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Model UN Tips for Consensus Building

consensus building
Representatives discuss a resolution at AMUN2016. Photo Credit: Aaron Jorbin

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

– Helen Keller

Consensus is an important part of diplomacy for the United Nations. Traditionally, UN representatives strive to craft diplomatic solutions that work for all their members. While this isn’t always possible on controversial topics, the vast majority of United Nations resolutions are passed by consensus. At AMUN, representatives will need to build consensus by collaborating with other delegations, considering other countries’ positions on the topic at hand and being open to and incorporating feedback from the body.

Working together towards a common goal is a common concept that is seen in almost all theories and definitions of collaboration.  For representatives in any committee, this should be a driving factor behind all group efforts. Each committee at AMUN has topics that all members are working to find solutions to. This common goal drives both debate and the writing process. Representatives will want to keep this in mind as they start drafting their documents. Though each country has its own position on the topics at hand, the overall goal of the United Nations is to come together through consensus to create concrete solutions to major problems. By understanding this concept, representatives will be better equipped to work with other delegations to create consensus within the body.

Each delegation is coming to conference to represent its country’s position. Members of the delegation are the content experts on their country’s policies and stances on the issues. Representatives wishing to build consensus will want to keep this in mind when working with other delegations. Pay close attention to debate and caucusing during suspensions of the meeting, as delegations will be discussing ideas and positions on the topics. In order to build consensus, representatives will want to consider how different ideas can be drawn together to create solutions to the topics being discussed in their committees. We have already explored some practical ways that representatives can work together to combine resolutions.

The success of any resolution or report is contingent on the collection and incorporation of feedback into the writing process. Representatives will find it easier to pass their documents by consensus if they are open to other ideas coming from the body. To be sure that they are gathering useful feedback, representatives will want to take advantage of formal debate and suspensions of the meeting to interact with other delegations on the draft documents they are creating. Working with other representatives during the writing process and bringing their ideas into draft reports and resolutions significantly increases the potential of passing these documents by consensus.

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