end of the Cold War, it is still active on numerous issues at the United Nations. The Group of 77 (G-77) was founded in 1964 as a coordinating body to protect the economic interests of small and developing countries. With 134 members, the G-77 is the largest United Nations bloc, though coordination among members is fairly loose.

Blocs often attempt to form a consensus among members, allowing them to act as a cohesive group. The effectiveness of any given bloc in exerting its positions in the General Assembly depends upon the bloc’s ability to form a consensus among its own members and to get its members to vote accordingly. These acts of compromise form the basis of United Nations politics and often occur within the various caucusing groups. They also form the starting points for debate in the larger United Nations body.

Bloc politics have changed considerably over time. Some blocs are still coherent, like the Nordic countries, while others, like the Western European and Others Group, lack continuing cohesion. In general, their viability as a political tool is diminishing, and blocs are falling out of use as a predictable measure of votes. Often, blocs get together to draft resolutions which will begin the discussion in the larger body, but ultimately, each Member State will usually vote in its own interest, regardless of bloc memberships. States may be part of multiple blocs with diverging or competing interests, which further complicates the issue.

Today, the most common blocs are small, temporary negotiating groups that gather around one issue to try to overcome stalemate in the larger membership bodies. Additionally, developing countries often bind together to maximize their power, especially given their relative lack of economic power. Some blocs have their own secretariat staff whose job is to draft proposals and find solutions that the larger body is unable to find. Some of the more well-funded and organized blocs have a formally recognized role as permanent observers with permanent observer missions at the United Nations headquarters. Examples include the African Union, the Caribbean Community, the European Union, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. These blocs are powerful examples of Member States coming together to advance goals that may be independent of the regions they represent.

At AMUN, blocs are not be treated as official bodies. Representatives are encouraged to caucus in their bloc groups only when appropriate. Representatives should be aware that the State they represent may no longer actively participate in bloc politics or may vote outside of its traditional bloc based on the circumstances. Above all, remember that you represent your State and your State’s interests, regardless of your participation in a bloc while caucusing and drafting.

United Nations Documents

Introduction

Resolutions are the primary tools for action at the United Nations. Debate at the United Nations focuses on solving, at least in part, the many problems facing the global community. After months of debate and behind-the-scenes discussion on a topic, Member States try to come to an agreement about how to proceed on an issue. This agreement is then codified in the form of a draft resolution. The text of a draft resolution is usually developed and agreed upon well in advance of its being brought to the floor, with many States making suggestions and changes behind the scenes. A draft resolution may be formally discussed, amended, rejected or adopted when it is brought to the floor, though it is very rare for a United Nations resolution to be rejected after being brought up for consideration. Most Member States prefer to bring a draft resolution to the floor only if they are sure it will be adopted. In fact, sponsoring Member States will often wait to bring a resolution to the floor until they are sure that all Member States present will agree to the resolution and adopt it by consensus.

Resolutions usually express a policy that the United Nations will adopt or implement, and may be included in the body of reports, treaties, conventions and declarations. Resolutions may range from general to very specific in content and, depending on the body involved, call for or suggest a course of action, condemn an action or require an action or sanctions on behalf of Member States. The General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, special committees and commissions may either call for or suggest actions. However, only the Security Council can require action from or place sanctions on Member States. In some cases, conventions and treaties may also require action, but such requirements would be applicable only to the States Parties (i.e., those States which have ratified or are otherwise party to the convention or treaty).

Resolutions are formal documents adopted by a United Nations body that follow a standard format and include at least one preambular and one operative clause. Any body may issue a resolution, but in practice most are adopted (often by consensus) by the General Assembly, its main Committees and the Security Council.

Reports and presidential statements are similar to resolutions in that they state a United Nations policy or objective, but both have different purposes and utilize different formatting. Reports, which are typically written by long-standing commissions and committees composed of experts on the topics being discussed, advise and inform decision-making bodies of a committee’s work and are divided into chapters and sections that cover the various topics under discussion. Presidential statements comparatively offer a less formal pronouncement of some United Nations action or position and are often used when the Security Council cannot come to agreement or deems that the issue does not necessitate a formalized resolution. AMUN simulates both resolution-writing and report-writing bodies.

Draft Documents

AMUN simulations will accept draft resolutions, reports and other documents only during the AMUN Conference. Draft documents may not be submitted in advance of Conference. Drafting documents is a collaborative process that begins with an idea about how to approach a problem that then incorporates ideas and concepts contributed by a group of delegations. The authors of draft documents obtain signatures from sponsors through caucusing and discussion, and eventually the draft may be moved to the floor for formal debate. The debate process brings the entire body into the discussion. Often, the debate identifies areas where the draft must be amended to bring about a final document that the body may support by consensus.

In preparing to attend AMUN, delegations should consider solutions they believe would help resolve the issues before the body. The most successful delegates will practice drafting preambular clauses that clearly articulate the background and context of the topic and operative clauses that form the policies they seek to advocate. Delegates should also practice reviewing and commenting on the work of others and practice negotiation, collaboration and amendments to achieve common objectives. These notes and practice documents may be useful at Conference as working papers. When all delegations arrive at Conference prepared and ready to work together, the entire body benefits.  

At Conference, when a delegate is asked to sponsor a resolution or report, they should ask themselves whether the document was drafted in collaboration with other delegations in attendance, and whether the drafting and amendment process has been open and collaborative. If a delegate cannot answer yes to these questions, they should consider either working with the drafters to bring the draft document into the collaborative environment, or, if that is not an option, foregoing sponsorship in favor of working on other draft documents that represent the collaborative work of the body.

AMUN strongly discourages delegations from bringing fully-formed pre-written resolutions to Conference with the intent to immediately circulate the draft for signatures and bring it to the floor. Any draft document that is not created with the input and assistance of other committee members foregoing the collaborative process, will not reflect the will of the body and cannot hope to achieve consensus. While bringing these resolutions may seem to be an efficient way to jump-start the body’s deliberations, in reality they short-circuit the collaborative and consensus-building process that is central to AMUN’s educational mission and that reflects the real work of the United Nations. 

Draft resolutions are not eligible for formal consideration on the floor of General Assembly Committees, the Concurrent General Assembly Plenary or reporting bodies until they receive the sponsorship of at least 35 percent of the total delegations registered for their respective simulation. In the Security Council and the Historical Security Councils, only one sponsor is required. In all bodies additional sponsors may be added as the document is written until the document has been moved to the floor, at which point a delegation may become a sponsor only with the consent of the original sponsors. Once a substantive vote has been taken on a draft resolution or report—or on a contested amendment thereto— it has become the property of the body and no new sponsors may be added or removed from the draft resolution or report. 

Chairs and presidents will entertain motions for a suspension of the meeting to facilitate the process of discussing, creating, combining and changing draft documents. It is recommended that representatives use this time to discuss the problems facing their committee and begin creating documents or combining existing drafts as proposed by members of the body. These sessions offer representatives an opportunity to enter the United Nations political process of working with others in an attempt to build consensus, but in a less formal setting.

The process of using drafts and requiring more than one sponsoring delegation is intended to replicate the United Nations practice of gaining near-universal support for drafts before they are brought to the floor for debate and decision. Further, it should push delegations away from looking at a proposal as “theirs” and toward working with others to find a solution and to gain consensus on the topic being discussed. AMUN requires a relatively high number of sponsors in order to encourage the body to work together on proposals, rather than individual delegations or small blocs working on separate proposals in isolation. 

States that sponsor (or sign) a resolution should be in general agreement with its content at the time it is submitted, such that they would vote “yes” on the resolution. This sponsorship, however, is non-binding. Member States may exercise their sovereign right to vote in any way on any matter that affects the outcome of the resolution.To this end, representatives will need to work together and most likely combine clauses from a number of drafts or subsequent proposals made by other Member States at the Conference. Representatives are strongly encouraged to undertake this process before a draft is brought to the floor. As with the United Nations in New York, building support for one draft that encompasses the entire topic will be a much better use of the representatives’ time than trying to work on multiple draft resolutions, many of which will overlap. AMUN suggests that representatives not contend over which draft will come to the floor, but rather caucus and compromise to determine how best to combine drafts into a coherent, whole product that all Member States can accept. Representatives are encouraged to use friendly amendments or draft a new, all-encompassing document to accomplish this goal. Rapporteurs are available in General Assembly committees, special committees and reporting bodies to assist with this process.

After a draft resolution, report or presidential statement has been entered into the appropriate Representative Workspace and receives the requisite sponsorship, representatives must share a copy of the draft document with the dais staff for approval. The dais staff will review the draft and discuss with representatives any necessary or suggested edits. Once representatives have entered all necessary edits, the dais staff will approve the draft document and make it formally available to the body for consideration. The body will not formally act on a draft resolution until the entire body has been given the ability to review it.

After a draft has been approved, the dais staff will announce that the draft has become available for consideration. The draft will be available to the body in the AMUN Google Drive environment which all Representatives with an AMUN designated email can access. 

Points to Consider in Writing Draft Resolutions

The following list includes important points to consider when writing a draft resolution. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but should provide a good starting point to make draft resolutions as realistic as possible.

  • In the preambular clauses, describe the recent history of the situation and the issue as it currently exists.
  • Refer to specific past United Nations actions and previous resolutions passed on the topic, when available.
  • In the operative clauses, include actions or recommendations that will address or solve the problem, not just make a statement.
  • Avoid using blatantly political language in the content of the draft resolution—this may damage efforts to reach a consensus on the issue.
  • Take into account the points of view of other States whenever possible.
  • Write the draft resolution from an international or United Nations perspective, not just from a single country’s point of view.
  • Consider whether the substance of the draft resolution is within the purview of the committee and refer relevant parts to other bodies where appropriate.
  • Refer issues which need further discussion to appropriate, existing bodies.
  • Do not create new committees/councils/commissions/working groups/etc. without first considering if other similar bodies already exist.
  • Always consider previous United Nations resolutions on the topic; do not duplicate what other resolutions have done without referencing the appropriate sources.

Purview and Other Content Requirements for Resolutions

One point to consider when drafting a document is whether its content is within the purview of the committee. Each body within the United Nations has a purview, or subject-matter jurisdiction, over which that body is granted authority by the United Nations Charter. A body will not address subject matter that is outside its purview, because that subject almost always belongs to the purview of another body.  The topic briefs for each simulation identify the purview for each United Nations body simulated at AMUN. Dais staff—Rapporteurs in committees and reporting bodies and Simulation Directors in the Security Councils—will review submitted documents to determine whether they are within the purview of the body. If necessary, dais staff will offer suggestions as to how to modify a draft document to bring it within the purview of the body, rather than rejecting a submission.

As part of our educational mission, AMUN strives to simulate the United Nations as realistically as possible within the confines of a four-day simulation. Accordingly, for all simulations outside of the Security Council and Historical Security Council simulations, AMUN limits the topics that may be discussed. These topics are identified in depth within this handbook. In committees with limited agendas, Rapporteurs will not accept resolutions unless they are directed to one of the topics for the simulation and can assist in migrating work in this direction as needed.

The dais staff will not accept draft resolutions or other documents that it views as disruptive to the work of the body or the Conference as a whole. Disruptive resolutions and other documents are those that are only tangentially related to a topic for that simulation, or those that contain language, proposals or solutions that are generally not seen in United Nations resolutions. Such disruptive resolutions detract from the educational experience of all AMUN’s participants. Accordingly, the submission of disruptive resolutions is considered diplomatically discourteous, and will be addressed by the Dais staff in accordance with Rule 2.2, Diplomatic Courtesy. Decisions of the Secretariat on these matters are final.

Draft Resolution Guidelines and Format

Draft resolutions will consist of a standard heading section followed by preambular and operative clauses. Preambular clauses are listed first; they are used to justify action, denote past authorizations and precedents for action or denote the purpose for an action. Operative clauses are the statements of policy in a resolution. Each operative clause is numbered, begins with a verb to denote an action (or suggested action) and usually addresses no more than one specific aspect of the action to be taken.

Draft resolutions must be generated using the resolution template available in the Google Drive workspace, and submitted using the Representative Workspace that AMUN provides for the simulation. The draft resolutions must also comply with the following additional formatting requirements:

  • During the processing of draft resolutions, do not use italics, bold or underlined print to highlight words. Italic text should only be used as shown in the Sample Draft Resolution.
  • Clauses must begin with proper introductory words/phrases in italics.
  • Information in the header (the topic and the name of the committee) will be automatically generated when you input the draft resolution into AMUN’s DPS.
  • See the Sample Draft Resolution for additional requirements.

Rapporteurs and dais staff are available to assist representatives with any questions you may have about format, grammar and entry into the Representative Workspace.

Sample Draft Resolution

Draft Resolution Guidelines

  • All preambular and operative phrases are italicized.
  • The first word of all clauses, sub-clauses and sub-sub-clauses is capitalized. In a clause with a two-word introductory phrase (e.g., Further noting) both words are italicized, but only the first is capitalized.
  • All preambular clauses begin with an “ing” form verb (e.g., Acknowledging, Recalling), or other appropriate phrase (e.g., Alarmed by).
  • All operative clauses begin with a verb that demonstrates action (e.g., Requests, Calls upon).
  • All words should be spelled according to standard American usage, except in formal program or organization names or titles (e.g., World Food Programme).
  • Acronyms and initialisms are appropriate in resolutions, except when referring to the United Nations and its principal organs (e.g., the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council), which should always be spelled out in full.
  • Acronyms and initialisms are written out in full the first time they are used within a resolution, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses (e.g., African Development Bank (ADB)).
  • Full dates should always be used, including in reference to resolutions (e.g., 9 October 1977 or resolution 61/171 of 19 December 2006).
  • In Security Council resolutions, the year the resolution was passed should be in parentheses along with the full date (e.g., resolution 1757 (2007) of 30 May 2007).
  • When referencing a resolution, use the short resolution number instead of the full document symbol (e.g., resolution 61/171 instead of resolution A/Res/61/171).
  • Whole numbers under 10 are written out, except in fractions, in lists or comparisons, in percentages, vote counts, ratios, etc. Do not use a % symbol. Use “none” instead of zero.
  • Numbers between 10 and 999,999 should be written in figures, except at the beginning of a clause or sentence.
  • Millions, billions and trillions, are written as follows: 1 million, 4.3 billion, etc.
  • Isolated references to weights and measurements are spelled out (e.g., ten kilometers).
  • Generally, do not use a comma before the final element of a list.
  • Lists of sponsors and/or authors are not included in the final version of documents. Once passed, they become the work and property of the whole body.

Amendments

An amendment is a written statement that adds to, deletes from or otherwise modifies a draft resolution, report or other document. An amendment may be as small as changing a single word, or as large as the deletion or insertion of numerous clauses in a document. Both preambular and operative clauses in draft resolutions may be amended.

Member States typically propose informal changes to draft documents during the drafting process. If a sponsor of a draft document does not approve of the proposed changes, they will not be incorporated into the draft document. However, the proposed changes may be introduced via a formal amendment after the document is officially introduced to the body for discussion. Otherwise, a sponsor may choose to withdraw its sponsorship from the draft document into which the proposed changes are incorporated.

Once a document is approved by the body’s dais staff, amendments must be made through a formal process. This involves drafting the amendment in the appropriate Representative Workspace and submitting it to the appropriate Dais Staff for approval. See the Sample Amendment Form. A minimum of 15 percent of delegations must sponsor each amendment, although only one sponsor is required in the Security Council and Historical Security Councils. If all of the sponsors of a resolution are also sponsors of an amendment, the amendment is considered “friendly” and automatically becomes part of the draft resolution without a vote. If not all of the resolution sponsors have agreed to the amendment, it must go through the standard amendment process. This includes moving the amendment to the floor, discussion and voting procedure. If the body takes any substantive vote on an amendment or any part of the draft resolution, the document becomes the property of the body and the friendly amendment process is no longer available to the resolution’s sponsors. Any subsequent amendments must be voted on by the body to be incorporated into the resolution.

Formally submitted amendments should be in the Representative Workspace, and should provide information on what changes are to be made to the existing resolution. This should include what language is to be amended, where that language currently exists in the resolution and where the newly proposed language should go.

Sample Amendment

Reports

A report is another type of formal document at the United Nations. Reports of functional commissions, standing committees, regional commissions or other bodies that make reports to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) or the General Assembly generally follow the United Nations format for annual reports. At AMUN the reporting body may write only one report for each topic that is presented. The reports summarize the body’s discussion of the topic and make recommendations of actions to be taken by the appropriate body. At this year’s Conference, the following simulations will write reports: the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA).

The report format is outlined here, and a sample Table of Contents for the report follows. A more detailed description and sample reports are available online here. The dais staff in each report-writing body will provide additional details to the commission on the first day of Conference and will assist representatives throughout the report-writing process. Please note that in this section “commission” refers to the reporting body and “council” refers to the body that receives the report.

The first item in the report will be an executive summary, not exceeding one page, that outlines the major points of the report, including the commission’s findings and its recommendations to the council. It is important that the executive summary contains all the critical information for the body hearing the report. The presiding special rapporteurs will guide representatives through the report-writing process and formal acceptance of the report. The executive summary is written last to encompass all parts of the compiled report once actions are determined and deliberations finalized.

Chapter I of the report will be titled “Matters calling for action by the Economic and Social Council or brought to its attention.” (For bodies reporting to the General Assembly, the chapter titles should be changed accordingly.) First, this chapter will contain the text of draft resolutions recommended by the commission for adoption by the council. With the exception of the title and numbering, the resolutions should follow standard resolution format as detailed in this handbook. Second, this chapter may contain a short statement on any other matter that requires action or attention by the council but has not been included in a draft resolution. Take care when including other matters that require action to ensure that there is consensus within the body for addressing these matters. Further, although Chapter I contains the text of draft resolutions recommended for adoption, the entire report should include substantially more material. The body should focus its efforts on drafting the report, rather than passing draft resolutions, which are merely recommendations, for inclusion in the report.

Chapter II of the report will be titled according to the official agenda item before the commission. This chapter should contain a brief account of the proceedings that the commission considers essential to transmit to the council and should focus on the decision making process that the commission followed in order to make its recommendations. This chapter is typically written throughout the entire time the commission is in session, taking into account all essential proceedings and decision making processes as they occur. Essential proceedings often include statements made by delegations regarding the topic at issue.

Chapter III, if necessary, should be titled “Decisions adopted by the Commission at its [year] session” and should contain those decisions, if any, adopted by the commission that do not require further action and that the commission takes in its own name. This practice is rare because ECOSOC Resolution 1623 (LI) states that resolutions of functional commissions and subsidiary bodies should normally be in the form of drafts for approval by the council. Generally, resolutions the body recommends (in other words, those that require further action) would not be incorporated in this chapter, but rather in Chapter I.

The last chapter should be titled “Adoption of the report.” The chapter should detail the manner in which the commission adopted the report, including the voting record, if any. This section of the report will be added by the Rapportours. Following the substantive chapters of the report, the commission may choose to include additional information as appendices for the council, including statements regarding the financial implications of the council’s recommendations; other relevant publications or statements; and relevant data, charts or graphs.

Reporting bodies should aim to conclude their substantive work by Monday evening, and they should finalize and accept the reports and compose the executive summaries for the reports on Tuesday.

Sample Table of Contents for Reports

Resolution Introductory Phrases

The following phrases/words are a partial list of appropriate introductions in resolutions.

Preambular Phrases

(single verb in present participle or other introductory phrase):

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

Operative Phrases

(verb in third person present indicative tense):

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

Lending Emphasis to Resolution Phrasing

Diplomatic communication relies heavily on connotation and nuance, and United Nations resolutions and decisions are no exception. When resolutions are constructed, they often contain language that actually conveys the very precise attitudes and intentions of the authors. At AMUN, representatives are urged to select words carefully when drafting resolutions. The introductory phrases listed above also carry significant emotional and diplomatic meaning. Accurate use of these introductory terms is of paramount importance at the United Nations, and should also be emphasized in AMUN simulations.

A more useful method for listing introductory phrases, rather than the alphabetical listing above, might be in order of the phrases’ emotional weight, described by United Nations practitioners as crescendos. Each of the following crescendos begins with a neutral phrase at the top (conveying little emotion) and concludes with a strongly worded phrase (conveying strongly positive or negative emotion). Some of these opening phrases also have common uses in the language of United Nations resolutions; when applicable, this information has been included parenthetically with each phrase. Some phrases that express strong insistence or negative emotion are typically only used in Security Council resolutions and even then are selected with great care—these are noted where appropriate.

Sample Preambular Phrase Crescendos

All lists of sample phrase crescendos presented below start with the most neutral/weakest phrase and end with the strongest phrases.

Noting (by being neutral, this term actually can connote negativity; for example, a resolution “noting the report of the Secretary-General” actually insults the Secretary-General’s work by not being more approving)

Noting with appreciation (this is the typical way to recognize a report or other document)

Noting with satisfaction

Noting with deep satisfaction

Alternatively, there can be further detail added to connote a more negative context for the point that is about to be made as shown in the following example:

Noting

Noting with regret

Noting with deep regret

Sample Operative Phrase Crescendos

Notes (See comments on “noting” above)

Notes with appreciation

Notes with satisfaction

Welcomes

Recommends (suggests that other United Nations organs take an action)

Invites (suggests that Member States take an action)

Requests (suggests that the Secretary-General take an action)

Appeals (suggests that Member States take an action, more emotional)

Calls Upon (suggests that Member States take an action, very emotional)

Urges (strongest suggestion by the General Assembly)

Demands (rarely used outside of the Security Council)

Notes with concern

Expresses its concern

Expresses its deep concern

Deplores

Strongly deplores

Condemns (rarely used outside of the Security Council)

Commonly Misunderstood Terms

Declares (used to make a statement)

Decides (used to indicate an action to be taken)

For sample usage of the phrases, see the Sample Draft Resolution and the Checklist for Resolution Formatting.

Security Council Presidential Statements

While the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies usually speak through reports and resolutions, the Security Council has another option: the presidential statement. At the United Nations, the Security Council adopts presidential statements more frequently than resolutions.

A presidential statement is a written statement issued by the President, noting that the Council has been discussing a specific topic and stating the general course of that discussion. These documents are frequently made at the beginning of or after a significant event in a crisis situation, but can be used at any point in the simulation. These statements can be as short as a sentence or two in length, but they can be longer if the situation dictates. Presidential statements are usually simple enough that they are agreed to by the entire body. This also means they often do not prescribe action and have little weight, unlike resolutions, which are technically binding on Member States. Presidential statements are often used when Members want to make a strong statement, but when one or more Member States, often Permanent Members, find it politically inexpedient to pass a binding resolution on the subject.

At AMUN, presidential statements are not written by the body’s President as they are at the United Nations in New York. Instead, presidential statements are written by the Council as a whole; the Council must enter an informal session and reach consensus to adopt a draft presidential statement. While draft statements, like draft resolutions, may be constructed by individuals or small groups during suspensions, AMUN recommends that representatives collaborate as much as possible on the creation of presidential statements and suggests entering into a consultative session for this purpose. For more information, please see Security Council Rule 7.7 Consultative Sessions.

Representatives are free to circulate unofficial drafts, but a draft statement cannot be adopted until it has been entered into the Representative Workspace, has received approval by the Dais Staff and has been distributed to the Council. To adopt an approved draft statement, the Council must enter a consultative session. Once it appears consensus on the statement has been met, the president will ask if there is any objection to consensus on the document. If there are no objections to consensus, the statement will be adopted. If there are objections, the Council may wish to discuss the draft further and make changes. Once consensus is reached, the statement is considered adopted; the Dais Staff will update the document with any agreed to changes and copies of the final presidential statement will be made available to the Council.

Sample Security Council Presidential Statement

 

Research and Preparation

A holistic approach to research and preparation

AMUN recommends a systematic and holistic approach to research related to Conference preparation. This approach can be broken into eight components, represented by the subsequent subheadings. This approach ensures representatives are well versed in each of these areas will allow for their fullest participation in the Conference and will maximize the educational benefit of their experience. This approach is recommended for students participating in traditional Model UN simulations such as the General Assembly Committees, Security Council or Historical Security Council. Representatives participating in specialized simulations, such as the International Court of Justice or the International Press Delegation, may have different preparatory requirements.

The United Nations system

Representatives must understand the basics of the organization which they are simulating—the United Nations. Well-prepared representatives not only know the basic structure of the United Nations, but also understand how their committee fits into the organization and how their committee accomplishes its work. This information allows representatives to make better decisions regarding what actions the body they are simulating can and cannot reasonably take. This basic delineation of responsibilities is called purview, and this handbook includes a brief description of each committee’s purview.

The history and current affairs of the represented State

This is the first key to understanding what actions a State may prefer on specific issues. Research should include basic statistical data and general information such as population, demographics, government type, natural resources and trade data. Students should become familiar with the State’s traditional allies and adversaries. A State’s history can be crucial to understanding its contemporary actions, including the question of whether that State was previously colonized or was a colonial power, when the State gained statehood and what means were used in gaining independence (e.g., civil or revolutionary war,, peaceful protests or state dissolution).

The represented State’s viewpoints on the issues to be discussed at the Conference

This is the central point of most Model UN preparation: focused research on the issues being discussed in each committee and on your State’s position on those issues. Research can come from a variety of sources, beginning with United Nations documents and moving to other articles, periodicals, books and internet resources. United Nations resolutions and reports on relevant topics  are especially helpful because they provide a quick reference to what has already been accomplished in the past and what still needs to be done. These documents frequently provide voting information, which allows representatives to quickly determine their State’s past positions on issues. Relevant sources are provided throughout each topic brief in this handbook. Contacting the delegation’s permanent mission to the United Nations may also be helpful, but the level of assistance provided varies with each country’s policies and available resources.

It will be very easy for some representatives to find specific information to determine their State’s position on most or all topics, while for others this information will be difficult to obtain or simply not exist. When clear-cut information is not available, representatives should make the best possible inferences about what their State’s policy would be given the facts available. Representatives can form these inferences based on the State’s background, its historical voting record and the positions of its traditional allies or regional group, among other factors. Regardless of the facts available, knowing exactly what a State would do in a given situation is often not possible. Representatives should strive to know as much as possible about their State’s stance on each topic and make reasonable policy assumptions on issues that are not totally clear.

The relationship between the current world situation and the represented State

This is a subset of the previous two areas of research, but it is important enough to be mentioned in its own right. The world situation is dynamic, as are the States that make up the international system, and States’ positions on some issues may hinge on their particular situation or perspective. For example, it may seem obvious that there are differences between the policies of a regional great power and a state with very little military might, but it is also worth considering the extent to which States are engaged militarily beyond their own borders. States with different development profiles—for example, industrialized States and developing States may have vastly different concerns and policy positions. A State that is currently in the midst of civil war or a State under United Nations sanctions may have unique positions on some issues. Knowing where a represented State fits into the current world geopolitical context can complement country-specific research and answer many questions that may arise during the simulation.

The perspectives of other States on the issues on the Conference agenda

Anticipating the positions of other delegations can be a challenging element of pre-Conference preparation.  While it is reasonable to expect that a representative will know who their general allies and adversaries are on a given issue, it is very difficult to have detailed information about the policies of each State in the simulation. Limitations in preparation time require that representatives focus primarily on the policies of their own country, often learning about other delegations’ positions in the context of researching their own States’ positions. It is much more likely, though, that each Representative will be learning the formal policies of the other States in the Committee when other representatives give speeches from the floor and when they confer with others behind the scenes in caucus sessions. In roleplaying, flexibility is key: representatives must aggregate new information they gain at the Conference and assimilate it with their pre-Conference research to best reach consensus and compromise on complex issues.

AMUN rules of procedure

While substantive discussions of issues forms the basis of any good simulation of the United Nations, the rules of procedure facilitate this substantive debate. In general, these rules are intended to provide an even playing field, allowing each State to accomplish its individual policy goals, while maximizing opportunities for the group to reach agreement or consensus. We recommend that each representative has a working knowledge of the principal motions which can be made during the simulation, which can be found on the Rules Short Forms. The dais staff of each Committee will assist representatives in using these rules and will work to create an even playing field for all representatives. For experienced representatives who have not attended AMUN in the past, we suggest reading AMUN’s rules in depth to note differences from other conferences they have attended. AMUN veterans should reread the rules as a refresher. Most Model United Nations conferences use different rules of procedure, and in some cases the contrasts are significant. In order to best facilitate everyone’s experience, it is incumbent on every participant to learn and use the rules established for this conference.

Practicing using the AMUN rules of procedure in a mock session is one of the best ways to prepare for this aspect of the conference. AMUN provides the Model UN in a Box simulation guide to all registered schools, which can assist faculty advisors or club leaders in running practice simulations. Please email the AMUN Executive Office if you have any questions about the AMUN Rules of Procedure.

Resolution and report writing

At AMUN the main substantive work of the body takes the form of resolutions and reports. These documents are the work of all the representatives in the body. There are several ways to become familiar with the resolution and report writing process. To begin we suggest reading the UN Documents chapter of this handbook for guidelines about crafting resolutions and reports. The UN Documents chapter also includes a sample resolution, as well as a sample report table of contents. These can be used as a guide while drafting your own documents. Resolutions and reports at the United Nations often have a distinct tone and style, and representatives can familiarize themselves with these conventions by reading and analyzing the language and content of many resolutions or reports. Representatives can practice writing resolutions and their clauses, and become familiar with the genre to better translate ideas into clear statements at Conference. Representatives should also familiarize themselves with the purview of each body, so they can develop an understanding of what their committee can and cannot do and how it fits into the larger United Nations system. More information about purview is included at the start of each simulation’s background briefs. The dais staff of each committee will answer  any questions regarding documents and purview. Remember that while writing resolutions and reports ahead of time can be a great way to practice, the best documents reflect the consensus of your simulation and are crafted by the body as a whole.

Preparing as a group

All of these areas of preparation will require research and practice. We recommend team preparation whenever possible, as delegations should represent their State’s positions consistently across simulations, and many of the preparatory categories cross committee boundaries. Representatives can work together by assigning various topics to individuals for research and then come back together as a group to hear each others’ reports and to discuss the implications for representing the State. Research about the United Nations system and the basic information about a country—its background, history, statistical data, contemporary situation, etc.—is best accomplished by a collaborative effort. Research about specific committees and topics will be more individualized. Still, other team members on the delegation may benefit from having a briefing on each topic. These briefings can give the entire delegation a broader picture of the State’s policies and positions. Formal briefings that include both general and topic-specific information also allow representatives to practice public speaking, answering questions, consolidating information and presenting information persuasively.

When representatives are working in pairs on a single committee, AMUN recommends against having one person become the expert in each topic. In simulations, the coverage of topics may be uneven and unpredictable, and teams function most effectively when both partners share expertise.

Developing a conference strategy

As part of its preparation, each delegation should determine its strategy and goals for the Conference. All delegations should be involved in working toward solutions to the problems placed before the United Nations. This requires a great deal of negotiation and compromise, often at the expense of certain positions that may be of concern to an individual delegation. Each delegation’s representatives must therefore decide which items are of greatest importance to their State and set their strategies accordingly. Strategic areas to consider include the following:

  • What kind of role will your delegation play at the Conference (e.g., conciliatory, obstructive, aggressive, neutral or leading)?
  • Will your delegation seek informal leadership positions in each committee?
  • How can your delegation achieve the goals and interests identified in your research and delegation strategy?
  • What other delegations will your delegation attempt to work with? Note: these delegations may vary by committee or by topic.
  • Which delegations may present adversarial positions to your delegation and how will your delegation respond?

Remember, passing resolutions and reports is not the only or even truest measure of success at the Conference. While each delegation is encouraged to propose solutions on the various issues and to secure passage of resolutions and reports that outline the solutions, representatives must stand ready to compromise to achieve any real solution to the problems being discussed.

Conducting research

General sources of information

AMUN recommends the following general sources of information to use when researching a State and the issues discussed at the Conference. Many of these sources are available on the internet, either publicly or through subscriptions held by school libraries.

United Nations sources

Most United Nations resolutions, documents, speeches and other resources can be accessed through the internet. Most United Nations agencies have a significant presence online, and maintain a number of databases with relevant information on various regions around the world.

The main United Nations website provides current information and continuous updates on the work of the United Nations, especially in the General Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. The website also includes historical information about these bodies, reports from the Secretary-General and a host of other useful documents. The United Nations website is updated frequently and the navigation sometimes changes, but it remains a useful starting point for research.

