The end product of any General Assembly, Specialized Agency, or Regional Body Model UN committee is a resolution which the committee votes on as a whole. Before the voting process, however, comes hours of vigorous and often meticulously detailed debate during which each bloc attempts to convince the rest of the committee why its paper is of the highest quality and should thus be passed.
The quality of the resolution ultimately comes down to the specificity, research, and implementation of solutions: in other words, it comes down to content. What good content looks like varies per committee. That being said, there are some classic mistakes made by many novice delegates which severely weaken the quality of a resolution, hence reducing its chances of passing.
1. Clauses with no subclauses.
The quality of a resolution lies in the specifics. Always elaborate with details for solution implementation, no matter how exhaustive it may feel. For example, for a clause detailing an international summit on [insert topic here], include subclauses detailing the process for determining the location of the summit each iteration, the frequency of the summit, the number of representatives from each attending country, the product of the summit (a report, a treaty, a list of common priorities), etc.
2. Hanging subclauses.
A clause cannot contain merely one single subclause; this is referred to as a “hanging subclause,” and it is improper formatting. The same goes for the subclause of a subclause. Always use at least 2 minimum subclauses; if not, then simply integrate the content of the first subclause into the heading clause.
3. Clauses which create U.N. subcommittees.
Perhaps the most common solution seen in Model UN General Assembly resolutions is the creation of a U.N. subcommittee to monitor the progress on the topic of debate over time. Avoid this cliché! The use of a U.N. subcommittee creation clause will make your entire working paper appear juvenile, because creating a new U.N. body to do the job that your committee was intended to do in the first place is redundant and, well, lazy. Do better research, find better solutions!
4. Sloppy punctuation.
Each subclause should end with a comma, and the final subclause in a clause must end in a semicolon. At the very end of the resolution, the last clause must be finalized with a period. Remember this by keeping in mind that a resolution should read like one long (very long) sentence.
5. Unfunded solutions.
The biggest and most common mistake made by General Assembly delegates is the inclusion of illusive, costly solutions that lack the funding sources necessary for implementation. For example, an African Union resolution on water, sanitation, and hygiene might include providing LifeStraw filtration devices to large swaths of people living without clean access to water; what this solution fails to consider is that LifeStraws cost roughly $15 USD per singular unit, last only 1 year, and that distribution in rural areas with no transportation infrastructure would be close to impossible. Be pragmatic and realistic when advocating for innovative and creative solutions.
6. Inadequate, or poorly researched, funding solutions.
Another novice mistake which is common in General Assembly resolutions is funding sources which are slapped on at the end of a resolution without
proper research or care. An example of this is the classic, ” this clause will be paid for by The Red Cross.” Claiming that NGOs can (or would) agree to fund massive international aid projects proposed by the U.N. demonstrates a lack of understanding as to how NGOs actually function. There are infinite ways to fund a resolution: so do better. Research international monetary instruments like the IMF or World Bank, look into incentivization strategies for private investment, investigate some economic concepts like micro-financing and low-interest loans, and take a look at the U.N. General Assembly Fifth Committee on Administration and Budgetary Affairs. In short, dig deeper.
Many of these are easy fixes that require little thought or energy, but make a massive difference when it comes to garnering legitimacy and support for a working paper. After all, resolution writing is the most important skill in General Assembly committees, and the quality of each delegate’s proposed solutions and written clauses is highly linked to the award they may win. All of this is to say that cutting corners for the sake of finishing a working paper faster or submitting before other blocs will not help delegate performance in the long haul. Pay attention to detail, demonstrate proper research, and be thorough in the proposed means of implementation, and the working paper will shine with professionalism.
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