Hooray! You’ve made it through the first session at a Model UN conference! Hopefully, your committee has chosen a topic, and you’ve gotten a feel for what types of ideas other countries in your committee have. At this point, competitors can start formally writing out solutions, known as clauses.
A clause is a written instruction of a specific idea or plans to help solve a problem significant to your topic and committee. You will combine each country’s clauses to create working papers and draft resolutions in your bloc. Think of it like this: Clauses are like bricks. They are foundational elements that, when combined, can create a tangible structure, like a house or a wall–or in the case of Model UN, a working paper or draft resolution. There are two different types of clauses: Preambulatory Clauses and Operative Clauses.
Preambulatory clauses (often called “pre-ambs”) are written justifications for action. In other words, they explain why your committee has decided to address your given issue. They often cite past resolutions, provide definitions, declare the purpose of your committee document, or bring attention to particularly important issues and considerations for your topic. Pre-ambs tend to be pretty short and are no longer than a few lines. Take a look at some example preambulatory clauses from a resolution addressing climate change:
Example of Preambulatory Clauses
Emphasizing the need for obtaining innovative, environmentally friendly funding methods, favoring the inclusion of various actors;
Acknowledges that environmental refugees are at-risk populations that are facing disproportionate risk due to natural disasters and climate change;
Each of these preambulatory clauses justifies why the committee should be taking action to address climate change and hint at what issues this committee should put particular attention on: environmental refugees and inclusive, innovative funding.
Preambulatory clauses also must be formatted in a specific way. Every preambulatory clause will start with a preambulatory phrase, which is italicized. Next, you’ll write the preambulatory statement, which contains your justification for action, and is ended with a comma.
Example of How to Format a Preambulatory Clause
Reminding delegates that in Model UN preambulatory clauses end with commas,
Example List of Preambulatory Phrases
- Bearing in mind
- Deeply concerned
- Deeply conscious
- Expressing its appreciation
- Fully believing
- Further recalling
- Guided by
- Having adopted
- Having received
- Keeping in mind
- Noting with appreciation
- Noting with regret
- Pointing out
- Taking into consideration
Operative Clauses in Draft Resolutions for Model UN
Operative clauses are prescriptions for action. These clauses include policy recommendations for solving issues within your topic. Put simply, operative clauses explain what the committee will do to address your topic and how to do it. Operative clauses are much more important than preambulatory clauses and will take up most of your working paper or draft resolution.
Because operative clauses are about recommending specific action, they can look very different from one another based on what they address: funding, oversight bodies, infrastructure, education, social action, technology, protocols, services, innovation, etc. Operative clauses are almost always longer than pre-ambs, but they can vary in length. There aren’t really any rules about what goes into operative clauses, as long as they provide a solution for your committee. Take a look at some different clauses used in a resolution on agricultural development:
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