Delegate Handbook

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Model United Nations committees operate in much the same manner as real UN bodies. The topics you discuss in committee are complex and controversial. Your mission is to develop feasible solutions through dialogue, consensus building, and reconciliation. It is the goal of this guide to provide you with the information which you need to begin your Model U.N. and Crisis delegate experience. Although this guide is thorough, it should be understood that there are many things which you will find useful that are not included within this guide.

The three most important words that an effective delegate must keep in mind are communication, compromise, and consensus. Delegates must be able to effectively communicate their nation's policies and objectives and this can only be accomplished with Guide to Research prior to the conference. Having a strong knowledge of your nation's policies will enable you to negotiate and write resolutions more effectively.

Compromise should be one of the goals of the effective communicator. Compromise does not involve one nation sacrificing its beliefs or policies for the sake of being "part of" a resolution. Compromise is instead being sensitive to the objections of other nations and attempting, through formal debate and caucusing, to minimize negotiable differences as much as possible. Through effective compromise a consensus can be reached. No resolution, no matter how well written or constructed, will pass unless it has the support of the majority of the body. The best way to accomplish this is by cooperating on resolutions that consider a variety of opinions.

Debate in committee takes place in two ways: formal debate and caucusing. During formal debate, a nation requests to be placed on the speakers list and, when called, s/he will address the body for an allotted time. You will be in formal debate during much of your initial committee session because it is the most effective way for each nation to introduce its ideas to the entire committee. Additionally, all resolutions will be introduced and voted upon during formal debate. You should familiarize yourself with the rules of procedure prior to a conference, as they will help you greatly during formal session.

Caucusing is a suspension of the meeting for the purpose of an informal session. A caucus is usually a time to draft working papers, work out conflicts, and discuss issues freely. This is the time when most of the substantive work is accomplished. Although the work done in caucus is unofficial, it provides the director an opportunity to gauge the progress of the committee (and you).

The first step in resolution writing is creating a working paper, which is a rough draft. A working paper can be as simple as a list of ideas or can take the form of a resolution. Delegates circulate working papers to gain support for their ideas. Consensus should be built in the working paper stage to minimize later rapprochement during the amending process. It is important to sponsor one resolution per topic and strive to include as many people in the process as needed to successfully build a strong coalition. Prepared resolutions cannot be brought to the conference and are seriously discouraged, as they do not involve the work of the committee. The success of a committee and the goal of your MUN experience lie not with individual achievement; rather, it is found in cooperation and teamwork.

What is WAP? Model UN?

What is WAP?

The World Affairs Program is a student-run academic program within the College of Social Science, which gives the students of FSU a social, academic, and competitive outlet in an educational setting. The primary mission of the World Affairs Program (WAP) is to promote an increased awareness of the global community, while at the same time encouraging personal, social, and political growth among those who participate in the program. Membership in the organization is both free and open to students of all majors and levels of experience.

How do I get involved in traveling and competing?

The World Affairs Program conducts tryouts for each conference that we attend. All students are welcome regardless of major or level of experience. Tryouts can include committee/crisis simulations and position defense activities. Sometimes these simulations will require position papers. Typical attire for both tryouts and conferences is western business attire. For information about position papers and examples see

What is MUN?

According to the University of Pennsylvania's IRO website,

Model United Nations is the simulation of the United Nations. Each conference has UN committees such as the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), the Commission on Human Rights, the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL), and the Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee (SOCHUM). Besides United Nations committees, MUN also simulates other international organizations. For instance, during a MUN conference you will see committees such as the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and cabinets of governments. During a conference you will be assigned a country. It is your job to represent your country's interests in that committee. This means that you have to express and fight for a country's interest that you may not agree with. In each committee you will be assigned three topics that you will research and have to represent your country' views with. The format of a committee is in parliamentary procedure. During your committee you will try to pass resolutions, or solutions to the problems that you are debating. In order to pass a resolution you will need to build a coalition in favor of that resolution. In order to do this you will need to compromise in order to achieve your objectives.

What is Crisis Simulation?

