This document serves as a guide to the Rules of Procedure that will be implemented in MESTRAIN’22. By releasing this paper, the academic team of MESTRAIN’22 hopes to provide an accessible source covering the ins-and-outs of the MUN procedure.
One thing to note, this document shouldn’t be taken as a set guide for conferences other than MESTRAIN’22 since every conference can differ in rules and guidelines.
RULES OF PROCEDURE
(This conference follows the Rules of Procedure set by Harvard MUN.
A) GENERAL RULES
1) Personal Preparation and Research
After applying to the conference and receiving their allocations (the committee and the country they will be representing), delegates shall start doing the necessary research and preparation by reading the Study Guide of their committee and getting acquainted with the Agenda Item(s) included in the guide. Even though Study Guides are an impeccable source for delegates, they must do additional research on the politics and stance of the country assigned to them and understand its policies regarding the Agenda Item(s).
2) Position Papers
Apart from doing personal research, delegates are required to send in a Position Paper that demonstrates their understanding of the Agenda Item and the country they’ll be representing. The paper should clearly show the stance of their country and should hint at possible points of discussion that can come up in the sessions as well as proposals of resolution on said discussions.
The required format of Position Papers in MESTRAIN’22 is as follows*:
The paper must be comprised of between 200-500 words for each topic. The document must include two separate writings if your committee has two Agenda Items, one addressing Topic A, the other addressing Topic B.
Position Papers must be in 12-point Times New Roman font and include a header with the delegate’s name, the nation they represent in the conference, and the committee name.
The official language of the conference is English. Delegates have to communicate in English during the sessions, however, they are free to speak other languages during the coffee and lunch breaks.
4) Courtesy and Decorum
Displaying respectful and courteous behavior to everyone in the conference is a core value of a delegate, it’s important to be mindful of that when speaking to secretariat members or other participants. Disrespectful and inflammatory behavior directed to the staff or other delegates will not be tolerated by the Chairs and will be addressed immediately.
In the MUN setting, delegates should represent their country formally, this requires that the delegates dress accordingly (see Article 5) and act professionally in the official sessions.
During the official sessions, delegates must refer to themselves as “we/us” rather than “I/me” since they’re representing their country as a whole, not themselves as an individual.
5) Dress Code
Delegates are required to dress in formal attire as per the nature of MUN, casual clothes such as T-shirts or jeans are forbidden at the conference.
Male delegates must wear a two or three-piece suit and are expected to keep their jacket on throughout the session. Female delegates have the option to wear a formal dress; or a formal shirt with pants or a skirt underneath, the skirt length being long enough to cover the knees. Delegates may also wear the traditional attire of the country they’re representing.
6) Electronic Devices
The use of electronic devices (phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) is allowed during the sessions for research and resolution drafting purposes only. Texting or communicating through electronic devices is strictly forbidden within the committee chambers.
If a delegate isn’t present during roll call, they will be considered absent until a message paper stating their presence is sent to the Chair Board.
B) DEBATE AND SPEECH
8) Roll Call and Quorum
In MUN, there are two ways for delegates to express their presence; saying “Present” or “Present and Voting”. The difference between the two is that delegates who state they’re “Present and Voting” cannot abstain during the voting procedure within that session.
Each session starts with the Chair taking the roll call to see whether or not the Quorum has been met. The Quorum of MUNs simply dictates that at least ¼ (one-fourth) of all delegates must be present to open debate. If the Quorum is met, the Chair will announce that the Committee can proceed with the debate.
9) Opening Speeches
In the first official session, all delegates are called onto the floor one by one (in alphabetical order) to give their opening speeches. The delegates are expected to give short explanations regarding the Agenda Item(s) and briefly introduce their country to the other Committee members.
10) Setting the Agenda
Committees with one listed Agenda Item are automatically set to that agenda and don’t require any motion or debate beforehand.
However, if the committee has multiple Agenda Items, the delegates should raise a motion deciding the order in which they will be discussed. So, the first-ever motion to be raised in the committee should be setting the first Agenda Item. The format of said motion is “Motion to place Topic Area X first on the Agenda.”