Most United Nations Members now have websites for their permanent missions in New York and Geneva. When a website is available, it often includes details on the State’s policy and may include the text of speeches given by representatives at the United Nations.

The United Nations also provides public access to its Official Document System (ODS), which includes nearly all documents published by the UN, including many that are not available from the main website. Please note that the search engine available on ODS is not always easy to use. It is easiest to find files if you know the document number. Each UN document has a unique symbol at the top right of the document. Symbols include both letters and numbers, some of which have meanings while others do not. The bibliography section of each topic brief in this handbook contains references to several United Nations documents and can act as a starting place for your preparations. Using an internet search engine to find UN documents using this document number is also often successful. The United Nations Digital Library provides an advanced keyword search for a wide array of official documents, including final and draft resolutions, reports and official correspondence.

AMUN materials

Most Model UN research is accomplished online, and there are a vast number of sources at representatives’ disposal. AMUN’s website offers a good starting point for your research, as it includes links to many United Nations-related sites. This website is updated with United Nations links as they become available and includes a great deal of background information to assist in your preparations for Conference. AMUN also publishes updates, UN-related content and tips for preparation throughout the year on the conference blog, The AMUN Accords.

AMUN also provides each registered school with a complimentary copy of Model UN in a Box, a simulation guide faculty advisors and club leaders can use to assist with in-depth conference preparation. In addition to significant background on teaching Model UN and Model UN research, it also includes a number of hands-on and practical exercises to help students prepare for resolution-writing, caucusing, speaking and consensus building. The guide also includes three simulations for practice sessions. These simulations include everything you need to run a simulation, including topic briefs, country background guides, placards and facilitator notes.

Writing position papers

Why draft a position paper?

Well-crafted position papers serve several functions for Conference participants. Position papers are useful for a delegation’s internal preparation, as well as for signaling the delegation’s  public position on a topic and for gaining insight into other delegations’ positions before the Conference. AMUN strongly encourages all delegations to outline their State’s basic public policy on each issue to be discussed at Conference. This public statement is crucial for pre-Conference preparations and is the most important thing delegations can provide to each other in advance. AMUN collects position papers and makes them publicly available to all delegations on our website before the Conference. AMUN requests that all delegations submit public position papers and strongly suggests that each delegation prepare internal position papers that more clearly and completely define their country’s perspective and strategy on the topics under discussion.

Internal position papers

An internal position paper is primarily a tool for your individual preparation and for the delegation as a whole. While internal position papers are not required, AMUN believes these to be an excellent exercise for consolidating and communicating your delegation’s positions on various issues. Internal position papers, often called white papers, are a broad-based statement of a country’s policies on a specific issue. An internal position paper might include a State’s public position on an issue, knowledge of any behind-the-scenes or back-channel diplomatic efforts and agreements (e.g., a deal made informally with a close ally or partner), information about the position of allies and adversaries on each topic, the State’s negotiating position and strategy, a statement of the State’s objectives, a bottom-line negotiating position (e.g., what things the delegation will demand or concede in the course of negotiations, what language must be included or excluded in a draft resolution or report) and any other useful information.

Internal position papers help representatives to think about the full complexity of their delegation’s perspective on the issues they are tasked with confronting. Also, by asking representatives to put their ideas in writing, an internal position paper can help each representative to condense a large amount of research and ideas into a concise and comprehensible position that can be articulated at Conference. Internal position papers do not need to be more than one or two pages long and can take any form that the delegation deems appropriate. AMUN recommends that delegations share all internal position papers with their entire team to provide a well-rounded view of the country’s positions on all topics at the Conference.

Public position papers

Public position papers offer public statements on a State’s position on a particular agenda item. At AMUN, delegations write a position paper for each topic on the Conference agenda. AMUN publishes these position papers on our website, where they can be sorted by delegation and topic to aid in preparation for Conference. Each paper should include a brief statement about the State’s position on the topic and its opinions about recent United Nations action on the topic. It should also include some indication as to the State’s public position on how the United Nations should respond moving forward, especially noting proposals that a delegation has (or intends to have) sponsored, supported or not supported and why. Public papers do not need to go into detail about the delegation’s negotiating positions or other behind-the-scenes issues, but they should be seen as something that a diplomat might say in a public speech on the topic.

While a delegation can include anything it deems relevant in its public position papers, AMUN recommends including some key elements in each paper. First, each position paper should specifically state one or two key points that the delegation believes are most important on each topic. This exercise will help the delegation prioritize and find like-minded delegations when it is time to caucus and negotiate. The paper should then offer specific details about why these topics are important and what the delegation proposes should be done by the United Nations or individual States to improve the situation.

Depending on the agenda item, the available information and the State’s situation, there are a number of other elements that may be included in a public position paper. Representatives should consider incorporating some or all of these elements in their position papers:

  • References to past United Nations resolutions and international treaties, providing the specific number or name of the document and the year it passed.
  • References to the United Nations Charter, as appropriate for the topic.
  • Past statements by the Secretary-General, a senior United Nations Secretariat member or by a Representative of a United Nations agency on the topic.
  • Reference to the work the United Nations has already done on the topic, whether by specialized agencies, regional bodies or working with non-governmental organizations.
  • Past statements relevant to the topic by government representatives.
  • Specific suggestions of actions that the representatives’ State will support in solving the issue in question.

Finally, public position papers generally do not need to contain extensive background on a particular State’s internal factors related to the topic; the public position paper is about how the State positions itself within the international debate on the issue rather than its internal dynamics. Thus public position papers should generally not talk about the problems facing a specific State but rather the problems facing the international community. If a State offers  a clear example of a successful United Nations program in action, or if the State is a member of an affected group, representatives may want to include a brief reference to that in their paper; otherwise, there is usually no need to mention specifics about specific States in a position paper.

Submission of position papers

AMUN requests each delegation submit position papers to the Conference, covering each committee on which it is seated, no later than 25 October. These papers should be no more than one-half page on each topic covered in the committee. All delegations should submit a paper covering the Concurrent General Assembly Plenary, each of the three General Assembly Committees and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), including both topics for each committee. Delegations represented on the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) should also include the two topics of discussion for the Commission. Delegations represented on the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) should also include the two topics of discussion for the Committee. Delegations represented on the Security Council or Historical Security Council should choose up to three topics they think are the most important for their respective Council to discuss and include these in their position paper. All delegations participating in the virtual simulation at AMUN should submit a position paper covering the two topics for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ECOSOC) Executive Board. If a delegation is participating both in-person and virtually, they should submit all of their topics together as one paper.

One comprehensive position paper should be submitted online for each delegation, combining all of the papers for the committees on which that delegation is seated. A sample position paper, along with full submission instructions, is available on AMUN’s website.

The AMUN Secretariat will not judge the position papers other than to check for completeness and general germaneness. Position papers will be collected and organized by the AMUN Secretariat and posted on the AMUN website prior to Conference. As public documents, position papers must conform to the standards laid out in AMUN’s policy on plagiarism (see below).

All position papers must be submitted via AMUN’s online web form. Additional submission information will be sent in the fall to all registered schools. AMUN reserves the right to reject any position paper that fails to address one of the topics as stated in this handbook, does not comport with basic standards of diplomatic courtesy or is determined to violate the policy on plagiarism.

Any school with a late fall start date (as may be common for schools on quarter or trimester systems) may request a one week extension to the official due dates listed above by emailing the AMUN Executive Office before 25 October.

Position Paper Awards

AMUN will provide a Position Paper Award for each delegation that submits an approved, complete position paper, including sections for each topic in all assigned simulations, by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on 25 October. Note that this must include sections for the Concurrent General Assembly Plenary, all General Assembly Committees and any other simulation on which the delegation has a representative seated. Submission of a position paper for the Special Committee (our optional participation simulation) is not required for a Position Paper Award. If a school is representing multiple countries, each delegation will be considered separately for a Position Paper Award.

For answers to any questions about writing or submitting position papers or about Position Paper Awards, please email the AMUN Executive Office at mail@amun.org.

Introduction to the General Assembly

The General Assembly is the central deliberative organ of the United Nations. The General Assembly has been described as the nearest thing to a “parliament of mankind” that exists. All Member States are members of the General Assembly and each delegation has one vote, regardless of size or population. The General Assembly makes recommendations on international issues, oversees all other United Nations bodies that report to the General Assembly, approves the United Nations budget and apportions United Nations funds. On the recommendation of the Security Council, the General Assembly elects the Secretary-General and holds the authority to admit and expel Member States. Voting in the General Assembly is ordinarily by simple majority, but most of the body’s work is adopted by consensus.

The General Assembly at AMUN

The Conference exists to provide a safe and educational environment for both representatives and AMUN Secretariat members to grow and learn. At the root of this is one of AMUN’s founding principles: to create the most realistic simulation possible by mirroring the United Nations’ beliefs and processes.

Due to time limitations on our simulations, AMUN has selected a set of two topics for each General Assembly simulation. We do this to help foster more thorough discussions around each topic.

General Assembly bodies use resolutions to help provide solutions and create pathways forward from the complex international issues under consideration. These are the principal documents produced by the General Assembly and they discuss the history of the topics before the body and suggest ways for the international community to address those issues. Every resolution must have at least one preambular and one operative clause, though most resolutions contain more. In addition to the requisite number of clauses, each resolution must be within the purview of the body. For more information regarding the crafting of resolutions please see the UN Documents section of the AMUN Handbook which can be found here. For more information on the purview of each committee, please reference the specific topic brief.

Research and Resources available

One of the most important resources available is the research and preparation done before conference. This research can greatly affect a representative’s experience in the simulation. AMUN has several suggestions for how to go about researching a State’s position, history and culture. Information to aid in this research can be found here.

While pre-Conference research is one of the most valuable tools available to a representative, AMUN provides several other tools to support the educational experience. These resources are provided by several Secretariat members who will be available both in the simulation rooms as well as on the office level of the conference hotel.

Two types of dais staff are readily available in the simulation rooms: Committee Chairs and Rapporteurs.

The Committee Chairs preside over the room and facilitate debate in all simulations. They are the experts in the room when it comes to AMUN’s Rules of Procedure and are more than willing to help representatives understand and use the rules throughout the simulation. Chairs also observe substantive debate and keep track of the Committee’s proceedings.

Rapporteurs assist with content in each General Assembly simulation. Their role is to work with representatives as they write resolutions and to help ensure that the work of the body meets both AMUN and the United Nations’ standards for resolutions. They also provide guidance on committee purview and will help representatives work resolutions into purview, should it be necessary.

AMUN also provides content experts outside of committee. Home Government is available to help representatives with several tasks. If a representative wants an in-depth review of their country’s position on the topics being covered in a committee, Home Government can conduct briefings to provide them the information they need to participate more fully in the simulation. Home Government also has the ability to furnish committees with Roleplayers who provide information to the entire body as opposed to an individual representative.

Lastly, should representatives like to update the rest of the Conference on how their work is coming along, the International Press Delegation (IPD) is another resource they have for spreading information, be it through inclusion in an article or a Press Conference.

General Assembly Rules of Procedure

1.0 Administrative

1.1 The Secretariat. The Secretariat consists of the volunteer staff members of American Model United Nations (AMUN).

1.2 Rules Committee. The President of the General Assembly, the Senior Vice President(s) of the General Assembly, the Director of Rules and Procedures, and one other person as appointed by the Secretary-General shall compose the membership of the Rules Committee.

1.3 Credentials. All questions concerning the validity of representative credentials shall be submitted in writing to the Secretariat,

  • The Secretariat has sole authority to decide all questions concerning credentials,
  • Representatives must wear approved credentials at all times while on the Conference premises.

1.4 Quorum/Majority. A quorum is one-fourth of the member delegations in attendance for each Committee; a majority is one-half of the member delegations in attendance for each Committee,

  • A quorum must be present at all times during Committee sessions,
  • A majority must be present for a substantive question to be put to a vote,
  • Questions concerning quorum or majority should be directed to the Chair, and
  • It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that a quorum is present at all times.

1.5 Committee Officers. The Secretariat shall appoint the President/Chairperson, Vice President/Vice Chairperson, and Rapporteur(s) for each Committee, and shall select any other positions necessary to help conduct the sessions of the Committees,

  • Hereafter, in these rules, “Chair” will refer to both “Chairpersons” and “Presidents” and
  • Hereafter, in these rules, “Committee” will refer to any Committee, Council or Commission, unless otherwise stated in the rule.

1.6 General Authority of the Chair. In addition to exercising such authority conferred upon the Chair elsewhere in these rules, the Chair shall,

  • Declare the opening and closing of each session,
  • Ensure the observance of the rules,
  • Facilitate the discussions of the Committee and accord the right to speak,
  • Advise the Committee on methods of procedure that will enable the body to accomplish its goals, and
  • Rule on points and motions, and subject to these rules, have complete control of the proceedings of the Committee and the maintenance of order at its meetings.
  • During the course of the session the Chair may propose Suspension of the Meeting (rule 7.1), Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), Closure of Debate (rule 7.4), and Limits on Debate (rule 7.9). The Chair is under the direct authority of the Rules Committee and may be directed to inform the body on matters of procedure or the body’s topical competence if such action is deemed necessary by the Rules Committee.

1.7 Absence of Chair. If the Chair is absent during any part of a Committee Session, the Chair will designate an individual, usually the Vice Chair, to chair the session with the same authority.

1.8 Number of Accredited Representatives. Each delegation is allowed two representatives per Committee on which it is a member, plus one Permanent Representative,

  • This excludes the Special Committee to the General Assembly, which only allows one representative plus one Permanent Representative.

1.9 Selection of Agenda Topics. Agenda topics shall be selected by the Secretariat prior to the start of the conference. Once selected, these topics are fixed for the duration of the conference.

1.10 Observer Status. Those delegations recognized as having Observer Status by AMUN shall be accorded all rights in the Committee except the following,

  • They may not vote,
  • They may not make or second the following motions:
  • Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2),
  • Adjournment of Debate (rule 7.3),
  • Closure of Debate (rule 7.4), and
  • Decision of Competence (rule 7.7).

2.0 General Rules

2.1 Statements by the Secretariat. The Secretary-General or any member of the Secretariat may make verbal or written statements to a Committee at any time.

2.2 Diplomatic Courtesy. All participants in the AMUN Conference must accord Diplomatic Courtesy to all credentialed representatives, Secretariat Members, Faculty Advisors, Observers and Hotel staff at all times,

  • Representatives who persist in obvious attempts to disrupt the session shall be subject to expulsion from the Committee by the Chair,
  • The Secretariat reserves the right to expel any representative or delegation from the Conference, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

2.3 Speeches. No representative may address the Committee without obtaining the permission of the Chair,

  • Delegations, not representatives, are recognized to speak; more than one representative from the same delegation may speak when the delegation is recognized,
  • Speakers must keep their remarks germane to the subject under discussion,
  • A time limit may be established for speeches (rule 7.9),
  • At the conclusion of a substantive speech, representatives will be allowed to answer questions concerning their speech,
  • A delegation that desires to ask a question of the speaker should signify by raising a Point of Inquiry (rule 6.3),
  • All questions and replies are made through the Chair,
  • A speaker who desires to make a motion may do so after speaking and accepting Points of Inquiry, but prior to yielding the floor, and
  • By making a motion the speaker yields the floor.

2.4 Recognition of Speakers. Delegations wishing to speak on an item before the body will signify by raising their placards,

  • The exception to this rule occurs on any Point of Order (rule 6.1), Information (rule 6.2), or Inquiry (rule 6.3), at which time a representative should raise their placard and call out “Point of ___________” to the Chair,
  • Points will be recognized in the order of their priority,
  • Motions may not be made from Points of Order (rule 6.1), Information (rule 6.2), or Inquiry (rule 6.3), or from any procedural speeches, except,
  • A motion to Appeal the Decision of the Chair (rule 7.6), may be made when recognized for a Point of Order.
  • The Chair shall recognize speakers in a fair and orderly manner,
  • Speakers’ lists will not be used.

2.5 Right of Reply. The Chair may accord a Right of Reply to any representative if a speech by another representative contains unusual or extraordinary language clearly insulting to personal or national dignity,

  • Requests for a Right of Reply shall be made in writing to the Chair,
  • Requests shall contain the specific language which was found to be insulting to personal or national dignity,
  • The Chair may limit the time allowed for a reply,
  • There shall be no reply to a reply, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

2.6 Withdrawal of Motions. A motion may be withdrawn by its proposer at any time before voting on it has begun,

  • Seconds to a motion may also be withdrawn,
  • A withdrawn motion or second may be reintroduced by another delegation.

2.7 Dilatory Motions. The Chair may rule out of order any motion repeating or closely approximating a recent previous motion on which the Committee has already rendered an opinion,

  • This decision is not appealable.

3.0 Rules That Relate to the Rules

3.1 Rule Priority and Procedure. The rules contained in this handbook are the official rules of procedure of the American Model United Nations and will be used for all Committee sessions. These rules take precedence over any other set of rules.

3.2 Precedence of Rules. Proceedings in the Committees and General Assembly sessions of AMUN shall be conducted under the following precedence of rules;

  1. AMUN Rules of Procedure,
  2. AMUN General Assembly (GA) & Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Order of Precedence of the Rules Short Form,
  3. Rulings by the Rules Committee,
  4. Historical usage of the AMUN Rules of Procedure,
  5. Historical usage of the United Nations Rules of Procedure,
  6. The Charter of the United Nations.

3.3 The Order of Precedence of Procedural Motions.The order of precedence of procedural motions is listed in both the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (GA/ECOSOC) Precedence Short Form and in these rules under Section 7, “Procedural Motions In Order of Priority.”

3.4 Rule Changes. The Rules Committee reserves the right to make changes to these rules at any time. Should a change occur, it will be communicated to the representatives in a timely manner.

4.0 Draft Proposals & Amendments

4.1 Definition of Draft Reports. A draft report is a formal written proposal consisting of sections and paragraphs that detail a committee’s deliberations and recommendations on a particular topic. The report may include resolutions that the reporting body recommends for adoption by the body that receives the report. Reports must include an Executive Summary (rule 4.7).

4.2 Draft Reports. Draft reports may be submitted to the Committee Dais for approval at any time during the Conference,

  • For a draft report to be considered, it must be organized in content and flow, have a minimum of 35 percent of the delegations in attendance listed as sponsors, and the approval of the Special Rapporteur(s),
  • The final required number of sponsors will be determined by the Rules Committee at conference registration and announced at the opening of each committee session,
  • After acceptance by the Special Rapporteur(s), draft reports shall be processed in the order in which they are received,
  • Limited copies of the full text of the draft report shall be issued to the committee, and a copy of the Executive Summary shall be distributed to all delegations as soon as feasible,
  • Only one draft report per topic area shall be accepted for consideration by the Special Rapporteur(s),
  • Once a draft report is on the floor for discussion, additional sponsors may only be added to that draft report with the consent of the original sponsors,
  • Any resolutions adopted by the committee on the topic of the report will be automatically included in Section III of the report, including after the adoption of the report or Executive Summary,
  • Once a vote has been taken on any part of a draft report, including a contested amendment, it becomes the property of the body, and no additional sponsors or friendly amendments may be added or removed,
  • Friendly amendments (rule 4.6) do not limit the addition of sponsors as above,
  • See also Closure of Debate (rule 7.4),
  • Objections or reservations to the report shall be included in the text of the report, and
  • Objections to the report must be in writing and may be submitted before or after the final vote on the report, and
  • The default method of voting for reports shall be Adoption by Consensus (rule 5.3). If there is any objection, the Committee will proceed with a substantive vote, which requires a simple majority for passage.

4.3 Definition of Draft Resolutions. A draft resolution is a written proposal consisting of at least one preambular and one operative clause.

4.4 Draft Resolutions. Draft resolutions may be submitted to the Committee Secretariat for approval at any time during the Conference,

  • For a draft resolution to be considered, it must be organized in content and flow, be in the proper format, have a minimum of 35 percent of the delegations in attendance listed as sponsors, and have the signature of the Rapporteur,
  • The final required number of sponsors will be determined by the Rules Committee at conference registration and announced at the opening of each committee session,
  • After acceptance by the Rapporteur(s), draft resolutions shall be processed in the order in which they are received and distributed to all delegations as soon as feasible.

A draft resolution that has been distributed may be proposed when the Committee considers the agenda topic that is the subject of the draft resolution.

  • Only one draft resolution may be considered on the floor at any time during formal debate,
  • Once a draft resolution is on the floor for discussion, additional sponsors may only be added to that draft resolution with the consent of the original sponsors,
  • Once a vote has been taken on a contested amendment to a draft resolution, no sponsors may be added or removed,
  • Friendly amendments (rule 4.6) do not limit the addition of sponsors as noted above, and
  • See also Closure of Debate (rule 7.4), Consideration of Draft Resolutions (rule 7.13) and Consideration of Amendments (rule 7.14)

4.5 Definition of Amendments. An amendment to a draft resolution or report is a written proposal that adds to, deletes from, or revises any part of a draft proposal.

4.6 Amendments. All amendments must be signed by 15 percent of the delegations in attendance,

  • The final required number of sponsors will be determined by the Rules Committee at conference registration and announced at the opening of each committee session,

An amendment is submitted on an official amendment form to the Rapporteurs for approval.

  • Amendments will be approved if they are legible, organized in content and flow, and in the proper format,
  • Approved amendments will be assigned an identification letter by the Rapporteurs, and
  • Typographical errors in a resolution or report will be corrected by the Rapporteurs and announced to the body.

One or more amendments may be considered on the floor at any given time (see also Closure of Debate (rule 7.4) and Consideration of Amendments (rule 7.14)).

An amendment will be considered “friendly” if all sponsors of the draft resolution or report are also sponsors of the amendment,

  • A friendly amendment becomes part of a draft proposal upon the announcement that it is accepted by the dais,
    • A vote is not required to add a friendly amendment to a draft resolution,
  • A dais member shall announce the acceptance of a friendly amendment on the first opportunity at which no speaker has the floor, and
  • Friendly amendments cannot be accepted after a vote has been taken on a contested amendment or after closure of debate on the report/resolution has been moved.

4.7 Definition of Executive Summaries. The reporting body must issue an Executive Summary of the finalized report which will briefly summarize the contents of the report.

4.8 Executive Summaries. Executive Summaries are discussed, drafted and accepted outside of formal Committee sessions (during a suspension of the meeting or consultative session),

  • The default method of accepting the Executive Summary is through an informal consensus of the committee during suspension or Consultative Session. If there is objection to consensus the committee will proceed with an informal vote which requires a simple majority for passage.
  • The final Executive Summary must be presented to the dais for inclusion with the Report and distribution to the Committee receiving the Report.

4.9 Withdrawal of Sponsorship. Sponsorship of a resolution, report, or amendment may be withdrawn at any time before entering into voting procedure on the item,

  • Sponsorship of a resolution or report may not be withdrawn after a vote has been taken on a contested amendment,
  • If a draft resolution, report, or amendment falls below the number of sponsors required for consideration, additional sponsors may be added to that proposal with the consent of the original sponsors, and
  • If a draft resolution, report, or amendment falls below the required number of sponsors, it is automatically removed from consideration.

5.0 Voting

5.1 Voting Rights. Each Member State is accorded one vote in each Committee on which it is represented,

  • No representative or Delegation may cast a vote on behalf of another Member State.

5.2 Simple Majority. Unless otherwise specified in these rules, decisions in the Committee shall be made by a majority vote of those Members present and voting. If there is an equal division between yes and no votes, the motion fails.

5.3 Adoption by Consensus. The adoption of draft resolutions, reports and amendments by consensus is desirable when it contributes to the effective and lasting settlement of differences, thus strengthening the authority of the United Nations,

  • Any representative may request the adoption of a report, amendment or draft resolution by consensus at any time after closure of debate has passed,
  • For reports, the default method of voting is adoption by consensus,
  • The Chair shall then ask whether there is any objection to consensus and then shall ask if any Member States wish to abstain from consensus,
  • Delegations abstaining from consensus will be officially recorded,
  • If there is no objection, the proposal is approved by consensus, and
  • If any representative objects to consensus, voting shall occur as otherwise stated in these rules.

5.4 Method of Voting. The Committee shall normally vote by a show of raised placards,

  • Any delegation may request a roll call vote on substantive matters, unless adopted by consensus,
  • The Chair may grant a request by a delegation for a roll call vote on any substantive matter, and the Chair’s decision on such a request is not subject to appeal,
  • When applicable, roll shall be called in English alphabetical order beginning with a member selected at random by the Vice Chair,
  • Roll Call Votes are not in order during Combined General Assembly Plenary,
  • Representatives shall reply “yes,” “no,” “abstain,” or “abstain from the order of voting,”
  • A member may abstain from the order of voting once during a roll call; a second abstention from the order of voting will be recorded as an abstention.

5.5 Conduct During Voting. Immediately prior to a vote, the Chair shall describe to the Committee the item to be voted on, and shall explain the consequences of a “yes” or a “no” vote. Voting shall begin upon the Chair’s declaration “we are now in voting procedure,” and end when the results of the vote are announced,

  • Following Closure of Debate, and prior to entering voting procedure, the Chair shall pause briefly to allow delegations the opportunity to make any relevant motions,
  • Relevant motions prior to a vote include Adoption by Consensus (rule 5.3), Suspension of the Meeting (rule 7.1), Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), Decision of No Action (rule 7.5) (only available in GA Plenary), Decision of Competence (rule 7.7), Division of the Question (rule 7.10), or Important Question (rule 7.12) (only available in GA Plenary), and
  • Relevant requests prior to a vote include Adoption by Consensus (rule 5.3), Request for a roll call vote (rule 5.4), and
  • Once in voting procedure, no representative shall interrupt the voting except on a Point of Order or Point of Information concerning the actual conduct of the vote.

5.6 Changes of Votes. At the end of a roll call vote, but before Rights of Explanation (rule 5.7) are granted and the subsequent announcement of the vote, the Vice Chair will ask for any vote changes. Any delegation that desires to change its recorded vote may do so at that time.

5.7 Rights of Explanation. Rights of Explanation are permitted on all substantive votes after voting. The Chair may limit time for Rights of Explanation.

6.0 Points of Procedure in Order of Priority

6.1 Point of Order. During the discussion of any matter, a representative may rise to a Point of Order if the representative believes that the Committee is proceeding in a manner contrary to these rules,

  • The representative must call out their point and will be recognized immediately by the Chair and the point ruled on,
  • A representative rising to a Point of Order may not speak substantively on any matter,
  • If a representative’s ability to participate in the Committee’s deliberations is impaired for any reason, the representative may rise to a Point of Order,
  • A Point of Order may interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

6.2 Point of Information. A Point of Information is raised to the Chair if a representative wishes to obtain a clarification of procedure or a statement of the matters before the Committee,

  • The representative must call out their point to be recognized,
  • A Point of Information may not interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

6.3 Point of Inquiry. During substantive debate, a representative may question a speaker by rising to a Point of Inquiry,

  • Questions must be directed through the Chair and may be made only after the delegation has concluded their remarks, but before the delegation has yielded the floor,
  • The representative must call out their point to be recognized,
  • A Point of Inquiry may not interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

7.0 Procedural Motions in Order of Priority

7.1 Suspension of the Meeting. During the discussion of any matter, a representative may move to suspend the meeting. Suspending a meeting recesses it for the time specified in the motion,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • This motion is not debatable,
  • The Chair may request that the delegation making the motion modify the time of suspension,
  • If the motion passes, upon reconvening the Committee will continue its business from the point at which the suspension was moved.

7.2 Adjournment of the Meeting. The motion of adjournment means that all business of the Committee has been completed for the year, and that the Committee will not reconvene until the next annual session,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • This motion is not debatable,
  • The Chair may refuse to recognize a motion to adjourn the meeting if the Committee still has business before it, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

7.3 Adjournment of Debate. During the discussion of any draft report, draft resolution, or amendment, a representative may move for adjournment of debate,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion, and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • An item upon which debate has been adjourned must pass a vote of Reconsideration before it may be brought back to the floor for consideration (rule 7.11), and
  • The effect of this motion, if passed, removes the item from consideration and allows the Committee to move on to another draft report, resolution or amendment.

7.4 Closure of Debate. A representative may move to close debate on a draft report, draft resolution, or amendment before the Committee at any time during the discussion of item. The effect of this motion, if passed, is to bring a draft report, resolution or amendment that is on the floor to a vote,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak against closure; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • Representatives should specify whether the motion for closure applies to an amendment or a draft report/resolution,
  • If closure passes on a draft report/resolution, all amendments on the floor will be voted on in the reverse order from which they were moved to the floor, and
  • After voting on all amendments is completed, the draft report or resolution shall be voted upon in accordance with these rules.

At the conclusion of voting procedure, the draft report, draft resolution or amendment being voted on is removed from consideration, regardless of whether the proposal passes or fails. Debate then continues on the current agenda topic.

7.5 Decision of No Action. Applicable only in the General Assembly Plenary (rule 8.5).

7.6 Appealing a Decision of the Chair. Rulings of the Chair are appealable unless otherwise specified in these rules,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • An appeal must be made immediately following the ruling in question,
  • This motion may be made by a delegation that has been recognized through a Point of Order,
  • The Chair shall put the question as follows: “Shall the decision of the Chair be upheld?” A “yes” vote supports the Chair’s decision; a “no” signifies objection,
  • The decision of the Chair shall be upheld by a tie, and
  • Rulings by the Chair on the following rules or motions are not appealable: Diplomatic Courtesy (rule 2.2), Right of Reply (rule 2.5), Dilatory Motions (rule 2.7), granting of a roll call vote (rule 5.4), Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), and any time a ruling by the Chair is a direct quotation from these Rules of Procedure.

7.7 Decision of Competence. A motion calling for a decision on the competence of the Committee to discuss or adopt a draft report, draft resolution or amendment as outlined in the United Nations Charter is in order at any time prior to entering voting procedure,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote, and
  • The effect is the same as Adjournment of Debate (rule 7.3) and requires a motion for Reconsideration of Proposals (rule 7.11) in order to discuss the item again.

7.8 Consideration of Agenda Topics. Agenda topics will be considered in the order in which they appear in the Issues at AMUN handbook, unless that order is altered by the passage of a motion for Consideration of Agenda Topics,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • This motion is not debatable, and
  • This motion is not in order during the Combined General Assembly Plenary session.

7.9 Limits on Debate. A motion to limit or extend the time allotted to each delegation, or limit the number of times each delegation can speak on a proposal, is in order at any time,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • The time allotted for substantive speeches shall be no less than three minutes,
  • The time allotted for procedural speeches shall be no less than one minute,
  • This motion may limit the number of Points of Inquiry a speaker may accept to a minimum of one, and
  • A motion to limit the time of debate on an agenda topic, draft report, draft resolution, or amendment is also in order.

7.10 Division of the Question. A motion to divide the question, proposing that clauses of an amendment or draft resolution or paragraphs of a draft report be voted on separately, is in order at any time prior to entering voting procedure on the amendment, draft resolution, or report,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • After a motion for Division of the Question passes, no other motion for Division of the Question is in order on that amendment, draft resolution or draft report,
  • Those clauses or paragraphs of the amendment, draft resolution, or report which are approved shall then be put to a vote as a whole, and
  • If division causes the draft resolution or report to no longer be in the proper format (rules 4.1 and 4.3), the proposal as a whole is rejected.

7.11 Reconsideration of Proposals. A motion for Reconsideration of Proposals is in order on a report, amendment, or draft resolution which has passed or failed when put to a final vote. The motion is also in order for proposals on which Adjournment of Debate has passed (rule 7.3), on proposals on which a Decision of No Action was decided (rule 7.5) and on proposals upon which the Committee has decided it was not competent to discuss or adopt (rule 7.7),

  • This motion requires a second and a two-thirds majority vote for passage,
  • Two delegations may speak opposed to the motion, and
  • If the motion passes, the issue is brought back before the body for debate and may be voted on again.

7.12 Important Question. Applicable only in the General Assembly Plenary (rule 8.6).

7.13 Consideration of Draft Resolutions. A draft resolution may be moved to the floor by a motion for Consideration of Draft Resolutions,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • The motion is not debatable,
  • Only one draft resolution may be on the floor at any time,
  • If the motion passes, the delegation moving consideration will be allowed to speak first on the draft resolution, if desired, and
  • This motion is not in order during the Combined General Assembly Plenary session.