Crisis Simulation is the advanced Model U.N. environment in which delegates participate as an individual rather than a State. Typically committees consist of nation-State cabinets, intergovernmental organizations (NATO, OCSE, UNSC), or a historical situations. These committees are much more interactive than the traditional model committee. Delegates are often afforded director type control over their position’s office. Delegates are expected to communicate with home governments, cooperate with colleagues, and issue orders to subordinates. This type of environment will test ones skills in all areas of political and personal leadership, from policy knowledge to personal relations with others to the delegates’ presence in committee.

Two way communication and judging is normally facilitated by conference staff; which are a number of secretariat members totally devoted to a single committee’s operation. This includes responding to home government notes, delivery of news information, and evaluation of a delegate’s performance.

What is the United Nations?

The United Nations is central to global efforts to solve problems which challenge humanity. Cooperating in this effort are more than 30 affiliated organizations, known together as the UN system. Day in and day out, the UN and its family of organizations work to promote respect for human rights, protect the environment, fight disease, foster development and reduce poverty. UN agencies define the standards for safe and efficient transport by air and sea, help improve telecommunications and enhance consumer protection, work to ensure respect for intellectual property rights and coordinate allocation of radio frequencies. The United Nations leads the international campaigns against drug trafficking and terrorism. Throughout the world, the UN and its agencies assist refugees and set up programmes to clear landmines, help improve the quality of drinking water and expand food production, make loans to developing countries and help stabilize financial markets.

About the United Nations

The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership now totals 189 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty which sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes: to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights, and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

UN Members are sovereign countries. The United Nations is not a world government, and it does not make laws. It does, however, provide the means to help resolve international conflict and formulate policies on matters affecting all of us. At the UN, all the Member States - large and small, rich and poor, with differing political views and social systems - have a voice and vote in this process.

The United Nations has six main organs. Five of them - the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Secretariat - are based at UN Headquarters in New York. The sixth, the International Court of Justice, is located at The Hague, the Netherlands.

The General Assembly

All UN Member States are represented in the General Assembly - a kind of parliament of nations which meets to consider the world's most pressing problems. Each Member State has one vote. Decisions on "important matters," such as international peace and security, admitting new members, the UN budget and the budget for peacekeeping, are decided by two-thirds majority. Other matters are decided by simple majority. In recent years, a special effort has been made to reach decisions through consensus, rather than by taking a formal vote.

At its 2000/2001 session, the Assembly is considering more than 170 different topics, including globalization, nuclear disarmament, development, protection of the environment and consolidation of new democracies. The Assembly cannot force action by any State, but its recommendations are an important indication of world opinion and represent the moral authority of the community of nations.

The Assembly holds its annual regular session from September to December. When necessary, it may resume its session, or hold a special or emergency session on subjects of particular concern. When the Assembly is not meeting, its work is carried out by its six main committees, other subsidiary bodies and the UN Secretariat.

The Security Council

The UN Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The Council may convene at any time, day or night, whenever peace is threatened. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to carry out the Council's decisions.

There are 15 Council members. Five of these - China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States - are permanent members. The other 10 are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Member States have discussed making changes in Council membership to reflect today's political and economic realities.

Decisions of the Council require nine yes votes. Except in votes on procedural questions, a decision cannot be taken if there is a no vote, or veto, by a permanent member.

When the Council considers a threat to international peace, it first explores ways to settle the dispute peacefully. It may suggest principles for a settlement or undertake mediation. In the event of fighting, the Council tries to secure a ceasefire. It may send a peacekeeping mission to help the parties maintain the truce and to keep opposing forces apart.

The Council can take measures to enforce its decisions. It can impose economic sanctions or order an arms embargo. On rare occasions, the Council has authorized Member States to use "all necessary means," including collective military action, to see that its decisions are carried out.

The Council also makes recommendations to the General Assembly on the appointment of a new Secretary-General and on the admission of new Members to the UN.

The Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council, under the overall authority of the General Assembly, coordinates the economic and social work of the United Nations and the UN family. As the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and for formulating policy recommendations, the Council plays a key role in fostering international cooperation for development. It also consults with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), thereby maintaining a vital link between the United Nations and civil society.

