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Resolution Guide

Draft Resolutions

There are three main parts to a draft resolution: the heading, the preamble and the operative section. The heading shows the committee and topic along with the resolution number. It also lists the draft resolution’s sponsors and signatories (see below). Each draft resolution is one long sentence with sections separated by commas and semicolons. The subject of the sentence is the body making the statement (e.g. the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council or Security Council). The preamble and operative sections then describe the current situation and actions that the committee will take.


Preambulatory Clauses

The preamble of a draft resolution states the reasons for which the committee is addressing the topic and highlights relevant past international actions. Each clause begins with a present participle (called a preambulatory phrase) and ends with a comma.

Here are some sample preambulatory clauses:


Affirming
Alarmed by
Approving
Bearing in mind
Believing
Confident
Contemplating
Convinced
Declaring
Deeply concerned
Deeply conscious
Deeply convinced
Deeply Disturbed
Deeply Regretting
Desiring
Emphasizing


Expecting
Emphasizing
Expecting
Expressing it’s appreciation
Fulfilling
Fully aware
Emphasizing
Expecting
Expressing it’s appreciation
Fulfilling
Fully aware
Further deploring
Further recalling
Guided by
Having adopted
Having considered

Having examined
Having received
Keeping in min
Noting with deep concern
Nothing with satisfaction
Noting further
Observing
Reaffirming
Realizing
Recalling
Recognizing
Referring
Seeking
Taking into consideration
Taking note
Viewing with appreciation
Welcoming


Operative Clauses

Operative clauses identify the actions or recommendations made in a resolution. Each operative clause begins with a verb (called an operative phrase) and ends with a semicolon. Operative clauses should be organized in a logical progression, with each containing a single idea or proposal, and are always numbered. If a clause requires further explanation, bulleted lists set off by letters or roman numerals can also be used. After the last operative clause, the resolution ends in a period.

Remember, only the Security Council can use the operative phrases "Condemns" or "Decides” or "Declares."" And only the Security Council may "Decide to remain actively seized on the matter.""

Here are some sample operative clauses:

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

Sponsors and Signatories

Sponsors of a draft resolution are the principal authors of the document and agree with its substance. Although it is possible to have only one sponsor, this rarely occurs at the UN, since countries must work together to create widely agreeable language in order for the draft resolution to pass. Sponsors in effect control a draft resolution and only they can approve immediate changes.

Signatories are countries that may or may not agree with the substance of the draft resolution but still wish to see it debated so that they can propose amendments.

In large committees, 20 percent of the committee must be either sponsors or signatories to a draft resolution in order for it to be presented to the dais. In small committees, that proportion is at the chair’s discretion.


Ammendments

Draft resolutions can be modified after they have already been written through amendments. An amendment is a written statement that adds, deletes or revises an operative clause in a draft resolution. The amendment process is used to strengthen consensus on a resolution by allowing delegates to change certain sections. There are two types of amendments:

A friendly amendment is a change to the draft resolution that all sponsors agree with. After the amendment is signed by all of the draft resolution’s sponsors and approved by the committee director or president, it will be automatically incorporated into the resolution.

An unfriendly amendment is a change that some or all of the draft resolution’s sponsors do not support and must be voted upon by the committee. The author(s) of the amendment will need to obtain a required number of signatories in order to introduce it (usually 20 percent of the committee). Prior to voting on the draft resolution, the committee votes on all unfriendly amendments.

Ultimately, resolutions passed by a committee represent a great deal of debate and compromise. They are the tangible results of hours if not days of Model UN debate. As a result, it is important to become familiar with the resolution process and practice drafting resolutions using the proper structure and wording.


Resolution Submission Process

Step 1

One or more delegates write a working paper. The authors of a working paper, also known as the sponsor(s), then get then required number of signatures. After roll call for each meeting, the Chair will notify the delegates of the exact number of signatures needed.

Step 2

The sponsor(s) take the working paper to the Assistant Chair, who approves it only if:

  1. It is in the proper format, does not contain a substantial number of mistakes, and is legible if handwritten;
  2. It carries the required number of signatures;
  3. It is in character for the sponsor(s);
  4. Its subject matter and proposed actions are within the power of the respective committee; and
  5. There are no other working papers circulating which are similar in substance.

If any of those conditions are not met, the Assistant Chair returns the working paper to the sponsor(s) explaining his or her reasons.

Step 3

If the conditions outlined under step two are met, and the Assistant Chair approves the document, he/she then assigns it a number and a priority and sends it to the Staff Room for typing and copying. At this point, the document can now be referred to in speeches as a draft resolution.

Step 4

Copies are distributed to all delegates. Sponsor(s) are given the floor to introduce the document as a draft resolution. After the sponsors introduce the draft resolution, the Chair will entertain points of information. Sponsors may also get on the speakers list and/or have time yielded to them in order to answer questions about the draft resolution.

Final refinement of the draft resolution in regular debate occurs through friendly amendments, which are submitted by the sponsor(s) and automatically incorporated into the text. Should there be significant changes at this time, the Director may decide to proceed again from Step 1.


Voting

After closure of debate, draft resolutions are voted upon in the order that they were received. More than one draft resolution can be passed by a committee.