7.14 Consideration of Amendments. To bring an amendment to the floor for discussion, a delegation must first be recognized by the Chair,

  • No second is required. Upon recognition of this motion by the Chair, the amendment will be under consideration by the body,
  • The Committee Secretariat will present the amendment to the body, and
  • The delegation moving consideration will be allowed to speak first on the amendment, if desired.

8.0 Rules Relating Only to the General Assembly Plenary Sessions

This section of the rules applies to the Concurrent General Assembly Plenary session, which will convene at the same time as the main Committees

8.1 Interchangeability of Rules. All Committee rules apply to the conduct of business in the General Assembly Plenary.

8.2 Quorum. The Concurrent General Assembly will observe the quorum requirements of rule 1.4. 

8.5 Decision of No Action. During the discussion of any draft resolution or amendment, a representative may move that the body take no action on that matter,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • The effect is the same as adjourning debate (rule 7.3) and requires a motion for Reconsideration (rule 7.11) in order to discuss the item again, and
  • This motion is in order during the Concurrent General Assembly Plenary sessions.

8.6 Important Question. An Important Question in the General Assembly requires a two-thirds majority vote of all members present and voting for passage. Amendments to draft resolutions dealing with Important Questions also require a two-thirds majority vote for passage. Decisions on Important Questions are applicable only to the General Assembly. When discussed in committees, these issues are debated and voted upon utilizing normal committee rules. Such questions shall include:

  • This motion requires a second and a simple majority to pass,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • This motion is in order only in the Concurrent General Assembly Plenary sessions,
  • Recommendations with respect to maintenance of international peace and security (only when the Security Council fails to act),
  • Admission of new members to the United Nation,
  • Suspension of rights and privileges of membership,
  • Expulsion of Member States,
  • Questions in relationship to the Trusteeship system, and
  • Budgetary questions.

Draft resolutions which fall into these categories are automatically Important Questions, and will be designated as such by the President of the General Assembly,

  • Determination of additional categories of Important Questions may be made by a simple majority vote of the Members present and voting, before a vote is taken on any part of a proposal dealing with the subject.

8.7 Security Council Priority Relating to Issues Concerning the Maintenance of International Peace and Security. The Security Council, as established in the United Nations Charter, shall have priority over the General Assembly on issues that pertain to the maintenance of international peace and security. Issues of this type, while under discussion in the Security Council, shall be seized from General Assembly action. Any General Assembly draft resolution pertaining to a seized issue cannot be put to a final vote until the Security Council has completed its deliberations on the subject,

  • General Assembly draft resolutions that deal with a seized issue may be discussed and amended, but no final vote on the draft resolution may be taken,
  • If no resolution has been adopted, the Security Council will be considered to have completed its deliberations on a seized issue once that agenda topic is no longer under discussion,
  • The Council may declare itself actively seized on a topic by stating this in a resolution; this seizure will prevent the General Assembly from taking action until a two-hour time period has elapsed,
  • General Assembly representatives will be kept informed by the Secretary-General of any seized issues, and
  • Note that this rule applies to only the Concurrent General Assembly Plenary sessions.

8.8 Applications for Admission of New Member States. Any State which desires to become a member shall submit an application to the Secretary-General prior to the start of the Conference and at a date communicated by the AMUN Secretariat. Applications shall contain a declaration, made in a formal instrument, that the State in question accepts the obligations contained in the United Nations Charter,

  • The Secretary-General shall inform the Security Council and the General Assembly of any applications.

8.9 Consideration of Applications and Decisions Thereon. If the Security Council recommends the application of a State for membership, the General Assembly may consider whether the applicant is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the United Nations Charter,

  • Any draft resolution on admission is automatically an Important Question,
  • If the Security Council does not recommend the applicant State for membership, or if it postpones consideration of the application, the General Assembly may, after full consideration of the special report of the Security Council, send the application back to the Council, together with a full record of the discussion of the General Assembly, for further consideration and recommendation, and
  • Note that this motion is in order only in the Concurrent General Assembly Plenary sessions.

8.10 Notification of the Decision and Effective Date of Membership. The Secretary-General shall inform the applicant State of the decision of the General Assembly. If the application is approved, membership shall become effective on the date on which the General Assembly takes its decision on the application.

General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Short Form

 

Rule Second? Debatable? Vote Required Description
6.1 Point of Order No No None Point out a misuse of the rules
6.2 Point of Information No No None Ask any question of the Chair, or gain a clarification
6.3 Point of Inquiry No No None Ask a question of a speaker at the end of their speech, prior to the Delegation’s yielding the floor
7.1 Suspension of the Meeting Yes No Simple Majority Recess the meeting for a specific period of time
7.2 Adjournment of the Meeting Yes No Simple Majority End the meeting for the year
7.3 Adjournment of Debate Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Remove from consideration any proposal on the floor without a vote on the content of that proposal
7.4 Closure of Debate Yes 2 Con Simple Majority End debate on any proposal on the floor and bring it to an immediate vote
7.5 Decision of No Action Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Only in GA Plenary sessions; signify that no action will be taken on the matter
7.6 Appealing a Decision of the Chair Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Challenge a ruling made by the Chair
7.7 Decision of Competence Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Question whether the UN body is competent to act on a certain issue within the Charter and international law
7.8 Consideration of Agenda Topics Yes No Simple Majority Change the order in which agenda items are discussed
7.9 Limits on Debate Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Impose (or repeal) a limit on the length of any form of debate
7.10 Division of the Question Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Divide a draft resolution or amendment into two or more clauses, or divide a report into two or more paragraphs, each to be voted on separately after Closure of Debate
7.11 Reconsideration of Proposals Yes 2 Con 2 / 3 Majority Reconsider an item on which debate has been adjourned or upon which a vote has been taken
7.12 Important Question Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Only in GA Plenary sessions; requires a 2/3 majority vote to adopt a draft resolution or amendment
7.13 Consideration of Draft Resolutions Yes No Simple Majority Bring a draft resolution to the floor for discussion
7.14 Consideration of Amendments No No None Bring an amendment to the floor for discussion

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General Assembly Plenary (Concurrent)

The General Assembly Plenary considers issues that are best addressed in a comprehensive manner or that require coordinating work between many bodies of the United Nations. The Plenary has the widest latitude of the deliberative bodies to discuss and pass resolutions on a wide variety of topics. For example, the 60th General Assembly established a Peacebuilding Commission that oversees the United Nations peacebuilding processes and coordinates the work of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Secretary-General and Member States emerging from conflict situations. Note: if the Security Council, which is given the primary task of ensuring peace and security by the Charter, is discussing a particular issue, the General Assembly Plenary will cease its own deliberations and defer to the Security Council. Additionally, only the Fifth Committee is able to set or discuss the United Nations budget. No other body, including the Plenary, is able to do so.

Education for Democracy

The rights to democratic governance and popular representation in government are enshrined in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations has worked to empower civilians and governments across the globe in the process of supporting democratization and democracies. The promotion of democracy by the United Nations does not focus on any singular structure of democracy. Instead, democratic government is advocated for as a collection of ideals and principles which together support human development and make a government democratic in nature. Support for democratization by the United Nations has taken many forms including decolonization efforts, the promotion of good governance, election monitoring and support for the institutions necessary for democratic establishment and maintenance. Through these efforts, the United Nations has developed a focus on promoting education for democracy as educating citizens, especially during their formative years, about democratic principles builds a strong foundation to support democratic governance. 

The Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1974, was among the first international efforts to utilize national education programs as a forum to instill respect and understanding of human rights. The legacy of these efforts is reflected by the current inclusion of the principles of peace and non-violence, cultural diversity, and human rights in national education curricula. The teaching of these principles creates an environment in which democratic governance is more realistic and effective by defining the relationship between people and their government. After the 1974 Declaration, UNESCO continued to promote education for democracy, and in 1992 UNESCO hosted the International Forum on Education for Democracy. Through this forum, UNESCO outlined the purposes of education in building and revitalizing democratic traditions through education in democracies of various ages.

Education for democracy has been considered under the purview of many United Nations bodies and organizations since the 1992 education forum. Each organization has approached the topic from the lens of their individual mandates. For instance, education, democratic ideals and the connection between the two are considered as components of sustainable development by the United Nations Development Programme. Relatedly, while UN Women also considers education and democracy, it does so from a gendered perspective while seeking to improve educational and political opportunities for women and girls. Such organizations often work with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), which is structured to fund projects to strengthen democratic institutions, emphasize human rights and support the voices of civil society. In 1994, the General Assembly proclaimed the following decade to be the Decade for Human Rights Education to coordinate international efforts on education for human rights. At the close of the decade, the General Assembly announced the World Programme for Human Rights Education. This action plan was structured into multiple phases to address various facets of human rights education. Work on human rights education set the stage for approaching education for democracy.

The General Assembly first considered education for democracy in 2012 with the passing of a resolution tying together the previous work completed by the international community on the subject. Through this resolution, Member States were encouraged to utilize education systems as institutions in which democratic traditions and human rights are instilled. Also in 2012, the Global Education First initiative was implemented to support progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals relating to education. This initiative featured a component designed to support global citizenship and subsequently create a foundational education upon which education for democracy can be more easily taught. These sentiments of education, democratic traditions and human rights were reiterated in subsequent resolutions passed by the General Assembly in 2015 and 2016. The resolution passed in 2016 served to frame education for democracy in terms of sustainable development and connected education for democracy to the Incheon Declaration: Education 2030

Over the past few years, the conversation regarding education for democracy has been forcibly reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2020, a resolution passed by the General Assembly on education for democracy outlined the expectation that Member States would need to enhance initiatives to educate and empower young people in the wake of the pandemic as a critical step in rebuilding societies where respect for human rights is prioritized. Additionally, the United Nations has considered the ongoing pandemic as a threat to human rights, which carries with it important implications for education for democracy. Furthermore, the pandemic has illustrated the need for democratically conscious citizens capable of responding to rapidly changing circumstances. 

In the past, education initiatives have encountered difficulties because the areas most in need of the initiatives are often lacking the standard education infrastructure such initiatives would be designed to build upon. Worse, progress in building that necessary infrastructure has been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a critical need to ensure the development of educated citizens who are democratically involved. Moving forward, the international community will be forced to consider the best manner in which to support education for democracy in the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic. 

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • How can the General Assembly support greater collaboration among both United Nations organizations and related non-governmental organizations in the international approach to education for democracy?
  • What measures can be taken to protect initiatives designed to promote education for democracy during times of instability and unrest such as the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How can the United Nations expand pre-existing education for democracy efforts?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

Nature knows no borders: transboundary cooperation—a key factor for biodiversity conservation, restoration and sustainable use

Many environmental issues, most prominently climate change, transcend national borders and call for a shared global commitment to promote human well-being everywhere through sustainable development. As laid out in a 2019 report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), climate change and related human activities have dramatically changed life’s ability to thrive on Earth. The IPBES report suggests over one million species face extinction due to habitat loss that has left them with insufficient habitat for survival. Loss of biodiversity from climate change and related human activities pose serious hazards to the healthy functioning of natural ecosystems. 

Biodiversity encompasses not only the diversity of species on Earth, but also their geographic distribution. Habitat loss, over-exploitation, climate change and pollution have driven down populations of critical—and other—species across the planet. While many may avoid total extinction, local habitats’ loss of these species will have dramatic effects on the local ecosystems and, in particular, on the humans that rely on that ecosystem for their livelihood. While pollinators, forests and fisheries are among the most visible victims of modern biodiversity loss and their loss will have stark negative effects on human populations, the complexity of the environment at all scales makes the ongoing biodiversity loss an even more worrying threat. In the last 50 years, biodiversity has decreased at an unprecedented and largely irreversible rate as a result of growing demands for food, fresh water and fuel.

Humans drive change in the ecosystems they interact with which inevitably impact human well-being in turn at both a local and global scale. Biodiversity loss will result in worsened food and water insecurity. Further, habitat fragmentation and increased encroachment of humans upon wild spaces presents increased avenues for novel disease outbreak. Impacts from biodiversity loss disproportionately impact poor and developing Member States who lack the resources and critical infrastructure to adapt to a rapidly changing climate and the associated loss of livelihoods and culture. Ultimately, humanity’s flourishment relies upon a biodiverse world for ecosystem services and critical natural regulatory systems such as atmospheric carbon removal and insect pollination. Furthermore, a biodiverse world provides a host of cultural, ecological, recreational, economic and scientific resources that generate societal well-being. Protecting biodiversity is thus a critical component to sustainable development and managing the continued effects of environmental degradation. Further, as approximately 80 percent of remaining biodiversity is supported by indigenous lands, it is essential that indigenous voices be appropriately consulted and represented in discussions of biodiversity preservation and restoration. International cooperation is critical in effectively solving environmental issues that impact nearly every facet of human life. 

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the first global treaty to recognize the importance of biodiversity on human well-being, was adopted in 1992 and sought the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of resources, and fair and equitable sharing of genetic resources. Critical sustainable development frameworks, however, would not come until 2000 when the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration which laid out eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While primarily focused on poverty reduction and fighting disease, one of the goals was to ensure environmental sustainability. The MDGs gave the world something tangible to rally around and track progress. Though they expired in 2015, the MDGs were able to increase marine and terrestrial protected areas important in preserving biodiversity. In the wake of the MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were formed to commit the global community to a sustainable path forward into 2030. The SDGs, unlike the MDGs, are human-centered and pledge to leave no one behind while committing Member States to fair and inclusive practices. The SDGs expand upon the MDGs by promoting environmental concerns and recognizing their impacts on poverty and human well-being. Goals 13 through 15 call directly for sustainable use of natural resources, urgent action on climate change and the restoration and protection of habitats

The CBD alongside the MDGs and SDGs laid the groundwork for action on the sustainable use, restoration and conservation of biodiversity. In 2020, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development, reemphasizing the need for biodiversity conservation and its usefulness in disaster reduction and mitigation and sustainable development. That said, the resolution lays out concerns that biodiversity conservation and sustainable use best practices are being implemented slowly. Further, the resolution notes areas of concern identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and IPBES and calls for the urgent need to halt biodiversity loss and mitigate the impact of climate change. Ultimately, the resolution called for strengthening international cooperation between Member States and stakeholders. 

Leading up to the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to formulate a post-2020 biodiversity global framework, the General Assembly declared 2021 to 2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The resolution recognized biodiversity as a critical component of sustainable development and thus as being inherently associated with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The resolution heavily stressed the importance of international cooperation and private sector, academic, civil society and other stakeholder cooperation in order to promote information sharing and to mainstream restoration efforts into domestic and international development policies. Similarly, its resolution in 2021 clearly states the need for increased international cooperation to slow and, ultimately, reverse the rate of biodiversity loss. 

Despite the current rate of biodiversity loss, there is potential for positive change. The efforts to recognize and establish biodiversity as critical sustainability goals is an important first step. In its most recent report, the IPCC laid out ways humanity can come together to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestering and the sustainable use of resources which will help prevent further biodiversity loss. The report offers a comprehensive analysis of both the projected and current impact climate change will have on humans and the environment. Concurrently, the first drafts of the Global Biodiversity Framework for 2050 lay out several goals to reduce biodiversity loss and meet people’s needs sustainably, with the intent of ultimately working toward a world in which humans can live in harmony with nature and restore biodiversity. At present, the United Nations Environmental Programme is leading international discussions on sustainable land management under the umbrella of the Decade on Ecosystems Restoration 2021-2030. In parallel, the private and public sectors continue to address social, economic and financial issues related to biodiversity loss including such issues as reforestation and overfishing. Collaboration at the local, regional and international levels are essential for biodiversity conservation. Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) offer proven collaborative management opportunities for countries sharing natural resources, such as the savannas of southern Africa, that include national parks, game reserves or forest reserves. Such initiatives serve to emphasize the good that can be achieved through collaboration. 

There remains much to be done to reduce and ultimately reverse the loss of biodiversity around the world all while mitigating the negative impacts of human activity upon the environment. Biodiversity is critical for human security and stability as the increased loss of biodiversity threatens to worsen food insecurity and enable the emergence of new diseases. Reframing the discussion of biodiversity as a matter of human security thus has the potential to alter the international response. If biodiversity action is to be successful, the international community will need to mobilize substantial financial, political and social resources and efforts will need to be collaborative. Similarly, young and diverse voices, including indigenous populations, need to be more fully incorporated into high level conversations. 

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • Where is regional cooperation possible and what kinds of resources or third-party support would be necessary to broker cooperative agreements for sustainable use, restoration and conservation of shared natural resources that cross national borders? 
  • How can measures taken to protect and restore biodiversity benefit human security? What measures should be taken by Member States to protect biodiversity to ensure human security now and in the future? 
  • What has worked regionally or locally in protecting and restoring the species, habitats and natural resources critical for cultural, economic and environmental well-being? 
  • How do Member States promote accountability and information sharing internationally and regionally as it relates to biodiversity preservation? 

Bibliography

United Nations Documents:

General Assembly First Committee (Disarmament and International Security)

The General Assembly First Committee addresses the disarmament of conventional weapons, weapons of mass destruction and related international security questions. The First Committee makes recommendations on the regulation of these weapons as they relate to international peace and security. The First Committee does not consider legal issues surrounding weapons possession nor does it address complex peace and security issues addressed by the Security Council. The First Committee also adheres to the purview guidelines of the General Assembly as a whole.

Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) rose to public attention throughout the early 2000s during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but their usage has now been documented in all regions. Today, IEDs include a broad range of devices, from crude bombs made using commercially available products to highly specialized systems capable of defeating advanced military armor and countermeasures. Because of the grave threat IEDs pose to both civilians and humanitarian personnel, they are considered an issue of particular concern by the international community. Of the over 10,000 civilian casualties reported in Afghanistan in 2019, 42 percent were the result of IEDs, emphasizing their destructive nature. Further, IEDs have been used to undermine humanitarian efforts and remain a noted threat to civilian infrastructure. In 2019, the use of IEDs against aid workers was documented in at least twelve separate incidents. The usage of IEDs against humanitarian personnel serves to critically hamper humanitarian efforts. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for the deployment of IEDs to undermine healthcare delivery and humanitarian work has been a renewed concern. The dual-use nature of many IED components, the complexity of regulating non-state actors and the vulnerability of civilians must be considered as the international community works to counter the IED threat. 

The improvised and changeable nature of IEDs makes them harder to regulate than conventional explosive devices such as landmines. Oftentimes, improvised explosive devices are utilized by extremist or illegally-armed groups to disrupt society and sow discord. These devices appeal to such actors as they can be prepared using a variety of common goods and do not require sophisticated designs or know-how to develop. Access to common IED components is often facilitated by poor supervision or control of surplus ammunition and explosive components. However, many components used in IED construction are readily available commercial goods including herbicides, bleach, fertilizers and disinfectant agents. The ability to build IEDs out of both military and commercially available products leads to difficulties in tracing the origins of their construction and in limiting their availability. All IEDs have some explosive component to them, but while some rely on fragmentation or force trauma to cause damages, others are based around toxic or chemical elements designed to injure or kill, further complicating the potential identification of what an IED may be made of. 

Over the past two decades, the international community has attempted to curb the usage of IEDs through multiple avenues. The issue of IEDs was first considered through the framework of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) Amended Protocol II which addresses the regulation of mines, booby traps and other explosive devices. Other efforts have been centralized through national and international law enforcement agencies and other international organizations. For instance, the Project Watchmaker program, orchestrated by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), coordinates information sharing on individuals and entities linked to the manufacture and use of IEDs. Relatedly, the Programme Global Shield administered by the World Customs Organization has identified 14 chemical components of the greatest risk that Member States can monitor to detect IED construction early on. The coordination of agencies across national governments is critical to regulating the production of IEDs.

The efforts by the United Nations to regulate the use and impact of IEDs over the years have been met with varying degrees of success. There is clear language in international law that places regulations on the use of landmines and more formalized explosives, but international law regarding IEDs remains unclear. There have been strides in international efforts to prevent large scale surplus munitions from being used to create IEDs as demonstrated by projects such as Programme Global Shield and Project Watchmaker. However, measuring the success of these programs is difficult as data is rarely standardized and information often goes undocumented. Further complicating counter-IED efforts, IEDs continue to be an evolving challenge as new IED technologies are developed. Changes in IED design and components means that strategies to counter IEDs must also evolve if they are to be successful. 

There is general support for the reduction of IEDs among the international community; however, the main points of contention tend to come with regard to definitions and standards, how IEDs should be detected and disposed of, and who should hold actors responsible. Due to the growing threat of IEDs in conflict areas and the indiscriminate impacts of these weapons, the need for expanded action on this topic is critical yet presents unique challenges. Discussions around establishing international standards and a formal definition of IEDs have been ongoing but have not developed consensus. Without these standards and definitions, comprehensive monitoring by States is not possible. However, it has been suggested that the framework for building a comprehensive IED capacity plan can be found in the adjacent work performed by the General Assembly Fourth Committee on capacity development around mine action. Similarly, civil society work in the area of mine action is also of significance. Non-governmental organizations such as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the International Committee of the Red Cross have advocated for regulation of mine action. Moving forward, the First Committee will likely draw on the resources and knowledge of these institutions and initiatives while crafting approaches to the IED threat. 

The specific elements of IEDs are ever changing, and as such attention is often focused on the systemic and large-scale symptoms of the issue. Recent resolutions and other agreements have directed Member States to improve munitions stockpile management programmes and encourage destruction of surplus materials to avoid their misuse. The first step for many countries is to ascertain accurate records of the munitions in their countries as well as any chemical components. In addition to the directed efforts to prevent the construction of IEDs, the promotion of good governance, socioeconomic opportunities and proactive community building all are essential to mitigating scenarios for actors who would use IEDs to operate. Some individual countries have prioritized regulating sub-components of IEDs such as detonators, whereas others have put considerable effort into forensics or for counter-IED resources in peacekeeping missions. While this issue of IEDs becomes increasingly complicated, it is fortunate that many other disarmament programs already in operation can levy information and related resources vital to addressing this issue.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • What methods are best to mitigate the transfer of materials used in the creation of IEDs and how can they be improved upon?
  • Given that IEDs pose a threat to civilians as well as combatants, what role can civilians play in countering the threat posed by these devices?
  • How can the international community combat the wide availability of information and training resources on the manufacture and use of IEDs through social media and other nontraditional methods of instruction?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents:

Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament

In 2019, global expenditures for research and development totaled an estimated $2.2 trillion, representing a tripling in global investment in the advancement of science and technology over the previous two decades. Recent advances in science and technology have contributed to superior information and communication technologies and the development of more sophisticated artificial intelligence and robotics. The General Assembly First Committee considers such advances, and more broadly the role of science and technology, in the context of international security and disarmament. Furthermore, the First Committee works towards ensuring that such advancements do not destabilize international security or negatively impact progress made towards disarmament. While such advances in science and technology have many peaceful applications, they are frequently developed or utilized for the purpose of war and terror which both threaten international security and hinder disarmament efforts. Currently, conflict is experiencing a growing trend of remote warfare in which drone swarms, autonomous vehicles and advanced artificial intelligence are becoming more prominent, highlighting the ability of science and technology to threaten international security.

The role of science and technology in this context of international security and disarmament was first considered by the First Committee in 1988. The First Committee called for the Secretary-General to follow the advancements in science and technology, determine their impact on international security and compile a report on the relationship between science and technology and international security. In the subsequent report, areas of advancement in need of consideration were determined to include nuclear, space, materials, information and biological technologies. Two years later, the General Assembly adopted two resolutions in which Member States agreed that the United Nations needed to monitor advances in science and technology due to their potential influence on international security and disarmament measures. In 1992, the General Assembly advised that Member States be aware of the importance of allowing peaceful use of technology while still being cautious of the potential harm emerging technologies could have on international stability. Further, it encouraged Member States to consider how advances in technology and science could aid in disarmament efforts. 

In the following years, the General Assembly addressed with regularity the concern of restricting access to scientific and technological advances in the name of international security. In 1996, the General Assembly passed a resolution emphasizing the importance of ensuring that peaceful applications of science and technology were not stifled in attempts to ensure international security. The following year, the Committee acknowledged the potential issue of some Member States being restricted in their access to dual-use scientific and technological advancements—those considered to have both peaceful and militaristic applications. Dual-use technologies illustrate the tension that can arise when Member States are forced to balance the value of scientific advancement with its potential to threaten international security. Through these resolutions, Member States acknowledged the importance of international security while maintaining a desire to promote the ongoing development of science and technology.

In 2018, the Secretary-General emphasized again the importance of cooperation amongst Member States and various United Nations organizations specialized in different aspects of technological and scientific impacts on weaponry such as the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. This reminder was presented amidst an outline of some of the most pressing modern threats to international security within their report “Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament.” This report presented modern complications for international security, including the potential for non-state actors to more easily access or develop biological weapons and lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). Due to rapid advances in science and technology, LAWS have the potential to become readily accessible by non-state actors. In 2019, the High Contracting Parties of the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) convened a Group of Government Experts to discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems. This meeting resulted in a set of guidelines for United Nations Member States to follow in regards to LAWS illustrating the complexity inherently involved in balancing the potential threats of scientific and technological advancement to international security. 

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society are currently pushing for greater regulations to be placed on the development of science and technology for destructive purposes. For example, the Stop Killer Robots campaign was founded in response to rapidly developing autonomous weapon systems. This campaign is composed of over 180 NGOs and academic partners, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and seeks to mobilize resources to create a framework in which autonomous systems are not given the ability to make decisions resulting in human deaths. Through such campaigns, NGOs are arguing the importance of maintaining human oversight and control over the use of force

While increasing scientific and technological advancements such as LAWS have the ability to threaten international security, the United Nations continues to promote technological advances capable of aiding in disarmament practices and monitoring international security. For instance, it has been demonstrated that technology can be utilized to remotely support the verification of ceasefires, aid in missile verification and monitor compliance with weapons of mass destruction treaties. Such applications of technology enable more effective disarmament practices and thus assist in maintaining international security. The progression of science and technology has the potential to both benefit and harm international security efforts. As such, there is no simple answer to the question of how science and technology should be viewed in the context of international security and disarmament. 

The First Committee seeks to reconcile the seemingly conflicting ideas inherent in the need to both support scientific and technological advancement and the need to maintain international security. As more sophisticated science and technology grow in accessibility to governments and non-state actors alike, the potential for their abuse by hostile parties becomes more likely. However, when designing regulations for these advances, care should be taken to ensure peaceful and non-militaristic science and technologies are not hindered unnecessarily. 

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • How can the United Nations and Member States leverage existing technology to aid in the disarmament process and maintain international security? 
  • What measures can be taken to ensure non-military scientific and technological developments are not detrimentally impacted by efforts to maintain international security? 
  • How can Member States work together to share information about scientific and technological advancements while keeping dangerous information out of the hands of violent non-state actors?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

General Assembly Second Committee (Economic and Financial)

The General Assembly Second Committee addresses the economic development of Member States and the stability and growth of international financial and trade networks. The Second Committee deals solely with the economic development of Member States and State-to-State assistance. It does not set or discuss the budget of the United Nations, which is addressed only by the Fifth Committee. The Second Committee also does not address social issues that affect development; such issues are considered by the Third Committee. The Second Committee also adheres to the purview guidelines of the General Assembly as a whole.

Women in Development

Governments, institutions and organizations involved in international development have come to recognize the importance of women to sustainable and successful development initiatives over the past decades. Women often play key roles in agriculture, education, local governing bodies and the social fabric of communities. However, women face discrimination and obstacles that hamper their ability to participate fully in the economy: the lack of access to education and training and control of capital, technology and land are all recurring issues. As just one example of the impacts, equal access to education can directly increase women’s participation in the labor market, supporting economic development for entire communities. One measure of progress has been women’s literacy; over the past 40 years illiteracy among women has decreased by over 17.5 percent and the gender gap on illiteracy decreased from 16 percent to 7 percent. Yet while women’s literacy rates have improved markedly, worldwide, twice the number of women remain illiterate compared to men. Unfortunately, progress across many measures of gender equality have receded over the past few years due the economic and social shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women’s inclusion and equality have been foundational principles of the United Nations since its formation. In 1946, the United Nations formed the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to address protecting women and their rights on a global scale. The Commission called the first World Conference on Women in 1975, which brought thousands of participants together and resulted in a ten-year plan for women’s advancement. The status of women came further into focus with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. CEDAW is widely seen as the International Bill of Rights for women, and it established a framework for specific action and offers definitions regarding discrimination. 

Several World Conferences on Women followed to establish partnerships between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations to continue working towards gender equality; as progress was made over the years, focus shifted from issues like education, employment and health to the inclusion of women in peace and development efforts and gender as a variable in economic policy. With the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the international community unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The declaration emphasized that gender equality is not only a goal itself but an essential element for achieving other global development goals. The international community meets every five years to review progress against the Beijing Declaration, conducting national and regional reviews alongside expert panels and conferences. To support those reviews, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1996 expanded the mandate of CSW to include reviewing progress towards the goals of the Beijing Declaration.

Other efforts by the international community increasingly recognized gender gaps remained as the world made immense overall progress in education, poverty and other measures. The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development culminated in the Rio Declaration, which recognized both the need to increase attention on women and other marginalized groups in development programs and the need to improve data collection to better understand gender gaps. The 1995 World Summit for Social Development emphasized that sustainable economic development could only be achieved with the full participation of women, recognized the disproportionate burden of poverty among women and women-led households, and promoted gender balance and inclusion in political and social institutions. The Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), promulgated in 2000, included a specific goal on gender equality but critics judged the MDGs did not do enough to directly confront gender inequality in both societies and major international economic groups like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The United Nations continued with this renewed attention and momentum on the topic of women’s rights and their roles in economic development when it established United Nations Women (UN Women) in 2010 to centralize the United Nations’ efforts to promote gender equality and empower women, and other bodies have integrated a gendered view to topics before them. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) plays a key role in incorporating women into development strategies in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, responding to some but not all of the criticisms leveled against the MDGs. In 2018, the body adopted the UNDP Gender Equality Strategy 2018–2021 providing a roadmap to incorporating gender equality in all of UNDP’s work. 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened gender inequalities including gender-based violence and the feminization of poverty. The costs of the pandemic were steep for women as they spent over twice as many hours a day as men on unpaid domestic and care work on average, a burden the United Nations noted just before the pandemic. UNDP has promoted policies to recognize and compensate women for unpaid care work, helping establish the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Care Policies in Argentina, where a 2020 report found unpaid care work amounted to nearly 67 billion US dollars, 77 percent of that work being done by women. Not only are women unpaid for this work, it is a daily cost, draining their time from other economic pursuits. Efforts like this supported by the United Nations help provide the data to understand the gender gap and may help illuminate novel policy approaches.

To address these recent challenges and attempt to revitalize efforts against its other goals, UN Women announced its Strategic Plan 2022–2025 to leverage normative support, coordination between United Nations bodies and its own operations to further gender equality and support the SDGs. The plan focuses on four main themes: increasing political participation, women’s economic empowerment, ending gender-based violence, and women in humanitarian support and disaster risk reduction. The General Assembly’s 2019 resolution also promoted efforts to increase work flexibility, facilitate breastfeeding for working mothers, increase women’s access to social protection systems and increase access to and affordability of childcare, all central issues that continue to hamper women’s full participation in the global economy. Looking forward, there remain structural challenges to gender equality in the United Nations itself, other international organizations and many States. Building political will to address those problems, including representation and inclusion, hostile work environments and funding disparities, remains an area for possible future work.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • What role should the United Nations play in promoting gender equality in development activities? What steps can it take to improve gender equality in its own development programs?
  • What can we learn from previous programs aimed at addressing gender-based violence and other factors limiting women’s participation in economic activities?
  • How can improved metrics be leveraged to increase understanding and awareness around gender gaps, especially structural problems in the international community’s institutions?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development

Illicit financial flows (IFF)—defined as the illegal movements of money or capital from one State to another—significantly impact the economic stability of individual States and the global financial system, jeopardizing global peace and security. These funds can include revenue from criminal activites, tax evasion and sanctions evasion and can be used in criminal acts like bribery or terrorism. Illicit financial flows divert funds from States that could be mobilized for sustainable development and create obstacles in the States’ abilities to fund basic services and curb injustice. In 2011, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that 1.6 trillion US dollars, or 2.7 percent of the global GDP, was laundered, and less than 1 percent of illicit financial flow was recovered. Left unchecked, illicit financial flows discourage foreign aid and investment, disproportionately affecting developing countries. According to the World Bank, corruption adds 25 percent to the cost of government contracts in developing countries. Identifying, stopping and recovering illicit financial flows has become a significant focus on the United Nations since the 1990s.

