NIGERIA MODEL UNITED NATIONS SOCIETY (NigMUNS)
20th – ANNIVERSARY OF NISSMUN CONFERENCE-
NIGERIAN INTERNATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOLS
MODEL UNITED NATIONS (NISSMUN)
RULES OF PROCEDURE
26 – 30 OCTOBER 2024
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA, NIGERIA
RULES OF PROCEDURE
The following rules apply to the Nigeria International Secondary Schools Model United Nations Conference (herein referred to as NISSMUN) Conference. An assembly of the United Nations plenary session cannot work without a strict and binding set of rules.
At the same time these rules of procedure will secure an orderly and productive working atmosphere and thus allow an understanding of diplomatic work. It is of utmost importance for all delegates to understand the basic rules of procedure.
As a delegate, you should know and understand at least the basic rules of procedure. We recommend to all delegates at the NISSMUN Conference, the Introductory Participatory Session at the very beginning of the conference.
The following definitions shall apply to all other rules contained herein:
- Chairperson: A delegate appointed by the Secretariat to preside over meetings of a Committee.
- Delegate: An individual attending the Model United Nations as a representative of a member.
- Director: A member of the Secretariat responsible for the administration of a Committee.
- General Assembly: The plenary body of the Model United Nations, which is composed of delegates representing each member.
- Committee: Any subsidiary body of the Model United Nations that is convened to conduct business on behalf of the Model United Nations.
- Meeting: Any officially sanctioned gathering of delegates to conduct the business of the Model United Nations through the General Assembly or a Main Committee.
- Member: Any nation-state that has been admitted to the Model United Nations by a vote of the General Assembly.
- President: A delegate appointed by the Secretariat to preside over plenary meetings of the General Assembly or the Security Council
- Rapporteur: A delegate elected at the opening of the Committee meeting of a session to take notes, process and code documents and report on the work of the Committee to the Secretariat following the closing of the meeting.
- Secretariat: The executive body of the Model United Nations responsible for the administration of the Model United Nations.
- Secretary-General: The head of the Secretariat.
- Session: An officially sanctioned convention of the Model United Nations.
- Placard: Identification Material for each of the UN Member States.
- Procedural Matters: Procedural matters are those matters relating to the structure of the committee session as defined in these rules of procedure. They include, but are not limited to voting on establishing a speaker list, establishing speaking time, motions and adjournment of the committee session. All Delegates must vote on procedural matters and no Delegate may abstain. Roll Call vote is not in order for procedural matters.
15. Substantive Matters: Substantive matters are defined as those matters relating to the specific topic at hand. Delegates that have established their presence at the initial role call shall act accordingly. Roll Call vote on substantive matters is in order following the voting procedure.
16. Delegations Rights: One voting delegate per committee shall represent a country delegation. A group/school may be comprised of many country delegations. All delegates shall have speaking and voting rights on all matters. However, delegates representing UN Observers shall not have voting rights on substantive issues.
- Resolution: Resolutions are the basic decisions or statements of the organs of the United Nations. They form the basis of discussion for substantive debate as well as private discussion. While they are prepared by an individual nation or several nations acting in concert, once adopted they declare the official policy of the organ.
- Resolutions may either be general statements or contain directions for specific organisations, bodies, or states. They may condemn actions of a state or group, call for collective action, or, as in the case of the Security Council, require economic or military sanctions.
- Each resolution is a single sentence, with different sections separated with semicolons and commas. The subject of the sentence is the organ for whom the resolution is policy, so in this case, either the General Assembly or your committee. The remainder of the resolution is divided into two parts: Pre-ambulatory and Operative clauses.
- Pre-ambulatory Clauses: are justifications for actions. They usually begin with present participles and provide background information on the subject area, past resolution precedents and statements about the particular purposes of this action.
- Operative Clauses: are the policy portions of the resolution. Each of these starts with a verb and taken as a whole, deals thoroughly with one idea arranged in logical progression. Each clause should not be a collection of unrelated thoughts or statements on a broad topic, but should deal with only one aspect of the problem. Each operative clause should be able to be traced back to one of the pre-ambulatory clauses.
The UN has a strict protocol for the presentation of a resolution. The following rules must be applied to all resolutions. Keep these in mind when making amendments:
- A resolution is only one sentence.
- Pre-ambulatory clauses end in a comma.
- Operative clauses end in a semi-colon, with the last of the operative clauses ending in a full stop.
