1. Positions paper guidelines
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At LDA MUN delegates are expected to write a position paper for each topic discussed in their council. For first time MUNers, writing a position paper might look a bit intimidating. But don’t worry! With enough research, you will find that writing a position paper will be easy and useful. The position paper should succinctly outline your State’s policy regarding the topics on the table, and it will be your point of reference for discussions.
You are requested to use this template, and follow these guidelines
1. The position paper should be saved as a Word Document, PDF File or, if the Chairs request so, as a Google Doc to be shared with them.
2. You should write one page per topic, and save it as a single document.
3. Save the document as PP_council_state.
The following points should be addressed
1. Statement of your State’s position on the topic
The Position Paper should make clear what your State’s policy and views on the matters being discussed are, as well as briefly outline the reasons and arguments that led to that stance being adopted. You can refer to UN documents, past resolutions and national policies on the topic; state the agreements The State you represent adheres to, etc…
1. Outline of what your country brings to the discussions
Present the relationship your delegation currently has, has had in the past, and aims to have in the future, with regards to the topic. This part is meant to show in which direction your State wants negotiations to go, be it a united response from all other members of the Committee, obtaining concessions from other state(s), etc.
1. Recommend actions in order to settle the issue
Bearing in mind the State’s policy, briefly state what you want to see in the final resolution (one per topic), the outcome of the discussions. Remember policy is not rigid but malleable and flexible, and positions are not entrenched and fixed. If that were the case, diplomacy would be at a loss. Go into depth, stating best solutions and second best options since you clearly have more than one solution. The more solutions/flexibility you have, the easier it will be for you to move amidst the problem areas and to reach an agreement with your fellow delegates.
Please note that:
1. There is no need to add a final conclusion for all your topics, as you will be discussing topics one after the other and not simultaneously.
2. Please refrain from writing long histories or very general information on your country. The focus should be on your country’s policies regarding the topics under discussion.
3. Do not write or communicate in the first-person – use the State’s name as following: “Our Government”, “Our Nation”, “The Delegation of France.”
Some time before the Conference you Chairs will get in touch with you, by whatever means they deem appropriate (email, Facebook group), to explain what is expected of you, inform you of the deadline for sending the position papers, and clarify any doubts you may have.
Finally, do not stop preparation after finishing the position papers and check regularly before the conference if your State’s position has remained the same. In case major changes occur, notify the Chairperson and integrate them.
2. Research guidelines
The first step participants must undertake once they’ve been assigned their respective council and country is research. Gathering information is indeed an important part of having a rewarding experience at LDA MUN, and will be crucial to the process of writing the Position Paper.
Make sure to dedicate sufficient time prior to the conference to properly prepare for the role you have been assigned. Your primary goal should be to represent your country as accurately as possible.
Step 1: Research Your Council
Once you know the Council you shall be partaking in it is important to understand among other things: its background, its structure, its members, its responsibilities and powers.
There is ample information available on the Internet; we strongly suggest you first look at the official website of your council before moving on to other sources.
Every delegate is expected to learn the LDA MUN Rules of Procedure for their specific council. For the sake of the conference, they have been subject to a few alterations from the official rules; nonetheless all efforts are geared towards making this simulation as practical and realistic as possible. A fluent knowledge of your council’s Rules of Procedure is instrumental to effectively contribute to the work of your council.
Step 2: Research Your Country
The second step of the process is to get familiar with the country you have been assigned to.
There are many ways you may go about doing that. We place a strong emphasis on getting information from good sources, the priority being information communicated from international organizations such as the United Nations or the Council of the European Union, as well as from specific government bodies and their representatives.
National sources such as diplomatic and academic documents written by nationals of the State you represent or by experts and members of the Organisation you represent are invaluable tools to gain deep insight on the position of your country regarding the issue under discussion. Try to understand your State/Organisation’s interests and study the International treaties and resolutions relative to the topic.
To find your country’s permanent mission to the UN, refer to
To find your country’s speeches and voting records, refer to
To gather general and empirical information about your country, check the The World Factbook produced by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.
