Submitting Resolutions to the Dais
Working Papers, Draft Resolutions, and Resolutions
As a technical note, it is important to point out that there are three types of documents that can be circulated and referred to in traditional simulations of UN bodies. Delegates who understand the difference between these three documents gain strategic advantages when it comes to presenting ideas to the committee.
- Working Papers: Working papers refer to documents not yet introduced to the committee through formal procedure. You cannot refer to a document as a “draft resolution” until the committee has voted to introduce it. Contrary to how many conferences operate, a working paper does not need to take on any particular format. It could be a diagram, chart, or illustration. Conferences differ on whether they allow working papers to be formally circulated,
- Draft Resolutions: Draft Resolutions are formally introduced and circulated documents. Draft Resolutions must be properly formatted, and have the appropriate number of signatories and sponsors. At most conferences 1/5 of the body is required to be a sponsor or signatory prior to a motion to introduce a draft resolution being raised.
- Resolutions: Resolutions are those documents passed by the body. Only after substantive voting can document be referred to a resolution.
Formal Introduction of Draft Resolutions
As explained above, a committee must vote to formally introduce a draft resolution before formal debate can occur on the respective document. But before we review the motion needed to introduce a draft resolution, you must become familiar with two types of endorsements:
Draft Resolution Sponsors
Most conferences, with the noticeable exception of Harvard Model United Nations, allow delegates who are involved with the authorship of a document to be listed as “sponsors.” Sponsors are a special category of Signatories. Different conferences have different rule sets that regulate how sponsors may vote. It is important to read each rule set prior to attending conferences for this reason.
Draft Resolution Signatories
A delegate or state may add their name to a document as a “signatory” if they wish to formally debate a document. A signatory may remove their name from a document at any time.
Now that we understand the types of endorsements that can be lent to a document, let’s review how to properly introduce a draft resolution.
“Motion to introduce Draft Resolution 1.1 sponsored by Italy, Canada, and Bahrain.”
All of the motions listed up to this point require only a simple majority, defined at 50% of a committee + 1 vote. Please note, a simple majority is not 51% of voting members.
After the motion to introduce has been accepted by the chairperson and its corresponding vote is passed by the committee, formal debate may then begin to take place on the introduced document.
Question and Answer Periods/Author Panels
By rule, there is no formal procedure for question and answer sessions. No motion exists for a “Question and Answer.”
However, most conferences allow this to happen. Technically, a body may choose to hold a Q&A, but outside of the jurisdiction of the dais. By rule, a Q&A could occur under a “suspension of the meeting,” or “recess,” both commonly referred to as “unmoderated caucuses.” Once the body is satisfied, the meeting would reconvene and formal order would be restored.
Seeing as how most ignore this aspect of Procedure, you may feel free to disregard this information for most conferences.
Tabling Draft Resolutions
If procedure exists to introduce documents for formal debate procedure, it must also allow for documents to be removed from formal consideration and debate. This process is known as “tabling.”
In the United Nations, a “motion to table” actually means to vote of a draft resolution, not to remove it from consideration.
Tabling another state’s draft resolution, or attempting to do so, is often seen as a hostile action, and is not often looked upon favorably by the dais. However, occasions arise when a body needs or wants to retract a document from formal debate.
Side Note: A document may also be removed from formal consideration and debate by 1) having all sponsors withdraw their names from the document, if allowed by the rule set, or by 2) having the number of signatories on a document drop below the number required for introduction.
“Motion to Table Draft Resolution 1.1.”
After being accepted by the chairperson, a motion to table requires two speakers to speak in favor of the motion and two speakers to vote opposed to the motion. To pass, the committee must vote 2/3 in favor.