- Operative clauses are numbered, and pre-ambulatory clauses are not.
- All clauses start with a capital letter.
Operative clauses start with an operative phrase and pre-ambulatory clauses start with a pre-ambulatory phrase. (See list attached)
Rule 1: SCOPE:
The Committee Chairs are responsible for determining rules that are, in order to facilitate debate and discussion. In case of conflict of interpretation, the Committee Chair is the final authority for determining the applicability of the rules of procedure.
Rule 2: LANGUAGE:
English is the official language of NISSMUN.
Rule 3: DIPLOMATIC COURTESY:
- During committee session, delegates are expected to exercise diplomatic courtesy when addressing members of the committee and the dais.
- The Chairperson shall be addressed only as “Mister Chairman” or “Madam Chairman”. Delegates should not use the second person pronoun “You” but should refer to the chairperson in the third person as the “the Chair”. Where the person has a title of office, such as President of the General Assembly or Security Council, this may be used as an address: “Mister or Madam President”. Members address only the chair, or address each other through the chair. A delegate does not speak without the chair’s permission or obtaining the floor.
- The chairperson speaks of himself/herself only in the third person “The Chair…” and never uses the personal pronoun “I”. The chair should not address a delegate as “You” but should speak in an impersonal form such as “The chair must ask the delegate…”
Rule 4: CALL TO ORDER
The chairperson opens a meeting, by standing, waiting or signalling for quiet, then announcing, “The meeting will come to order”.
Rule 5: APPEALS
With the exceptions of rules that cannot be appealed, any decision of the Chair can be appealed. Should a Motion to Appeal be made, the Chair will have the right to defend his/her ruling. The Motion will then be put to a vote at the committee in question. A Chair can be overruled by a two-thirds (2/3) majority resulting from this vote.
Rule 6: OFFICERS
The General Assembly or Committees shall be controlled by:
- President or Chairperson
- The Secretariat
POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
a). President or Chairperson
- Shall exercise ultimate authority over his/ her respective committee proceeding in an equitable and objective manner.
- Is responsible for all procedural matters pertaining to the committee including, but not limited to, moderating debate, determining the applicability of rules and proposing the adoption of new rules without approval from the committee, if necessary.
- Shall have authority over all committee support staff and ensure that Delegates are accurately represent the position of their countries, with respect to substantive issues and topics.
- Shall be responsible for ensuring relevancy of the content and format of Resolutions.
- Shall also assist the Chair with all committee proceeding matters.
Shall be responsible for all administrative matters pertaining to the General Assembly/Committee including, but not limited to, the maintenance of an attendance roster, a Speaker List and the recording of voting results.
The Secretary General shall act in that capacity in all meetings of the General Assembly/Committees. He may designate a member of the organizing committee to act in his/her place at these meetings. He/she may at anytime make statement to the General Assembly or Committees concerning any question under considerations by it.
The Secretariat shall receive, print and distribute documents, report and resolutions of the General Assembly or the Committees; have the custody and proper preservation of documents, distribute documents to participating schools or to member delegations as appropriate and generally perform all other work which the assembly/committee may require.
Rule 7: BEGINNING OF SESSION
- Minute of Silent Prayer or Meditation
At the very beginning and at the very end of each annual session there is the opportunity for a minute of silent prayer or meditation.
Any nation may move for a minute of silent prayer or meditation before the first roll call takes place or immediately after the session has been adjourned. The Chair will allow at most one motion at the start and one at the end of the session. It is possible to add a special reason to the request. Any decisions concerning this motion are not subject to appeal.
Motion for a minute of silent prayer or meditation:
State A: I move for a minute of silent prayer (for…).
- The Roll Call
At the beginning of each morning and afternoon session, the Chair will execute a roll call. If possible, the roll call should be taken in alphabetical order or in the present seating order. When your country is called upon you can either answer present or present and voting.
- Delegates whose nation is present may abstain in any substantial voting.
- Delegates whose nation is present and voting may not abstain in any voting.
It is however not possible for anybody to abstain on a procedural vote.
If delegates arrive during the roll call or after the roll call, they are required to send a note to the Chair to declare themselves present or present and voting. As long as a delegate has not informed the Chair of his or her status, he or she will not be allowed to vote on procedural matters or to give a speech. All delegates that have not informed the chair of their status until voting procedure begins are not eligible to vote.