Momentum against corruption built rapidly in the 1990s as a result of several global and regional initiatives, complementing the adoption of the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which criminalized money laundering tied to the drug trade. In response to emergent concerns over the negative impacts of corruption, the United Nations hosted a seminar in The Hague in 1989 focused on practical measures and included review of a draft manual on combating corruption. Though focused on corruption, the impacts of illicit trade and drugs were noted for their economic and social impacts, including subversion of State authority, diversion of State resources and depriving States of tax revenue. 

Corruption was again raised as a priority at the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Havana in 1990 and then made a topic of debate at the Congress’ ninth session in 1995. This more focused debate shifted from questions about practical measures individual States could undertake to questions about regional and international cooperation and technical assistance. In 1998, the General Assembly Second Committee welcomed multilateral initiatives to combat corruption and requested support for the implementation of national programs to strengthen accountability and transparency. This regional progress and international focus culminated in the 2003 adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which entered into force in 2005. Chapter V of the Convention dealt with asset recovery, a significant and popular breakthrough that outlined the civil and criminal law frameworks for asset recovery for States and individuals impacted by corruption.

Advancing the focus to targeting IFF more explicitly, in 2003 the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) proposed developing measures to prevent the transfer of illicit funds for those in banking and financial services that encourage transparency, defining funds derived from acts of corruption as proceeds of crime, and returning illicit funds that have been extracted back to countries of origin in line with Chapter V. The World Bank and United Nations collaborated years later in 2007 on the Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative to support efforts implementing Chapter V of the Convention against Corruption. The StAR Initiative has built international cooperation and States’ capacities while also directly supporting cases, providing direct assistance to 18 States in 2021 alone. Targeting IFFs has been a focus of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well, with Goal 16 including a target to significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows and strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime by 2030.

The United Nations has attempted to address many of these challenges in the last few years, including promoting StAR, advocating for a more rapid return of recovered assets in line with Chapter V and monitoring the growing role of virtual assets in IFFs. The international community has also focused on tax base erosion, in which companies relocate to take advantage of lax tax enforcement or low tax rates. This incentivizes States to lower tax rates in an attempt to lure companies, harming revenue streams available for sustainable development.

Even with this attention and efforts, UNODC recently highlighted regulatory gaps and misaligned incentives that continue to hamper efforts to tackle IFFs. Related obstacles to asset returns and repatriation include the effectiveness of the asset declaration systems, the risks to data security created by the existence of shell banks and privacy in financial intelligence information sharing. This is compounded by the growing cryptocurrency industry, which peaked in November 2021 with an estimated 3 trillion USD capitalization. Cryptocurrencies and other digital assets present new challenges for the global financial system while enabling additional avenues for IFF because of their pseudonymity and ease of transfers to facilitate money laundering. Internationally-coherent policy approaches are required to manage and regulate the shifting digital technologies of the global financial system.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • How can the United Nations stay abreast of cryptocurrency adoption in combating IFFs?
  • How can Member States combat illicit financial flows that occur via cryptocurrency?
  • How can Member States balance the need to enforce domestic tax laws with the risk that companies will flee to States with lower or less-well-enforced taxes?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

General Assembly Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural)

The General Assembly Third Committee focuses its discussions on social, humanitarian and cultural concerns that arise in the General Assembly, although its work often overlaps with that of other United Nations organs, including the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies. Human rights, education and cultural preservation are typical issues for the Third Committee. Notably, the Third Committee would not discuss the legal implications of human rights matters, as those are discussed by the Sixth Committee, nor would it call for special studies or deploy monitors, as those tasks are handled by the Human Rights Council. The Third Committee also adheres to the purview guidelines of the General Assembly as a whole.

Protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) face distinct circumstances from refugees, returnees and asylum seekers but share the unique trauma of being lost within their own borders. IDPs typically leave their homes as a result of armed conflict, violence, human rights violations or disasters. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that, of the record 100 million forcibly displaced persons in 2021, 59.1 million were displaced from their homes but did not cross a State border, a substantial increase from 2020. This number has almost certainly risen in 2022 due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which is estimated to have internally displaced 7.7 million people, or approximately 17.5 percent of Ukraine’s population. Internal displacement is a complex issue that has roots in economics, social, security and other global issues. Internally displaced people face discrimination, human rights abuses and conflict preventing them from enjoying their life and their rights. This issue requires international advocacy and cooperation as well as the work of many actors such as non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations and governmental groups.

IDPs encounter unique challenges and differ from the other refugee populations because they do not cross international borders. Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides formal recognition of the right to seek asylum in another state, while the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, or Refugee Convention, and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees provide a definition of refugee status and clear delineations of the rights of refugees as well as obligations of States Parties. However, none of these documents explicitly commented on the status of IDPs, providing protection instead specifically to those who fled their state of origin. Other human rights law, such as the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (the Fourth Geneva Convention) and its 1977 amendments focused on protection of victims of international and internal armed conflicts, do provide protections to IDPs, banning forced displacement while theoretically providing protections against violence and discrimination. However, the lack of specific guidance regarding IDPs, coupled with the assumption that States would ensure the protection of their own citizens, led to gaps in protection and gray areas of international law. The first census of IDPs was conducted in 1982 and showed that 1.1 million people were internally displaced across 11 States. However, these numbers began to rise rapidly; by 1995, conflicts in Africa and Eastern Europe led to 25 million internally displaced persons across 40 States. 

Noting the increase, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) asked the Secretary-General to conduct a system-wide review of protections to IDPs in 1991. The resulting report led the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative for internally-displaced persons in 1992. The work of the Special Representative, who published reports in 1993, 1996 and 1998, ultimately led to the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, adopted by the General Assembly and UNCHR in 1998. The 30 listed principles included protecting established internationally-recognized rights and freedoms, recognizing national authorities’ responsibility to protect IDPs and exploring feasible displacement alternatives prior to displacement without violating the rights to life, dignity, liberty and security of IDPs. 

In 2005, the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) was created to coordinate the work of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in supporting IDPs. Led by UNHCR, the GPC provides resources for field support of IDPs and advocates for their protection in the development of international human rights law. The GPC also supports the development of national and regional approaches to the protection of IDPs. One such regional solution is the 2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, also known as the Kampala Convention, which aims to provide clear delineations of the obligations of States Parties to IDPs within their own borders. This work has also been supported by the 2010 Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons, which seeks to create a human rights-based approach to allowing IDPs to successfully and sustainably integrate or reintegrate into their communities without fear of discrimination or violence.

Despite increased international attention and additional resources, the number of IDPs continues to rise rapidly, due in part to the escalation in conflicts across sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Americas. The United Nations continues to focus much of its efforts in prevention of internal displacement on the 2018 Multi-stakeholder Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection and Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons, or GP20. GP20, a reference to the twentieth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, seeks to improve engagement with and coordination of States and NGOs. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is seeking to continue the work done through the GP20 with a new GP2.0 initiative

Despite these actions, NGOs and Member States have criticized the United Nations for its lack of action on IDPs, including poor coordination across the United Nations System and failure to include IDPs in humanitarian and sustainable development discussions. The Secretary-General responded by creating the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement in 2019. The High-Level Panel published a report in 2021 with recommendations for how States and non-state actors can work to provide assistance and durable solutions to IDPs, leading the Secretary-General to create the Action Agenda on Internal Displacement in June 2022. The Action Agenda has three specific goals—prevention, protection and assistance, and the creation of durable solutions—as well as 31 discrete action items the Secretary-General commits to in cooperation with United Nations agencies, States, development partners and NGOs.

While United Nations agencies have committed themselves to carrying out the Action Agenda and NGOs have generally applauded the commitments put forward under the Action Agenda, they have also expressed continued concern about the coordination of these programs and of the ability to implement them at national and regional levels. In the meantime, IDPs continue to face obstacles to achieving durable solutions. These obstacles regularly intersect with other human rights issues, with women, children and people with disabilities among those facing unique impediments to attaining their rights while displaced.

While internal displacement due to armed conflict and violence and represents the largest historical cause of internal displacement, over 60 percent of those internally displaced during 2021 were displaced due to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. In some instances, States experience the compounding effects of simultaneous armed conflict and natural disasters: Haiti experienced civil unrest due to the assasination of its president in July 2021 followed by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake and tropical storm one month later. Conversely, scarcity of resources due to climate change can create new conflict. Furthermore, natural disasters and climate change can displace people who are already internally displaced, destroying camps and other temporary housing. With 2020 and 2021 being two of the hottest years on record and the World Bank estimating that 143 million people could be internally displaced due to climate change by 2050, the slow-onset effects of climate change are a rapidly escalating threat.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • What challenges do States face regarding the conflict between international law and sovereignty? 
  • How can the United Nations work with States and regional bodies in providing protection, assistance and durable solutions to internal displacement?
  • How can the United Nations and Member States respond to the challenges of climate change and disaster-related internal displacement?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

The Right to Food

The right to food is generally considered to be the right to obtain food for oneself in a manner that maintains personal dignity and in ways that are accessible, available, culturally appropriate, sustainable and safe. This is essential to basic survival, the maintenance of an adequate standard of living and other fundamental human rights. The right to food encompasses the distinct concepts of food security, which entails reliable access to food; and hunger, which is severe food insecurity leading to undernourishment. The United Nations set a goal of ending hunger and achieving food security for all people as part of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite this, the number of people experiencing food insecurity has risen 500 percent since 2016. As of July 2022, 345 million people are currently facing hunger and 924 million are facing food insecurity. Overlapping challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting supply chain effects, ongoing armed conflict and climate change have all made it more difficult to ensure that people are able to achieve their fundamental right to food.

One of the first major international discussions on the right to food was at the United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture convened by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1943 (the term “united nations” refers to the 44 States represented at the meeting). The work done at this meeting led to the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945. Article 25 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights considered food alongside housing, healthcare and other social goods necessary to maintain an adequate standard of living. Article 11 of the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) echoed this framework, noting access to food as both part of an adequate standard of living and necessary to achieving a fundamental right to be free from hunger. The 1974 World Food Conference took further action on hunger; the resulting Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition proclaimed that all people had the inalienable right to freedom from hunger and malnutrition while calling for increases in food production to allow States to meet their needs. Later human rights instruments, such as the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, also incorporated language regarding freedom from hunger and an adequate standard of living.

In 1996, FAO convened a World Food Summit to address concerns over rising hunger and malnutrition. The outcome documents of the summit, the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action, created seven distinct commitments towards the goals of eradicating hunger and food insecurity, ranging from increasing participation in sustainable agriculture practices and access to global trade to protecting the environment and ensuring access to food in the face of natural disasters. In 1999, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the body responsible for monitoring compliance with the ICESCR, affirmed that Article 11 explicitly protects the right to food while also laying out a framework for evaluating what such a right entails. At the same time, the General Assembly adopted the Millenium Development Goals, a set of eight human rights goals to be achieved by 2015. Among those goals was Target 1.C, which aimed to halve the number of people who suffered extreme hunger. According to the 2015 MDG Report, this effort was nearly successful, with the overall percentage of persons suffering from hunger falling from 23.3 percent in 1990 to 12.9 percent in 2015. In 2004, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also adopted the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security. The Voluntary Guidelines provide a framework for States, with issues ranging from good governance, management of market systems for food access and sustainable growth in agricultural production.

In 2015, building on the relative success of the MDG Target 1.C, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development set the goal of ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030. SDG 2 includes eight specific targets and corresponding indicators to measure progress. Despite this focus, many hunger and food security numbers began to stagnate or worsen in the years after 2015, with the total number of those suffering from hunger beginning to rise the same year. FAO’s report on the state of global food security and nutrition identifies four key factors driving the rising numbers: conflict, extreme climate events, economic crises and inequality. These factors often intersect or overlap, creating additional complexities.

The onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic has also rapidly undone a significant amount of global progress. The economic effects of the pandemic—including job losses, higher food prices and increasing debt held by States—have caused increased hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity. The United Nations hosted a Food Systems Summit in 2021 with the hopes of responding to the lack of progress on hunger and food security through an approach centered around building sustainable food systems, or the interconnected processes of producing, processing, distributing and consuming food. In particular, the summit focused on responses to the ways food systems were challenged by the pandemic. The outcome document for the summit identified 15 action areas to allow stakeholders to build more sustainable and resilient food systems that are more responsive to community and environmental needs. However, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food has questioned the outcomes of the Summit, arguing that it failed to fully consider a human rights perspective and neglected marginalized groups and Member States.

As of 2022, progressive realization of the right to food remains deeply imperiled. The WFP and FAO have identified 20 distinct “hunger hotspots” across four continents where they expect food insecurity to worsen and hunger to increase in 2022. While many of the actions necessary to provide support are well understood, implementation remains a substantial challenge. Furthermore, the ongoing rise in food insecurity predates the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing to the need to reconsider larger issues that lead to lack of access and include groups that are disproportionately affected by food insecurity.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • How can the international community respond to the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to achieve a right to food?
  • How can the regional and national stakeholders be engaged to support strategies for increasing access to food?
  • How can the international community work towards realization of the right to food in the face of challenges such as conflict, extreme climate events, economic crises and inequality?
  • What can the United Nations do to try and achieve the goal of zero hunger by 2030?

Bibliography

United Nation Documents

SPECIAL COMMITTEE: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized agency that supports the global framework for commercial passenger and freight aviation. ICAO works with States Parties to the 1944 Chicago Convention, known as Contracting States, to help shape global standards for safety, security and sustainable economic development in the civil aviation space. It also facilitates communication and transfer of technical knowledge between Contracting States and industry groups, non-governmental organizations and other members of the United Nations System.

Protection of the health of passengers and crews and prevention of the spread of communicable disease through international travel

Air travel connects people together across all countries and continents, bringing substantial benefits in terms of economic growth and cultural exchange. However, international air travel also provides a means by which infectious disease can spread. The rapid speed of air travel means that a person could reach almost anywhere in the world between the time they become infectious with most communicable diseases and when they present symptoms. In addition to transmission of disease at the origin or destination of the traveler, airliners and airports concentrate people from diverse regions in high-density indoor spaces, creating a favorable environment for transmission of a number of diseases, especially those caused by airborne pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. In addition to human-to-human transmission, insects carrying pathogens can stow away in aircraft and infect people on board or at the destination. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the necessity of establishing best practices to limit and mitigate the spread of communicable disease through international air travel.

Prevention of the spread of communicable diseases through international air travel has been a point of concern since the establishment of international air travel itself. The 1929 Congress on Sanitary Aviation was among the first international attempts to discuss the health implications of air travel and led to the development of the 1933 International Sanitary Convention for Aerial Navigation. Article 14 of ICAO’s founding document, the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, or Chicago Convention, specifies that Contracting States have the responsibility to prevent the spread of disease via air travel, and that such States should cooperate on mitigation measures. The World Health Organization (WHO), founded in 1948, collaborated with ICAO on the development of subsequent international regulations pertaining to the spread of infectious diseases via aviation, including the 1951 International Sanitary Regulations and the succeeding 1969 International Health Regulations (IHR). ICAO, in turn, updated its Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), regulatory guidance annexed to the Chicago Convention, in accordance with WHO guidance. However, the 1969 IHR, along with subsequent revisions in 1973 and 1981, only covered a small subset of specific “notifiable diseases,” including cholera, yellow fever, plague and smallpox, failing to account for novel communicable diseases such as HIV and Ebola.

In 2002, a major outbreak of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS) originated in China. Air travel was determined to be a significant transmission vector early in the SARS outbreak, which ultimately spread to 29 States across six continents. ICAO worked with the WHO, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and others to develop specific contingency measures for airports in 2003, inspecting airports throughout Asia to ensure compliance. At its 35th Session in 2004, ICAO drew new attention to the larger issue of communicable diseases, focusing on proactive development of harmonized contingency plans for aviation safety while drawing attention to the urgent need for new focus. The WHO also overhauled the IHR in 2005 to expand their scope to any communicable disease that poses a significant global risk to public health. In collaboration with the WHO and other agencies, ICAO developed a series of guidelines based on the IHR revisions. These guidelines specify that national public health authorities should be the primary points of contact for managing the spread of communicable diseases via air travel, but suggest a number of measures—such as screening of travelers in airports—that aviation authorities can take in order to mitigate risk. Of note, these guidelines extensively and explicitly prohibit denying aircraft permission to land, embark and disembark without consultation with the WHO and the aircraft’s state of origin. However, the guidelines do allow States to quarantine travelers suspected of being infected and permit the diversion of aircraft to airports where mitigation measures are possible.

Subsequent ICAO resolutions have focused on developing and promoting the Cooperative Arrangement for the Prevention of Spread of Communicable Disease through Air Travel (CAPSCA) framework, first introduced in 2006. CAPSCA is a voluntary cross-sectorial program led by ICAO that provides support for regional initiatives to share information and best practices as well as global harmonization of aviation regulations in concordance with the WHO’s IHR and ICAO’s SARPs. It continues to be a substantial focus for ICAO. ICAO has also focused on the control of insect vectors of disease transmission, largely in response to mosquito-borne Zika virus outbreaks in several tropical regions, with new resolutions and working papers at its 39th Session in 2016 and its 40th Session in 2019. Additionally, several non-state actors, including the Interstate Aviation Committee and the IATA, have presented work on pandemic preparation and response.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made ICAO’s work on this topic extremely salient. Much as with SARS in 2002, air travel was a significant vector of early transmission of the virus, with risks associated with close contact in both airplanes and airports. ICAO published a handbook with specific guidance for civil aviation authorities to help manage transmissions risks, including data collection and management and how to respond to increases in community risk level. In 2021, ICAO held a virtual High-level Conference on COVID-19 to address the pandemic in between its 40th and 41st sessions and with the goal of implementing the strategies outlined in CAPSCA and other ICAO regulations to keep the aviation sector afloat.

The increased attention COVID-19 has brought to this topic may aid ICAO in developing concrete solutions on this matter, but the Commission will still have to address concerns that vary between countries and interest groups. Some difficulty with previous efforts has stemmed from implementing international agreements at the level of national aviation authorities, airlines and local entities involved in regulating aviation. These authorities traditionally focus on maintaining the safety of the aircraft and its passengers against physical threats such as collisions and technical malfunctions, and public health has often been treated as a secondary issue. The presence of public health authorities in airports varies widely across countries, as do the nature of the communicable disease threats they need to respond to. The COVID-19 pandemic also exposed issues of inequality between Contracting States, such as vaccination and testing access, that led to varying risk levels and regulatory challenges in protecting passengers while allowing for continued international air travel.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • What measures should be taken to contain infectious diseases from spreading into a country via air travel while respecting freedom of movement and state sovereignty?
  • What specifically should ICAO do about the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How much of the responsibility for protecting air crews, travelers and populations in destination countries should lie with airlines and aviation authorities? 

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

Aviation’s contribution towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development features 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the United Nations and other stakeholders to work towards by 2030. As a key component in the global transportation system, civil aviation has an important role in assisting and allowing the fulfillment of these goals. Aviation plays a key role in the movement of skilled personnel and airports create a variety of jobs for workers with many skill sets, which can help in the alleviation of poverty. On the other hand, civil aviation emits a substantial amount of carbon dioxide—approximately 3.5 percent of global emissions— and other chemicals which play concerning roles in climate change. As climate change becomes increasingly more severe and potential tipping points loom in the near future, making aviation more sustainable becomes a vital goal.

In 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a corresponding set of 17 goals to be achieved by the year 2030. Each goal came with a set of specific subgoals and indicators to monitor international progress. ICAO plays a notable role in the implementation of SDG 9, focused on building resilient infrastructure to support global trade and innovation, monitoring total amounts of passenger and freight air transport. ICAO has worked to draw increased awareness to the roles of civil aviation in attaining the SDGs. ICAO noted that discussion of civil aviation in the Voluntary National Reviews of SDG progress compiled by United Nations Member States increased from 26 percent in 2016 to 77 percent in 2018.

ICAO has also increased its focus on reducing the threat of climate change posed by carbon dioxide emissions from aviation. Resolution A37-19 proposed a market-based mechanism for ensuring the emissions from international aviation are offset by emissions-reducing measures elsewhere. This was followed up by Resolution A38-18 and Resolution A39-3, which emphasized that ICAO is the proper body for establishing climate change policies for international aviation and established general principles for a market-based mechanism. ICAO has advanced two separate tracks of resolutions. One, culminating in Resolution A39-2, focuses on climate change more broadly, including promoting the development of more fuel-efficient aircraft and the development of sustainable alternative fuels. Another, culminating in Resolution A39-1, focuses on other environmental impacts such as noise and particulate pollution, which are relevant to Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 15.

ICAO is currently involved in numerous initiatives to help meet the SDGs. One particular area of focus for ICAO is supporting Least Developed Countries (LDCs), particularly landlocked States and small island States that are reliant on civil aviation for access to global markets. ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative, created in 2014, is focused on ensuring that all States have the resources to comply with ICAO’s globally-harmonized Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). This technical support has the potential to help increase participation in civil aviation while ensuring greater access to global trade. ICAO also participates in the World Bank’s Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4All) Initiative, which advocates for and shares technical knowledge to increase accessibility and sustainability across all mobility systems.

Current ICAO plans for mitigating climate change consist of aircraft and fuel improvements, operational improvements, and an emissions offset scheme known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the latter of which accounts for the majority of the emissions mitigation from aviation. This scheme is the focus of Resolution A40-19, while other climate change measures are covered in Resolution A40-18. Several Contracting States have expressed formal reservations about the emissions reductions goals in recent resolutions, referring to them variously as “not based on scientific or practical studies” and “guidance materials divorced from reality.” A key concern raised by several large developing Contracting States is the lack of any allowance for developing States to continue to increase their emissions from aviation in order to expand their aviation sectors to a comparable degree as developed Contracting States. The adoption of a new carbon offset standard potentially separate from the Paris Accords was also a point of concern for several Contracting States.

Several questions regarding aviation sustainability have also been the subjects of particularly lively discussion. First, the CORSIA scheme specifies the emissions baseline as the average of 2019 and 2020 emissions. Due to the rapid decline in passenger flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this baseline was lower than expected, and airline groups are asking for the baseline to be changed to 2019 only. Second, several additional technical measures, such as a ban on airlines carrying excessive fuel, have been discussed and could be acted on by the Assembly. Third, research into electric planes for shuttle flights could ease the efforts required to achieve emissions goals, particularly if supported by more funding and cooperation.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • How can ICAO help Least Developed Countries, particularly Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, meet sustainable development goals?
  • How should the aviation industry act to reduce its contribution to climate change?
  • How can emissions reductions from aviation be equitably allocated to account for the needs and concerns of developing States?
  • How should effort be balanced between market-based measures such as CORSIA and technical measures such as alternative fuels?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

Introduction to ECOSOC and Report Writing Bodies 

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

The Economic and Social Council is the primary body that addresses the economic, social, humanitarian and cultural work of the United Nations system. It also has a mandate to coordinate the activities of United Nations technical and specialized agencies and programs. The Economic and Social Council oversees five regional economic commissions and eight functional, or subject-matter, commissions. The Economic and Social Council is composed of 54 Member States elected by the General Assembly for three-year renewable terms.

ECOSOC at AMUN

AMUN simulates ECOSOC as a Special Committee on a rotating basis. Much like the General Assembly bodies, ECOSOC’s primary initiative is to discuss the designated topics and produce, preferably by consensus, resolutions. A resolution will often provide historical context for a topic or issue as well as present a path forward for Member States and for international institutions. A resolution must be in the purview of the committee that passes it, and it must contain at least one preambular clause and one operative clause. For more information on resolution formatting, requirements and best practices, please reference this handbook or speak with the committee Rapporteur at Conference.

As an update to AMUN’s procedures and as a way to preserve student’s productive time and experience, AMUN has chosen to forego ECOSOC plenary sessions. Similarly, AMUN has also chosen to provide a streamlined set of report writing rules meant to better facilitate the work of the body. 

Report Writing Bodies and their Role at AMUN

Each year, AMUN simulates two bodies that write reports rather than resolutions. These bodies, which can can be committees, councils, or commissions and which have various relationships to ECOSOC, are sometimes called “Report Writing Bodies” (RWB). These bodies have a unique function within the United Nations system, and delegates to these bodies are often subject-matter experts on the topics being discussed in the simulation. Their role, rather than to produce resolutions that lay out a course of action, is to collaboratively produce reports on topics in their purview. Reports follow a specified format, but the length, content and complexity of each report varies. Each body produces only one report on each of its topic, so collaboration and consensus-building in these committees is essential. Producing only one report also means that dissenting or minority opinions may be placed within the text of the document. AMUN has adapted the format for annual reports for use in these reporting bodies. The time constraints of the simulation allow for a format that bears many similarities to those of the United Nations, but is not identical. Just as representatives familiarize themselves with their State’s positions, they must also do the same with the AMUN report format.

The main focus of a RWB is to create a report, not write resolutions. The report as a whole functions as a recommendation for actions that ECOSOC can take. Thus, it is of the utmost importance that the report contains a record of how the representatives of the body came to their conclusions. This is the primary function of the report’s Deliberations section, without which a report cannot exist. The nature of a report often leads to a report-building process that is highly collaborative and inclusive of all Members of the body. If a body disagrees on an issue, it is common to include all sides of the discussion and what was considered, thus allowing for consensus on the final report. More information on report components and the report writing process can be found here.

Consultative Session

Both ECOSOC and reporting bodies have available to them a special rule intended to facilitate their work: Consultative Session. Consultative Session is a designated period of time in which the Committee is still in session but the formal rules of debate, with the exception of Rule 2.2 Diplomatic Courtesy, are suspended. It is moderated by whomever the body chooses for the role, with the first Consultative Session usually being moderated by a member of the dais staff. Consultative Sessions allow for free and open exchange between representatives in a less-formal setting than is created in formal debate. It is an expedient method of accomplishing many of the report writing processes and is typically also used to pass the Executive Summary, which is the final piece of a report.

A Note About AMUN’s Simulation Philosophy

The Conference exists to provide a safe and educational environment for both representatives and AMUN Secretariat members to grow and learn. At the root of this is one of AMUN’s founding principles – to create the most realistic simulation possible by mirroring the beliefs and processes of the United Nations. Diplomacy is a tool with the power to change lives for the better. Our Report Writing Bodies offer another perspective on diplomacy as Representatives work with a small group throughout Conference to build not a single resolution, but an entire report. Report writing leads to a non-competitive free flowing exchange of ideas that ultimately helps build an intensely collaborative environment and informs ECOSOC on the actions it should take regarding the complex international issues that make up the RWB topics.

Research and Resources Available

One of the most important resources available is the research and preparation done before conference. This research can greatly affect a representative’s experience in the simulation. AMUN has several suggestions for how to go about researching a State’s position, history and culture. Information to aid in this research can be found here.

In order to provide a Conference of the highest quality, AMUN Secretariat members play distinct roles inside and outside of the Committee room. Inside the Committee room, the most recognizable resources available are the dais staff: Committee Presidents and Rapporteurs.

The Committee Presidents are experts on AMUN’s Rules of Procedure. They facilitate debate by helping representatives use the rules correctly to accomplish the work of the body. They answer all questions related to the AMUN rules. Presidents (and Vice Presidents) also observe substantive debate and keep track of the committee’s proceedings.

Rapporteurs assist with content in each ECOSOC simulation. Their role is to work with representatives as they write reports and to help ensure that the work of the body meets both AMUN and the United Nations’ standards. They also provide guidance on committee purview and will help representatives work reports into purview, should it be necessary.

AMUN also provides content experts outside of committee. Home Government is available to help representatives with several tasks.  If a representative wants an in-depth review of their country’s position on the topics being covered in a committee, Home Government can conduct briefings to provide them the information they need to participate more fully in the simulation. Home Government also has the ability to furnish committees with roleplayers who provide information to the entire body as opposed to an individual representative.

Lastly, should representatives like to update the rest of the Conference on how their work is coming along, the International Press Delegation (IPD) is another resource they have for spreading information, be it through an article or a Press Conference.

ECOSOC Rules of Procedure

1.0 Administrative

1.1 The Secretariat. The Secretariat consists of the volunteer staff members of American Model United Nations (AMUN).

1.2 Rules Committee. The President of the General Assembly, the Senior Vice President(s) of the General Assembly, the Director of Rules and Procedures, and one other person as appointed by the Secretary-General shall compose the membership of the Rules Committee.

1.3 Credentials. All questions concerning the validity of representative credentials shall be submitted in writing to the Secretariat,

  •  The Secretariat has sole authority to decide all questions concerning credentials,
  • Representatives must wear approved credentials at all times while on the Conference premises.

1.4 Quorum/Majority. A quorum is one-fourth of the member delegations in attendance for each Committee; a majority is one-half of the member delegations in attendance for each Committee,

  • A quorum must be present at all times during Committee sessions,
  • A majority must be present for a substantive question to be put to a vote,
  • Questions concerning quorum or majority should be directed to the presiding Special Rapporteur, and
  • It is the responsibility of the presiding Special Rapporteur to ensure that a quorum is present at all times.

1.5 Committee Officers. The Secretariat shall appoint the Special Rapporteur(s) for each Committee, and shall select any other positions necessary to help conduct the sessions of the Committees,

  • Hereafter, in these rules, “presiding Special Rapporteur” refers to the Special Rapporteur who is presiding Special Rapporteuring the meeting, facilitating formal and informal debate, and ruling on procedural items before the body. 
  • Hereafter, in these rules, “Committee” will refer to any Committee, Council or Commission, unless otherwise stated in the rule.

1.6 General Authority of the Presiding Special Rapporteur. In addition to exercising such authority conferred upon the presiding Special Rapporteur elsewhere in these rules, the presiding Special Rapporteur shall,

  •       Declare the opening and closing of each session,
  • Ensure the observance of the rules,
  • Facilitate the discussions of the Committee and accord the right to speak,
  • Advise the Committee on methods of procedure that will enable the body to accomplish its goals, and
  • Rule on points and motions, and subject to these rules, have complete control of the proceedings of the Committee and the maintenance of order at its meetings.

1.7 Absence of presiding Special Rapporteur.  Any Special Rapporteur, or other Secretariat member as assigned, for the committee may preside over the committee’s sessions. 

1.8 Number of Accredited Representatives. Each delegation is allowed two representatives per Committee on which it is a member, plus one Permanent Representative.

1.9 Selection of Agenda Topics. Agenda topics shall be selected by the Secretariat prior to the start of the conference. Once selected, these topics are fixed for the duration of the conference.

1.10 Observer Status. Those delegations recognized as having Observer Status by AMUN shall be accorded all rights in the Committee except the following,

  •  They may not vote,
  • They may not make or second the following motions:
  • Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), and
  • Closure of Debate (rule 7.4).

2.0 General Rules

2.1 Statements by the Secretariat. The Secretary-General or any member of the Secretariat may make verbal or written statements to a Committee at any time.

2.2 Diplomatic Courtesy. All participants in the AMUN Conference must accord Diplomatic Courtesy to all credentialed representatives, Secretariat Members, Faculty Advisors, Observers and Hotel staff at all times,

  • Representatives who persist in obvious attempts to disrupt the session shall be subject to expulsion from the Committee by the presiding Special Rapporteur,
  • The Secretariat reserves the right to expel any representative or delegation from the Conference, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

2.3 Speeches. No representative may address the Committee without obtaining the permission of the presiding Special Rapporteur,

  • Delegations, not representatives, are recognized to speak; more than one representative from the same delegation may speak when the delegation is recognized,
  • Speakers must keep their remarks germane to the subject under discussion,
  • A time limit may be established for speeches (rule 7.7),
  • At the conclusion of a substantive speech, representatives will be allowed to answer questions concerning their speech,
  • A delegation that desires to ask a question of the speaker should signify by raising a Point of Inquiry (rule 6.3),
  • All questions and replies are made through the presiding Special Rapporteur,
  • A speaker who desires to make a motion may do so after speaking and accepting Points of Inquiry, but prior to yielding the floor, and
  • By making a motion the speaker yields the floor.