Step 3: Research Your Topics
Each Council will have one Study Guide per topic posted on the LDA MUN website. Delegates should read this document carefully to get acquainted with the issues they will be discussing.
Study Guides are designed to provide you with a good basis before conducting further research to complement the knowledge you have gained.
Delegates should keep in mind while conducting their research that their main priority is to find out the position of their country regarding the issues put forward by the background paper. To guide the debate, and therefore your preparation, a set of questions will also be provided in the background paper.
There are of course many other important and reliable sources at your disposal. Don’t forget to check the news periodically to remain updated on the latest news concerning your council, country and topics
3. Debating guidelines
As a delegate you will assume the role of State representative. You will be the one with the authority on the issues being discussed. Thus, you must faithfully represent your country’s diplomatic stance, its social, cultural and geographical realities as well as its inbuilt political ideology.
“The government of India is clear on the facts…” Be confident! A good speech is not all about content – form and body language are essential.
The key is to speak slowly, take notes from the other parties’ arguments and use them to structure your speech. Be natural and try not to be superficial, as this is recognized easily. Speaking fast is useless: it’s true that time is precious though, so structure your arguments and get straight to the point. Your aim is to get your message across to the committee; also use body language and facial expressions (a hint: use a little bit of theatrics, it can help you go a long way!). You do not need to worry because you are the expert on the topic.
Techniques to start your speech:
Always speak courteously towards delegates and the Chairpersons:
“Thank you honourable chairperson, Japan would like to point out…”
“May I have your attention, honourable delegates; it is with the greatest pleasure….”
* Begin with a startling statement. Make it lead directly to the problem.
* Begin with a short quotation, proverb, saying, poem, etc
* Begin with a specific example: illustrating a concrete aspect makes the problem easier to understand.
* Be aware of any time limits on your speech, and give yourself time for a strong finish.
* Begin with a rhetorical question to which your audience will know the answer.
* Use the “machine-gun” technique: give rapid-fire examples, piling up the evidence.
* Humour is a dangerous technique in a formal debate, particularly when discussing serious topics.
Now that you have their attention, how to pin down your points, use evidence.
“The satellite imagery shows clearly that they have operational biolabs…” (classic)
* Demonstrate the extent of the problem. Use examples, statistics, and expert opinions.
* Demonstrate the causes of the problem and come up with possible solutions.
* Demonstrate the effects of the problem. How does it affect the people? Use examples and facts.
* Demonstrate how your solution will reduce or eliminate causes and symptoms of the problem, result in advantages, reduce costs, increase efficiency or simply help people.
* Evidence should be resolutions, expert evidence, other forms of documents; the UN Charter, CNN and BBC are not the sources you want to cite…
Diplomats are women and men with a great amount of cultural, academic and intellectual knowledge. Courtesy and manners are very important, because when at LDA MUN you will be dealing with delegates from different countries and cultures. When at an international meeting representatives treat each other with the utmost respect, and obviously you are asked to do the same. Political differences may be abyssal but this should not show on a personal level: LDA MUN is not the right place to display stark differences but rather it is a uniting meeting. Political conflicts and contradictions are allowed so long as they are relevant to the conference.
Formal speech is to be used when addressing and making public statements. Act professionally: differences in opinion are to be respected and personal attacks on delegates will not be tolerated. We urge you to be worth the title assigned to you, believe in your mission and carry it out professionally.
Diplomacy is a time consuming process and it requires some general guidelines. There are some practices that cannot be ignored when you sit at a negotiating table: First of all, remember to consult all delegations present! Avoiding consultations intentionally or un-intentionally might lead to unpleasant surprises during voting.
Remember that when negotiating you have to go half way to meet the other party. To do so you must know your State and its interests thoroughly so as to be able to think like them!
Try to increase the platform on which you are bargaining rather than cutting out possibilities. Agreements sometimes require painful concessions: analyse and weigh concessions against agreements, because sometimes they may be worth it.