Example for a Roll Call:
Chair: I will now take the roll call… State A?
State A: Present!
Chair: State B?
State B: Present and Voting!
- Setting the Agenda
The first thing the delegates will have to do at the opening session of their committee/assembly is to set the agenda. In all committees there may be more than one topic to debate. The delegates will have to decide which of these questions should have priority above the other. They might also decide that another question is of highest importance and amend the agenda. Amending the agenda is only possible during agenda setting or as soon as all topics on the agenda have been discussed.
There will be a speakers’ list for setting the agenda. But remember that you are not in a substantial discussion on any of the topics yet. You will just have the opportunity to say why you prefer a certain agenda order. After speeches concerning agenda setting, no points of information to the speaker are allowed.
After a while, you may decide to have a short caucus, to discuss proposals for the agenda order. After that, most likely one nation will introduce a motion to set or amend the agenda.
Once there is a motion on the floor to set the agenda, the committee/assembly must vote on it before speeches on the setting of agenda can be heard or continued.
Motion to set the agenda:
State: I move to set the agenda as follows:
- Topic (x)
- Topic (y). (Insert the numbers of the proposed topics or name the topic itself.)
This motion requires a simple majority.
Motion to amend the agenda:
State: I move to amend the agenda with the question of…
This motion requires a simple majority.
If the motion to set the agenda passes, the agenda is set and remains set. There is no chance to change the agenda. A nation may move to amend the agenda prior to the end of debate on the original agenda topics but the new topic may only be included at the end of the agenda. You should keep in mind that delegates prepared themselves for the original topics and not for any new ones. Therefore this motion should only be used under extraordinary circumstances.
Rule 8: ADDRESSING THE ASSEMBLY/COMMITTEE
As delegates, you may in general, address the assembly in two basic ways:
- By delivering a speech or
- By introducing a point or a motion.
In order to deliver a speech, your nation has to be on the speakers’ list. You may then address the body when your turn has come.
More often, you want to ask a short question or to comment on the procedure. In this case, you can entertain a point or a motion.
No points or motions may ever interrupt a speech!
The correct way of introducing a point or a motion is as follows:
- State A: (raises his placard)
- Chair: State A, to what point do you rise?
- State A: I rise to a point of…
I move to…
When introducing a point or motion, you are required to rise after being recognised by the Chair, as a sign of respect to the body.
Rule 9: SUBSTANTIAL DEBATE
When the agenda is set, the substantial debate starts immediately.
- Speakers’ List
As mentioned earlier, it is necessary for you to be on the speakers’ list in order to give a speech to the committee/assembly.
After the Chair has declared the speakers’ list, open, it is very easy to be added to the list. The Chair will ask you to raise your placard, so that the Rapporteur can put your nation on the list.
After this first time, you will need to send a note to the Rapporteur.
A nation may not be on the speakers’ list more than once at a time.
The speakers’ list from setting the agenda, to which of course the same rules apply, will not be continued in substantial debate. There will be a completely new list.
Chair: Speakers’ list is now open. All delegates, who would like to be put on the speakers’ list, please raise your placards.
States: (raise their placards)
Rapporteur: (puts the nations’ names on the speakers’ list).
If for any reason, a nation wishes to be withdrawn from the speakers’ list a note should be sent to the Chair.
- Formal Debate
Formal debate is the basic form of debate at the United Nations. One speaker after the other delivers his or her speech in front of the whole assembly. They are usually limited to a set speakers’ time and there is no cross talking or interruption allowed during the speeches. The chair may call a speaker to order if his or her remarks are not relevant to the subject under discussion.
The formal debate requires numerous points and motions. Some of these motions are voted upon. Votes on motions are called procedural votes.
Once again, you cannot abstain on any procedural vote!
In the event of a tie vote, the vote shall immediately be retaken. If this vote also results in a tie, the motion automatically fails.
- a) Setting the speakers’ time
Any nation can move at any time to set the speakers’ time. Almost every amount of time is allowed, however an appropriate speakers’ time will be 1 to 4 minutes. Nonetheless, it is possible to move to set the speakers’ time to a lower amount, for example to obstruct your political opponents. In such a case you have to remember that the setting of the speakers’ time infringes on the sovereignty of the speaking nations. Also keep in mind, that the opponent you just tried to obstruct with a proposed speakers’ time of 30 seconds might do the same as soon as you are going to give a speech.