The Council has 54 members, elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms. It meets throughout the year and holds a major session in July, during which a special meeting of Ministers discusses major economic and social issues. Beginning in 1998, the Council expanded its discussions to include humanitarian themes.

The Council's subsidiary bodies meet regularly and report back to it. The Commission on Human Rights, for example, monitors the observance of human rights throughout the world. Other bodies focus on such issues as social development, the status of women, crime prevention, narcotic drugs and environmental protection. Five regional commissions promote economic development and strengthened economic relations in their respective regions.

The International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the main judicial organ of the UN. Consisting of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Court decides disputes between countries. Participation by States in a proceeding is voluntary, but if a State agrees to participate, it is obligated to comply with the Court's decision. The Court also provides advisory opinions to the General Assembly and the Security Council upon request.

The UN system

The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank group and twelve other independent organizations known as "specialized agencies" are linked to the UN through cooperative agreements. These agencies, among them the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, are autonomous bodies created by intergovernmental agreement. They have wide-ranging international responsibilities in the economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related fields. Some of them, like the International Labour Organization and the Universal Postal Union, are older than the UN itself.

In addition, a number of UN offices, programmes and funds -- such as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) - work to improve the economic and social condition of people around the world. These bodies report to the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council.

All these organizations have their own governing bodies, budgets and secretariats. Together with the United Nations, they are known as the UN family, or the UN system. They provide an increasingly coordinated yet diverse programme of action.

UN Terms and Concepts


Halting the spread of arms and reducing and eventually eliminating all weapons of mass destruction are major goals of the United Nations. The UN has been an ongoing forum for disarmament negotiations, making recommendations and initiating studies. It supports multilateral negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament and in other international bodies. These negotiations have produced such agreements as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (1996) and the treaties establishing nuclear-free zones.

Other treaties prohibit the development, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons (1992) and bacteriological weapons (1972), ban nuclear weapons from the seabed and ocean floor (1971) and outer space (1967); and ban or restrict other types of weapons. In 1997, more than 100 nations signed the Ottawa Convention outlawing landmines. The UN encourages all nations to adhere to this and other treaties banning destructive weapons of war. The UN is also supporting efforts to control small arms and light weapons. As decided by the General Assembly, an international conference in 2001 will focus on the illicit trade in small arms.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, through a system of safeguards agreements, ensures that nuclear materials and equipment intended for peaceful uses are not diverted to military purposes. And in The Hague, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons collects information on chemical facilities worldwide and conducts routine inspections to ensure adherence to the chemical weapons convention.


UN peacemaking brings hostile parties to agreement through diplomatic means. The Security Council, in efforts to maintain international peace and security, may recommend ways to avoid conflict or restore or secure peace - through negotiation, for example, or recourse to the International Court of Justice.

The Secretary-General plays an important role in peacemaking. The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which appears to threaten international peace and security; may use "good offices" to carry out mediation; or exercise "quiet diplomacy" behind the scenes, either personally or through special envoys. The Secretary-General also undertakes "preventive diplomacy" aimed at resolving disputes before they escalate. The Secretary-General may also send a fact-finding mission, support regional peacemaking efforts or set up a local UN political office to help build trust between the parties in conflict.


The UN is increasingly undertaking activities which focus on the underlying causes of violence. Development assistance is a key element of peace-building. In cooperation with UN agencies, and with the participation of donor countries, host governments and NGOs, the United Nations works to support good governance, civil law and order, elections and human rights in countries struggling to deal with the aftermath of conflict. At the same time, it helps these countries rebuild administrative, health, educational and other services disrupted by conflict.

Some of these activities, such as the UN's supervision of the 1989 elections in Namibia, mine-clearance programmes in Mozambique and police training in Haiti, take place within the framework of a UN peacekeeping operation and may continue when the operation withdraws. Others are requested by governments, as in Liberia where the UN has opened a peace-building support office, in Cambodia where the UN maintains a human rights office, or in Guatemala where the UN is helping to implement peace agreements which affect virtually all aspects of national life.


