Our interest is helping delegates reach agreed solutions to major global problems. This means that delegates will be working cooperatively with other delegations. Hopefully, delegates will be able to develop a consensus within the committee because history has shown that consensus solutions are the most effective in obtaining cooperation between countries.
There are two general types of motions: Procedural and substantive
These motions pertain to the procedures and not directly to the topic under discussion. They include Points of Order, Points of Inquiry, Points of
Information, Setting Limits on Debate, Suspension of the Meeting, Closing Debate, Division of the Question, and so on. The only acceptable votes on
procedural motions are yes or no. Abstentions are not permitted.
These include votes on resolutions and amendments. The acceptable votes on these are yes, no, or abstain (also, abstain from the order on roll call votes –
roll call votes only permitted on votes on final resolutions).
STEP 1: GETTING RESOLUTIONS ON THE AGENDA
Resolutions are the way in which a nation gets other nations to adopt joint action on a given issue. In order to do this, it must get nations to pass its draft resolution. The first step in this process is to get the draft resolution on the floor for consideration.
STEP 2: THE FLOOR
We hope that each delegate will take an active role in the committee deliberations both while in formal session. We want to make sure that everyone desiring to do so has chances to address the committee. We will begin with a speaker’s limit of three minutes. This includes responding to Points of Inquiry. While we will accept motions to limit speaker’s time, we will not do so until everyone desiring to do so have had the opportunity to speak once. Although we are not using a speaker’s list, we will be keeping track of delegates speaking and give preference to those who have not yet had an opportunity over those desiring to
speak for a second time. Our goal is to assure that every delegate has an equal opportunity to address the committee.
You cannot do anything unless you have the floor. You get it by raising your placard and being recognized by the chair. You cannot interrupt a speaker unless you are making a point of order (see below). You must wait until the current speaker has finished speaking. Once you have the floor, you can make a speech and/or make a motion.
Recognition will be given for a maximum of three minutes. You can take the entire three minutes or, if you finish early, you can yield the floor back to the chair or yield your remaining time to another delegate. That delegate can then use that time but cannot yield anything
left over to a third delegate.
At the conclusion of a delegate’s speech, if time still remains, any delegate can ask if the speaker will yield to a question. If the speaker says yes, the delegate then asks his/her question. The speaker has the right to refuse to answer it. The speaker also has the right to
refuse to yield for questions. All questions and answers will be taken from the speaker’s time limit. The delegate asking the speaker to yield MUST ask a question. If he/she starts making a statement, he/she will be ruled out of order.
STEP 3: CONSIDERATION of Draft resolution
We only accept draft resolutions that are developed in committee. Once a draft resolution has been brought to the floor for debate (only requires a motion), work may still continue on working papers and these may also be raised to the floor by the same process. Therefore, it is possible to have more than one draft resolution on the floor at any given time. Upon closer of debate each resolution will be formally voted upon. Delegates are to work in caucus to incorporate as many of their ideas as possible into a single resolution rather than pursuing multiple resolutions that might contain conflicting provisions or so fragment support that no resolution can gain majority support.
STEP 4: DEBATING RESOLUTIONS
The chair will begin the session by recognizing speakers in the order that they have requested recognition, alternating between
those in favor of and those opposed to the motion until all those wishing to speak have spoken, unless there is a motion to
close debate. (step 4C)
STEP 4A: AMENDMENTS
Delegates desiring to propose amendments to the draft resolution under consideration should obtain a draft amendment form from the dais. Please be very specific in identifying the specific changes you wish made, any clauses to be deleted, and so on. Once you have specifically spelled out your desired changes, you must then receive the support of four additional delegations before the amendment can formally be considered by the committee. Once you’ve received the required number of signatures, bring the amendment to the dais and it will be open for debate. As with draft resolutions, the proposing delegate will be granted the right to speak first in support of the amendment.
Amendments proposed and supported by the same delegations that sponsored the draft resolution will be considered friendly amendments and will be considered to be part of the draft resolution with no further debate or vote.
Amendments proposed or sponsored by delegations different than those sponsoring the original resolution will be considered unfriendly amendments and will be open to debate and voting before being included in the resolution.
STEP 4B: SUSPENSION OF THE MEETING
Caucusing is the method of finding those other countries with similar viewpoints on a specific issue and in building the compromises necessary to develop draft resolutions that will have sufficient support to pass. This is the real work of any large group decision making
process. You can call for suspension of the meeting for the purpose of caucusing any time you have the floor except after voting procedure has begun. The motion for suspension of the meeting must contain a specific time when the body will reconvene. The motion needs a second, is not debatable and needs a simple majority to pass.