If there are two or more motions to set the speakers’ time on the floor, the motion with the longest amount of time takes precedence, and is to be voted upon first.
At the beginning of the debate on a topic or on setting the agenda, speakers’ time is unlimited until it is set otherwise by the assembly.
It is not possible to reset speakers’ time to unlimited later.
Motion to set the speakers’ time:
State A: I move to set the speakers’ time to one minute.
Chair: This is in order at this time. Is there any other motion, which might take precedence?
State B: I move to set speakers time to three minutes.
Chair: This is also in order. We have a motion to set the speakers time to one minute and a motion to set the speakers time to three minutes. These motions each require one speaker in favour and one against. Is there anyone who likes to speak in favour of three minutes?
State B: (raises his placard)
Chair: State B, you have been recognised. Is there anyone speaking against?
State C: (raises his placard)
Chair: State C, you have been recognised. State B, you have the floor for 15 seconds to speak in favour of this motion.
State B: (speaks)
Chair: Thank you, delegate. State C, you have the floor for 15 seconds to speak against the motion.
State C: (speaks)
Chair: Thank you, delegate. We will now vote on the motion to set speakers time to three minutes. All nations in favour please raise your placards!
Chair: All nations against.
Chair: With a vote of x in favour and y against this motion passes (fails).
Speakers’ time is now 3 minutes.
If this motion fails, the chair will entertain the motion of State A in the same way.
If this motion passes, there is no reason for entertaining the other motion.
- b) Points and motions directly after a speech
Of course, the content of a speech is of highest importance to the delegates at the United Nations. However, usually there is no possibility to directly answer or comment on the speech of another member state’s representative. There are only three situations where an instant reaction is allowed.
- i) Point of Information
Not all speakers will use all of their speaking time. In the remaining seconds, the Chair can allow one or more questions addressing the speaker if he or she has declared himself/herself open for points of information.
Each point of information allows only for one question.
It is not allowed to have any cross talking. If the speaker did not understand a question, he may ask the Chair to call upon the delegate to repeat or rephrase his question.
As a sign of respect to the speaker and the body you are required to rise to ask your question and remain standing until the speaker finishes his or her answer.
The speaker is not required to answer the question.
The time to answer the question is not limited by the speakers’ time. The Chair shall grant the speaker a specific amount of time to answer the question.
Example – Point of Information:
State A: (delivers his speech)
Chair: Thank you, honourable delegate. You still have time left. Are you open to points of information?
State A: Yes, I am.
Chair: Are there any points of information?
State B: (raises his placard)
Chair: State B; please rise to state your point.
State B: Honourable delegate from State A…?
State A: (answers)
Chair: Thank you, delegates
ii). Point of Order
Sometimes, a delegate will not entirely maintain diplomatic conduct during his speech. In this case, another delegate may rise to a point of order directly after the speech.
A point of order can be used in any situation where the delegate feels that the rules of procedure or diplomatic conduct are violated.
Example- Point of Order:
State A: (violates diplomatic conduct during his speech)
after the speech ended
State C: (while raising his placard) Point of order!
Chair: State C, to what point do you rise?
State C: I rise to a point of order. Is it in order…?
Chair: Delegate, your point is well taken. Delegate of State A, you were out of order.
iii). Right of Reply
If a delegate offends or insults another delegate or another country in his speech, the concerned delegate may rise for a right of reply. If the chair grants a right of reply, the delegate will obtain appropriate speaking time to answer to the statement. This speaking time shall be 30 to 90 seconds. Unless the reason for the request is obvious, the chair will ask the requesting delegate to explain, why a right of reply is needed.
The decision of the chair to allow or disallow a right of reply is not subject to appeal.
Example – Right of Reply:
…….After the speech ended
State A: (while raising his placard) Right of Reply!
Chair: State A, please explain your request for a right of reply.
State A: (briefly explains)
Chair: I grant you a right of reply. You have the floor for 30 seconds.
The point of order and the right of reply are exceptions to the rule that all points and motions shall be introduced just by raising your placard.
Since point of order and right of reply take precedence over any other points or motions, it is of highest importance that they are introduced by raising the placard and calling ‘Point of Order’ or ‘Right of Reply’.
This is the only way to make sure that the chair will recognise you first.
c). Suspension of the meeting (caucus, informal debate)
The opposite of formal debate is the informal debate, also called caucus. In caucus, you use the time to speak and discuss with the other delegates directly. Caucus is also the time to formulate working papers and amendments.