2.4 Recognition of Speakers. Delegations wishing to speak on an item before the body will signify by raising their placards,

  • The exception to this rule occurs on any Point of Order (rule 6.1), Information (rule 6.2), or Inquiry (rule 6.3), at which time a representative should raise their placard and call out “Point of ___________” to the presiding Special Rapporteur,
  • Points will be recognized in the order of their priority,
  • Motions may not be made from Points of Order (rule 6.1), Information (rule 6.2), or Inquiry (rule 6.3), or from any procedural speeches, except,
  • A motion to Appeal the Decision of the presiding Special Rapporteur (rule 7.4), may be made when recognized for a Point of Order.
  • The presiding Special Rapporteur shall recognize speakers in a fair and orderly manner,
  • Speakers’ lists will not be used.

2.5 Right of Reply. The presiding Special Rapporteur may accord a Right of Reply to any representative if a speech by another representative contains unusual or extraordinary language clearly insulting to personal or national dignity,

  •  Requests for a Right of Reply shall be made in writing to the presiding Special Rapporteur,
  • Requests shall contain the specific language which was found to be insulting to personal or national dignity,
  • The presiding Special Rapporteur may limit the time allowed for a reply,
  • There shall be no reply to a reply, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

2.6 Withdrawal of Motions. A motion may be withdrawn by its proposer at any time before voting on it has begun,

  •  Seconds to a motion may also be withdrawn,
  • A withdrawn motion or second may be reintroduced by another delegation.

2.7 Dilatory Motions. The presiding Special Rapporteur may rule out of order any motion repeating or closely approximating a recent previous motion on which the Committee has already rendered an opinion,

  • This decision is not appealable.

3.0 Rules That Relate to the Rules

3.1 Rule Priority and Procedure. The rules contained in this handbook are the official rules of procedure of the American Model United Nations and will be used for all Committee sessions. These rules take precedence over any other set of rules.

3.2 Precedence of Rules. Proceedings in the Committees and General Assembly sessions of AMUN shall be conducted under the following precedence of rules;

  1. AMUN Rules of Procedure,
  2. AMUN General Assembly (GA) & Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Order of Precedence of the Rules Short Form,
  3. Rulings by the Rules Committee,
  4. Historical usage of the AMUN Rules of Procedure,
  5. Historical usage of the United Nations Rules of Procedure,
  6. The Charter of the United Nations.

3.3 The Order of Precedence of Procedural Motions.The order of precedence of procedural motions is listed in both the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (GA/ECOSOC) Precedence Short Form and in these rules under Section 7, “Procedural Motions In Order of Priority.”

3.4 Rule Changes. The Rules Committee reserves the right to make changes to these rules at any time. Should a change occur, it will be communicated to the representatives in a timely manner.

4.0 Draft Proposals & Amendments

4.1 Definition of Draft Reports. A draft report is a formal written proposal consisting of sections and paragraphs that detail a committee’s deliberations and recommendations on a particular topic. The report may include resolutions that the reporting body recommends for adoption by the body that receives the report. Reports must include an Executive Summary (rule 4.7).

4.2 Draft Reports. Draft reports may be submitted to the Committee Dais for approval at any time during the Conference,

  • For a draft report to be considered, it must be organized in content and flow, have a minimum of 35 percent of the delegations in attendance listed as sponsors, and the approval of the Special Rapporteur(s),
  • The final required number of sponsors will be determined by the Rules Committee at conference registration and announced at the opening of each committee session,
  • After acceptance by the Special Rapporteur(s), draft reports shall be processed in the order in which they are received,
  • Limited copies of the full text of the draft report shall be issued to the committee, and a copy of the Executive Summary shall be distributed to all delegations as soon as feasible,
  • Only one draft report per topic area shall be accepted for consideration by the Special Rapporteur(s),
  • Once a draft report is on the floor for discussion, additional sponsors may only be added to that draft report with the consent of the original sponsors,
  • Any resolutions adopted by the committee on the topic of the report will be automatically included in Section III of the report, including after the adoption of the report or Executive Summary,
  • Once a vote has been taken on any part of a draft report, including a contested amendment, it becomes the property of the body, and no additional sponsors or friendly amendments may be added or removed,
  • Friendly amendments (rule 4.6) do not limit the addition of sponsors as above,
  • See also Closure of Debate (rule 7.3) and Consideration of Draft Items (rule 7.10),
  • Objections or reservations to the report shall be included in the text of the report, and
  • Objections to the report must be in writing and may be submitted before or after the final vote on the report, and
  • The default method of voting for reports shall be Adoption by Consensus (rule 5.3). If there is any objection, the Committee will proceed with a substantive vote, which requires a simple majority for passage.

4.3 Definition of Amendments. An amendment to a draft  report is a written proposal that adds to, deletes from, or revises any part of a draft proposal.

4.4 Amendments. All amendments must be signed by 15 percent of the delegations in attendance,

  • The final required number of sponsors will be determined by the Rules Committee at conference registration and announced at the opening of each committee session,

An amendment is submitted on an official amendment form to the Rapporteurs for approval.

Amendments will be approved if they are legible, organized in content and flow, and in the proper format,

  • Approved amendments will be assigned an identification letter by the Rapporteurs, and
  • Typographical errors in a report will be corrected by the Rapporteurs and announced to the body.

One or more amendments may be considered on the floor at any given time (see also Closure of Debate (rule 7.3) and Consideration of Draft Items(rule 7.10)).

An amendment will be considered “friendly” if all sponsors of the draft report are also sponsors of the amendment. 

A friendly amendment becomes part of a draft proposal upon the announcement that it is accepted,

  • A dais member shall announce the acceptance of a friendly amendment on the first opportunity at which no speaker has the floor, and
  • Friendly amendments cannot be accepted after a vote has been taken on a contested amendment or after closure of debate on the report/resolution has been moved.

4.5 Definition of Executive Summaries. The reporting body must issue an Executive Summary of the finalized report which will briefly summarize the contents of the report.

4.6 Executive Summaries. Executive Summaries are discussed, drafted and accepted outside of formal Committee sessions (during a suspension of the meeting or consultative session),

  • The default method of accepting the Executive Summary is through an informal consensus of the committee during suspension or Consultative Session. If there is objection to consensus the committee will proceed with an informal vote which requires a simple majority for passage.
  • The final Executive Summary must be presented to the dais for inclusion with the Report and distribution to the Committee receiving the Report.

4.7 Withdrawal of Sponsorship. Sponsorship of a report or amendment may be withdrawn,

  • Sponsorship of a  report may not be withdrawn after a vote has been taken on a contested amendment,
  • If a draft report or amendment falls below the number of sponsors required for consideration, additional sponsors may be added to that proposal with the consent of the original sponsors, and
  • If a draft report or amendment falls below the required number of sponsors, it is automatically removed from consideration.

5.0 Voting

5.1 Voting Rights. Each Member State is accorded one vote in each Committee on which it is represented,

  • No representative or Delegation may cast a vote on behalf of another Member State.

5.2 Simple Majority. Unless otherwise specified in these rules, decisions in the Committee shall be made by a majority vote of those Members present and voting. If there is an equal division between yes and no votes, the motion fails.

5.3 Adoption by Consensus. The adoption of draft reports and amendments by consensus is desirable when it contributes to the effective and lasting settlement of differences, thus strengthening the authority of the United Nations,

  • Any representative may request the adoption of a draft report or by consensus at any time after closure of debate has passed,
  • For reports, the default method of voting is adoption by consensus,
  • The presiding Special Rapporteur then shall ask whether there is any objection to a consensus and then shall ask if any Member States wish to abstain from consensus,
  • Delegations abstaining from consensus will be officially recorded,
  • If there is no objection, the proposal is approved by consensus, and
  • If any representative objects to consensus, voting shall occur as otherwise stated in these rules.

5.4 Method of Voting. The Committee shall normally vote by a show of raised placards,

  • The presiding Special Rapporteur may grant a request by a delegation for a roll call vote on any substantive matter, and the presiding Special Rapporteur’s decision on such a request is not subject to appeal,
  • When applicable, roll shall be called in English alphabetical order beginning with a member selected at random by the presiding Special Rapporteur,
  • Representatives shall reply “yes,” “no,” “abstain,” or “abstain from the order of voting” and
  • A member may abstain from the order of voting once during a roll call; a second abstention from the order of voting will be recorded as an abstention.

5.5 Structure of Voting For Draft Reports. The Committee shall vote on any draft report items in the following manner. 

  • The body shall vote individually on each chapter and resolution to be included in the report. A vote in favor of the chapter or resolution shall be a vote in favor of  including that section or resolution in the final version of the report, and voting shall occur in the following order:
    • First, the body shall vote on any resolutions included in Chapter I (matters calling for action) of the report. The body will vote on each resolution in the reverse order in which they are introduced to the body. For each resolution, the body will vote on any amendments to that resolution in the reverse order in which they were introduced to the body.
    • Second, the body shall vote on its findings in Chapter II of the report. The body will vote on any amendments to this chapter in the reverse order in which they were introduced to the body.
    • Third, the body shall vote on any resolutions included in Chapter III (decisions adopted) of the report, in the same order identified above for resolutions included in Chapter I. 
    • Fourth, the body shall vote on the executive summary. The body will vote on any amendments to the executive summary in the reverse order in which they were introduced to the body.
    • After all sections of the draft report have been voted upon by the body, the remaining sections shall be compiled into the final draft version of the report, and the body shall vote on the report as a whole.
  • Each vote is entitled to the full rights and voting methods under Method of Voting (rule 5.4), including, but not limited to, division of the question, requests for roll call votes and adoption by consensus and the items enumerated in Conduct During Voting (rule 5.6).
  • The body may request, when a report has been passed,a representative from the Secretary General’s office or the Economic and Social Council plenary body to present their findings. The body may conduct this presentation orally in a structure and manner that the body determines is appropriate, and that conforms to the requirements of Diplomatic Courtesy (rule 2.2).

 

5.6 Conduct During Voting. Immediately prior to a vote, the presiding Special Rapporteur shall describe to the Committee the item to be voted on, and shall explain the consequences of a “yes” or a “no” vote. Voting shall begin upon the presiding Special Rapporteur’s declaration “we are now in voting procedure,” and end when the results of the vote are announced,

  • Following Closure of Debate, and prior to entering voting procedure, the presiding Special Rapporteur shall pause briefly to allow delegations the opportunity to make any relevant motions,
  • Relevant motions prior to a vote include Adoption by Consensus (rule 5.3), Suspension of the Meeting (rule 7.1), Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), Consultative Session (rule 7.5), or Division of the Question (rule 7.8), and
  • Relevant requests prior to a vote include Adoption by Consensus (rule 5.3), Request for a roll call vote (rule 5.4), and
  • Once in voting procedure, no representative shall interrupt the voting except on a Point of Order or Point of Information concerning the actual conduct of the vote.

5.7 Changes of Votes. At the end of a roll call vote, but before Rights of Explanation (rule 5.8) and the subsequent announcement of the vote, the presiding Special Rapporteur will ask for any vote changes. Any delegation that desires to change its recorded vote may do so at that time.

5.8 Rights of Explanation. Rights of Explanation are permitted on all substantive votes after voting. The presiding Special Rapporteur may limit time for Rights of Explanation.

6.0 Points of Procedure in Order of Priority

6.1 Point of Order. During the discussion of any matter, a representative may rise to a Point of Order if the representative believes that the Committee is proceeding in a manner contrary to these rules,

  • The representative must call out their point and will be recognized immediately by the presiding Special Rapporteur and the point ruled on,
  • A representative rising to a Point of Order may not speak substantively on any matter,
  • If a representative’s ability to participate in the Committee’s deliberations is impaired for any reason, the representative may rise to a Point of Order,
  • A Point of Order may interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

6.2 Point of Information. A Point of Information is raised to the presiding Special Rapporteur if a representative wishes to obtain a clarification of procedure or a statement of the matters before the Committee,

  • The representative must call out their point to be recognized,
  • A Point of Information may not interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

6.3 Point of Inquiry. During substantive debate, a representative may question a speaker by rising to a Point of Inquiry,

  • Questions must be directed through the presiding Special Rapporteur and may be made only after the delegation has concluded their remarks, but before the delegation has yielded the floor,
  • The representative must call out their point to be recognized,
  • A Point of Inquiry may not interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

7.0 Procedural Motions in Order of Priority

7.1 Suspension of the Meeting. During the discussion of any matter, a representative may move to suspend the meeting. Suspending a meeting recesses it for the time specified in the motion,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • This motion is not debatable,
  • The presiding Special Rapporteur may request that the delegation making the motion modify the time of suspension,
  • If the motion passes, upon reconvening the Committee will continue its business from the point at which the suspension was moved.

7.2 Adjournment of the Meeting. The motion of adjournment means that all business of the Committee has been completed for the year, and that the Committee will not reconvene until the next annual session,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • This motion is not debatable,
  • The presiding Special Rapporteur may refuse to recognize a motion to adjourn the meeting if the Committee still has business before it, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

7.3 Closure of Debate. A representative may move to close debate on a draft report or amendment before the Committee at any time during the discussion of item. The effect of this motion, if passed, is to bring a draft report or amendment that is on the floor to a vote,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak against closure; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • Representatives should specify whether the motion for closure applies to an amendment or a draft report,
  • If closure passes on a draft report, all amendments on the floor will be voted on in the reverse order from which they were moved to the floor, and
  • After voting on all amendments is completed, the draft report shall be voted upon in accordance with these rules.

At the conclusion of voting procedure, the draft report or amendment being voted on is removed from consideration, regardless of whether the proposal passes or fails. Debate then continues on the current agenda topic.

7.4 Appealing a Decision of the presiding Special Rapporteur. Rulings of the presiding Special Rapporteur are appealable unless otherwise specified in these rules,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • An appeal must be made immediately following the ruling in question,
  • This motion may be made by a delegation that has been recognized through a Point of Order,
  • The presiding Special Rapporteur shall put the question as follows: “Shall the decision of the presiding Special Rapporteur be upheld?” A “yes” vote supports the presiding Special Rapporteur’s decision; a “no” signifies objection,
  • The decision of the presiding Special Rapporteur shall be upheld by a tie, and
  • Rulings by the presiding Special Rapporteur on the following rules or motions are not appealable: Diplomatic Courtesy (rule 2.2), Right of Reply (rule 2.5), Dilatory Motions (rule 2.7), granting of a roll call vote (rule 5.4), Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), and any time a ruling by the presiding Special Rapporteur is a direct quotation from these Rules of Procedure.

7.5 Consultative Session. The Council may choose to suspend the rules and enter an informal, consultative session if the Members determine that this process will better facilitate the discussion of a particular issue,

  • The motion should specify a length of time and a moderator for the consultative session,
  • A moderator can be a representative or Secretariat Member,
  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote
  • The Council will move immediately into a formal session at the conclusion of the consultative session, and
  • See also Consultative Session (rule 7.5).

7.6 Consideration of Agenda Topics. Agenda topics will be considered in the order in which they appear in the Issues at AMUN handbook, unless that order is altered by the passage of a motion for Consideration of Agenda Topics,

  • This motion requires a second, and
  • This motion is not debatable.

7.7 Limits on Debate. A motion to limit or extend the time allotted to each delegation, or limit the number of times each delegation can speak on a proposal, is in order at any time,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • The time allotted for substantive speeches shall be no less than three minutes,
  • The time allotted for procedural speeches shall be no less than one minute,
  • This motion may limit the number of Points of Inquiry a speaker may accept to a minimum of one, and
  • A motion to limit the time of debate on an agenda topic, draft report, draft resolution, or amendment is also in order.

7.8 Division of the Question. A motion to divide the question, proposing that clauses of an amendment or paragraphs of a draft report be voted on separately, is in order at any time prior to entering voting procedure on the amendment, draft resolution,

  • This motion requires a second,
  • Two delegations may speak in favor of the motion and two opposed; the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • After a motion for Division of the Question passes, no other motion for Division of the Question is in order on that amendment, draft resolution or draft report,
  • Those clauses or paragraphs of the amendment or report which are approved shall then be put to a vote as a whole, and
  • If division causes the draft or report to no longer be in the proper format (rules 4.1 and 4.3), the proposal as a whole is rejected.

7.9 Reconsideration of Proposals. A motion for Reconsideration of Proposals is in order on a report or amendment which has passed or failed when put to a final vote. The motion is also in order for proposals on which Adjournment of Debate has passed (rule 7.3),

  • This motion requires a second and a two-thirds majority vote for passage,
  • Two delegations may speak opposed to the motion, and
  • If the motion passes, the issue is brought back before the body for debate and may be voted on again.

7.10 Consideration of Draft Items. To bring a report or an amendment to the floor for discussion, a delegation must first be recognized by the presiding Special Rapporteur,

  • No second is required. Upon recognition of this motion by the presiding Special Rapporteur, the amendment will be under consideration by the body. Draft reports moved to the floor are subject to a vote by the body and must pass by a majority for consideration.
  • Only one draft report is allowed on the floor at any time; any number of amendments is allowed.
  • The Committee Secretariat will present the draft item to the body, and
  • The delegation moving consideration will be allowed to speak first on the item, if desired.

General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Short Form

Rule Second? Debatable? Vote Required Description
6.1 Point of Order No No None Point out a misuse of the rules
6.2 Point of Information No No None Ask any question of the Special Rapporteur, or gain a clarification
6.3 Point of Inquiry No No None Ask a question of a speaker at the end of their speech, prior to the Delegation’s yielding the floor
7.1 Suspension of the Meeting Yes No Simple Majority Recess the meeting for a specific period of time
7.2 Adjournment of the Meeting Yes No Simple Majority End the meeting for the year
7.3 Closure of Debate Yes 2 Con Simple Majority End debate on any proposal on the floor and bring it to an immediate vote
7.4 Appealing a Decision of the Special Rapporteur Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Challenge a ruling made by the Special Rapporteur
7.5 Consultative Session Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Suspend rules and move to an informal debate session
7.6 Consideration of Agenda Topics Yes No Simple Majority Change the order in which agenda items are discussed
7.7 Limits on Debate Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Impose (or repeal) a limit on the length of any form of debate
7.8 Division of the Question Yes 2 Pro
2 Con
Simple Majority Divide a draft resolution or amendment into two or more clauses, or divide a report into two or more paragraphs, each to be voted on separately after Closure of Debate
7.9 Reconsideration of Proposals Yes 2 Con 2 / 3 Majority Reconsider an item on which debate has been adjourned or upon which a vote has been taken
7.10 Consideration of Draft Items Yes Yes Simple Majority Bring a draft report or amendment to the floor for discussion

NOTE: Draft amendments require no speeches in favor or against and are automatically available on the floor once moved.

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ECOSOC COMMISSION: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

The Economic and Social Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is one of five regional commissions of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and represents countries in both Latin American and the Caribbean. ECLAC supports the economic development of its Member States by reinforcing economic relationships among its members and other countries of the world. It does so by promoting developmental cooperative activities and projects of regional and subregional scope, bringing a regional perspective to global problems and translating global concerns at the regional and subregional levels. ECLAC also has as one of its primary objectives the promotion of the region’s social development.

Members

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • France
  • Germany
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Korea
  • Saint Lucia
  • Spain
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis
  • Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Associate Members

  • Anguilla (United Kingdom)
  • Aruba (Netherlands)
  • British Virgin Islands (United Kingdom)
  • Montserrat (United Kingdom)
  • Puerto Rico (United States of America)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands (United Kingdom)
  • United States Virgin Islands (United States of America)
  • Bermuda (UK)
  • Cayman Islands (UK)
  • Curacao (Netherlands)
  • Guadeloupe (France)
  • Martinique (France)
  • Sint Maarten
  • French Guiana

Committee on South-South Cooperation

Development programs are often perceived as efforts where developed countries provide aid to developing countries, portraying them exclusively as a relationship between the Global North and Global South. These terms, “North” and “South,” differentiate the social, economic and political qualities between the developed countries (North) and developing countries (South). While the terms loosely correlate with geography, countries are defined as Northern or Southern not by their location but by those factors. South-South cooperation encourages the countries and peoples of the developing world to learn from each other and partner to enhance their collective development. This technical collaboration is a tool used by States, international organizations and civil society to share knowledge, skills and successful initiatives on matters like urbanization, climate change, agriculture and fighting corruption.

This concept gained momentum in the 1960s and 1970s as the international system expanded to include multiple newly-independent former colonies and developing countries. The international community adopted the Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Order in 1974, which acknowledged the historical legacies between many of these new Member States and the developed countries that built the global system. The Declaration envisioned a new economic system that respected States’ equal sovereignty, those States’ full and exclusive right to their natural resources, and a system of trade that not only provided aid to the developing world but also provided preferential access to resources for those developing States. That same year, the General Assembly endorsed the establishment of a special unit within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to promote technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC). TCDC was not a new concept, but these events were an acknowledgement by the international community that, in an era of interdependence and political and economic change, cooperation among States in the developing world would improve their ability to strategize and respond to the difficult economic and political environment of the time while promoting national and collective self-reliance.

The United Nations then held the Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries in 1978, which culminated in the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA). The Plan of Action recommended 38 direct, national and regional actions to promote collaboration among least developed countries. One of those recommendations resulted in the creation of the High-level Committee on the Review of the Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries as a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) also established its own body, the Committee on Cooperation among Developing Countries and Regions (CCDCR), in 1979. CCDCR held its first meeting in 1981; ECLAC remains to this day the only regional commission with a permanent intergovernmental body for South-South cooperation. Outside of the United Nations, the international community continued to promote TCDC in the 1980s, with the Group of 77 (G-77) adopting the Caracas Programme of Action (CPA) in 1981. The CPA not only promoted South-South cooperation and exchanges but also eventually resulted in a dedicated but modest trust fund to support related efforts, contributing over 12 million US dollars to support over 120 projects in its first 27 years.

While the international community touted some progress in the number of programs that incorporated TCDC through the 1980s and early 1990s, a 1995 review by the United Nations found funding and programmatic issues continued to hamper TCDC. The review cited competing development priorities, the entrenched nature of the international system and limited staff and resources as limiting the United Nations to efforts simply promoting TCDC instead of any major integration of the concepts into new and existing development programs as envisioned by the Declaration and BAPA. However, it recognized Latin America as a region of particular success, with the report noting the successful integration of technical cooperation within the region’s bilateral and multilateral relationships, as evidenced by the establishment of the CCDCR and its centralized role in promoting TCDC. However, ECLAC found in its own internal review that misperceptions and bias over the utility and value of TCDC made it a less desirable policy choice for many States. ECLAC noted that, possibly influenced by those biases, some countries still lacked institutional focal points for TCDC. Furthermore, the CCDCR only met irregularly at this point, limiting its effectiveness.

The Secretary-General’s 2002 report on South-South cooperation noted continued progress in the 1990s, including the emergence of key regional actors supporting South-South cooperation such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. These and other countries were cited as serving as hubs of intra-South cooperation, some of whom had expended substantial resources on outreach to other developing countries. The report also noted institution-wide progress and credited some of that to increases in States’ domestic technical capacity in the intervening decade and erosion of bias for North-South development strategies. Much of that progress was attributed to improved capacity building supported by the UNDP. Yet the strategic objectives of collective self-reliance and capacity for greater participation in the world economy had still not yet been realized for most developing countries, with blame given to the lack of adequate information, inefficient or underdeveloped infrastructure, weak financial support and failure to implement previously agreed to action plans and reforms.

Following the formalization of the international development agenda in 2000 via the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the General Assembly sought to energize South-South cooperation. In 2003, the body established a United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, urged developing countries to intensify South-South and triangular cooperation—defined as South-South cooperation financed or otherwise facilitated by a Northern partner—and encouraged United Nations bodies to integrate South-South cooperation into the design and execution of their programmes. Responding to this call, ECLAC renamed the Committee on Cooperation among Developing Countries and Regions to the Committee on South-South Cooperation and requested the committee modernize its strategic approaches and mandate. In the years that followed, ECLAC continued biannual reviews of the work of the committee and, after the 2009 High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, began hosting annual meetings with the presiding officers of the committee. By the end of the decade, ECLAC noted the continued impact of its efforts to promote South-South cooperation via institutional support to development programs, outreach and cooperation with other regional organizations and partnerships with countries and groups outside of the region. Despite the financial crisis, multilateral spending on the technical cooperation programme within ECLAC increased by 18 percent between 2006 and 2009.

Held in 2019, the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) spurred further debate within ECLAC on how to continue efforts towards enhancing South-South cooperation. As many States in the region grew into middle income countries, areas of focus shifted from poverty, capacity building and health to include matters like urbanization, the environment and climate change. ECLAC reformed the Committee in 2020, converting the Committee to a regional conference, enabling it to establish multi-day programmes of work, form working groups and meet independent of the ECLAC session. The first conference has been set for 2023.

As GDP growth slows and inequality grows in the region, Latin America has an opportunity to leverage partnerships with other States to weather these latest crises. Whether it is sharing best practices in the face of an emergent pandemic or partnering on shifting industry to higher margin technology, the strong regional bonds, institutions and global relationships can be a source of stability and inspiration.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • Given the challenges facing the region and its mandate to respond to the BAPA+40 outcomes document, what should ECLAC prioritize for the Conference in the year remaining before its first meeting?
  • How does the evolution of States to middle income status affect their role in South-South cooperation schemes in the region?
  • What work can ECLAC do today to build on the New International Order, TCDC, and South-South cooperation that can address the structural issues central to the topic?

 

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

The Inefficiency of Inequality

In 2018, at its 37th session, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) published The Inefficiency of Inequality. The report affirmed that sustainable economic development—which is ultimately focused on closing structural gaps to promote productivity, the growth and dissemination of knowledge, and the strengthening of democracy—requires an equality of means, opportunities, capacities and recognition. Inequality results in an inefficient society in two ways. First, it hinders innovation and productivity by limiting full access to education, health and other opportunities that could grow a culture of creativity. Secondly, the destruction of the environment degrades populations’ quality of life, which has significant impacts both on existing generations as well as on future generations (and thus can be seen as a form of intergenerational inequality). It also has a greater impact on the impoverished while directly challenging efforts towards sustainable development; ECLAC estimates that around 560,000 life years are lost across the region every year from the impacts of environmental problems.

The Latin America and the Caribbean region is one of the most unequal regions in the world, with on average the top 10 percent of people capturing 54 percent of the national income. In The Inefficiency of Inequality, ECLAC related this inequality to the culture of privilege that originates from the conquest and colonization of indigenous people, the dehumanization of those of African descent who were forced into slavery and the exploitation of women. Today, this history presents itself as a cultural ideology that sees inequality as part of the natural order and has subsequently reconstituted hierarchies of privilege based on economic status, race, gender, birth and bloodline in order to reproduce dominance. This inequality is further perpetuated by a cycle of poverty, which sees these disadvantaged groups complete less school, live further from places of employment with longer daily commutes, work at a lower wage and suffer higher rates of unemployment. While many States, including in the region, attempt to rectify inequality with redistribution and social welfare policies, the Inefficiency of Inequality report and others suggest that such policies will never suffice. Instead, reckoning with this history necessitates addressing systemic gaps for those who have been placed at the bottom of these hierarchies and creating new ideologies and policies rooted in equality when promoting development that addresses these structural problems. The 2018 report also argues that strengthening democracy threatens the culture of privilege and promotes the creation of pro-equality institutions.

ECLAC’s focus on inequality goes beyond this report; while inequality has been included in some way through almost all of the body’s work, it began to acknowledge inequality as a central focus in the 2010s. This came after years of regional progress after political leaders prioritized combating inequality and resultant declines in social and economic inequality, giving hope that a range of policies could be more broadly applied to continue this progress. Complementing this focus, ECLAC has also been a prominent champion of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since their 2015 adoption. To this end, at the 2016 XIII Regional Conference on Women and Latin America and the Caribbean, Member States of ECLAC adopted the Montevideo Strategy for the Implementation of the Regional Gender Agenda within the Sustainable Development Framework for 2030. The Montevideo Strategy aims to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda amongst regional governments from a perspective of human rights and women’s autonomy—consistent with efforts to challenge the structural biases behind inequality. To continue their work on the SDGs, in 2019, Member States of ECLAC adopted the Regional Agenda for Inclusive Social Development (RAISD) at the III Meeting of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. While similar to the Montevideo Strategy, this agenda specifically sought to support the social aspects of the 2030 SDGs by advocating for social development more holistically. 

ECLAC has also sought to address the environmental degradation contributing to regional inequality. In 2019, ECLAC hosted the Symposium on Mainstreaming Gender in Water Resources Management, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Policies in the Caribbean in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The meeting especially recognized the unequal impact of climate change on underprivileged populations. Noting the connection between climate change and migration as well as the need for both aspects to be understood through the lens of sustainable development, ECLAC has, since 2020, been involved in a project on “Harnessing the contribution of intra-region migration to socio-economic development in Latin American and Caribbean countries.” This project aims to strengthen the capacities of national authorities to formulate evidence-based public policies and development plans that fully harness the contributions of migrants for sustainable development, through the improvement of their understanding of the social, economic and cultural benefits of international migration.

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly curtailed regional development and was exacerbated by the region’s inequality, with many of the region’s people unable to socially distance because of cramped urban environments, unable to work from home because of poor infrastructure and the types of industries common in the area, and unable to access timely healthcare. These factors may explain the disproportionate share of global deaths in the region, which in the pandemic’s first year alone saw 1.26 million deaths, or 34 percent of the global total at that point. As predicted in ECLAC’s Inefficiency of Inequality report, the lack of industrial diversification and investment in low-value added industries left the region particularly vulnerable to the economic shock of the pandemic and the supply chain issues stemming from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Projections from May 2022 indicate that Latin America and the Caribbean will see economic growth decelerate from 6.2 percent in 2021 to 1.8 percent in 2022.

Noting the potential for decreased economic growth for the region, ECLAC has put forth several initiatives to rethink the development model. One framework, the Circular Cities Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean, seeks to let cities and territories lead the way when redesigning and reconceptualizing urban areas. This is of particular importance since Latin America and the Caribbean is the largest urbanized developing region in the world and urban areas are both where the largest economies as well as the largest inequalities often manifest themselves.

While formulating ideas to address urbanization and promote development in the region, ECLAC has prioritized the importance of sustainability and environmental protections in their work as well. The region’s first environmental treaty, the Escazú Agreement, entered into effect in April 2021 and was directly targeted at addressing inequality and promoting the right to sustainable development and a healthy environment. At the first conference of parties (COP1) in April 2022, Member States noted the importance of cooperation as well as multilateral efforts in securing the right for all individuals to live in a healthy environment

With the predictions of low economic growth in their region and its roots in global instability, ECLAC hopes to promote equitable development by continuing to address the evolving COVID-19 health crisis and also by improving the ability of Latin America and the Caribbean to adequately respond to any future economic and social shock. In a similar vein, ECLAC is looking into the effects of the war on Ukraine upon Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on how global instability may contribute to further inequity in social and economic development among certain groups in the region. Finally, with the year 2030 coming closer, ECLAC aims to further their work on the 2030 SDGs, with particular attention to the goals of eradicating poverty and addressing inequality in the system. Given the disproportionate impacts of many of these problems and the great potential these opportunities present for the most vulnerable, ECLAC can continue to seize the moment to champion the structural changes its report highlighted.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • How can the continuous growth of cities in Latin America and the Caribbean be addressed in a way that uplifts those who face socioeconomic inequality in urban areas? 
  • What lessons can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ensure the resiliency of the region and promote sustainable development for developing countries? 
  • How can ECLAC build on the Escazú Agreement to acknowledge and address the structural drivers of intergenerational inequality? 

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

ECOSOC COMMISSION: Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA)

The Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) provides expert advice to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on improving public administration and good governance. It is composed of non-governmental representatives and its recommendations are non-binding on Member States. It is expected to provide comprehensive recommendations for both governments and the United Nations system on the topics under its purview. Past work has included advice on the use of information communication technology in governance, government ethics and the relationship between public administration and development.