Use documents that everyone knows. Also, make sure that you and your opposites stand on the same ground and are using the same tools for measuring issues: commonly accepted standards are useful measuring tools that will help lead to fair solutions. This includes legal precedent, equal treatment, market value, UN resolutions etc.
It has been reiterated in other areas of the website but it needs to be stated that policy options are important: you need to weigh whether your interests are best satisfied by an agreement or with the “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement”(BATNA). This is a major issue: the better your best alternative, plus the more alternatives you have, the greater is your power and leverage. How can you get this important tool? Through research!
Your aim is to choose something that satisfies your interests better than your BATNA. Ask yourself about your first option – is it realistic? What is the second best option and what is marginally better than the BATNA?
Remember that the decisions are made outside the conference room!
During unmoderated caucuses, delegates have more flexibility to enter into “diplomatic negotiations”. It gives you time to freely talk with the other delegates and it gives you more freedom to discuss compared to formal debate (where everything is structured via a speakers list) and to moderated caucus (which allows you to talk back and forth, answer questions and make free statements). Informal caucuses are the precious moments where you need to get around, put all your energy together and get down to business.
The unmoderated caucus is the phase where you should focus on forming alliances and come up with written documents – resolutions that you can present to the council as soon as it resumes work, or even better present them during caucus to your fellow delegates and have a discussion on them freely before going back in. Caucusing techniques are innumerable to be listed here. Remember that Angola does not caucus like the UK: each has its allies, strategy, style and goals.
The substantive outputs of committees at LDA MUN conferences generally take the form of resolutions. Other outputs are possible in a few committees (specified in Rules of Procedure). As most LDA MUN committees will pass resolutions, this section describes the resolution-writing process in detail.
Resolutions can have multiple purposes; they can either simply register an opinion or recommend actions to be taken by an UN organ or related agency. The following points are to be kept in mind when drafting a resolution:
* A resolution is a UN body’s “answer” to a current problem that falls into its competence.
* Once a resolution is passed, it accounts as an official policy of the body that passed it.
* While most resolutions are a statement of policy, some may include an entire treaty, declaration or convention.
* Resolutions can be either general statements or directives to specific organizations, UN bodies, or States.
* Resolutions can condemn actions of states, call for collective actions, or as is the case of the Security Council, require economic or military sanctions.
A resolution is the most appropriate means of applying political pressure on Member States, expressing an opinion on an important issue, or recommending action to be taken by the United Nations. Most UN resolutions are not “law-binding”; the only body that may produce resolutions that are binding upon the Member States of the United Nations is the Security Council.
The goal of formal debate and caucusing is to persuade enough countries to support a particular solution regarding the topic under discussion. Resolutions formally state the agreed-upon solution by outlining the relevant precedents and describing the proposed actions. The committees are not limited to one resolution per topic; often the committees will pass multiple resolutions dealing with different aspects of a topic.
Life of a Resolution
As a given agenda topic is debated in both formal and informal debate, blocs of delegations will begin to work together on drafting resolutions. During the initial writing and revision stages, these documents are referred to as working papers. Working papers are drafted by a relatively small group of delegates, who will most likely be the paper’s sponsors. They are then discussed with a larger number of delegations and revised as needed according to their input. These second-stage delegations may become signatories to the paper. Sponsors are generally the countries having contributed to writing the draft document. They are also those countries that not only agree to see the draft resolution put to a vote but also commit themselves to supporting it. Signatories on the other hand only wish to see the draft resolution debated and hence do not necessarily commit themselves to supporting it. For instance, a state might be against a draft resolution but might want to see it debated to be able to convince other countries to find new avenues of compromise.
In order to be formally introduced to the floor, working papers must garner a certain number of signatories (specified in rules of procedure). The chairperson will then examine the working paper and may require changes before it can be distributed to the committee at large. After approval by the chairperson, the working paper is upgraded to a draft resolution, and sent to Conference Secretariat for number assignment and printing.