The Security Council sets up UN peacekeeping operations and defines their scope and mandate in efforts to maintain peace and international security. Most operations involve military duties, such as observing a ceasefire or establishing a buffer zone while negotiators seek a long-term solution. Others may require civilian police or incorporate civilian personnel who help organize elections or monitor human rights. Some operations, like the one in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, have been deployed as a means to help prevent the outbreak of hostilities. Operations have also been deployed to monitor peace agreements in cooperation with peacekeeping forces of regional organizations.

Peacekeeping operations may last for a few months or continue for many years. The UN's operation at the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, for example, was established in 1949, and UN peacekeepers have been in Cyprus since 1964. In contrast, the UN was able to complete its 1994 mission in the Aouzou Strip between Libya and Chad in a little over a month.

Since the UN deployed its first peacekeepers in 1948, some 118 countries have voluntarily provided more than 750,000 military and civilian police personnel. They have served, along with thousands of civilians, in 54 peacekeeping operations. Currently, some 35,400 military and civilian police personnel are deployed in 15 operations

Guide to Research

Familiarize yourself with the country that you are representing

Gaining a basic understanding of the social, economic, and political environment in your country will help you decide how your assigned country might debate and vote on a particular topic. The materials below can help you find this basic background information.

Since it is not always possible to gather sufficient information on a specific country solely from UN sources, the other materials described in this guide should be consulted. Sources such as newspapers, periodicals, and the translation services of the United States government will provide valuable information about countries around the world. If you have difficulty locating sufficient information on your particular country in the sources described here, it may be helpful to identify countries with similar domestic and foreign policies and to search for information on these countries. It is then possible to use this information to decide how your assigned country might debate and vote on a particular topic.


  • Europa World Year Book (J106 E85 latest in Gov Docs Reference; earlier in Green Stacks) is a particularly good source, providing an overview of the country's government, recent history, and economy as well as current statistical information. Find at: STROZIER LIBRARY reference section (basement).
  • United States Department of the Army Area Handbook Series provides an exhaustive source of background information on the social, cultural, historical, political and economic context in individual countries. Find at:
  • Google's Uncle Sam’s Site Search is a great index to all U.S. government sites and can provide quick access to U.S. Government resources via string search. Find at:

Gather Background Information on the United Nations Organization

Understanding how the UN is structured will help you understand its activities and what agency within the UN system is likely to work on the topic you are researching.

In addition to the main bodies of the UN (General Assembly, Security Council, etc.) there is a UN "system" agencies with special missions. There are subsidiary agencies with programmes that report directly to the Secretary General, such as UNICEF or the UN Development Programme. There are also specialized and autonomous agencies such as the World Health Organization or International Telecommunications Union that have their own governing structure.


  • About the UN -- An introduction to the structure and work of the United Nations. Select one of the links to the major bodies for additional detail. Includes an online tour. Find at:

Gather Background Information on the Assigned Issues

You need to research three aspects of your issue.

  • the overall parameters of the issue -- why does the UN feel a need to address the issue
  • what are current UN initiatives on this topic.
  • what are the opposing positions

The resources below will provide a broad overview of a wide range of issues discussed at the United Nations. Use the information you gleaned from studying the structure of the UN to determine which UN agency is most likely to work on your topic. In addition to providing a broad overview of UN activities these sources will provide citations to the working papers of the UN. These will provide a more in-depth analysis of topics.


