Delegate Preparation Week 4
In Model UN, the goal of the committee is to write and pass “Resolutions”; documents that outline the policies and decisions of the committee on how the UN should address their topic. The point of a resolution is literally to try to “resolve” the topic at hand. Resolutions have a very specific format that delegates should follow, but can be broken into 3 main sections:
The Operative Clauses
Just like for any paper in school, any resolution needs to start with a header so that your Chair knows what you’re turning in to them! The Header consists of four pieces of information:
Your Assigned Topic
An alphabetical list of the sponsors of your resolution. Sponsors are the core authors of a resolution and the main representatives of that resolution to the committee. Each resolution must have at least 3 sponsors, and no more than 6.
An alphabetical list of signatories of your resolution. Resolutions typically need ⅕ of the committee to sign on as signatories to be submitted to the Chair. Signatories can sign on to resolutions to show that they feel a resolution warrants consideration by the committee; they don’t necessarily have to agree with all the content, and have no obligation to vote in favor of the resolution.
The preamble of a resolution is made up of “Preambular Clauses”. These clauses don’t call for any action, but instead outline the reasons for which the committee needs to tackle this particular issue and detail previous international action taken by the UN and other bodies. The goal of the preamble is to provide context for why the solutions (mentioned later) are being taken.
In the preamble you can:
Comment on the topic, or on specific sub-issues of the topic
Acknowledge the work of UN Programs on the issue and note their progress or failure
Talk about what different Member States have done to address the issue
Refer back to past UN resolutions
In Model UN, clauses follow a very specific format. Think of the resolution as one long sentence, and each clause adding a new part of the sentence. Each clause in the preamble will start with a “preambular phrase” in the present participle tense, and then end in a comma.
Don’t worry! You don’t have to come up with your own phrases to start each clause. Simply write down your sentence, and then choose a phrase from this list (you can print this and bring it to the conference!) that fits the point you want to make!
The Operative Clauses
The Operative section of a resolution is where you have the opportunity to actually pass solutions. The goal of an operative clause is to “Operate” aka to do something! When you’re writing these clauses, think of the committee as a General giving orders to the United Nations; you want to be clear and specific with what you want the UN to do about the issue. Operative clauses take three main forms:
Telling the United Nations Secretariat what you want them to do about the issue
Recommending or requesting Member States to take particular actions on the issue
Expressing a policy of the United Nations on an issue
Operative clauses follow a different format from the preambular clauses. Operative clauses are numbered and start with present tense action verbs (a list of operative phrases are also available in this download!), and end in semicolons, not commas. You can also add “sub-clauses” to each of your clauses to add more detail. Lastly, the final operative clause of a resolution ends with a period.
Want to see some example Model UN resolutions? Click here! Feel free to print some off and bring them to the conference to check your formatting and punctuation.
How about some real United Nations resolutions? See if you can find one related to your assigned topics here!
Need more resolution writing practice? Download this worksheet for a step-by-step process to walk you through writing a resolution!
Now that we have shown you how to prepare an amazing resolution, it is finally your turn to practice! While you aren’t allowed to bring pre-written resolutions to a Model UN conference, you can practice some of your ideas in advance!
Try the following activity:
Pick one of your topics for the conference and write 2 preambular clauses and 3 operative clauses in proper format.
Make sure that you follow all of the rules above when writing the clauses!
Go over your clauses with a peer and check for any potential errors.
Also don’t forget that your Position Papers are due on March 5th!