Example – Suspension of the meeting:
State A: I move to suspend the meeting for the purpose of caucus for 15 minutes.
Chair: This motion is in order. (takes a vote)
Chair: This motion passes (fails) with x votes in favour and y against. The meeting is suspended until…
The Chair shall announce at what time the assembly will reconvene.
The motion to suspend the meeting is also appropriate for the purpose of ‘lunch’, ‘coffee break’ or similar. You are of course welcome to use lunchtime for discussing any working papers, if you wish to. This is not unusual at the real United Nations.
d). Addressing the Chair
There may come a time when you need to address the Chair. This can be done in the following ways:
- i) Meet him during caucus or write a letter
This is of course the easiest way to communicate with the chair. It applies especially if you have a question of minor importance.
- ii) Point of information to the chair
If you are stuck up on the rules and do not know how to proceed, you may rise to ask the chair about the rules.
Example – Point of information to the chair:
State: I rise to a point of information to the chair. Could you please explain to me…?
iii). Permission to approach the chair
If you need to ask the Chair about something very quickly and need him to see something, you may ask for permission to approach to the chair.
Note: Please see this as a last resort in case of ‘emergency!
Example – Permission to approach the chair:
State: I ask for permission to approach to the Chair.
iv). Motion to appeal the decision of the Chair
There might be a time when you are not content with a decision. You then have the chance to appeal this decision.
In such a case, the committee/assembly decides by majority vote whether to change or sustain the decision of the chair.
Example – Motion to appeal the decision of the Chair:
State: I move to appeal the decision of the Chair.
Chair: This is in order.
(Casts a vote)
Chair: By a vote of x in favour and y against, my decision has (not) been appealed
If the motion passes, the Chair has to change his appealed decision.
Any decisions concerning the minute of silent prayer or meditation, the right of reply and the adjournment of the meeting cannot be appealed with this motion.
e). Motion to close and reopen the speakers’ list
With a motion to close speakers’ list, you can keep all states from being put on the list again. Those who already are on the list will be able to deliver a speech.
If speakers’ list is closed and you wish to deliver a speech, although your name is not yet on the list, you will have to move to reopen speakers’ list.
Both motions require a simple majority.
Example -Motion to close speakers’ list:
State: I move to close speakers list.
Example-Motion to reopen speakers’ list:
State: I move to reopen speakers list.
- End of Debate
There will come a time when you feel that everything has been said. Draft Resolutions are prepared and on the floor and further debate would be fruitless. Following motions can be entertained to come to an end:
a). End of Speakers’ list
If the speakers’ list ever runs out, the assembly moves directly into voting procedure. So if you are preparing a working paper and still needs some time to finish it, keep the speakers’ list long.
b). Motion to close debate
When everything is said and only few states keep repeating their special interests, you can introduce a motion for a closure of debate. This means that no further nation may speak and that you will start voting on the draft resolutions and amendments on the floor immediately.
This motion requires a two/third majority!
Example-Motion to close debate:
State A: I move to close debate.
Chair: This is in order. I need two speakers against this motion.
(picks two speakers )
State B: (speaks against)
State C: (speaks against)
Chair: (casts a vote)
By a vote of x in favour and y against, the debate is (not) closed…
c). Motion to adjourn debate
Sometimes the committee is not able to produce a sensible resolution. In that case, a motion to adjourn debate is the appropriate motion. No substantial voting on any draft resolutions or amendments takes place after the debate has been adjourned and the assembly will start debating on the next topic.
Example – Motion to adjourn debate:
State A: I move to adjourn debate on this question.
Chair: This is in order. I need two speakers in favour and two speakers against this motion.
State A: (speaks in favour of adjourning)
State B: (speaks against)
State C: (speaks in favour)
State D: (speaks against)
Chair: (casts a vote)
This motion passes (fails), with x votes in favour and y against.
Note: Although this is a rather strong motion, it requires only a simple majority.
The opposite of the motion to adjourn debate is the motion to reconsider a question. With this motion a question on which debate has been adjourned can be debated again.
The motion to reconsider a question works exactly the same way as a motion to adjourn debate.
The major difference between these motions is that you need a two/third majority to reconsider a question.
d). Decision of competence
At some time you might feel that the body you are a delegate to, is not competent to decide on the topic at question. In this case, you have to defer this question to another committee.