  • The Yearbook of the United Nations which has been published since 1946 is an annual comprehensive review of UN activities. Provides references to UN documents, texts of resolutions adopted, and some voting histories. Find at: Reference Section Strozier Library, Basement
  • The UN Chronicle is a quarterly magazine containing a summary of the latest activities at the UN. Includes important resolutions, votes, and speeches. It is a useful source for up to date information. Find at: Reference Section Strozier Library, Basement
  • A Global Agenda: Issues before the […] Session of the General Assembly is an annual publication by the United Nations Association. It provides background information on the key issues to be addressed by the UN in the current session and includes references to major documents. While "Global Agenda" is not available on the web, background information from the UNA is available at the United Nations Association web site. Find at: Reference Section Strozier Library, Basement
  • The Annotated Preliminary List of Items to be Included in the Provisional Agenda of the Regular Session of the General Assembly, is an annual General Assembly document providing an introduction to each item on the session agenda. It is more detailed than “A Global Agenda”. It also includes background information and citations to documents and reports related to each agenda item. Find at: Reference Section Strozier Library, Basement
  • UN microfiche collection. The UN call number is often (though not always) A/session number/50 e.g. A/53/50 for the list from the 53rd session in 1997. Ask at the Reference Section in Strozier Library, Basement Service Desk for assistance
  • An abbreviated version is available at the UN gopher site. These online versions lack much of the detail available in the printed version.A/51/50--51st Session Agenda (1996), A/52/50 --52nd Session (1997), and A/53/50--53rd Session (1998) at the UN's gopher site {see below}.

Review Speeches at the UN by the Country's Representatives

Speeches and statements in discussions and in meetings of the principal organs of the United Nations (General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Security Council, Trusteeship Council) -- and their subsidiary standing and ad hoc committees -- are key sources for establishing the international policy position of UN member nations.


  • U.N. Website also has many speeches and additional resources regarding a countries policy. Find at:
  • AccessUN is an index to the plenary and committee documents from the principle UN bodies, such as the General Assembly or Security Council. Find at: (via-FSU Library’s connection or proxy server)

Search Hints

  • To find speeches by a specific country
    • Search by Author using either or the country name or representative's name.
    • Searching by country name is usually preferable, since the ambassador or another representative may speak for the country. However, this will also pull up letters that have been submitted by the country.
    • You can also add an additional keyword or two on the subject to narrow your search if necessary.
  • To find speeches on a topic
    • try a few key words searching in all fields
    • limit your search to masthead documents and official records
    • examine a few of the citations you retrieve and look at the subjects listed in the record.
    • go back and revise your search based on the subject headings used.

Review Policy Statements from the Country's Political Leadership

There are other useful sources for locating official statements of policy from foreign countries. Perhaps most important are letters written by heads of state and foreign ministers to the Secretary-General on issues of mutual interest. To find references to these letters, search the web-based AccessUN database, inserting the country name into the "country" field.

A popular source for finding statements of official national policy is the Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Reports series which includes English-language translations of foreign news broadcasts, press releases, newspaper articles, including official government statements. The FBIS Daily Reports CD-ROM is accessible at the Government Documents International/Foreign CD-ROM Workstation. World News Connection is a web-based version of a subset of the sources covered by the FBIS cdrom. World News Connection is available via the FSU network and in FSU libraries.

The British Broadcasting Corporation provides translations in English of news reports worldwide, including statements of government officials. These BBC Monitoring International Reports (1996- ) are available online via Global Newsbank, a web-based subscription service available to members of the FSU community.


  • The databases and resource information listed above can be accessed via-FSU Library’s connection or proxy server. An alphabetical listing of the databases can be found at the following URL. Find at:

Study the Texts of Resolutions Sponsored by the Country

The decisions made by the principle UN bodies (General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and Security Council) are called resolutions. While not "legally" binding for member states, resolutions express the collective view of member states on a particular issue and therefore carry the weight of global opinion. Much like legislation in the US congress, the procedure for passing a resolution in the General Assembly is a multi step process. Resolutions are available in print and electronic form.


  • General Assembly -- Electronic access is available in a number of places.
    • AccessUN provides full text of Security Council Resolutions from 1974 and General Assembly since 1983. Find at:
    • Hint: you need to search for 3 key "words"
      • Resolution (in Title)
      • your subject (in Subject)
      • A/res/ S/res/ or & nbsp E/Res (in Document Number)
    • United Nations Gopher provides access to an increasing volume of UN documentation. It currently has: Security Council resolutions from 1974-1995, Economic and Social Council 1982-1993, and General Assembly resolutions from 1982-1995; 51st session, 1996; 52nd Session, 1997. and a list from the A list from the 53rd session with some full text. Find at: gopher://
    • Older resolutions can be found in the reference section of the Strozier Library (basement).

