Model United Nations Study Guide

Outstanding Papers and Outstanding Delegation Awards National Model United Nations


 Abstention:To choose neither to cast a “yes” or “no” vote.

African Union 
– This 53 member bloc has powers to intervene in cases of intrastate genocide and the commission of war crimes. Goals of the AU include the desire to forge solidarity among member states and to push for greater attention to African issues by the world community.

Balance of power
: this is an interaction system of states, or groups, which choose not to use force because they consider the potential cost too high

Basic Needs Strategy:
This approach is designed to enable a preponderant percentage of the population to have life’s essentials; that is, adequate shelter, food, clothing, and medical care.

(money): The finances and facilities needed to produce wealth.

Collective Security
: This strategy of IGO members is followed when they act together militarily in responding to an aggressor state.

Civil Society: 
(a) the totality of all individuals and groups in a society who are not acting as participants in any government institutions, or (b) all indiviudals and groups who are neither participants in government nor acting in the interests of commercial companies.

Complex peacekeeping
: multi-dimesional operations using military and civilian personnel, often including traditional peacekeeping and nation building activities; more dangerous because not all parties have consented and because force is usually used.


Deterrence: In this situation, a state presents a credible military threat to a potential enemy.


Diplomacy: the practice of stats trying to influence the behavior of other states by bargaining, negotiating, taking specific noncoercieve actions or refraining from such actions, or appealing to the foreign public for support of a position.


Development: This term describes an economy that enables an increasing number of people to produce enough wealth to support an acceptable quality of life.


Externalities: in economics, unintended side effects that can have positive or negative consequences.


Foreign Aid: This financial capital is provided by governments of states, almost always in the form of loans.


Free Trade: This government policy eliminates all restrictions on imports and exports, including tariffs, which are taxes charged by governments on specific categories of goods, and other regulations, such as quotas and inspections.


Genocide: Is an attempt to exterminate members of a specific cultural group.

Peace: Peace reigns when conflicts are handled without the use of violence. this can occur whether interactions take place in an uneasy, tense, potentially violent relationship or in a permanently peaceful relationship in which participants consider the use of force unimaginable.


What is an international institution?
(It is an international organization, such as the United Nations, NATO or the EU; or it is a set of rules which govern state action in particular areas, such as aviation or shipping).


What is a regime?
A regime are sets of rules, can be formal or informal. There may also be regimes without formal organizations.

There is an additional type of international institution which is of a more fundamental kind such as state sovereignty or the balance of power, sets of practices that are followed by states.

Institutional liberals claim that international institutions help to promote cooperation between states.

The United Nations is a universal organization with 191 members in 2003 can be viewed from several perspectives: as a focal point for global security issues, a world forum for debate, a network for developing universal norms and standards, and a vehicle for administering humanitarian assistance around the world.

United Nations Charter



to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Article 1

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

  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.

Article 2

The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

  1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
  2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
  3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
  4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
  5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
  6. The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
  7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.


Six Principal Bodies of the United Nations

The Security Council: Performs the primary function of international peace and security. The only UN body that has the authority to create resolutions that are binding on all members. There are 5 permanent members (p-5) USA, UK, Russia, China and France)
General Assembly (GA) comprises all the members of the UN 191 and fulfills the function of a central forum for global dialogue wherein pressing issues of concern from population to the environment can be discussed. The GA resolutions are not binding and are considered recommendations only, the GA has the authority to determine the budget of the UN, or “power of the purse.” Because of its nearly universal membership, its pronouncements can offer a kind of moral authority or collective conscience.
The GA has 6 main committees which deal separately with issues from disarmament to international law:

  • First Committee (Disarmament and International Security Committee)is concerned with disarmament and related international security questions;
  • Second Committee (Economic and Financial Committee) is concerned with economic questions;
  • Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee) deals with social and humanitarian issues;
  • Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee)deals with a variety of political subjects not dealt with by the First Committee, as well as with decolonization;
  • Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary Committee)deals with the administration and budget of the United Nations; and
  • Sixth Committee (Legal Committee)deals with international legal matters.

The Secretariat and the Secretary-General

Secretariat is often the focal point for diplomacy in crisis situations and disputes wherein “good offices” of the Secretary-General and representatives are put into play. Main purpose is to serve the Member states of the UN.

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

Was established to serve as the central body for discussion international social and economic concerns and to initiate studies and reports and promote humanitarian issues.

The Trusteeship Council
As fulfilled its function so no longer meets. Designed to help form move colonies to become full member states.

The International Court of Justice (World Court)
Court offers advisory opinions.

United Nations Partnerships: The United Nations Office for Partnerships serves as a gateway for partnership opportunities with the United Nations family. It promotes new collaborations and alliances in furtherance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and provides support to new initiatives of the Secretary-General. UNOP provides Partnership Advisory Services and Outreach to a variety of entities, as well as managing the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), established by the Secretary-General in March 1998 to serve as the interface in the partnership between the UN system and the UN Foundation, and the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), established by the Secretary-General in July 2005 to support democratization throughout the world.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were officially established following the Millennium Summitt of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve these goals by the year 2015. The goals are:

  1. Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
  2. Achieving universal primary education,
  3. Promoting gender equality and empowering women,
  4. Reducing child mortality rates,
  5. Improving maternal health,
  6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases,
  7. Ensuring environmental sustainability, and
  8. Developing a global partnership for development.