Example – Decision of competence:
State A: I move to declare this body incompetent to decide this question and to defer the question to…
Chair: This is in order (casts a vote)
Chair: This motion fails by a vote of x in favour and y against. The committee is competent to decide this question.
This motion requires a simple majority.
If this motion passes you cannot reconsider the topic!
e). Motion to adjourn the meeting
Before the closing ceremony of the NISSMUN Conference, you will need to come to an end in a proper form. A motion to adjourn the meeting will finish the annual session of NISSMUN for your committee; so only use this at the very end.
Example – Motion to adjourn the meeting:
State A: I move to adjourn the meeting.
Chair: This is in order.
(Casts a vote)
Chair: With a vote of x in favour and y against this motion passes. We are adjourned until next year.
This motion requires a simple majority. Decisions concerning this motion are not subject to appeal.
Rule 10: VOTING PROCEDURE
The ultimate purpose of the sessions is the production of resolutions. These have to be voted upon. In voting procedure, special rules apply.
First of all, the doors are closed. Note passing will be suspended and all delegates must stay in their seats until voting has ended. Any delegate not present in the assembly hall when the voting procedure begins, will not be able to return before voting has ended. Obviously, this can have severe consequences for the outcome of the voting.
If you have not declared yourself ‘present’ or ‘present and voting’ before the start of voting procedure, you will not have the right to vote.
Only the following points and motions from debate remain in order:
- Point of order
- Point of information to the chair
However there are several additional motions that will be used in voting procedure.
- The General Procedure of Voting
In substantial voting procedure the committee/assembly will vote on all draft resolutions and amendments that are on the floor when voting procedure begins.
The chair will accept working papers, if they fulfil all formal obligations. The most important obligation is the required number of sponsors and signatories of a working paper. To be a sponsor means, that you support the working paper in substance and you will vote in favour of it. A signatory only supports the topic to be discussed. He does not have to agree with the text of the working paper that he signed. The Chair will announce on the first day of the conference, the number of sponsors and signatories you need in your committee.
After being accepted by the Chair, the papers are brought to the floor by reading out at least the operative clauses and/or by handing out copies to all delegates. The working papers then become draft resolutions.
There are two types of amendments possible: friendly and unfriendly.
An amendment is considered friendly if it has the support of all sponsors of the draft resolution. All sponsors have to sign it before it is being submitted to the Chair. Friendly amendments become a part of the draft resolution automatically. They will not be voted upon. If you could not get the support of all sponsors of the draft resolution, you have the chance to write an unfriendly amendment. All unfriendly amendments that have been accepted by the Chair will be voted upon in substantial voting procedure.
The Chair shall start with the first draft resolution that came onto the floor. First all unfriendly amendments on this draft resolution are voted upon. The Chair shall rule on the order in which the amendments are voted upon. Ordinarily, voting shall start with the amendment, which would alter the draft resolution most extremely.
Each of the unfriendly amendments requires a simple majority. This is a substantial vote. All delegates that are ‘present’ may vote in favour, against or abstain. All delegates that are ‘present and voting’ may not abstain.
After the committee has voted on all proposed amendments, you will vote on the entire resolution, as it is now (altered by all the amendments that have passed).
In the event of a tie vote the vote shall be immediately retaken. If the second a vote also results in a tie, the item fails.
For further information on how to write a working paper or amendments please refer to your research guide. See paper Q attached.
- Motions Concerning the Voting
There are three motions directly connected with the voting. Only these three plus point of order and point of information to the Chair are allowed in voting procedure.
- a) Motion to vote by roll call
If the exact voting behaviour of other nations is of interest to you, you may move for a roll call vote.
This motion requires no procedural vote. This means that you will vote by roll call whenever one of the delegates requests this.
A roll call vote is quite similar to the roll call at the beginning of each session. The Chair will read out all countries names in alphabetical order. On your country’s name you may answer ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Pass’ or ‘Abstention’ if you are present. If you are present and voting you may answer ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Pass’.
If you answer with ‘Pass’, the Chair will continue the roll call and immediately afterwards ask you for your vote. You will then have to answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. You may not answer ‘Pass’ a second time and you may not abstain even if you are present.
Example – Motion to vote by roll call:
State A: I move to vote by roll call.
Chair: This is in order. We will vote by roll call.
I will now take the roll call vote.
State A: Yes.
Chair: State B?
State B: No.