Drafting Working Papers
When drafting a working paper, keep in mind that the wording will greatly influence the appeal of the resolution, or lack thereof. The working paper should be clear, concise, and specific; vague resolutions that do not really say or propose much may be seen as documents created by delegates who did not prepare themselves a great deal for the simulation. The substance should be well researched.
As there is only one computer per conference room, participants’ personal laptops can be very useful not only in order to accelerate the drafting process, but also to take notes and add points to the resolution during the debates.
Whereas working papers have no specific documents, they are intended only as a basis for draft resolutions, the latter must of one long sentence, with commas and semi-colons throughout, and only one period at the very end. The first word in each clause should be italicised.
Resolutions consist of three main parts:
1. The Heading
The required heading includes the number and topic of the resolution, the committee in which it is introduced and both a list of the sponsors and signatories of the resolution. The Conference Secretariat will assign a document number to each resolution.
1. Preambulatory clauses
Within the preamble of a resolution, one will not find clauses proposing action or making substantive statements. The preambulatory clauses explain the purpose of the resolution and state the main reasons for the suggestions to follow. This is where previous UN resolutions are referred to and relevant precedents of international law are cited. Preambulatory clauses should specifically refer to factual situations or incidents regarding the topic at hand. The preamble may also include altruistic appeals to the common sense or humanitarian instincts of members with reference to the Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, etc. The preamble remains critical since it reflects the general context of the problem treated in the resolution. Remember that preambulatory clauses begin with participles, are in italic, and are always followed by a comma. Some common preambular clause beginnings are:
* Alarmed by
* Aware of
* Bearing in mind
* Deeply concerned
* Deeply convinced
* Deeply conscious
* Deeply disturbed
* Deeply regretting
* Expressing its satisfaction
* Fully alarmed
* Fully aware
* Fully believing
* Further deploring
* Further recalling
* Guided by
* Having adopted
* Having considered
* Having considered
* Having devoted attention
* Having examined
* Having heard
* Having received
* Having studied
* Keeping in mind
* Noting with regret
* Noting with satisfaction
* Noting with deep concern
* Noting further
* Noting with approval
* Taking into account
The main part of a resolution is a logical progression of sequentially numbered operative clauses. These clauses may recommend, urge, condemn, encourage, request certain actions, or state an opinion regarding an existing situation. Each operative clause calls for a specific action by member states, by the Secretariat, or by any UN bodies or related agencies. The action may be as vague as denouncing a certain situation or calling for negotiations, or as specific as, for example, a call for a cease-fire or a monetary commitment for a particular project. Keep in mind that only Security Council resolutions are legally binding upon the international community. The competence of a committee, as specified in its constitutional treaty, determines what may be included in the operative clause. Resolutions are seldom complete solutions to a problem; they are usually only one step in the process of developing a solution.
Operative clauses are numbered, begin with an active, present tense verb and are followed by a semi-colon, with a period placed after the final clause. Some common operative clause beginnings are:
* Calls upon
* Declares accordingly
* Draws attention
* Expresses its hope
* Further invites
* Further proclaims
* Further recommends
* Further reminds
* Further requests
* Further resolves
* Has resolved
* Solemnly affirms
* Takes note of
An amendment is a change or a clarification made to a draft-resolution after it has been formally submitted to the committee by any delegate. There will be a vote whether or not to include it into the draft resolution.
There are acceptable amendments and then there are unacceptable ones. Amendments are unacceptable when they change the intent of the resolution, i.e. going from condemning an action to supporting it. Those that are acceptable include: Amending by addition, adding a word or a phrase, amending by deletion, deleting a word or phrase. The chairpersons decide whether an amendment is acceptable or not.
An Abbreviated Sample Resolution
[Code: Resolution 1520 (2003)] (will be assigned by the Conference Secretariat)
Committee: Security Council
Subject: The situation in the Middle East
The Security Council,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 9 December 2003 (S/2003/1148),
Reaffirming its resolution 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Calls upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
2. Decides to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for a period of six months, that is, until 30 June 2004;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of this period, a report on the developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement
5. Flow of debates
In this section, you will find a very general overview of how councils at LDA MUN function. Please note that this step-by-step process is only meant to give an indication to participants. Please refer to the general Rules of Procedure, as well as the Special Rules for your respective council to gain a better understanding of how it functions. Your chairpersons will also of course explain these rules to you at the start of the conference. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact them.