Human Security
The core values of this framework range from freedom from fear and want to human rights and human dignity. These values are confronted by a range of threats including violence, conflict, disease, oppression and poverty. The links below list definitions from some of the leading exponents of human security.

Inclusive Security
rests on the principle that fundamental social changes are necessary to prevent renewed hostilities. It is based on a diverse citizen driven approach to global stability. This approach expands the array of tools available by adding collaboration with local efforts to achieve peace. Efforts to bridge divides, even if unsuccessful, has value.

Consensus – 
In recent years a special effort has been made to achieve consensus on issues, rather than requiring a formal vote, thus showing solidarity and strong support for United Nations decisions. About 75% of General Assembly resolutions are now adopted by consensus.

Group of Eight (G8) 
the eight top economic countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States. Deal mostly with Macroeconomic management, international trade and East-West, North-South economic relations.

 is the extension of very small loans (microloans) to impoverished borrowers who typically lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history. It is designed not only to support entrepreneurship and alleviate poverty, but also in many cases to empower women and uplift entire communities by extension. In many communities worldwide, in developed and developing nations alike, women lack the highly stable employment histories that traditional lenders tend to require. This reality might result from factors such as leaving the paid workforce to care for children and elderly relatives. As of 2009 an estimated 74 million men and women held microloans that totaled US$38 billion. Grameen Bank reports that repayment success rates are between 95 and 98%.

 is a term in international relationsthat refers to multiple countries working in concert on a given issue.

Non-governmental Organization:
 private groups, cannot be members of the UN but are consulted and asked to be observers and participate at the United Nations.

Procedural: In reference to the committees and councils, a procedural motion is one which affects the agenda, meeting, debate, voting or other proceedings.

Resolution: Is the form of action taken by most UN bodies, acting as a statement of the body regarding a specific issue.

A guiding principle of the UN is sovereignty, or free from external control or influence of each Member state. For this reason, many UN resolutions are phrased in the form of “suggestions” rather than “demands.” However, in the pursuit of its guiding directives, the UN often must ask Member States to compromise some measure of sovereignty in favor of an international good (e.g. trade). Such agreements include international treaties, the signing of which signals a willingness of a sovereign state to cooperate with international law.

Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

South: the developing countries of Africa, Latin America, and Southern Asia.


at the United Nations refers to the actions, writing and plans of individuals, groups or organizations that exclude any hidden information, motives or data. Thus the vita of officials at governmental, business and nonprofit organizations should be available, and should include, among others, board memberships on legal corporations.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Since 1965, UNDP has served as a coordinating body for financial assistance and field efforts in sustainable development. UNDP strives to raise the profile of the United Nations as a force for worldwide sustainable development, and uses its coordinating powers to aid the environment, alleviate impoverishment and unemployment, and improve the status of women.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Adopted in December 1948, the Declaration servers as the benchmark after which all issues pertaining to human rights are measured. The Declaration contains thirty articles which specifically enumerate all of what are considered the “fundamental human rights.”


Uneven development.
A useful summary of the process of uneven development, as a necessary aspect of capitalism, comes from volume one of Marx’s Capital (ch 27, paragraph 15). Here he states that a major contradiction of capitalism is the simultaneous emergence of concentrations of wealth and capital (for capitalists), on the one hand, and poverty and oppression (for workers), on the other. This “general law of capitalist accumulation”, as Marx termed it, highlights capital-labor conflict, and is one way to ground a theory of uneven development. But thinking about uneven and combined development dates further back, at least to Marx’s Grundrisse (1857-58), where unevenness represents the condition for a transition from one declining mode of production to another rising, more progressive mode. In general terms, then, uneven development can relate to differential growth of sectors, geographical processes, classes and regions at the global, regional, national, sub-national and local level.


Complex interdependence:
Complex interdependence changed relations between states. There are many forms of connections between societies in addition to political relations of governments, including transnational links between business corporations.
(a. relations between states nowadays are not only relations between state leaders, there are relations on many different levels via many different actors and branches of government.
(b. there is a host of transnational relations between individuals and groups outside the state.
(c. international relations are becoming more like domestic politics
(d. power forces other than military are of increasing importance.

Complex interdependence clearly implies a far more friendly and cooperative relationship between states.

There are two consequences of complex interdependence.
(a. states will pursue different goals simultaneously and transnational actors will pursue their own separate goals free from state control.
(b. power resources will most often be specific to issue areas.

Kofi Annan “Strategies for World Peace”

Summary: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reports real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. No walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national-security crises in another. That the UN priorities for the future are to promote democracy, prevent conflict, and lessen the burden of global poverty. He contends that, after the disturbing terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a new insecurity has entered the mind of every person on Earth, regardless of wealth or status. Helping individual human beings in need will be the mission of the UN in the century to come.

Kofi Annan argues that the priorities of the United Nations for the future will be to promote democracy, lessen the burden of global poverty, and prevent conflict.

The UN, whose membership comprises almost all the states in the world, is founded on the principle that every human being is of equal worth.

The first secretary-general to win the Nobel Peace prize was Dag Hammerskjold.

The condition that is both the reality that makes dialog necessary and the basis for that dialog is human diversity.

The principle known as the “Butterfly Effect?” contends that the world of nature is so small and interdependent that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon rain forest can generate a violent storm on the other side of the world.

According to the Annan, the UN mission in the 21st century will be to ensure fundamental freedom and dignity to the world’s poor.


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