Chair: State C?
State C: Abstention.
It is obvious that this type of voting takes much longer than the usual way. Therefore especially in larger committees this motion should be used very carefully.
b). Motion to vote clause by clause
With this motion you will vote on the resolution clause by clause. Only the operative clauses are voted upon. After you have voted on all clauses, you will again vote on the resolution as a whole.
This motion is mostly used to strike out clauses that could not be amended successfully.
This motion requires no procedural vote.
Example-Motion to vote clause by clause:
State A: I move to vote clause by clause.
Chair: This is in order
(casts votes on the single clauses)
Chair: We will now vote on the draft resolution as a whole, which now consists of the following operative clauses…
Chair: (casts a vote on the whole draft resolution)
In case of a combination of roll call and clause-by-clause vote the procedure will be as follows:
- The votes on the separate clauses will be taken by show of placards.
- The item as a whole will be voted upon by roll call.
c). Motion to divide the question
The most complicated motion in voting procedure is the motion to divide the question. A part of the draft resolution may be outstanding. In this case, you can divide this part out.
This motion has two parts. It has a procedural part and a substantial part.
i). The procedural part
The aim of the procedural part is to decide whether or not some operative clauses are to be divided out.
Example-Motion to divide the question – procedural part:
State A: I move to divide out operative clauses 3, 4 and 7.
Chair: This is in order. I need two speakers in favour and two speakers against dividing out this part
Chair: (picks the speakers)
State A: (speaks in favour of dividing out)
State B: (speaks against)
State C: (speaks in favour)
State D: (speaks against)
Chair: (casts a vote)
With a vote of x in favour and y against this motion passes.
Operative clauses 3, 4 and 7 are divided out.
When you speak in favour or against this motion, you have to speak procedural. You may not speak substantial!
This part of the motion requires a procedural vote. There are no abstentions possible.
If this motion passes you will continue with the substantial part. If it fails, the whole motion will fail and the draft resolution stays as it is.
ii).The substantial part
Secondly, you will have to decide what is going to happen to the clauses you divided out. There are two possibilities:
- You make these clauses an annex to the draft resolution (this will happen if you vote in favour of them);
- You erase the clauses completely (this will happen if you vote against them).
The production of annexes is the original idea of dividing the question. Annexes are supposed to show the parts all nations could agree on or which are of greatest importance.
Example-Motion to divide the question – substantial part:
Chair: We will now vote on the phrases that we have divided out
Chair: (Casts a vote)
Chair: With a vote of x in favour and y against operative clauses 3, 4 and 7 are made an annex to this draft resolution.
The second part of this motion requires a substantial vote. You may abstain if you are ‘present’, but not if you are ‘present and voting’.
If the draft resolution later fails, the annex becomes resolution without preamble since it has already been decided upon by substantial vote.
d). Motion to adopt a draft resolution by acclamation
With this motion the committee signifies that it is in consensus as to the contents of the draft resolution.
No vote will be taken on this motion, but the Chair will ask, whether there is any objection to the adoption by acclamation. States intending to vote in favour of or abstain on the draft resolution currently under consideration should generally be in favour of a motion for adoption by acclamation. States considering voting in opposition to the draft resolution should be against this motion.
If there is objection within the body (even if only one delegate does not agree with the motion), the motion fails and the draft resolution will be voted upon.
If there is no objection the draft resolution is thereby adopted unanimously; no further voting on that draft resolution is necessary.
Example-Motion to adopt a draft resolution by acclamation:
State A: I move to adopt this draft resolution by acclamation.
Chair: This motion is in order.
Chair: There is a motion on the floor to adopt this draft resolution by acclamation. Is there objection to this motion
Chair: Seeing no objection, the draft resolution is adopted by the consensus decision of the committee.
- When to introduce the motions?
The three voting procedure motions apply only to the next item you will have to vote on. If you want to vote by roll call concerning an amendment, you should entertain that motion immediately before voting on this amendment. If you want to vote by roll call (or clause by clause) on the draft resolution itself, wait until just before voting on the draft resolution as a whole. This is also the correct time to introduce a motion to divide the question.
The Chair shall ask for any points or motions on the floor at least before voting on each draft resolution as a whole.
- Explanation of Vote
Delegates may explain their vote on a particular draft resolution by briefly addressing the committee either immediately before or after the vote on the particular draft resolution. Delegates should not address the substance of the resolution in question and should only speak about the reasons for their decision.