Members

  • Brazil
  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kazakhstan
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Philippines
  • Republic of Korea
  • Russian Federation
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Effective governance for sustainable development

Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present a vision of a future that requires transformative changes by Member States, and the scale of the challenge requires effective governments capable of efficiently using resources at scale for grand projects and societal transformation. Strong institutions deliver better governance and sustainable development outcomes, as governments hold the primary responsibility for guiding, implementing and overseeing development programs. Such responsibility requires institutions to be accountable, effective and ethical. Given its importance to implementing development strategies, the international community recognized that effective governance was central to the foundation for success with the SDGs, enshrining it as a Sustainable Development Goal in its own right as part of SDG 16.

CEPA noted in 2015 that the interrelated concepts of transparency, accountability, ethical leadership and integrity form the basis for effective public administration. Integrity is necessary to set and follow the rules that prevent corruption from taking hold while ethical leadership is the commitment of public servants to adhere to that integrity. Transparency and access to information allow institutional observers—such as the private sector or other layers of government—and members of the public to identify breaches of ethics when they occur. Finally, accountability is the ability to react to ethical breaches and correct them. CEPA further identified four main factors that promote these concepts: procedural methods, institutional arrangements, social accountability and public control, and cultural norms.

These factors generally either increase access to information or regulate the behavior of public officials, both of which assist in increased citizen engagement and improve trust in government. The drawback, however, is that procedures that are implemented by the government can easily be repealed by the government. It is therefore important to build supporting infrastructure to promote good governance at the same time.

Accountability is the step connecting empowered citizens and transparency to reliable governance. In addition to requiring institutions on the governmental side that can audit activities and enforce reforms, accountability requires the citizens to organize and participate in the political process. The United Nations describes civil society organizations (CSOs) as the “third sector” of society, cooperating with both the public and private sectors. Regarding accountability, CSOs need to be able to work closely with public institutions to act as a bridge between citizen demands and the government. Establishing the necessary protections to allow CSOs to function, such as freedoms of information and association, also set traditions of good governance that reinforce these efforts.

The first global and legally-binding action against corruption was the 2003 United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The Convention approached the issue of corruption in five areas: preventative measures, criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, and technical assistance and information exchange. The details of this implementation were left to the newly created Conference of States Parties (the Conference), which would also engage in periodic reviews. However, the details of the Convention have come under significant criticism for lack of State participation and a lack of involvement of CSOs and other non-governmental stakeholders, particularly with respect to the review process. Within States, a lack of legal protections—particularly freedoms of expression and of the press—have allowed for increased persecution of CSOs, hampering anti-corruption efforts.

Attempting to build on this work, CEPA in 2018 compiled a list of 11 principles of effective governance for sustainable development, centered around promoting effectiveness, accountability and inclusiveness, mirroring the essential elements of SDG 16. The 11 principles also included commonly-used strategies to support each principle, providing States practical guidance in addressing a broad range of governance challenges associated with implementing the SDGs. ECOSOC subsequently endorsed the principles and encouraged CEPA to offer implementation options for all public institutions, taking into account differences in governments’ structure, capacities and levels of development. 

CEPA then began a period of outreach to understand how it could best help States implement the principles. CEPA held a regional workshop in conjunction with the African Peer Review Mechanism in Pretoria in 2019 to review the principles and strategies in an African context. One particularly relevant finding was how the institution-building efforts promoted by CEPA aligned with the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. With this synergy identified, the participants planned a baseline study on the status of the principles across Africa. CEPA made the principles the focus of its 2020 session, examining how it could provide technical guidelines to operationalize the principles and promote them. CEPA began to provide detailed guidance for each strategy identified in the principles, attempting to build a base of technical expertise available to States seeking to implement the strategies. As of August 2022, CEPA has managed to publish 19 of 82 guidance notes across five of the 11 principles. The pace has been slowed by lack of a standardized mechanism to draft the notes, which currently are done ad hoc by CEPA Secretariat members and volunteers. 

CEPA continued hosting partnerships with regional groups in Africa and Latin America in 2021, recognizing the importance of offering a range of strategy implementation options to suit a variety of States’ situations—such as economies in transition, post-conflict states and others. These discussions also highlighted the importance of not over-taxing governments with tracking the implementation of these strategies; CEPA instead is seeking existing metrics, targets and data collection efforts that could be applicable to monitoring States’ progress towards improving their governments’ effectiveness and success in achieving the SDGs. Relatedly, CEPA collaborated with the Praia Group of Governance Statistics on drafting its Handbook on Governance Statistics, which outlined a framework for governance statistics that included eight dimensions of governance, which closely aligned with most of the 11 principles.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • What other options does CEPA have for drawing support to draft and publish the remaining guidance notes?
  • Can CEPA prioritize the remaining guidance notes to focus on topics most impactful towards effective governance for sustainable development?
  • How can CEPA continue working towards effective tools for assessing progress in the implementation of effective governance strategies?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

Building strong institutions for sustainable development in conflict-affected countries

Conflict-affected countries, including both States experiencing active conflict and post-conflict States, struggle to build and maintain public institutions that effectively serve their communities. Conflict can weaken public institutions by reducing the quality and availability of services. Conflict can also create mistrust in institutions that either failed to deliver services or that may have directly harmed community members, particularly among marginalized groups. This is compounded by the significant economic effects of conflict, reducing States’ GDPs, diverting resources away from public administration and sustainable development, and limiting growth long after peace has been achieved. Conflict also creates massive social challenges, including worse health outcomes and increases in gender-related violence. The United Nations has recognized the importance of building and maintaining strong institutions through Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which seeks to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” However, with global conflict currently on the rise across multiple continents, ensuring the stability and efficacy of public institutions is an increasing challenge.

Effective public administration has been a longstanding focus of the United Nations; the first resolution on public administration was passed by the General Assembly in 1948. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) created the Group of Experts on the United Nations Programme in Public Administration and Finance, which reviewed the United Nations’ public administration work, including public administration in post-conflict and post-crisis areas; this group became CEPA in 2001.  While the United Nations’ work on public administration continued through the latter half of the century, focus on public administration in tandem with development would come in the 1990s. The United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) was created by the General Assembly in 1999 with a mandate to foster collaboration and help States build technical capacity in public administration, including post-conflict States. UNPAN works with United Nations agencies, regional stakeholders and other institutions to build capacity and share knowledge around institutional best practices.

The Sustainable Development Goals, part of Agenda 2030, placed a strong emphasis on institutions and capacity-building with an eye toward conflict-affected States. SDG 16 contains 12 targets and 22 indicators to measure progress toward peaceful and inclusive societies. In particular, Target 16.6 focuses on the development of “effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels,” while Target 16.a calls for “strengthen[ing] relevant national institutions…for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.” The goal-setting for SDG 16 led to a substantial development of resources and strategies for improving public administration. In 2017, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) held an expert group meeting to discuss incorporating the SDGs into post-conflict processes. CEPA put forward a list of 11 principles for effective governance in 2018 with a specific focus on the goals of effectiveness, accountability and transparency outlined in SDG Target 16.6.

CEPA has also advocated for conflict-sensitive approaches to building strong institutions, with a particular emphasis on protection of marginalized groups and groups that may have been harmed directly by public institutions. This follows a larger need for the United Nations and other organizations providing support for institutional capacity-building to follow the needs of communities, rather than dictating the terms of institutional growth. CEPA and other experts have argued that context-specific “bottom-up” approaches to institutional growth are more likely to create institutions that meet the needs of their communities and are  particularly important in conflict-affected areas, where the specific context of the conflict directly affects how rebuilding should take place. This approach has been echoed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and by other international agencies. CEPA has also argued for the importance of State-building after conflicts, emphasizing the long-term benefits of putting resources and energy towards the capacity of governments and local institutions rather than solely focusing on the short-term needs of maintaining security.

The  COVID-19 pandemic upended much of the work being done towards sustainable development and institution-building, creating new obstacles and inflaming existing challenges. Violent conflict and infectious diseases often have a cyclical relationship: conflict can create conditions that promote the spread of infectious diseases, while the COVID-19 pandemic has been cited as potentially increasing the risk of conflict by exacerbating existing issues in fragile or conflict-affected States. These issues include human rights abuses, corruption around COVID-19 restrictions and access to services in fragile States, and the onslaught of disinformation around the pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic, the United Nations, NGOs and other institutions issued guidance promoting conflict-sensitive responses to the pandemic in fragile and conflict-affected areas and for the protection of human rights by institutions. However, CEPA’s 2021 report on the effects of  pandemic showed that awareness of these issues did not prevent harms from occurring.

Two years into the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to loom over conflict-affected States, creating continued challenges for public institutions as other States move forward. Even as the pandemic has moved away from lockdowns and movement restrictions, the continuing economic effects threaten the stability of public institutions. Conflict-affected States are also still at risk of being left behind in access to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccinations, due in large part to access challenges and weakness in institutions providing health services in conflict areas. Furthermore, many public institutions, particularly those that were already hampered by conflict, have experienced significant erosion of public trust. In some instances, this lack of public trust may be due to inability or failure to provide effective and accountable services. However, in other instances, this trust deficit may be due to disinformation or fake news undermining confidence in legitimate public services.

The combined effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict has also created or worsened existing social and humanitarian issues, presenting further challenges to public administration. A particular area of concern in conflict-affected areas is the protection of women and girls. Sexual and gender-based violence rose significantly across the board during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many women unable to access services and support systems due to lockdowns and social restrictions. In conflict-affected areas where sexual and gender-based violence were already more prevalent before the pandemic, these risks are magnified and intersect with conflict-specific concerns. Without strong public institutions to provide necessary services and community infrastructure, gender equality and the other SDGs remain at risk of failure.

Questions to consider from your country’s perspective:

  • How can CEPA and the international community help build capacity and competence in institutions in conflict-affected States?
  • What can the United Nations and NGOs do to support public institutions in stopping violence against women and girls?
  • What options are there to support conflict-affected areas through the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How can an international body like the United Nations meaningfully promote community-driven, bottom-up strategies for building effective institutions?

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

Introduction to the Security Councils

The Security Council’s primary responsibility is maintaining international peace and security. It has the power to employ United Nations peacekeepers and direct action against threats to the peace. Fifteen Members sit on the Security Council, including five Permanent Members (China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) and 10 at-large Member States which the General Assembly elects for rotating two-year terms. A majority in the Security Council consists of nine Members voting “yes” (except in Historical Security Councils before 1965, where a majority consists of seven Members voting “yes”); however, a “no” vote by any of the Permanent Members has the effect of vetoing or blocking actions.

As the Security Council only meets to discuss topics concerning international peace and security, representatives of the Security Councils at AMUN (both Contemporary and Historical) should note that the agenda provided is only provisional and represents a fraction of the issues the Security Council discusses. Unlike other Committees and Councils at AMUN, the topics presented do not constitute a complete list of topics the Security Councils can discuss. Likewise, the inclusion of the topics presented does not guarantee or mandate that a listed topic will be formally discussed during the simulation. Any issue regarding international peace and security for that time may be brought before the Councils.

Therefore, representatives on the Contemporary Security Council must have a broad knowledge regarding current events in the international community. Periodicals and online sources are some of the best sources available for day-to-day updates. Recommended sources include: The New York Times, United Nations Chronicle, The Times of London, Al Jazeera, the Mail & Guardian, Foreign Policy and The Economist. The UN Wire is an excellent resource for timely information, and one good way for representatives to stay abreast of the most recent reports published by the Security Council and other relevant United Nations bodies.

Historical Security Council (HSC) representatives should approach their Council’s issues based on events up to the start date of the simulation and should do their research accordingly. It is strongly recommended that research be done using historical materials whenever possible. The world has changed dramatically over the years, but none of these changes will be evident within the chambers of the HSC. While histories of the subject will be fine for a general overview, representatives should peruse periodicals and other primary sources from three to five years before the year in question to most accurately reflect the worldview at that time. Periodicals contemporary to the period, which can be easily referenced in a Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature or the New York Times Index, will provide a much better historical perspective and feel for the times than later historical texts.

AMUN’s Security Council simulation philosophy

One of the core principles of AMUN is to mirror the practice and dynamics of the United Nations as much as possible. To that end, AMUN strives to create and conduct simulations that are a realistic representation of diplomacy at the United Nations and the broader international system. We believe this commitment furthers AMUN’s aims to create a fair and fun experience for all representatives and that it enhances the educational mission of the organization.

This commitment to realism is especially important in Security Council simulations where representatives respond to an alternate timeline, and reality shifts depending on the Council’s actions. Representatives are therefore asked to act within the realm of the possible.

Simulation Staff are always available to consult with representatives as they work through their diplomatic options. Representatives are encouraged to seek out Simulation Staff to act in the home office capacity when they need to supplement their research on a situation. Simulation Staff wear many hats, including acting as an in-house resource for representatives about their countries and the topics at hand.

All actions (as opposed to statements) proposed by Council Members must be approved by AMUN’s Simulation Staff, who are charged with managing each simulation’s timeline and alternate reality. As a rule, the Simulation Staff will give representatives a wide latitude in decision making. However, the Simulation Staff may deny a certain action if it falls outside of the bounds of reality or would negatively impact the realism of the simulation for all participants.

For every issue before the Council, each Member is faced with a variety of options of how to react and what policy line to take. A realistic simulation will consider only those options that would have reasonably been on the table for a State at a particular moment in time. In other words, there will always be options States do not consider or dismiss out of hand because they have limited capabilities or due to historical, cultural or political constraints; in a realistic simulation, these options are not appropriate. These unrealistic approaches will not be permitted at AMUN.

This commitment to realism does not mean that simulations have a set trajectory they must follow. In the HSCs there will certainly be many deviations from historical timelines, and re-thinking the way diplomacy played out in the past is encouraged. The same is encouraged in the Contemporary Security Council. As situations change, so do the options and attitudes of the Council Members and other countries. There are near-infinite possibilities within the bounds of realism, and our Simulation Staff will help representatives work through their options.

Declarative Statements and Operational Decisions

Security Council Members are able to make declarative statements and operational decisions that will affect the course of the simulation; this ability to change reality makes these simulations different from other simulations at AMUN. Council representatives must actively bring their State’s policies and capabilities into the simulation. Representatives are welcome and encouraged to make declarative statements—including real or implied threats and deals—that do not carry operational implications outside of the United Nations; however, representatives must always consult with the Simulation Staff before making any operational decisions.

Operational decisions include any actions that would have a real-world effect outside of the United Nations, including, for example, the announcement of movements of, or actions by, national military forces. In these cases, the Simulation Staff act as the home office or government of the involved Member States(s).

Parties to the Dispute

Sometimes other States and organizations will be involved in the deliberations of the Council as Parties to the Dispute. Delegations representing these States, if present at AMUN, will be asked to participate in deliberations by the Council. If they are not present, or cannot provide a representative to address the Council, a member of the AMUN Secretariat will represent them as necessary. It is customary for the Council to request the presence of relevant Member States during discussion of a topic relevant to that State’s interests, however it is not required. Any State mentioned in the background research for a specific Security Council has the potential to be called as a Party to the Dispute in the Council as well as any State related to a topic relevant to international peace and security. The Secretariat will notify in advance States likely to be asked to appear before one of the Security Councils. Those delegations should have one or more representatives prepared to come before the Council at any time. Because these States will not be involved in all issues, the representative(s) responsible for the Party to the Dispute must be assigned to another Committee, preferably with a second representative who can cover that Committee while they are away. A floating Permanent Representative would also be ideal for this assignment.

Roleplaying in Historical Security Councils

AMUN’s HSCs are unique not only in their topics, but also in their treatment of those topics. History and time are the HSC’s media, and they are flexible. History will be as it was written until the moment the Council convenes; the start date for the historical simulations is provided later in this chapter. From the start date forward what transpires will be dependent upon both Council Members’ actions and Simulation Staff decisions. Council Members are encouraged to exercise free will based on the range of all the choices within their national character, upon the capabilities of their governments and within the bounds of realistic diplomacy.

Effective roleplaying for an HSC Member State will not just be a routine replay of national decisions as they evolved in that year. Indeed, the problems of the era may not transpire as they once did, and this will force active evaluations—and reevaluations—of national policies. Thus, it cannot be said that the policy course a government took in that year will necessarily be the wisest. Even were circumstances the same, it is not a sure thing that any given government would do things exactly the same way given a second opportunity to look at events. History is replete with the musings of foreign ministers and heads of state pining for second chances.

HSC simulations will follow a flexible timeline based on events as they occurred and as modified by the representatives’ policy decisions in the Council. The Secretariat will be responsible for tracking the simulation and keeping it as realistic as possible. In maintaining realism representatives must remember that they are roleplaying the individual assigned as their State’s representative to the United Nations. They may have access to the up-to-the-minute policy decisions of their States, or they may be relatively in the dark on their State’s moment-to-moment actions in the world.

Open Agenda

A unique feature of each Security Council simulation at AMUN is the Council’s ability to set its own agenda. The situations outlined in the council-specific topic briefs on the following pages are only a few of those facing the world at the time and each Security Council can discuss any topic that the body wishes. For the Contemporary Security Council this includes any real-world event up until the day the simulation convenes. For the Historical Security Councils, representatives should have a working knowledge of the events prior to and including the start date for their respective simulation. For the Historical Security Council of 1993, the start date is 23 January 1993.

For the time periods in question, open issues could include any active United Nations peacekeeping operations, the work of any United Nations body active at the time, and any social or economic issue of the day. It is strongly recommended that all representatives be well versed on current and historical global events relevant to their simulation.

Other Aspects to Consider

  • Council Representatives must actively bring their country’s policies and capabilities into the simulation when discussing problems and issues before the Council.
  • Representatives should consider the cost of involvement by the United Nations. An increase in costs often causes the Security Council to re-prioritize its efforts.
  • Sovereignty and the role of the Council and the United Nations are also key points to consider. While state governments often do not want international meddling in what they feel are national policies or disputes, this in no way lessens the responsibility of Council Members to make the effort and find ways to actively involve themselves in crisis solutions. This task must, however, be accomplished without violating the bounds of the Member States’ national characters.

Background Research

The following sections offer brief synopsis of the main international situations facing the Security Councils. For the Contemporary Security Council these briefs are current as of summer 2022. Information for the Historical Security Councils covers information available up until the respective start dates of each simulation. AMUN recommends that representatives have a solid foundational knowledge of the background of major international issues. The topics laid out in this handbook are provided as a starting point for further research.

Security Council Rules of Procedure

1.0 Administrative

1.1 The Secretariat. The Secretariat consists of the volunteer staff members of American Model United Nations (AMUN).

1.2 Rules Committee. The President of the General Assembly, the Director of Rules and Procedures, the Director of Security Council Procedures, and one other person as appointed by the Secretary-General shall compose the membership of the Rules Committee.

1.3 Credentials. All questions concerning the validity of representative credentials shall be submitted in writing to the Secretariat,

  • The Secretariat has sole authority to decide all questions concerning credentials, and
  • Representatives must wear approved credentials at all times while on the Conference premises.

1.4 Quorum. A quorum is made up of all Member States; to begin a Council session all Members must be present,

  • The Rules Committee reserves the right to adjust quorum as it deems necessary.

1.5 Security Council Officers. The Secretariat shall appoint the President and Vice President of the Security Council and shall select any other positions necessary to help conduct the sessions of the Council.

1.6 General Authority of the Security Council President. In addition to exercising such authority conferred upon the President elsewhere in these rules, the President shall:

  • Declare the opening and closing of each session,
  • Ensure the observance of the rules,
  • Facilitate the discussions of the Council and accord the right to speak,
  • Advise the Council on methods of procedure that will enable the body to accomplish its goals, and
  • Rule on points and motions and, subject to these rules, have complete control of the proceedings of the Council and the maintenance of order at its meetings.
  • During the course of the session the President may propose Suspension of the Meeting (rule 7.1), Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), Closure of Debate (rule 7.5), Consultative Session (rule 7.7), and Limits on Debate (rule 7.11). The President is under the direct authority of the Rules Committee and may be directed to inform the Council on matters of procedure if such action is deemed necessary by the Rules Committee.

1.7 Absence of Council President. If the Council President is absent during any part of a Council session, the President shall  designate an individual, normally the Vice President, to chair the Council session with the same authority.

 

1.8 Attendance at Security Council Sessions. Each Security Council Member delegation assumes the responsibility to have present a minimum of one accredited representative at each Council session.

1.9 Emergency Council Sessions. Emergency Security Council Sessions may be called by the Secretary-General at any time international conflicts require immediate Council attention, as established in the Charter of the United Nations.

1.10 Provisional Agenda. The Secretariat shall distribute a provisional agenda to all delegations prior to the start of the Conference,

  • This agenda in no way limits the Council’s topics, and
  • This agenda in no way confirms the inclusion of topics during the Council’s deliberations.

1.11 Daily Order of Consideration of Agenda Topics. The Council will establish the daily order of consideration of agenda topics at the start of each daily session. Once established, this will become the working agenda for the duration of that day,

  • Agenda topics will be discussed in the order in which they appear on the working agenda (rule 7.10), and
  • A delegation wishing to change this order may move to add an agenda topic (rule 7.8) and change the order of consideration of the working agenda (rule 7.9).

1.12 Participation by Non-Council Member States and International Organizations. When an issue before the Security Council involves a non-Council United Nations Member State or Observer, the Council may request that the delegation be represented during Council sessions in which the issue is being discussed,

  • To do this a Council Member must move that the Member or Observer be brought as a Party to the Dispute (rule 7.15).
  • A non-Council United Nations Member or Observer that has been requested to attend Council sessions will usually be given debating privileges, allowing the delegation to be recognized by the President during debate,
  • A non-Council United Nations Member State or Observer may submit draft resolutions or amendments, but may not move these to the floor or vote at any time, and
  • A non-Council Member requested to attend a Council session, but not given debating privileges, will be subject to a question and answer period.

When discussing any issue, if the Security Council finds it necessary to have present a representative of a non-United Nations Member State, an international organization or any other persons it considers competent for the purpose, the Council may request one by means of Party to the Dispute (rule 7.15). A representative will be made available to the Council in a timely fashion,

  • These representatives may not be given debating privileges, but will be subject to a question and answer period, and
  • The Secretariat will assume full responsibility to certify representatives’ credentials prior to their appearance before the Council.

If it is determined that many Member or Observers outside of the Contemporary Security Council have an interest in a specific issue, the Council may declare an Open Meeting on any issue being discussed,

  • In order to allow all delegations time to prepare their comments, an open meeting in the Council should be announced at least two hours in advance of the open debate session (rule 7.15), and
  • Any United Nations Member State or Observer may participate in an open meeting.

1.13 Security Council Priority Relating to Issues Concerning the Maintenance of International Peace and Security. The Security Council, as established in the United Nations Charter, shall have priority over the General Assembly on issues that pertain to the maintenance of international peace and security,

  • Issues of this type, while under discussion in the Security Council, shall be seized from General Assembly action,
  • General Assembly draft resolutions that deal with a seized issue may be discussed and amended, but no final vote on the draft resolution may be taken, and
  • Accordingly, any General Assembly draft resolution pertaining to a seized issue may be discussed and amended but cannot be put to a final vote in the General Assembly until the Security Council has completed its deliberations on the issue.

If no resolution has been adopted, the Security Council will be considered to have completed its deliberations on a seized issue once that agenda topic is no longer under discussion. The Council may declare itself actively seized on a topic by stating this in a resolution; this seizure will prevent the General Assembly from taking action until a two-hour time period has elapsed. Throughout the General Assembly, representatives will be kept informed by the Secretary-General of any seized issues.

2.0 General Rules

2.1 Statements by the Secretariat. The Secretary-General or any member of the Secretariat may make verbal or written statements to the Security Council at any time.

2.2 Diplomatic Courtesy. All participants in the AMUN Conference must accord Diplomatic Courtesy to all credentialed representatives, Secretariat Members, Faculty Advisors, Observers and Hotel staff at all times,

  • Representatives who persist in obvious attempts to disrupt the session shall be subject to expulsion from the Council by the President,
  • The Secretariat reserves the right to expel any representative or delegation from the Conference, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

2.3 Speeches. No representative may address the Council without obtaining the permission of the President,

  • Delegations, not representatives, are recognized to speak; more than one representative from the same delegation may speak when the delegation is recognized,
  • Speakers must keep their remarks germane to the subject under discussion,
  • A time limit may be established for speeches (rule 7.11),
  • At the conclusion of a substantive speech, representatives will be allowed to answer questions concerning their speech,
  • A delegation that desires to ask a question of the speaker should signify by raising a Point of Inquiry (rule 6.3),
  • All questions and replies are made through the President,
  • A speaker who desires to make a motion may do so after speaking and accepting points of inquiry, but prior to yielding the floor, and
  • By making a motion the speaker yields the floor.

2.4 Recognition of Speakers. Delegations wishing to speak on an item before the body will signify by raising their placards,

  • The exception to this rule occurs on any Point of Order (rule 6.1), Information (rule 6.2), or Inquiry (rule 6.3), at which time a representative should raise their placard and call out “Point of ___________” to the President,
  • Points will be recognized in the order of their priority,
  • Motions may not be made from Points of Order (rule 6.1), Information (rule 6.2) or Inquiry (rule 6.3), except
    • A motion to Appeal the Decision of the President (rule 7.6), may be made when recognized for a Point of Order.
  • The President shall recognize speakers in a fair and orderly manner, and
  • Speakers’ lists will not be used, except during an open meeting (rule 1.12).

2.5 Right of Reply. The President may accord a Right of Reply to any representative if a speech by another representative contains unusual or extraordinary language clearly insulting to personal or national dignity,

  • Requests for a Right of Reply shall be made in writing to the President,
  • Requests shall contain the specific language which was found to be insulting to personal or national dignity,
  • The President may limit the time for reply,
  • There shall be no reply to a reply, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

2.6 Withdrawal of Motions. A motion may be withdrawn by its proposer at any time before voting on it has begun,

  • A withdrawn motion may be reintroduced by any other delegation.

2.7 Dilatory Motions. The President may rule out of order any motion repeating or closely approximating a recent previous motion on which the Council has already rendered an opinion,

  • This decision is not appealable.

2.8 Open Debate on Motions. Representatives wishing to speak to a motion may do so for any motions which are subject to open debate,

  • The President shall declare the opening and closing of debate on motions,
  • Points of Inquiry are not in order during this debate,
  • Motions of higher priority than the one being debated may be made from the floor during open debate,
  • The President will declare debate closed when no other delegation raises its placard to signify desire to speak,
  • Closure of open debate may not be moved by a delegation from the floor, and
  • The body will move to an immediate vote on the motion following the President’s declaration of closure.

2.9 Consultative Session. The Council may choose to suspend its rules and enter an informal, consultative session moderated by the Council President if the Members determine that this process will better facilitate the discussion of a particular issue,

  • The Council will move immediately into a formal session once the time period or topic set for the Consultative Session has expired (rule 7.7).

3.0 Rules That Relate to the Rules

3.1 Rule Priority and Procedure. The rules contained in this handbook are the official rules of procedure of American Model United Nations and will be used for all Council sessions. These rules take precedence over any other set of rules.

3.2 Precedence of Rules. Proceedings in the Security Council of AMUN shall be conducted under the following precedence of rules

  1. AMUN Rules of Procedure,
  2. AMUN Security Council Order of Precedence of the Rules Short Form,
  3. Rulings by the Rules Committee,
  4. Historical usage of the AMUN Rules of Procedure,
  5. Historical usage of the United Nations Rules of Procedure,
  6. The Charter of the United Nations.

3.3 The Order of Precedence of Motions. The order of precedence of motions is listed in order of priority in both the Security Council Precedence Short Form and in these rules under Section 7, “Motions in Order of Priority.” 

3.4 Rule Changes. The Rules Committee reserves the right to make changes to these rules at any time. Should a change occur, it will be communicated to the representatives in a timely manner.

4.0 Draft Resolutions, Amendments & Statements

4.1 Definition of Draft Resolutions. A draft resolution is a written proposal consisting of at least one preambular and one operative clause.

4.2 Draft Resolutions. Draft resolutions may be submitted to the Security Council President/Vice President for approval at any time during the Conference,

  • For a draft resolution to be considered it must be organized in content and flow, in the proper format and approved by the Council Dais, and
  • After acceptance by the dais, draft resolutions shall be processed in the order in which they are received and distributed to all delegations as soon as feasible.

A draft resolution that has been distributed may be proposed when the Council considers the agenda topic that is the subject of the draft resolution,

  • Only one draft resolution may be considered at any time during formal debate,
  • Once a draft resolution is on the floor for discussion, additional sponsors may only be added to that draft resolution with the consent of the original sponsor(s),
  • Once a vote has been taken on a contested amendment to a draft resolution, no additional sponsors may be added or removed, and
  • Friendly amendments (rule 4.4) do not limit the addition of sponsors as noted above, and
  • See also Closure of Debate on an Agenda Topic (rule 7.4), Closure of Debate (rule 7.5), and Consideration of Amendments (rule 7.14).

4.3 Definition of Amendments. An amendment to a draft resolution is a written proposal that adds to, deletes from, or revises any part of a draft resolution.

4.4 Amendments. All amendments must be submitted on an official amendment form to the President/Vice President for approval,

  • For an amendment to be considered it must be organized in content and flow, be in the proper format, and be approved by the Council Dais,
  • Approved amendments will be assigned an identification letter by the Vice President, and
  • Typographical errors in a draft resolution will be corrected by the President/Vice President and announced to the body.

One or more amendments may be considered on the floor at any given time (see also Closure of Debate on an Agenda Topic (rule 7.4), Closure of Debate (rule 7.5), and Consideration of Amendments (rule 7.14)).

An amendment will be considered “friendly” if all sponsors of the draft resolution are also sponsors of the amendment,

  • A friendly amendment becomes part of a draft resolution upon the announcement that it is accepted by the dais,
    • A vote is not required to add a friendly amendment to a draft resolution,
  • The President shall announce the acceptance of a friendly amendment on the first opportunity at which no speaker has the floor, and
  • Friendly amendments cannot be accepted after a vote has been taken on a contested amendment, or after closure of debate on the resolution has been moved.

4.5 Withdrawal of Sponsorship. Sponsorship of a resolution or amendment may be withdrawn at any time before entering into voting procedure on the item,

  • Sponsorship of a resolution may not be withdrawn after a vote has been taken on a contested amendment,
  • If a draft resolution or amendment has all sponsorship withdrawn, any delegation may take up sponsorship of that draft resolution or amendment by informing the President,
  • If all sponsors withdraw from a draft resolution or amendment, it is automatically removed from consideration.

4.6 Definition of Presidential Statements. The Security Council may choose to issue a Presidential Statement on issues which do not warrant a resolution. This statement is formally issued by the President of the Council, but is drafted by the body, or its designees.

4.7 Presidential Statements. Presidential Statements are discussed, drafted and accepted in informal debate or outside of a formal Council session,

  • This statement must be accepted by a consensus of the Council,
  • As this type of statement does not represent a formal decision of the Council, no formal vote is recorded on a Presidential Statement, and
  • Unlike resolutions, Presidential Statements are not binding on Member States.
  • A Presidential Statement may be submitted to the Security Council President/Vice President for approval at any time during the Conference,
  • For a Presidential Statement to be considered it must be organized in content and flow, be in the proper format, and be approved by the Council Secretariat.

5.0 Voting

5.1 Voting Rights. Each Security Council Member is accorded one vote,

  • No delegation may cast a vote on behalf of another Member State.

5.2 Votes Required for Passage. Unless otherwise specified in these rules, decisions in the Council require nine affirmative votes for passage,

  • Historical Security Councils occurring prior to 1966, consisting of eleven members, require seven affirmative votes for passage of decisions.

5.3 Adoption by Consensus. The adoption of amendments and draft resolutions by consensus is desirable when it contributes to the effective and lasting settlement of differences, thus strengthening the authority of the United Nations,

  • Any representative may request the adoption of an amendment or draft resolution by consensus at any time after closure of debate has passed,
  • For Presidential Statements, the required method of voting is adoption by consensus,
  • The President shall then ask whether there is any objection to consensus and then shall ask if any Member States wish to abstain from consensus,
  • Delegations abstaining from consensus will be officially recorded,
  • If there is no objection, the proposal is approved by consensus 
  • If any representative objects to consensus, voting shall occur as otherwise stated in these rules.