Examine the voting record of your country

The majority of resolutions are adopted without a vote. If a vote is taken you may get a summary of the vote (the number of yeas and nays) or the resolution may be adopted with a "recorded" or roll call vote. Only the recorded votes will give any indication of how a country voted on a particular resolution.


At this point in time there are few online sources for voting records. The following are print sources are the easiest way to locate voting records on UN member countries:

  • The Advance text of Resolutions and Decisions adopted by the General Assembly is a UN Press Release that lists and indexes General Assembly resolutions adopted during the first part of each session. This volume also contains the voting records for resolutions where roll call votes were taken
    • Call no: Doc Intl UN/A/Adv.Text./ -- Find at: Reference Section Strozier Library, Basement
  • Official Records and PV Records Series Voting records are issued as an annual supplement to each session's Official Records
  • Available in the reference section of the Strozier Library (basement), ask for assistance at the service desk.

Additional Research Resources

International Peace and Security

International Law

Economic and Social Development

Environment / Sustainable Development / Population=


Think Tanks

Regional Commissions and Organizations

Health / Education / Food Security

Guide to Writing Resolutions

This guide is based on: Global Issues: A Primer for Model United Nations, Edited by Shreesh Juyal, Charlottetown, P.E.I.: Strathmor Publications, 1995.<ref>Global Issues: A Primer for Model United Nations, Edited by Shreesh Juyal, Charlottetown, P.E.I.: Strathmor Publications, 1995.</ref>


A resolution is a means of bringing pressure to bear upon Member States, or of expressing an opinion on a pressing matter, or of recommending that some action be taken by the United Nations or some other agency. Draft resolutions should not be introduced into formal session until they have been circulated among other delegates to incorporate different perspectives and to build support. It is desirable for draft resolutions to be sponsored by several states or by an entire bloc. The resolution should be clear, concise, and specific. The substance should be well researched and reflect the character and interests of the sponsoring nations. Sponsors should expect to introduce resolutions from the floor, and to make impromptu defenses of the document throughout the session.

Drafting Resolutions

United Nations Resolutions follow a common format. Each resolution has three parts: the heading, the (preamble) preambulatory clauses, and the operative clauses. The resolution is one long sentence with commas and semi-colons throughout the resolution, and a period only at the very end. A sample resolution is included so you can look for each specific part and understand the construction. Look at some of the criteria suggested for analyzing a resolution to see if your resolution reads the way you want.


The heading for all draft resolutions should read as follows:

  • Committee: name of the organ where it was introduced
  • Subject: the topic of the resolution
  • Sponsored by: list of sponsoring nations(s)
  • Signatories: list of nations which would like to see the topic discussed


The purpose of the preamble is to show that there is a problem that needs to be solved. This may also mean demonstrating that the problem is within the jurisdiction of the UN. These two purposes are fulfilled by referring to appropriate sections of the UN Charter, by citing precedents of UN action, or by citing previous resolutions or precedents of international law.

The preamble should also point out the key elements of the current problem by specifically referring to situations or incidents. Finally, the preamble may include altruistic appeals to the common sense or humanitarian instincts of members with reference to the Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights et cetera.

Preambulatory Clauses

Preambulatory clauses are statements, which explain the purpose of the resolution and support the intent of the operative clauses, which follow. The preamble defines the problem that the resolution is meant to solve (or at least address), and it sets the tone of the resolution.