Sponsors of a draft resolution may not explain their vote in favour of that resolution.
Nations who abstain may not explain their vote.
Requests for an explanation of vote must be submitted to the chair in writing before debate is closed.
Rule 11: COMMITTEE-SPECIFIC RULES
Some committees have a few special rules that apply exclusively in these bodies.
- GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND COMMITTEES
The General Assembly and its committees may declare a question an important question. An important question requires a 2/3rd majority for all substantial voting on this topic.
Example: Motion to declare the topic to an important question:
State A: I move to declare this an important question.
Chair: This is in order. (casts vote)
Chair: This topic has been declared an important question. Any substantial voting on this question requires a 2/3rd majority.
This motion requires a simple majority.
- SECURITY COUNCIL
As a delegate to the Security Council you will have a situation that is slightly different from those in other committees.
You are one of fifteen (15) members to the Council. Five (5) of them have, as you know, the right to block decisions by their veto. This makes it possibly much more difficult to find a consensus on a draft resolution.
Due to the special situation in the Council the following rules apply.
a). Voting at the Security Council
In accordance with Article 27 of the Charter of the United Nations, all votes on procedural matters require a majority of nine (9) votes in favour.
All votes on any other matters require a majority of nine (9) votes in favour, including the concurring votes of all permanent members. If one permanent member votes against a draft resolution, amendment or on any other substantial matter, that item, you have voted upon, fails.
Note: Even if the vote is 14 in favour and 1 against!
b). Motion to declare the vote substantial
This is a motion, which may only be used by the permanent members of the Security Council. It may be entertained on any procedural motion.
The aim of this motion is to change the required vote on the procedural motion into a substantial vote. On a substantial vote, all delegates who are ‘present’ may abstain, and, even more important, the required majority for that motion to pass is nine including all permanent members. This gives the 5 permanent members (P. 5) the possibility to veto a normally procedural motion.
The procedure concerning this motion is a bit difficult.
As soon as any permanent member introduces this motion, the other (procedural) motion is thereby declared substantial.
The chair will then ask, whether there is any objection to declare the motion substantial.
If there is objection you will vote on whether to re-declare the motion procedural.
If you want to have a procedural vote on the motion you have to vote in favour.
If you want to have the motion substantial you have to vote against.
The difficulty is that the vote to re-declare the motion procedural is a substantial vote. (the consequences include the right to veto that decision…).
Example: Motion to declare this vote substantial:
State A (P 5): I move to declare this vote substantial.
Chair: This is in order. The vote is hereby declared substantial. Is there objection to this?
State B: (while raising his placard) Objection!
Chair: I recognise objection. We will vote on whether to re-declare this vote procedural by substantial vote.
(casts a vote)
Chair: This is not the required majority. The vote is therefore substantial.
- PARTICIPATION OF UN-MEMBER STATES WHO ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THE BODY:
UN-member states not being members of the respective Council or Committee may be invited by the body to participate in its negotiations. If consensus among the members could not be reached, the body decides upon the invitation by majority vote. Invited representatives do not have the right to vote on any matter, to entertain a motion or to sponsor a draft resolution.
- PARTICIPATION OF NGOs
Prior to the conference the Chair may invite one or more Non-Governmental-Organizations (NGOs) who are concerned with the topic under discussion to participate in the negotiations of the respective Council or Committee.
Their representatives have the right:
- To speak
- To participate in informal discussions
- To entertain procedural motions (not during voting procedure!)
- To vote on procedural matters
- To sign a draft resolution (not sponsor!)
Delegates should be aware that NGO delegates are expected to be experts concerning a specific topic. They shall provide the committee important background information as well as their ‘expert perspective’ on the topic under discussion.
This concludes the Rules of Procedure for the NISSMUN Conference.
Once again, for all delegates of NISSMUN (not only for beginners) we strongly recommend the Introductory Participatory Session on the opening day of the conference. The conference will be much more interesting and enjoyable to all of you, if all delegates have a good knowledge of at least the basic rules of procedure.
For further details please refer to your schedule and/or ask your Head Delegate or the Secretary General of NISSMUN.
For those of you who are for the first time at a Model United Nations Conference or who are beginners at NISSMUN, you should understand the following points and motions to actively participate in the debate:
- Point of order, Point of information, Point of information to the chair, Motion to suspend the meeting, Motion to set the speakers’ time.