5.4 Method of Voting. The Council shall normally vote on motions by a show of raised placards,

  • The votes of Council Members on all substantive matters shall be officially recorded, and all substantive matters are subject to the Consent of the Permanent Members, regardless of the means by which they are voted upon (rule 5.8),
  • Any delegation may request a roll call vote on substantive matters, unless adopted by consensus; the President may grant a request by a delegation for a roll call vote on any substantive matter, and the President’s decision on such a request is not subject to appeal,When applicable, roll shall be called in English alphabetical order beginning with a Member selected at random by the Vice President,
  • Representatives shall reply “yes,” “no,” “abstain” or “abstain from the order of voting,”
  • A Member may abstain from the order of voting once during a roll call; a second abstention from the order of voting will be recorded as an abstention.

5.5 Conduct During Voting. Immediately prior to a vote, the President shall describe to the Council the item to be voted on, and shall explain the consequences of a “yes” or a “no” vote. Voting shall begin upon the President’s declaration “we are now in voting procedure,” and end when the results of the vote are announced,

  • Following Closure of Debate, and prior to entering voting procedure, the President shall pause briefly to allow delegations the opportunity to make any relevant motions,
  • Relevant motions prior to a vote include Adoption by Consensus (rule 5.3) Suspension of the Meeting (rule 7.1), Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), Consultative Session (rule 7.7) and Division of the Question (rule 7.12), 
  • Relevant requests prior to a vote include Adoption by Consensus (rule 5.3), Request for a roll call vote (rule 5.4), and
  • Once in voting procedure, no representative shall interrupt the voting except on a Point of Order or Point of Information concerning the actual conduct of the vote.

5.6 Changes of Votes. At the end of roll call, but before Rights of Explanation (rule 5.7) are granted and the subsequent announcement of the vote, the Vice President will ask for any vote changes. Any delegation that desires to change its recorded vote may do so at that time.

5.7 Rights of Explanation. Rights of Explanation are permitted on all substantive votes after voting. The President may limit the time for Rights of Explanation.

5.8 Consent of the Five Permanent Members. As established in the Charter of the United Nations, each of the five Permanent Members (China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) shall have the right to veto any substantive matter which comes to a vote before the Security Council,

  • A substantive matter which has a majority of votes in favor but receives a “no” by any Permanent Member fails due to lack of consent of the Permanent Members.

6.0 Points of Procedure in Order of Priority

6.1 Point of Order. During the discussion of any matter, a representative may rise to a Point of Order if the representative believes that the Council is proceeding in a manner contrary to these rules,

  • The representative must call out their point and will be recognized immediately by the President and the point ruled on,
  • A representative rising to a Point of Order may not speak substantively on any matter,
  • If a representative’s ability to participate in the Council’s deliberations is impaired for any reason, the representative may rise to a Point of Order,
  • A Point of Order may interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

6.2 Point of Information. A Point of Information is raised to the President if a representative wishes to obtain a clarification of procedure or a statement of the matters before the Council,

  • The representative must call out their point to be recognized,
  • A Point of Information may not interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

6.3 Point of Inquiry. During substantive debate, a representative may question a speaker by rising to a Point of Inquiry,

  • Questions must be directed through the President and may be made only after the speaker has concluded  their remarks, but before the delegation has yielded the floor,
  • The representative must call out their point to be recognized,
  • A Point of Inquiry may not interrupt a speaker, and
  • See also Speeches (rule 2.3).

7.0 Motions in Order of Priority

7.1 Suspension of the Meeting. During the discussion of any matter, a representative may move to suspend the meeting. Suspending a meeting recesses it for the time specified in the motion,

  • The motion is not debatable,
  • The President may request that the delegation making the motion modify the time of suspension,
  • If the motion passes, upon reconvening the Council will continue its business from the point at which suspension was moved, unless otherwise stated in these rules.

7.2 Adjournment of the Meeting. The motion of adjournment means that all business of the Council has been completed, and that the Council will not reconvene until the next annual session,

  • The motion is not debatable,
  • The President may refuse to recognize a motion to adjourn the meeting if the Council still has business before it, and
  • This decision is not appealable.

7.3 Adjournment of Debate. During the discussion of any draft resolution, amendment or agenda topic before the Council, a representative may move for adjournment of debate.

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall be put to a vote,
  • Adjournment of debate on a draft resolution or amendment has the effect of removing that item from consideration and allows the committee to move on to another draft resolution or amendment,
  • An adjourned draft resolution can be resubmitted to the floor by any delegation, at the discretion of the President as to the dilatory nature of such a motion,
  • Adjourning debate on an agenda topic has the effect of postponing debate on the topic and allowing the Council to move on to consideration of other topics or issues, and
  • The Council may return to discussion of an agenda topic by changing the order of consideration of the working agenda (Rule 7.9).

7.4 Closure of Debate on an Agenda Topic. A representative may move to close debate on an agenda topic at any time during the discussion of that topic. The effect of this motion, if passed, is to bring the draft resolution that is on the floor to a vote,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote, and
  • If no draft resolution is on the floor, the effect of this motion is to end debate on this topic, removing it from the working agenda and moving to the next topic on the working agenda.

7.5 Closure of Debate. A representative may move to close debate on a draft resolution or amendment before the Council at any time during the discussion of that item. The effect of this motion, if passed, is to bring the issue under discussion to an immediate vote,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • Representatives should specify whether the motion for closure applies to an amendment or a draft resolution,
  • If closure passes on a draft resolution or agenda topic, all amendments on the floor will be voted upon in the reverse order from which they were moved to the floor,  and
  • After voting on all amendments is completed, the draft resolution shall be voted upon in accordance with these rules.

At the conclusion of voting procedure, the draft resolution or amendment being voted on is removed from consideration, regardless of whether it passes or fails. Debate then continues on the current agenda topic.

7.6 Appealing a Decision of the President. Rulings of the President are appealable unless otherwise specified in these rules,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • An appeal must be made immediately following the ruling in question,
  • This motion may be made by a delegation that has been recognized through a Point of Order,
  • The President shall put the question as follows: “Shall the decision of the President be upheld?” A “yes” vote supports the President’s decision; a “no” vote signifies objection,
  • The decision of the President shall be upheld by a tie, and
  • Rulings by the President on the following rules or motions are not appealable: Diplomatic Courtesy (rule 2.2), Right of Reply (rule 2.5), Dilatory Motions (rule 2.7), granting of a roll call vote (rule 5.4), Adjournment of the Meeting (rule 7.2), and any time a ruling by the President is a direct quotation from these Rules of Procedure.

7.7 Consultative Session. The Council may choose to suspend the rules and enter an informal, consultative session if the Members determine that this process will better facilitate the discussion of a particular issue,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • The motion should specify a length of time or topic and a moderator, if desired, for the consultative session, 
  • A moderator can be a representative or Secretariat Member, and
  • This can be set to a specific time, or based on the discussion of a specific amendment, draft resolution or agenda topic (rule 2.9).

7.8 Add an Agenda Topic. A motion to add an agenda topic to the working agenda is in order during any Council session,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote, and
  • Once an issue is added as an agenda topic, it is placed as the last topic on the working agenda.

7.9 Change the Order of Consideration of the Working Agenda. A motion to change the order of consideration of topics on the working agenda is in order during any Council session. The effect of this motion is to change the order in which agenda topics are to be discussed by the Council,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote, and
  • The delegation making this motion must state, in the motion, the new order in which the agenda topics are to be considered.

7.10 Set Working Agenda. At the start of each daily session the Security Council shall establish a working agenda (rule 1.11). A delegation may move to set the working agenda,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • The motion must include the order in which agenda topics are to be considered, and
  • A working agenda does not have to contain all agenda topics.

7.11 Limits on Debate. A motion to limit or extend the time allotted to each delegation, or limit the number of times each delegation can speak on any matter, is in order at any time,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • The time allotted for speakers on amendments, draft resolutions and agenda topics shall be no less than three minutes,
  • The time allotted for non-substantive speeches shall be no less than one minute,
  • This motion may limit the number of Points of Inquiry a speaker may accept to a minimum of one, and
  • A motion to limit the time of debate on an agenda topic, draft resolution, or amendment is also in order.

7.12 Division of the Question. A motion to divide the question, proposing that clauses of an amendment or draft resolution be voted on separately, is in order at any time prior to entering voting procedure on the amendment or draft resolution,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • No debate or vote is necessary if the sponsor(s) of the draft resolution does not object to the division,
  • If a vote has previously been taken on a contested amendment to the draft resolution, any Council Member may object to division and require a vote,
  • After a motion for Division of the Question passes, no other motion for Division of the Question is in order on that amendment or draft resolution,
  • Those clauses of the amendment or draft resolution which are approved shall then be put to a vote as a whole, and
  • If division causes a draft resolution to no longer be in proper format (rule 4.1), the proposal as a whole is rejected.

7.13 Consideration of Draft Resolutions. A draft resolution may be moved to the floor by any delegation that receives recognition by the President,

  • This motion is not subject to debate. Upon recognition of this motion by the President, the resolution will be under consideration by the body,
  • Only one draft resolution may be on the floor at any time, and
  • The delegation moving consideration will be allowed to speak first on the draft resolution, if desired.

7.14 Consideration of Amendments. To bring an amendment to the floor for discussion, a delegation must first be recognized by the President,

  • This motion is not subject to debate. Upon recognition of this motion by the President, the amendment will be under consideration by the body,
  • The Vice President will present the amendment to the body, and
  • The delegation moving consideration will be allowed to speak first on the amendment, if desired.

7.15 Party to the Dispute. When the Security Council discusses a topic/issue that involves a nation or international organization not represented on the Council, it may request a representative by moving for a Party to the Dispute,

  • This motion is subject to open debate. Upon closure of the open debate period, the motion shall then be put to a vote,
  • The motion must state the United Nations Member State(s), Observer(s) or organization(s) whose representative is desired and the length of time requested and, if a Member State or Observer, whether debating privileges are to be granted,
  • If debating privileges are not granted, a formal “question and answer” period shall be instituted by the President, for the purposes of questioning the representative on the issue(s) at hand,
  • If it is determined that many  Members or Observers outside of the Contemporary Security Council have an interest in a specific issue, the Council may declare an “open meeting” on any issue being discussed, and
  • See also Participation by Non-Council Member States and International Organizations (rule 1.12).

Security Council Rules Short Form

Rule Debatable? Vote Required Description
6.1 Point of Order No None Point out a misuse of the rules
6.2 Point of Information No None Ask any question of the President, or gain a clarification
6.3 Point of Inquiry No None Ask a question of a speaker at the end of their  speech, prior to the Delegation’s yielding the floor
7.1 Suspension of the Meeting No Majority Recess the meeting for a specific period of time
7.2 Adjournment of the Meeting No Majority End the meeting for the year
7.3 Adjournment of Debate Yes Majority Remove from consideration any substantive issue open to debate without a vote on the content of that proposal
7.4 Closure of Debate on an Agenda Topic Yes Majority End debate on an agenda topic, bringing any draft resolution and amendments on the floor to an immediate vote
7.5 Closure of Debate Yes Majority End debate on any substantive issue open to debate and bring it to an immediate vote
7.6 Appealing a Decision of the President Yes Majority Challenge a ruling made by the President
7.7 Consultative Session Yes Majority Suspend rules and move to an informal debate session
7.8 Add an Agenda Topic Yes Majority Add an agenda topic to the working agenda
7.9 Change the Order of Consideration of the Working Agenda Yes Majority Change the order in which agenda items are set on the working agenda
7.10 Set Working Agenda Yes Majority Set the daily order for the working agenda
7.11 Limits on Debate Yes Majority Impose (or repeal) a limit on the length of debate
7.12 Division of the Question Yes Majority Divide a draft resolution or amendment into two or more clauses, each to be voted on separately after Closure of Debate
7.13 Consideration of Draft Resolutions No None Bring a draft resolution to the floor for discussion
7.14 Consideration of Amendments No None Bring an amendment to the floor for discussion
7.15 Party to the Dispute Yes Majority Request a non-Security Council member be invited to the session

Notes:

  1. A majority in the Security Council shall always be 9 votes.
  2. Historical Security Councils set before 1965 will require a 7 vote majority for passage.
  3. Any motion may be seconded, but no seconds are required in the Security Council.

Download a PDF version of these rules optimized for printing.

The Security Council

Membership of the Security Council

  • Albania
  • Brazil
  • China
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Kenya
  • Mexico
  • Norway
  • Russian Federation
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Introduction

The topics covered in this chapter are a guide to help direct your research on your State’s positions. Updates on likely topics for the Contemporary Security Council will be posted online throughout the fall. These updates will be available on the AMUN website and the AMUN Accords. The Contemporary Security Council topics below are current as of 3 July 2022 and may not include all topics that the Council might discuss at Conference. With the ever-changing nature of international peace and security, what is important to the Council may change between now and the start of Conference.

For each topic area, representatives should consider the following questions to help them in gaining a better understanding of the issues at hand, particularly from their country’s perspective:

  • How did this situation begin?
  • Is this a new conflict or a re-ignition of a previous conflict?
  • How have similar situations and conflicts been peacefully resolved? What State and regional actors are involved in this conflict?
  • If there are non-state actors involved in a conflict, are there any States supporting them? If so, which ones?
  • How does this conflict indirectly affect my country? (regionally, alliances, economically, etc)

Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine

From 2007 to 2011, the European Union (EU) and Ukraine negotiated a comprehensive free trade agreement. The agreement was widely popular with Ukrainian citizens but became politically problematic when Vladamir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, announced his opposition on the grounds that the trade agreement was a threat to Russia. Political pressure from Russia mounted until Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly abandoned the trade deal in November 2013. In response protests known as the Maiden Revolution erupted across Ukraine. Protests continued for months and involved increasingly violent clashes between protesters and security forces, the eventual formation of an interim government, and the formal ouster of Yanukovych and his exile to Russia on 22 February 2014. 

Protests against the new interim government began the next day in Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea. The Crimea region is 90 percent ethnically Russian, and a majority of its citizens backed Yanukovych and his pro-Russian policies. Protests continued throughout the week and on 27 February, unmarked forces began occupying key government buildings in Crimea. Under occupation, the Crimean parliament voted in an emergency session to form a new regional government around the Russian Unity party. Russia has since confirmed the unmarked forces were from its own Black Sea Fleet, which is headquartered in Sevastopol by treaty. With the Russian Unity party in power, Russia formally incorporated the southern peninsula of Crimea on 18 March 2014. 

Also in March, separatists in the eastern region of the Donbas on the Russian border, including the major cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, seized control of the regions from the national government. The Ukrainian army attempted to retake control, but suffered a crippling defeat in the battle of Ilovaisk on 2 September 2014. The Minsk Protocol signed on 5 September 2014 and the Minsk II signed on 12 February 2015 established a tenuous cease-fire between Ukraine and the separatists groups in the self-governing regions of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). The agreements also restored national border security and maintenance to the Ukrainian government resulting in a period of relative stability and peace from 2015 to 2020. 

On 14 September 2020, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy approved a national security strategy that involved increasing partnership with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with the eventual aim to gain membership. The approved strategy was followed by a year of increasing tensions between Ukraine, Russia and NATO members, with Russia declaring that such an alliance posed a national security threat and limited skirmishes between Ukrainian and Russian forces throughout the year. By November 2021, the international community reported a renewed build up of Russian forces on the Ukrainian eastern border. After Ukraine rejected Russia’s proposal to reject NATO partnership on 17 December 2021, Russian troops also began to consolidate in Belarus on Ukraine’s northern border. Fighting began to escalate in DPR and LPR regions earlier this year on 17 February, and on 21 February Russia became the first United Nations Member State to officially recognize the regions as independent states. Minutes after a speech on 24 February by Russian President Vladimir Putin, wherein a “special military operation” was declared seeking the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine, Russia invaded Ukraine from the north (Belarus), east (Donbas) and south (Crimea). 

Members of the United Nations Security Council drafted a resolution on 25 February deploring the Russian Federation’s actions, which was subsequently vetoed by the Russian Federation. On 27 February, in response to the veto preventing the body “from exercising its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,” the Security Council successfully passed a procedural motion to call a rare emergency special session of the General Assembly to address the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine. The session has since passed non-binding resolutions deploring the invasion; calling for protections of civilians, humanitarian personnel, and journalists; and suspending Russia’s membership on the United Nations Human Rights Council. The emergency session of the General Assembly has been adjourned since 7 April. 

Within two months from starting the invasion, Russia abandoned its push from the north and the objective to quickly take Kyiv. Instead, Russia has focused on taking the entirety of the Donbas region to the east and to cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea to the south by taking the cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa. Ukraine has been able to advance against these offensives, with significant foreign aid in materiel, but has withdrawn completely from the Luhansk region. On 27 June, European leaders formally accepted Ukraine’s EU candidacy, signaling continued support from western nations, though full membership is expected to take up to a decade to achieve. 

Bibliography

United Nations Documents 

The Situation in Afghanistan

The Afghan government, established and supported by the United States and its allies since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, collapsed in mid-August 2021 amidst the final withdrawal of American and allied soldiers. The withdrawal was in accordance with an agreement concluded between the Taliban insurgents and the United States. As foreign forces withdrew from each province, Taliban fighters rapidly overran the Afghan National Army, allowing them to easily seize control of the country. The capital Kabul fell on 15 August 2021, and the United States Armed Forces completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan on 30 August 2021. 

The Taliban are now the de facto rulers of Afghanistan, and have begun forming a government. International observers have criticized the government’s lack of inclusivity, and raised concerns about the rights of women and girls under a Taliban regime. The Taliban has said it will address concerns about human rights only after it is recognized as the government of Afghanistan. It has also challenged the credentials of Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations and nominated a new permanent representative.

Afghanistan faces a serious humanitarian crisis. The Afghan healthcare system is severely underfunded, and the World Food Programme estimates that only five percent of all Afghan households have enough food to eat every day. The United Nations has expressed a commitment to remaining in the country to help coordinate and deliver humanitarian aid; to this end, the Security Council authorized two consecutive six-month extensions of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on 17 September 2021 and 17 March 2022. The Taliban government has offered assurances that the safety and security of UNAMA personnel will be respected. 

On 22 June 2022, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan’s Khost province killing an estimated 1,150 people. Special Representative Ramiz Alakbarov of UNAMA briefed the Security Council on humanitarian efforts after the earthquake. He also addressed ongoing concerns regarding human rights and the ongoing economic crisis since the Taliban assumed authority, as well as the country’s subsequent increased vulnerability to climate change. “We firmly continue to believe that a strategy of continued engagement and dialogue remains the only way forward for the sake of the Afghan people, as well as for regional and international security,” Special Representative Alakbarov stated, affirming patience is required for UNAMA to provide more than direct support of basic human needs. 

Bibliography

United Nations Documents 

The Situation in the Middle East (Yemen)

After a revolution in 2011–2012 that drove longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power, Yemen experienced several years of civil unrest and instability. In 2014, a civil war erupted when the Ansar Allah movement, commonly known as the Houthis, captured the capital city of Sanaa and drove the internationally-recognized government of Yemen to the southern Yemeni city of Aden. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is in exile, living in Saudi Arabia. 

In 2015, in support of the exiled Yemen government, a coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia launched its first bombing campaign against the Houthis and imposed a naval blockade. Since 2015, coalition forces have inflicted massive damage to Yemen’s infrastructure and have caused substantial civilian casualties. The Houthis often responded to coalition airstrikes by firing ballistic missiles across the border into Saudi Arabia. As a result, over 23 million people in Yemen face a critical shortage of food, water and medical care. The damaged infrastructure was a major contributing factor to cholera and polio outbreaks in 2019 and 2020, respectively, while massive flooding exacerbates the famine and causes further displacements.

Concurrent with the Houthi rebellion, secessionist movements threatened to divide the government. In January 2018, the Southern Transitional Council (STC), composed of government leaders in southern Yemen, seized control of Aden, confining the President’s cabinet to his presidential palace in Aden. The STC was able to maintain complete governmental control of Aden, at times with direct intervention of international allies. Since 2018, Saudi Arabia has led negotiations between President Hadi’s government and the STC, culminating in the Riyadh Agreement in November 2019 for shared control of Yemen. As a result of the Agreement, a new cabinet was sworn in in December 2020, composed equally of northern and southern officials. 

On 1 April 2022, the United Nations brokered a two-month ceasefire between the Yemen government, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and the Houthis, the first coordinated cessation of hostilities since 2016. Parties agreed to stop all offensive military actions within Yemen and across its borders, while limited commercial flights could resume in the still Houthi-held Sanaa. In the first month of the ceasefire, civilian casualties dropped by 50 percent. On the final day of the negotiated truce, United Nations Special Envoy Hans Grundberg announced that the parties were able to come to agreement once more and the ceasefire was extended an additional two months, to 2 August 2022. 

Special Envoy Grundberg briefed the Security Council on 14 June 2022. Civilian casualties are greatly reduced; “however, casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnance are increasing.” There are reports from both sides of violations of the agreement, including some armed clashes, and all parties are meeting regularly to address these issues as part of the ceasefire framework. Full implementation of the agreement has still not been achieved. A critical outstanding issue is opening Houthi-controlled roads throughout Yemen, especially to the southwestern city of Taiz. Delayed implementation, and the ongoing humanitarian crises of water, health and education, threaten the truce and the crisis could soon deteriorate. 

Bibliography 

United Nations Documents 

The Situation in Libya

It has been 11 years since the uprising in Libya that toppled the government of Muammar Gaddafi. Following the outbreak of the First Libyan Civil War in 2011, the Security Council passed Resolution 1970, which required Member States to prevent the supplying of weapons to parties in Libya or their representatives. The following month, the Council passed Resolution 1973, which authorized Member States to take all necessary measures to protect civilians, establish a no-fly zone and enforce an arms embargo. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) used Resolution 1973 as the legal basis for military intervention to assist the anti-Gaddafi uprising. Later that year, the Council passed Resolution 2009, which created the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), a political mission with a mandate to support the new transitional authority in establishing the rule of law. UNSMIL remains active today, last extended for 6 months on 29 April 2022, as does the arms embargo, last extended for 12 months on 3 June 2022. 

After Gaddafi’s ouster, divisions among the participants in the uprising undermined efforts to create a new national unity government. A Second Libyan Civil War broke out in 2014 between the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the capital city of Tripoli, and the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Hifter, which controlled (and still controls today) Benghazi and much of eastern Libya.

The LNA launched an assault on Tripoli in April 2019, but were defeated and forced to retreat after 15 months of fighting. Hifter’s campaign against Tripoli is reported to have received substantial foreign assistance in the form of weapons and mercenaries from Russia and the United Arab Emirates, though both governments deny direct involvement. The LNA’s failure to take Tripoli has been credited to intervention by Turkey, which supported the GNA with advisors, airstrikes and mercenaries. In October 2020, after a week of talks hosted by the United Nations in Geneva, the two sides agreed to an immediate ceasefire. Further talks in February 2021 resulted in the creation of a new interim government led by Abdul Hamid Dbeiba as an interim prime minister and a three-member presidential council. 

Nationwide elections were scheduled for December 2021. However, they were postponed by Parliament days before elections were to occur, citing “inadequacies in electoral legislation and challenges and appeals related to candidates’ eligibility.” Dbeiba remains interim Prime Minister of the Supreme Council of State. Despite international pressure, elections are still not scheduled. Prime Minister Dbeiba has stated parliamentary polls may be held at the end of 2022. 

Significant challenges remain despite this progress. Foreign forces, mercenaries and weapons are ever-present, threatening the peace and the establishment of a stable Libya. Both the GNA and the LNA have violated the arms embargo. Terrorist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Libya (ISIL-Libya) also continue to operate in Libya, fighting to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state. The years-long conflict has severely damaged Libya’s economy and healthcare system—the poor security situation and a lack of funding have reduced the number of functioning health facilities in the country by 50 percent since 2019

Against this backdrop of ongoing humanitarian crises, the United Nations held talks on 28 June 2022 between Parliament and the Supreme Council of State to work out a roadmap for late 2022 elections. United Nations Special Advisor on Libya, Stephanie Williams stated, “despite the progress in this week’s negotiations between the heads of the respective chambers, disagreement persists on the eligibility requirements for the candidates in the first presidential elections.” In response to continued stalemates in elections and deteriorating living conditions, Libyans stormed the parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk and protests erupted nationwide. On 3 July 2022, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged peaceful demonstrations and restrained security forces.

Bibliography 

United Nations Documents 

The Historical Security Council of 1993

Membership of the Historical Security Council of 1973

  • Brazil
  • Cape Verde
  • China
  • Djibouti
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • Russian Federation
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Venezuela

Introduction

The Historical Security Council (HSC) of 1993 will simulate the state of the world as of 23 January 1993. The Secretary-General of the United Nations was Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Historically, the major concerns faced by the United Nations at this time revolved around ongoing peacekeeping efforts in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Cambodia, southern Africa, and how to best support those peacekeeping efforts. However, the Council may discuss any issue involving international peace and security. Representatives should have a broad knowledge of the world and world events as they stood on 23 January 1993. The Security Council can, at its discretion, involve other States or parties to the dispute on a particular topic. 

One overarching theme faced by the Council in 1993 was the changing nature of international conflicts. During the Cold War, conflicts were often driven by regional proxies of superpowers or conflicts between States. With the end of the Cold War, conflicts faced by the United Nations became increasingly characterized by a collapse of State institutions and a proliferation of non-state actors. Due to the complexity of some conflicts, the Security Council began to increasingly request that the Secretary-General oversee negotiations or look into situations and report back to the Security Council.

Following the end of the Cold War, the Security Council authorized many new peacekeeping operations. While some of the new peacekeeping operations continued the traditional role of observation and monitoring, the Security Council also authorized peacekeeping operations with a wider scope in humanitarian conflicts where ceasefires were tenuous or non-existent—such as UNOSOM I in Somalia and UNPROFOR in Yugoslavia. This interplay between States and actors advocating to remain within traditional peacekeeping roles and those advocating for expanded and more active mission mandates is a factor that you as representatives will have to negotiate as you deliberate what course the Council should take. 

The brief synopsis of topics presented here offers introductory coverage of prominent international issues and is designed to direct representatives’ continued research and preparation. For each topic area, representatives should consider the following questions to help them in gaining a better understanding of the issues at hand, particularly from their country’s perspective:

  • How did this conflict begin?
  • Who are involved in the situation and what are their concerns?
  • How have similar situations or conflicts been peacefully resolved?
  • What roles can the United Nations take in the situation? What roles should the United Nations take in the situation?

The Situation in Yugoslavia

During the 1980s, economic stagnation and political disputes led to a rise in ethnic tensions between the Yugoslav republics: Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia), and Macedonia. As the largest and wealthiest republic, Serbia had significant influence over the other republics. Fears of Serbian domination led other republics, notably Croatia, to push for greater autonomy. In response, the Serbian government pressed for a strong central authority to protect the sizable ethnic Serbian population living outside of Serbia, primarily in Croatia and Bosnia. The tensions came to a head in May 1991 when, amidst outbreaks of violence between Croats and Serbs, Serbia blocked a planned vote to approve the Croatian president as president of Yugoslavia, a position which traditionally rotated between the heads of state of each republic. The political upheaval that resulted destabilized the central Yugoslav government. Over the summer of 1991, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia. Slovenia and Macedonia, having small Serbian populations, saw little pushback from the Serbian-controlled Yugoslav government; large Serbian populations in Croatia, however, drew Yugoslavia’s focus on Croatia’s independence. Heavy fighting broke out between Serbia and Croatia, with control of the modern and well-equipped Yugoslav National Army (JNA) splitting along ethnic lines as the republics declared independence. The Serbian-controlled elements of the army retained the JNA name. 

In response to the breakdown of negotiations and military conflict between Serbia and Croatia, the United Nations passed Resolution 713, establishing an arms embargo on all of Yugoslavia. Efforts by the Secretary-General and regional partners throughout 1991 and into early 1992 saw a ceasefire agreement between Croatia and Serbia, with both parties accepting a United Nations peacekeeping mission. However, observers noted Serbia only accepted the peacekeeping mission after Serbian forces occupied the Serb-inhabited parts of Croatia. The Security Council authorized the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Resolution 743 in February to help maintain the ceasefire and create the conditions for a negotiated political solution. In Resolution 749, passed in early April, the Security Council urged the rapid deployment of UNPROFOR to address the now daily reports of ceasefire violations between Croatia and Serbia. Upon arrival, UNPROFOR established United Nations Protected Areas (UNPAs) inside Croatia to protect Serb enclaves, oversee their demilitarization, work to reduce ethnic tensions that would prompt armed intervention by Serbia or Croatia, restore government functions to Croatia and ensure the withdrawal of JNA forces to Serbia. The need for troop withdrawal and demilitarization has been highlighted by a consistent pattern of pro-Serbian forces exiling non-Serbians from areas claimed as part of Serbia; with the United Nations also receiving credible reports of Bosnian and Croat forces carrying out similar programs against Serbs in areas under their control. 

Over the course of 1992, UNPROFOR managed to establish “pink zones,” an enlargement of the UNPAs to protect key infrastructure (such as dams) and cover Serb-inhabited areas of Croatia that were not covered in the initial UNPA agreements. In order to carry out their role, UNPROFOR took on the responsibility of customs and immigrations enforcement into and out of the UNPAs and pink zones. Although violence has escalated elsewhere, UNPROFOR has been largely successful in preventing a resumption of war between Croatia and Serbia. However, Croatia has pressed the United Nations to take stronger action in removing the JNA presence in Serb-inhabited areas in Croatia under United Nations protection and threatened to take action itself if the United Nations did not.

Despite the progress made by UNPROFOR in the Croatian-Serbian conflict, the situation in Bosnia has reached a crisis point. Bosnia was ethnically divided almost in thirds between Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats, and Bosnian Serbs. The three ethnic groups broke up into three “States within a State”: the Bosnian Muslims maintaining the name Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Bosnian Croats forming Herzeg-Bosnia; and the Bosnian Serbs forming the Republika Srpska (at times known as the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina). Following a referendum boycotted by the Bosnian Serbs, Bosnia became independent in May 1992. Fighting immediately broke out, as the Republika Srpska, assisted by the Serbian state, declared war on both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Herzeg-Bosnia, who were receiving assistance from Croatia. Serbian forces immediately placed the capital of Sarajevo under siege and subjected it to heavy artillery bombardments and sniper fire. Due to the difficult terrain and widespread fighting, UNPROFOR took over the transport and distribution of humanitarian assistance in Bosnia. Intense negotiation with the Republika Srpska enabled UNPROFOR to fly aid into the Sarajevo airport and bypass the dangerous mountain roads and militias, although the airport itself remained vulnerable to attack from besieging Serb forces.

The perilous situation in Sarajevo and the vulnerability of the Sarajevo airport recently came to a head in December when, in response to Bosnian Muslim attacks on Serb forces outside Sarajevo, Serbs forces used tanks to blockade the main road from the airport to the city. Although the Serbs removed their tanks within 24 hours, use of the airport remains limited due to security concerns; this has reduced the amount of aid UNPROFOR can transport into Sarajevo by nearly half. The transportation of humanitarian aid by land remains difficult due to mountainous conditions and the presence of militia roadblocks that seek to turn back UNPROFOR convoys. Although the Security Council authorized UNPROFOR to use force to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid, UNPROFOR has not made use of this authorization at this point. In addition to the widely-known humanitarian situation in Sarajevo and Bosnia, the Security Council also received credible reports of mass deportation and rape of Bosnian Muslim women. In Sarajevo in January, Serb forces stopped a United Nations armored car and shot the Bosnian Deputy Prime Minister, killing him. 

Over 1992, the Security Council came under increasing criticism for its alleged failure to protect Bosnian Muslims from Serb forces. Despite authorizing a No-Fly Zone in Resolution 786, the No-Fly Zone has not been implemented due to legal and diplomatic concerns in dealing with potential downed aircraft. The Security Council has also faced criticism for not authorizing UNPROFOR to defend Bosnian Muslims or the city of Sarajevo. The Secretary-General issued statements expressing a concern that taking strong action against Serbia could prompt the Serbian government to carry out threats against United Nations peacekeepers and, due to their siege of Sarajevo, prevent the distribution of any humanitarian aid into the city. The Secretary-General also noted the Serbian military (the JNA) has the capacity to inflict substantial casualties on UNPROFOR should a conflict develop between the two. A potentially positive development, though, came earlier this month when, under pressure to bring about a solution to the situation in Bosnia, the United Nations Special Envoy to Bosnia, Cyrus Vance, and the European representative, Lord David Owen, unveiled a peace proposal for Bosnia known as the Vance-Owen Peace Plan. The Plan involved splitting Bosnia into ten provinces, with most governmental functions carried out by the provinces in the hopes of avoiding ethnic tension. Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Serb, and Bosnian Croat leaders have expressed tentative support for the plan. With the difficulties experienced by UNPROFOR, the international community hopes the tentative support for the Vance-Owen Peace Plan will lead to a more stable situation.