STEP 4C: CLOSING DEBATE
If you think that there has been enough debate on the topic area you can call for an immediate vote by gaining the floor and
“calling the question”. If there is a second to your motion, the chair will immediately call for a vote on whether to close debate on that item. Two delegates will be allowed to speak against the motion. No delegate supporting the motion will be allowed to speak. A 2/3 majority is needed for this motion to pass.
Remember the vote is not on the substance of the item but only on whether to bring it to an immediate vote. Based on our total of 68
delegations, this means that a minimum of 45 yes votes are required to pass.
STEP 4D: DIVISION OF THE QUESTION
What if you like some of the parts of a resolution or an amendment but not all parts of it? One way to deal with this
situation is to offer an amendment deleting the clauses you don’t like. Another way is to make a motion to “divide the question”.
This approach can only be used when you object to one or more operative clauses. Operative clauses are at the end of a
resolution and indicate which actions the body should take on the issue. By making this motion, you are requesting separate votes on each operative clause. You can only make this motion after closure of debate and before the roll call vote has begun. In your motion, you must specify how the question is to be divided. For instance, if a resolution has 4 operative clauses, you can move to take separate votes on clauses 1 and 4 but combine clauses 2 and 3 in a single vote.
This motion needs a second. Debate on the motion is limited to one delegate in favor and one delegate opposed to the proposed division. The motion is not amendable and needs a simple majority for passage. If no motion to divide is made, the resolution or amendment is voted on in its entirety.
Division of the Question Diagram
Motion to Divide
(The resolution is now divided into 2
|Clause(s) are approved by the committee and become an annex
to the original resolution.
|Clause(s) are discarded and are no longer any part of the
STEP 5: VOTING
Voting will be done alphabetically by the English spelling of country names. Delegates can vote in favor of a motion, against the motion or abstain. A country voting to abstain is indicating that it neither favors nor opposes the motion.
Abstentions are not included in determining whether the proposal passes or not.
Once voting has started it cannot be interrupted.
STEP 5A: ORDER OF VOTING
The order of voting may appear very messy if there are primary and secondary amendments and divisions of the question.
However, the order in which votes are taken is based on a very simple principle. Simply put – you move backwards.
You vote on a secondary amendment first. If any secondary amendment is passed, it becomes part of the primary amendment. If none of the secondary amendments pass, the vote is on the primary amendment as originally submitted. When you have voted on all
primary amendments, you vote on the resolution itself. Any primary amendment that passes becomes part of the resolution. If no primary amendment passes, the resolution will be voted on as originally submitted.
The order of voting on a resolution or amendment that has been divided is based on the motion to divide. After all clauses
have been voted on, a vote on the entire resolution or amendment, without the clauses that failed, is taken.
STEP 5B: GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAJORITY
A simple majority (50%+1) is needed to pass a resolution or amendment in GA committee or plenary. A tie vote defeats the
resolution or amendment.
STEP 5C: SECURITY COUNCIL MAJORITY
In order to pass, a resolution or amendment requires nine votes in favor and all permanent members (China, France, Russia, UK and USA) either voting in favor or abstaining. A negative vote by any permanent member defeats the item on the floor.
A. POINT OF ORDER
When you feel that the procedures outlined in this primer are not being followed, you can immediately object by raising your placard and saying “point of order”. This may be done at any time even if it interrupts a speaker.
You then explain what you think is being done wrong. The chair will then rule on your point. You may also use “point of order” if you cannot hear the speaker and desire either the speaker to speak louder or others in the room to cease talking while the speaker is speaking.
B. POINT OF INFORMATION
If you have a question for the speaker, you must wait until the speaker is through and then, addressing the chair, you raise your placard and say “point of information.” The chair will then recognize you and you say, still addressing the chair, “will the speaker yield
to a question.” The chair will then ask the speaker whether he or she will yield to a question. The speaker has the option of agreeing to accept questions and has the right to refuse. If the speaker agrees to accept the question then you must address your question to the chair rather than directly to the speaker. For example, “will the chair please ask the honorable speaker …….” The speaker will, in turn, direct his/her response to the chair. Once agreeing to accept a question, the speaker must answer it. However, once the speaker has answered the question, he or she has the right to refuse to accept further questions.
At all times you should remember that you are simulating a diplomatic process and diplomats are always courteous to each other
even when they disagree. You should address other delegates as “The honorable delegate from …..” When criticizing another country, you should avoid directly mentioning that country’s name. Committee chairs have been instructed to enforce proper courtesy and a speaker’s right to continue speaking may be revoked at any point by the chair if considers the speaker’s words to be a breech of courtesy. Also, as in any public forum, courtesy also requires that a speaker be heard. It is a breech of courtesy to talk or otherwise distract the audience while a speaker is speaking and the chairs will move quickly to resolve any such problems. If a delegate persists in disrupting his/her committee, the chairs may remove that delegate from the committee