At the start of every session, the chairperson will perform a Roll Call. This is basically an attendance list where all countries in the council will be called upon one after the other. Delegates are expected to answer either by stating that they’re “present” or “present and voting”. States that are present and voting may not abstain during voting procedures.
Setting the Agenda
At the start of the conference delegates must agree on the order in which they would like their council to discuss these topics. This process is called Setting the Agenda. To engage in this process, the chairpersons will welcome a motion from one of the delegates to propose a specific order of topics.
Example: “The delegation of (country name) moves to place (topic A) first on the agenda, followed by (topic B).”
Once the motion has been made by one of the delegates, an equal number of maximum three (3) delegations will speak in favour and speak against it. Speeches in favour or against should alternate. As soon as the speeches have been given, a vote is taken requiring only a ⅔ majority.
There are three ways delegates can debate in sessions:
Formal Debate: Formal debate is one of the main methods delegates have at their disposal to communicate with the council. It’s a very structured method of communication, with a specific amount of time dedicated for each delegate’s speech. It functions with a Speaker’s List, where the Chair asks all delegates wishing to address their council to raise their placards. Once a delegate has been recognized, they’re automatically added to the to the Speaker’s List. Each State is only allowed to be on the Speaker’s List once at a time.
Moderated Caucus: The moderated caucus is one of the most widely used debating methods. It has a general time limit, as well as an individual speaker’s time limit, but it provides the council with more flexibility to discuss specific issues. Delegates don’t need to be placed on the Speaker’s List in advance, but may raise their placards as soon as a delegate has finished their own speech. The chairperson decides on who may have the floor at the end of each speech.
Unmoderated Caucus: As the name suggests it, during unmoderated caucuses, there is no specific structure to follow. Each unmoderated caucus has a general time limit, but delegates are free to discuss with each other without any moderation from the chairpersons. This is generally the best time to form alliances, discuss specific issues with certain states, as well as write draft resolutions.
General Step-by-Step Debating Procedure
1. Formal Session: At the start of the discussion on a given topic, based on their position paper delegates are expected to state their country’s positions and offer recommendations.
2. Moderated Caucus: After countries have stated their positions, the council moves to informal debate (often in multiple blocs) to develop and find links with countries.
3. Formal Session: Once the delegates have familiarized themselves with each other’s positions in more depth, they then move to describe their regional positions to the entire council.
4. Unmoderated Caucus: At this point, allied delegates team up to start writing a Draft Resolution.
5. Formal Session: Once sufficient time has elapsed for preparing draft resolutions, the sponsors of the drafts present it to the chairpersons and after it’s been officially recognized to be in the proper format, the sponsors then introduce it to the council.
6. Moderated Caucus: Countries then move into a moderated caucus to discuss each draft resolution on the table. This is very important to identify what needs to be modified, and which nations are agreeing or disagreeing with it.
7. Unmoderated Caucus: Delegates finalize their draft resolutions.
8. Formal Session: Delegates make statements supporting or disagreeing with specific draft resolutions.
9. Unmoderated Caucus: Draft-resolution sponsors build greater support for their resolution and look to incorporate others’ ideas through friendly amendments.
10. Formal Session: Delegates present any amendments they have created.
Closure of Debate and Voting Procedure: Debate on a specific topic ends when the Formal Debate’s Speaker’s List is exhausted, or when a delegate makes a motion for closure of the debate and it’s accepted by the council with a two-thirds majority. Once debate on a specific has closed, if there are any draft resolutions on the table, the council moves directly into voting procedure. There is more than one way to proceed with the voting, but in general the council votes on the amendments first, then on the resolutions as a whole. As soon as the voting procedure has been completed, the council moves directly to the next topic on the agenda.