Preambulatory Clause Examples
Affirming Expressing its appreciation Noting with deep concern
Alarmed by Expressing its satisfaction Noting further
Approving Fulfilling Noting with approval
Aware of Fully Aware Observing
Believing Further deploring Realizing
Bearing in mind Further recalling Reaffirming
Confident Guided by Recalling
Conscious of Having adopted Recognizing
Contemplating Having considered Seeking
Convinced Having considered further Taking into account
Declaring Having devoted attention Taking note
Deeply concerned Having examined Welcoming
Deeply convinced Having studied Deeply disturbed
Having heard Deeply regretting Having received
Desiring Keeping in mind Emphasizing
Noting with regret Expecting Noting with satisfaction

Operative Clauses

The solution in a resolution is presented in sequentially numbered operative clauses. These clauses may recommend, urge, condemn, encourage, or request certain actions, or state a favorable or unfavorable opinion regarding an existing situation. Each operative clause calls for a specific action. The action may be as vague as denunciation of a certain situation or a call for negotiations; or as specific as a call for a cease-fire or a monetary commitment for a particular project. Only Security Council resolutions may be binding upon Member States (i.e. may use condemn, and authorizes, etc). The General Assembly and its Main Committees can only make recommendations, yet these recommendations are the opinions of States or a bloc of States and therefore represent a palatable force in the international community.

Operative clauses are the guts of the resolution - they are the recommended actions of the body. They are fully debatable and amendable, and will more than likely go through a series of revisions before reaching final form. Operative clauses incite an action, condemn, recommend a shift in policy, et cetera.

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

Sample Resolution

General Assembly Plenary


Sponsors: United States, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, China

Signatories: Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama


The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 44/124 A and B of 15 December 1989, 45/78 A and B of 12 December, 1990, 46I41 A and B of 6 December 1991 and 47/57 of 9 December 1992,

Taking into account the debates on this item held since its 38th session,

Conscious of the special significance of Antarctica to the international community in terms of international peace and security, the environment, its effects on global climate conditions, and scientific research on the depletion of the ozone layer,

Concerned over the environmental degradation of Antarctica and its impact on the global environment,

Concerned also that the Protocol of Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty adopted by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties on 4 October 1991 does not provide for monitoring and implementation mechanisms to ensure compliance with the Protocol,

1. Calls for the establishment of an International Conservation Zone in Antarctica;

2. Declares that the United Nations, and not the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties, is the appropriate body to oversee the establishment of such a Zone;

3. Calls for the establishment, within the next two years, of a UN-sponsored research station in Antarctica; and

4. Calls upon all nations to recognize that Antarctica is the common heritage of all humanity, and to renounce all territorial claims to the continent and the continental shelf.

Analyzing Resolutions

The task of analyzing resolutions involves identifying first the topic, the sponsor(s), and the intent. Once these have been established, the resolution can be examined in greater detail for the specific actions proposed.

The tone of the resolution must be noted. Often this can be done on the basis of the language used. A mild, conciliatory resolution would be one, which called on parties to a dispute to seek a peaceful settlement, negotiations, et cetera, and perhaps made no reference to a specific outcome. A stronger resolution might take a clear stand in favor of one side by condemning one of the parties to a dispute and calling for unilateral action by that party. Some resolutions are vague; others are very specific calling for the withdrawal from occupied territory, appointing a mediator, et cetera.

Where a country is equivocal in its stand on a contentious issue, or on trying to protect certain interests, the precise wording of the resolution must be examined carefully. The references in the preamble should be checked. Recollection of a previous UN resolution or references to a particular principle, which the nation opposed, can be enough to kill potential support for the draft resolution unless the nation's position has changed.

If a nation supports the general thrust of the resolution, or thinks that it is in its interest to do so, but has reservations about certain sections, it might seek changes in the specific language to make the resolution more acceptable.

In general, the identity of the sponsor(s) would rarely be sufficient to kill potential support. Exceptions might be nations such as Iraq or Yugoslavia, who might be wise to refrain from being listed as the sponsors of a draft resolution even if they played a key role in drafting it. Sponsors of successful resolutions are most commonly neutral or middle-of-the-road states. It is important to consider whether the objectives and goals of the sponsoring state(s) are consonant with your own interests and goals.

The operative clauses should be analyzed for their workability. Is the proposed solution logical/feasible/workable/realistic? If the draft resolution establishes deadlines, is the time allotted sufficient? Is the proposal financially responsible given the UN's limited resources?


Model U.N. Rules and Procedure