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

The Situation in Somalia

Somalia has been plagued by political upheaval for the last few years. Matters reached a crisis point starting in 1990, when internal strife and corruption began to quickly erode President Mohamed Siad Barre’s power. A number of clan-based militias consolidated control of their individual regions throughout Somalia, resisting the power and authority of the central government. Some militias like the United Somali Congress (USC) and Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) escalated the conflict by attacking Somali armed forces directly. At the end of 1990, the USC launched an offensive against the capital city of Mogadishu, and, on 27 January 1991, Barre fled the city, leaving no clear political authority in Somalia. 

The central government is essentially nonfunctional, and there are various leaders and factions vying for power. Ali Mahdi Muhammad is currently the nominal President of the Interim Government of Somalia, but his authority is limited to Mogadishu. General Mohammed Farah Aidid, who helped oust Barre, commands one of the armed factions of the USC and is the primary opponent of President Muhammad. There are multiple other factions varying in size, political influence, territory held and military strength. This political instability has created a serious safety risk throughout the country as groups fight with each other to gain more power and prominence. 

The civil war has also seriously damaged Somalia’s agricultural infrastructure. Compounded by the lack of any stable government, this has created an almost complete inability to deliver humanitarian aid. As a result, up to 300,000 people have died due to famine, and an additional 20 percent of the total population is considered malnourished. The Security Council attempted to address this issue with Resolution 733 in January 1992 by calling for an arms embargo of Somalia. In March, shortly after United Nations-lead negotiations, President Muhammad and General Aidid signed a ceasefire. With the situation somewhat stabilized, the Council passed Resolution 746, which sent a United Nations team to ensure the distribution of aid. However, both these resolutions failed to make any sizable difference. While the conflict between the central government and General Aidid was controlled, the ceasefire and negotiations did not include or take into account the smaller factions led by other independent warlords. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of the aid is being diverted by armed gangs controlled by these other warlords.

In an effort to provide safe passage for aid, the Council passed Resolution 751, which established the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) and provided unarmed United Nations observers who could oversee aid distribution safety. By September 1992 UNOSOM had 4,219 observers on the ground. Despite these efforts, the situation continued to deteriorate, as the lack of armed response failed to deter warlords from seizing aid shipments. In response the Council passed Resolution 794 on 3 December, which endorsed “action under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations … to establish a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia,” effectively authorizing the use of force. The Unified Task Force (UNITAF), primarily supplied and coordinated by the United States, was quickly established as the military arm of this safety enforcement, and it began military operations in early December. The goal of UNITAF was to provide a temporary overwhelming number of troops to allow for delivery of aid, before returning operations to UNOSOM. UNITAF has been able to establish itself in the country, and has secured all major relief centers, allowing aid deliveries to resume. It remains to be seen if UNITAF can achieve its goal of disarming gangs and setting up a Somali police presence. 

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

  • United Nations, Security Council (1992). Somalia. Resolution 794.
  • United Nations, Security Council (1992). Somalia. Resolution 751.
  • United Nations, Security Council (1992). Somalia. Resolution 746.
  • United Nations, Security Council (1992). Somalia. Resolution 733.

The Situation in Cambodia

During the 1980s, Cambodia experienced a brutal civil war between the Viet Nam-backed central government, the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK); and the ex-Khmer Rouge, renamed the Party of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK, still commonly called the Khmer Rouge). In October 1991, the CGDK and PDK signed the Paris Agreement. Under the Agreement, the CGDK and the PDK would create the Supreme National Council of Cambodia (SNC), which would be made up of representatives from all four factions—the PDK and the three factions comprising the CGDK—and chaired by Prince Norodom Sihanouk. As part of the Agreement, the SNC delegated to the United Nations all necessary power to ensure the implementation of the Agreement. Following the signing of the Agreement, the Security Council passed Resolution 745, authorizing the creation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). 

Under the terms of the Agreement, UNTAC had an expansive mandate in Cambodia; it was tasked with: overseeing the disarmament of forces and their integration into a national army; monitoring the ceasefire; overseeing the rehabilitation of Cambodian infrastructure; overseeing the repatriation of refugees and displaced persons; helping restore law and order; and preparing for free and fair elections. Existing laws and policies could be nullified by UNTAC if they were contrary to UNTAC’s mandate and the terms of the Agreement. To that end, UNTAC, in effect, took over the administration of Cambodia, acting on the advice of the SNC when consensus was present. By October 1992 UNTAC began registering voters for elections to be held in late April and early May of this year.

Although UNTAC has observed non-compliance and ceasefire violations from all parties, the United Nations has determined the primary source of non-compliance is coming from the PDK. Despite outreach by UNTAC and the United Nations to address the PDK’s concerns, the PDK continues to violate the agreement, refusing to disarm its forces. In November, in response to increasing attacks and ceasefire violations, the CGDK petitioned the United Nations to pause the disarmament process, so their forces could return to combat with the PRK. The Security Council declined the request, instead passing Resolution 792, condemning the PDK and stating an election would occur no later than May 1993. Since December, with the start of the dry season and despite the presence of approximately 15,000 UNTAC peacekeepers, the number of observed ceasefire violations has increased, prompting many recently-returned refugees to flee again, undoing much of the progress UNTAC had made to restore stability. 

As a result of the escalating violence, the members of the CGDK have increased their criticism of UNTAC, claiming it is incapable of preventing escalating violence. In December, in an attempt to ensure a greater UNTAC presence in PDK controlled areas, UNTAC increased patrols; in response to the increased patrols, the PDK temporarily detained six UNTAC peacekeepers on charges of spying for Viet Nam. Despite the increasing violence, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali stated elections would go ahead in May 1993, with or without the participation of the PDK.

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

 

The Situation in Southern Africa

The end of the Cold War brought political changes to southern Africa. Peace agreements were signed in Angola and Mozambique that ended long-running proxy wars, and the white-rule government of South Africa agreed to end aparthied. Despite the progress, significant problems remain while the details of these new political agreements are negotiated. 

South Africa

In South Africa, despite the repeal of the ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and other black nationalist parties in 1990, negotiations on how to peaceably transition to majority rule in South Africa between the ANC, the National Party and other South African organizations remains ongoing. Continued violence between factions threatens the process as well. After the Boipatong massacre in June 1992, in which 45 ANC supporters were killed by supporters from a rival faction, the ANC withdrew from negotiations. In response to the escalating violence, the Security Council passed Resolutions 765 and 772 in July and August, which condemned the violence and established the United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa (UNOMSA), giving it the mandate to observe the political environment in South Africa. In September 1992, following international and domestic pressure, the ANC agreed to rejoin negotiations.

Angola

United Nations peacekeeping involvement in the Angolan Civil War began in January 1989 with the establishment of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM I). UNAVEM I was largely successful in achieving its mandate to oversee the withdrawal of Cuban and South African forces from the country. After the Peace Accords for Angola (Bicesse Accords) were signed on 31 May 1991, the Council re-authorized the mission—now called UNAVEM II—to observe the ceasefire between the government of Angola, controlled by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), and the guerilla fighters of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Although UNAVEM II observed no major ceasefire violations, both the MPLA and UNITA failed to maintain the agreed-upon schedule for troop demobilization

The Security Council also assigned UNAVEM II responsibility for observing the Angolan elections in October 1992. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General announced that, although there were instances of electoral irregularity and intimidation, the election was generally free and fair and won by the MPLA. Violence broke out across the country as UNITA, claiming the elections were rigged, attacked and occupied towns across Angola, including the major city of Uige. In response to the outbreak of violence, in November 1992 the Security Council authorized an extension of UNAVEM II to convince UNITA and the MPLA to abide by the elections.

Mozambique

On 4 October 1992, the government of Mozambique signed the Rome General Peace Accords with the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), ending a 14-year civil war. The Accords called for the United Nations to help with implementing the agreement and with running the new national elections, scheduled for October 1993. The Security Council, at the request of the Mozambican government and RENAMO, voted in December to establish the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) to oversee the implementation of the accords and the demobilization and disarmament of fighters; monitor the election process; and provide humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the fighting. As of January, the bulk of UNOMOZ’s manpower, particularly peacekeepers, have yet to arrive due to logistical and administrative delays.

Bibliography

United Nations Documents

  • United Nations, Security Council (1992). Mozambique. S/RES/797.
  • United Nations, Security Council (1992). South Africa. S/RES/772.
  • United Nations, Security Council (1992). South Africa. S/RES/765.
  • United Nations, Security Council (1991). Angola. S/RES/696.
  • United Nations, Security Council (1988). Angola. S/RES/626.

United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

Peacekeeping missions are not expressly mentioned in the United Nations Charter; rather they were developed out of Chapters VI and VII. As a result, peacekeeping has evolved over time, and there is no standard formula for how operations are funded, deployed and/or managed. United Nations Peacekeeping Operations are designed to stabilize an environment and facilitate a peaceful end to any conflict. During the Cold War, the United Nations primarily, with some exceptions, only authorized peacekeepers to maintain a stable environment between two consenting parties. However, with the end of the Cold War, the Security Council has authorized peacekeepers to play increasingly prominent roles in active combat zones. This evolving usage of Peacekeeping Operations has resulted in increasing strain on the United Nations budget. 

The number of both United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Peacekeepers has risen dramatically over the previous five years. Before 1988 there were an average of four Peacekeeping Operations per year and an average of 9,500 personnel deployed. However, in the past five years the average number has increased to 12 operations with an average of 22,400 personnel. This can be attributed to numerous factors, including the increasing cooperation among the Permanent Members, countries decreasing military budgets and increasing civil unrest. In 1992 alone the United Nations supported 52,000 peacekeeping personnel at a cost of 2.8 billion US dollars; $670 million of this is currently unpaid, a large part of which is owed by Members of the Security Council. Today, there are fourteen active United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, with the most—four—being in the Middle East. This drastic increase has brought about significant budgetary constraints and left Peacekeeping Operations in limbo.

Bibliography

 

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), sometimes referred to as the World Court, is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It sits in The Hague, Netherlands and is composed of fifteen independent Justices from around the world. The ICJ is the only court in the world with general and near-universal jurisdiction; countries may bring cases before the Court even without becoming United Nations Member States, as long as both countries have consented to be subject to the Court’s jurisdiction. It may entertain any question of international law, subject to the provisions of its founding statutes.

The Court’s role is to examine international law and to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states. It also dispenses advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies. Since 1946, the Court has heard more than 160 cases, including more than 25 advisory proceedings. ICJ opinions, unlike most national legal systems, do not create binding legal requirements on other United Nations Member States, and cases are generally treated independently of one another.

The Justices are nominated by regional groups and elected by the General Assembly and Security Council for nine-year terms. Justices must receive a majority vote in each body to be named to the Court, and one third of the Court is elected every three years. When a state is party to a case before the ICJ, it enjoys the right to appoint an ad hoc justice. The ad hoc Justice does not need to be from that State. The ad hoc Justice enjoys the same privileges and responsibilities as the other Justices, but his or her obligation is limited to proceedings in that case.

Unlike most other international organizations, the members of the Court are not representatives of governments; they are independent judges whose first duty is to exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously in the Court.

Proceedings before the Court can last for years, involving complex issues of international law as well as difficult political questions. The States party to the case submit pleadings, or memorials, in writing along with extensive records supporting their cases. The States also participate in oral arguments, which allow States to explore the case and respond to questions from the Justices. The Justices deliberate in private, then read the judgment in an open forum.

Common Types of Cases

The Court hears two types of cases. First, there are contentious cases between two States where there is a legal dispute and the States parties are bound to the Court’s decision. States may institute proceedings by mutual agreement or by unilateral application against a respondent State. This is different from the International Criminal Court, which hears cases against individuals for crimes such as genocide.

Many of the Court’s cases—historical and contemporary—are border or territorial disputes, where two States agree to let the ICJ decide where the border should be. Other cases are highly charged and quite political in nature—it is rare that the interpretation and application of the law operates entirely outside of the realm of political discourse, and in the international arena, this is especially true.

Second, the Court can issue advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by other agencies, such as the Security Council or the General Assembly. This opportunity is open to the five major organs of the United Nations and 16 other specialized agencies. Unlike the rulings in contentious cases, advisory opinions are not binding on the parties that request the opinion; the organization is under no legal obligation to follow the Court’s recommendation. The Court requests written and oral proceedings for the case, although these processes may be truncated when compared to the process used for contentious cases.

Structure of the AMUN ICJ

In keeping with AMUN’s philosophy of simulating United Nations bodies as closely as possible, the AMUN ICJ closely resembles the ICJ in the Hague. The ICJ at AMUN is composed of student Justices who hear oral arguments, deliberate on the cases before them and collaboratively develop opinions of the Court. Students also participate as Advocates, presenting their case first in a written memorial and then in oral arguments, where they present their case in person and respond to questions from the Justices.

AMUN Registrars assist the Justices with any additional legal research the body may require and help facilitate the work of the Court through each of the three cases. Secretariat responsibilities also include researching cases for inclusion on the Court’s docket, reviewing memorials submitted to the Court, assisting in the preparation of the Court’s docket and providing any other assistance needed by ICJ Justices and Advocates.

The cases preselected by the AMUN Secretariat form the Court’s docket. This year the Court is deliberating three cases:

  • Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan)
  • Jadhav (India v. Pakistan)
  • Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia)

Additionally, the General Assembly or the Security Council may submit a request to the Court for an Advisory Opinion on a topic of international law. The Secretary-General, with the advice of the Director of the ICJ, will decide whether to include additional cases on the Court’s docket. The Court is in session to hear arguments and develop opinions throughout the Conference.

The Justices should expect to spend the first session setting the docket, electing officers, determining the final procedures of the Court and reviewing the substantive issues in each case before the Court. The rest of Conference will be spent hearing cases, deliberating and rendering opinions on those cases.

Although the Secretariat strives to give the Justices as much freedom as possible in setting the docket, some restraints do exist in the interest of promoting a fair and equal experience for the advocates as well as the Justices. All advocates will receive an equal amount of time in the docket to present their arguments, respond to questioning and for deliberation among the Justices. Although advocates will not know the order of the cases and arguments prior to the first evening of the simulation, the Secretariat, in conjunction with the Justices, will strive to communicate the order as soon as it is set to the advocates. The docket is also published in the AMUN Chronicle. After the docket is set, the Court elects a President and Vice President by secret ballot. Their duties are to moderate and time the oral arguments and facilitate the closed deliberations.

Joining the International Court of Justice

Permanent Justices

Justice positions are assigned by application on a first-come, first-served basis until the fifteen seats on the Court are filled. It is not a requirement for Justices to be a member of a delegation. Permanent Justices are full time Conference assignments, and representatives serving as Justices shall not be assigned to another simulation.

Ad Hoc Justice Application and Role at Conference

States involved in a case before the Court are strongly encouraged to place an Ad Hoc Justice on the Court if they do not already have a Permanent Justice. States wishing to do this may do so in two ways: (1) they may apply to be a permanent Justice (see above); or (2) they may appoint an ad hoc Justice. Ad hoc Justices sit on the Court only for the case in which their country is involved and must be assigned to another simulation. If States wish to appoint an ad hoc justice they must contact the Secretary-General and the Director of the International Court of Justice by 1 October by e-mailing icj@amun.org. Ad hoc Justices should, whenever possible, be paired with another representative in committee, so the State is fully represented in the committee while the ad hoc Justice participates in the Court’s proceedings.

Advocates

Advocate positions are not full-time Conference assignments. ICJ Advocates are assigned as members of the delegations who have cases before the court. Generally, Advocates should expect to spend two to three hours presenting their case and hearing the Court’s opinion during the Conference. Advocates must also serve as representatives in another AMUN simulation or as a delegation’s permanent representative. ICJ Advocate teams are limited to two people. ICJ Advocates should, whenever possible, be paired with another representative in committee, so the State is fully represented in the committee while the Advocate participates in the Court’s proceedings.

Preparation

Preparing as a Justice

Familiarizing yourself with the information provided in this handbook and on AMUN’s website is a key starting point to your preparations. Justices should familiarize themselves with the factual and legal disputes at hand, as well as the international treaties involved. Another helpful resource is previous ICJ opinions that are similar. While reading opinions, note the tone and style used by the Justices. Pay special attention to the way the Court addresses questions of jurisdiction; often this is the crux of the winning argument for the Court. Memorials written by the Advocates will be made available on the AMUN website in November as soon as memorials from all sides of a case are received by AMUN staff. Reviewing these resources is key to a successful experience.

Each Justice, while independent, will still have a roleplaying function. ICJ Justices retain their citizenship with the state their school represents at the Conference. Justices not affiliated with a delegation will be assigned citizenship with a state; while ICJ Justices are supposed to be independent advocates for the law, they often come to the Court with inherent biases based on their home country’s history, culture, religion and laws. Similar to the ICJ in The Hague, a Justice’s citizenship is important as it can sometimes cause a Justice to favor or side with the position advocated by their country of origin when that State comes before the Court.

All Justices will be expected to hear arguments and question the Advocates in all cases on the docket. Any Justice not present during the Court’s Oral Arguments may not participate in the subsequent deliberations and opinion writing for that case. After each case is argued, the Justices retire behind closed doors to deliberate and to draft the opinion of the Court. As per Article 25, paragraph 3, of the Statute of the Court, 60% of all Justices who were present for oral arguments shall suffice as quorum for deliberations. This number may be adjusted by the Director of the International Court of Justice as appropriate to facilitate the simulation. Justices discuss the case in depth, pulling from their research prior to the Conference, the Advocates’ memorials and the points raised during oral argument. If the Justices require any additional information, they are welcome to request that from the Registrars. Justices collaborate to write a majority opinion and as many concurring and dissenting opinions as the body requires. Justices use their persuasive writing and speaking skills to sway additional Justices to their position throughout the drafting process.

Preparing as an Advocate

Advocates’ opportunity to present their case is twofold: written memorials and oral arguments. Advocates must thoroughly understand the legal principles that support, and those that oppose, their position, and be able to articulate them in the face of strict scrutiny from the Justices. The research and creation of an Advocate’s Memorial is one of the most important parts of preparation for an Advocate’s at-Conference role. Time spent thoroughly researching the Advocate’s State’s positions and arguments provides Advocates with the vital information necessary to respond to questions at Conference and helps them effectively craft a memorial to present their arguments to the court before the Conference.

Prior to oral arguments, Advocates have the opportunity to consult with an ICJ Registrar about their oral argument. To take advantage of the opportunity, Advocates should attend the Advocate meeting on the first evening of the Conference, where the Registrars will share information about the simulation timeline and give Advocates the opportunity to set up a practice session.

Written Memorials

ICJ memorials should contain:

  • Jurisdictional statement and arguments (outlining whether your country recognizes the Court’s jurisdiction in this case)
  • Statement of facts (what are the relevant facts in the case?)
  • Statement of law (what treaties, customs or laws apply?)
  • Argument section (detailing how the law and facts apply to the merits of the case – how do the laws and facts support your case?)
  • Summary and prayer for relief (what do you want the Court to do?)

The Court does not require these sections to be in any particular order, although they are typically laid out in the order shown. As you draft your memorial, think carefully about how best to use these sections to your advantage to advocate your position.

The party bringing the case is called the Applicant. The defendant is called the Respondent. In an Advisory Opinion, each country is known as a Party. Due to time constraints, all Parties in any AMUN ICJ case must prepare their memorials without seeing the memorial of their opponent. However, each side should anticipate and seek to counter the arguments opposing Advocates might make. All memorials must be submitted by 25 October to the AMUN Secretariat at icj@amun.org.

Oral Arguments

Oral arguments provide Advocates with an opportunity to explain to the Justices the factual and legal merits of their case. In adversarial cases, the Applicant will argue first. The Respondent will then have the same amount of time to reply. Finally, the Applicant will have the opportunity to present a brief rebuttal. In Advisory Opinion cases, each Party will have a set amount of time to present their argument to the Court and for rebuttal, the order for which will be determined by the Justices on the first evening. Advocates presenting amicus curiae arguments will then be accorded no more than five minutes each to speak. The Justices will create the docket and define the amount of time for oral arguments. Advocates, with the exception of amicus curiae, should prepare between 10 to 20 minutes for arguments. The oral argument is not simply an opportunity to give a prepared speech; Justices often interject with multiple questions throughout the presentation. At least the first five minutes of each Advocate’s presentation will be uninterrupted, to allow each side the opportunity to freely present the key issues of their arguments. After the initial five minutes, the Advocates may continue with their presentations, but the Justices may also interject and question the Advocates on the merits of their case. Therefore, Advocates must be prepared to both answer questions and defend their positions. The following steps should be taken to prepare for oral arguments:

  1. Identify the critical issues in the case. You should try to have at least three main points to your argument.
  2. Develop a theme which incorporates your best arguments on the critical issues. Keep it simple. Remember, the best arguments are structured around a story that has a unified theme, which explains why your country has been wronged, and what the Court can do to provide a fair and just solution.
  3. Prepare an outline. The outline should include your theme, your best arguments on the critical issues, your responses to your opponent’s best arguments and ideas about answers to any other questions you think the Justices might ask. Try to make your memorial and oral argument outline consistent, so the first issue addressed in the memorial is the first issue addressed in the oral argument.
  4. Practice, practice, practice! There is no substitute for practicing oral arguments: your presentation is likely to be smoother and more persuasive. Have your Faculty Advisor or other students fire questions at you. Learn to field those questions and then transition back to the point you were making prior to the question.
  5. Learn proper courtroom demeanor. Remember to be polite and deferential to the Justices at all times. While argument is the method, persuasion is the goal.

Though each Advocate will have more than five minutes to present oral arguments, keep in mind that only the first five minutes of the presentations will be uninterrupted. Focus on the main points and key issues during the first five minutes. AMUN suggests that you follow a pyramid format; present the crux of the argument first and then use the remainder of the allotted time to expand on those issues in a more thorough and complete manner. This format can also allow for a quick means of referencing issues during the remaining period of presentation and questions. It is also wise to conclude the presentation by again summing up the key points.

Try to anticipate questions the Justices might ask and develop answers. Do not write out answers verbatim. Do, however, write out catch phrases or legal terms you will want to remember precisely. Simple, concise answers that repeatedly stress the same points are persuasive and will be remembered by the Justices. Oral arguments will involve extemporaneous speaking and responses, not the presentation of a memorized speech.

Outline the specific names of conventions, treaties and cases in your memorial and your outline. Your oral argument requires these citations to maintain your credibility with the Justices, and articulate the reasons your side of the case is stronger.

Note: Remember that the AMUN ICJ is a simulation. No one expects participants, who are not lawyers or Justices, to make presentations, decisions or render opinions with the same level of sophistication as actual ICJ Justices or Advocates. The participants’ job is to gain a basic understanding of what considerations are taken into account when presenting or presiding over a case and to prepare to argue their cases before the Court.

Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)

This is a historical case. In accordance with AMUN rules and procedures, please note that the historical timeline for this case will stop on 19 November 2012. Any and all updates to this case after that date will not be relevant to the AMUN simulation nor considered in hearing the case.

The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) has been signed by 88 Member States in a conservation effort to support whales. On 10 November 1948, Australia signed the ICRW and Japan joined soon after on 21 April 1951. On 31 May 2010, Australia formally submitted documentation to question whether the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA II) of 2005 was in violation of Japan’s commitment to the ICRW. Australia is concerned that Japan was not upholding their obligation to preserve marine mammals and the environment by whaling in Australian waters. Australia’s basis of jurisdiction was under Article 36, paragraph 2 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (Statute). The compulsory jurisdiction of the Court was recognized respectively by both Australia and Japan on 22 March 2002 and 9 July 2007. 

Australia claims the Court’s jurisdiction is compulsory. On the contrary, Japan would categorize the present issue as a bilateral legal dispute. For this reason, Japan claims the Court lacks jurisdiction in this matter, but did not raise preliminary objections.

Article VIII(1) of the ICRW allows any Contracting Government to grant to its nationals a special permit for scientific whaling. Whaling conducted under the protection of a permit is exempt from the ICRW, but all such permits must be reported to the ICRW immediately upon issuance. After the 1986 moratorium, Japan issued itself a permit under which it caught a small number of whales each year for scientific study. This program, known as JARPA I, ran from 1987 to 2005. When JARPA I expired, Japan announced that it was instituting a second phase of JARPA under Article VIII, called JARPA II. This second phase increased the sample size of whales taken under the program by 10 percent. JARPA II also expanded the study to include humpback and fin whales.

As a member of the ICRW, Australia brought to the attention of the Court Japan’s violation of the international agreement. Australia claims Japan has not been whaling for scientific purposes as agreed upon, but for commercial purposes. Australia claims Japan conducts commercial whaling in disguise. Japan asserts it is compliant with ICRW and JARPA II. Australia contends that Japan has breached the following obligations under the ICRW: 

  1. The obligation under paragraph 10(e) of the Schedule to the ICRW to observe in good faith the zero-catch limit in relation to the killing of whales for commercial purposes; and
  2. The obligation under paragraph 7(b) of the Schedule to the ICRW to act in good faith to refrain from undertaking commercial whaling of humpback and fin whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

Japan justifies its actions under JARPA II, which permits the use of non-lethal or lethal methods of whaling due to scientific research. Japan is accused of violating the Convention by whaling for commercial purposes. Under Article VIII, paragraph 1 of the ICRW, a Member State may obtain a special permit for the scientific research of whales. The special permit allows the Member State to take possession of or kill whales for scientific research purposes. 

In addition to its alleged breaches of the ICRW, Australia also contends that Japan has breached, and continues to breach, its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by removing from the sea specimens threatened with extinction absent exceptional circumstances. Similarly, Australia claims that Japan has breached its obligation under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to ensure that any actions taken within Japan’s jurisdiction are not harmful to the environment of other States. Australia also asserts that ongoing negotiations in the IWC have been “unable to resolve the key legal issue that is the subject of the dispute, namely the large-scale ‘special permit’ whaling under JARPA II.”

Japan entered several reservations to the CITES agreement for various whale species mentioned therein. Japan asserts that both CITES and CBD are not applicable to this matter. Further, even if CITES were applicable to this matter, the Convention allows for sustainable use of biodiversity. As such, Japan argues the JARPA II program fits within the Convention’s parameters.

Japan claims that JARPA II is permitted under Article VII(1) of the ICRW, which authorizes Contracting Governments to grant special permits to its nationals to kill, take or treat whales for scientific research. Further, Japan claims it is not in violation of any obligations of the Convention on Biological Diversity, including Articles 3, 5 and 10(b). Article 3 requires States to ensure that activities under their jurisdiction and control do not cause harm to other States or to areas beyond their national jurisdiction. Article 5 states, “as far as possible and as appropriate,” States Parties are to cooperate (including through international organizations) in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity beyond their national jurisdiction. Article 10(b) requires States, “as far as possible and as appropriate,” to adopt measures that avoid or minimize adverse impacts on biological diversity.

Australia requests that the Court declare that Japan is in breach of its international obligations in implementing the JARPA II program in the Southern Ocean. It also requests that the Court order Japan to cease implementation of JARPA II; revoke any authorizations, permits or licenses allowing the activities which are subject of this application to be undertaken; and provide assurances and guarantees that it will not take any further action under JARPA II, or any other similar program, until such program has been brought into conformity with Japan’s obligations under international law.

First, the question of jurisdiction must be addressed. If the Court is found to have jurisdiction, it must then decide if Japan was in violation of the ICRW and if in fact the scientific research purposes standard has been met. Furthermore, the Court must determine the obligations of a Contracting Government that issues a special permit to itself under Article VIII(1) of the ICRW.

Questions to consider:

  1. When a State is concerned its fellow Member State is not fully in compliance with commitments, through what capacity does the Court aid in keeping Member States accountable?
  2. If a Member State is in violation of similar commitments in several different agreements, can the petitioner request the Member State be held accountable to stricter standards put forth in an alternative agreement? 
  3. Do JARPA II efforts qualify to reach the standards of scientific research of whales outlined in the ICRW?

Bibliography

Jadhav (India v. Pakistan) 

This is a historical case. In accordance with AMUN rules and procedures, please note that the historical timeline for this case will stop on 17 February 2019. Any and all updates to this case after that date will not be relevant to the AMUN simulation nor considered in hearing the case. 

On 8 May 2017, the Government of the Republic of India (India) instituted proceedings against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan) in the International Court of Justice (the Court) alleging that Pakistan had violated Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 (Vienna Convention). The Application asserted this violation was found in Pakistan’s failure to inform India in a timely manner of the arrest, detention and sentencing to death by military court of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, an alleged Indian national. India’s application instituting proceedings posits that Pakistan had neglected to inform Mr. Jadhav of his rights while in custody, and had further eschewed these rights by failing to allow India’s consular officers to contact Mr. Jadhav, preventing India from providing Mr. Jadhav with appropriate representation and placing Pakistan in “brazen violation” of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention. 

Additionally, India submitted a Request for the indication of provisional measures on the same day their Application was filed. This request urged the Court to immediately “take all measures at its disposal” to suspend the execution of Mr. Jadhav’s death sentence. India also requested that the Court declare the unilateral sentencing of an Indian national in a military court to be unlawful. Finally, this request asked that the Court direct Pakistan to annul Mr. Jadhav’s sentence
“as may be available under the law in Pakistan.”

In its Application to the Court, India alleged that Mr. Jadhav was arrested near the Iranian border by a military court of dubious legitimacy on 3 March 2016, and was subsequently tried, convicted and sentenced to death while being detained in Pakistan under suspicion of espionage. India claims that it made as many as sixteen attempts to gain consular access to Mr. Jadhav, but that these were not granted by the Pakistani authorities. India stressed the continued obstacles placed before them in their attempts to contact Mr. Jadhav, who it contends was coerced into making a confession video that was disseminated as part of a press release in early April. 

Pakistani authorities countered these claims during a press conference by the Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on 14 April 2017 by insisting upon the legitimacy of their legal process, and insisted that Mr. Jadhav was provided “a law qualified field officer…to defend him throughout the court proceedings.” Pakistan further asserted that conditional consular access had been offered to India, and emphasized their right to protect their national security because of Mr. Jadhav’s alleged engagement in activities of “espionage, sabotage and terorrism.

Pakistan raised three objections to the Court, suggesting that the case was inadmissible because of India’s alleged abuse of process, abuse of rights and unlawful conduct. Pakistan also questioned the veracity of Mr. Jadhav’s identifying documents, suggesting that he may not be an Indian national, and asked that the Court “dismiss India’s request in its entirety.” 

The request to suspend Mr. Jadhav’s death sentence was granted by the Court on 9 May 2017, but the Court remained mired in questions as to the merits of the case in an international forum. 

In its Application, India posits that the Court has jurisdiction to hear this case based on Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Statute of the Court and Article I of the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes. In line with their objections based on India’s alleged three abuses, Pakistan argues that the Court is unable to render judgment on this case because the Vienna Convention is inapplicable.

It is now the Court’s responsibility to examine the admissibility of India’s Application and Pakistan’s objections thereto. Further, the Court must also establish jurisdiction to consider the background of the case and examine whether the alleged actions constitute a violation of the Vienna Convention or other tenets of International Law. If so, should the provisional measures submitted by India be upheld?

Questions to consider:

  1. How does the Vienna Convention and other relevant International Law support or refute the claims of each party?
  2. How do Member States reconcile bilateral conflict to engage diplomatically with the functions of the Court?
  3. In accordance with the provisions and intentions of the United Nations Charter and the Statute of the International Court of Justice, to what extent is the Court able to render or enforce provisional measures such as those requested by India?
  4. What are the wider-reaching implications of Pakistan’s choice whether to adhere to provisional measures upheld by the Court (such as the May 2017 order to suspend the execution of Mr. Jadhav’s death sentence) for international diplomacy and the efficacy of the Court?

Bibliography