11) General Speakers’ List
The Committee has to have an open General Speakers’ List (GSL) on the Agenda Item at all times. The GSL is the default activity of the Committee, so if there aren’t any motions on the floor, the debate automatically turns to the GSL.
The General Speakers’ List entertains speeches about anything as long as it relates to the Agenda Item at hand. Those wishing to be added to the GSL should either send the Chair Board a message paper stating their request or raise their placards when the Chair calls for members that wish to be added to the list.
Delegates added to the GSL have a limited time to speak and are required to yield the floor if they have remaining time.
Delegates granted the right to speak on a substantive issue can yield in one of three ways when they conclude their speeches: to another delegate (“We would like to yield to the delegate of …”), to questions (“We would like to open ourselves to questions”), or to the Chair (“We yield the floor to the Chair”).
Making motions is a way for delegates to control and change the course of the debate in the Committee. Once the Chair declares that the floor is open for motions, delegates may raise motions proposing relevant topics of discussion. Motions relating to a topic of debate should specify a type of caucus and the time limit.
2) Moderated Caucus
The purpose of a Moderated Caucus is to facilitate debate at critical points of discussion. A motion for a Moderated Caucus is in order any time the floor is open before closure of debate. The delegate making the motion needs to briefly explain its purpose and specify a time limit not to exceed twenty minutes, and a time limit for the individual speeches. Once raised, the motion will be voted on immediately, with a simple majority of members required for passage.
If no delegate wishes to speak during a Moderated Caucus, the caucus shall immediately end. A Moderated Caucus may be extended only once, but only after the caucus has ended, and the combined length of a Moderated Caucus and its extension may not exceed twenty minutes. Delegates cannot yield their remaining speaking time during Moderated Caucuses.
3) Un-Moderated Caucus
The purpose of Un-Moderated Caucuses is to provide the delegates with a chance to discuss freely, offering a suspension of rules. A delegate may raise a motion for an Un-Moderated Caucus at any time when the floor is open, before closure of debate. The delegate making the motion must specify a time limit for the caucus, not to exceed twenty minutes. The motion will immediately be put to a vote and will pass given a simple majority. An Un-Moderated Caucus may be extended only once, and the combined length of an Un-Moderated Caucus and its extension may not exceed twenty minutes.
4) Semi-Moderated Caucus
At the discretion of the Chair, delegates may motion for a Semi-Moderated Caucus in which an informal discussion is carried out in the committee room. During the execution of this motion, delegates not speaking will be expected to remain in their seats and be respectful of speakers at all times.
Since Semi-Moderated Caucus is a specialized form of Moderated Caucus, the points mentioned in Article 14 as to how a Moderated Caucus is carried out also apply here.
5) Closure of Debate
When the floor is open, a delegate may raise a motion to close debate on the substantive or procedural topic that is being discussed. Delegates may move to close debate on the general topic, debate on the agenda, or debate on an amendment. When the closure of debate is moved, the Chair may choose up to two speakers against this motion. Closure of debate requires the support of two-thirds of the members present and voting. If there are no speakers against the closing of debate, the Chair will ask the delegates if there are any objections, according to voting by acclamation. If there are no objections, the motion to close debate will automatically be adopted and the committee will move immediately to substantive voting procedure.
6) Suspension or Adjournment of the Meeting
The suspension of the meeting means the postponement of all committee functions until the next meeting. The adjournment of the meeting means the postponement of all committee functions for the duration of the conference. Once the floor is open for points and motions, any delegate can move to suspend or adjourn the meeting and the Chair will decide whether it’s in order according to the meeting schedule. When in order, such motions will not be debatable but will be immediately voted upon, barring any motions taking precedence, and will require a simple majority to pass.
7) Purpose of Points
Points are a way for delegates to express discomfort or ask questions about the procedure etc. except for Points of Information, points can only be directed to the Chair Board, not to individual delegates.
There are 5 types of points recognized in this conference. *
8) Points of Personal Privilege
If delegates feel any kind of discomfort that interferes with their participation in the committee, they may raise a Point of Personal Privilege to state the issue. This point can interrupt a delegate’s speech only if the point is raised due to the inaudibility of the speaker.
9) Points of Parliamentary Inquiry
When the floor is open, delegates who have questions regarding the procedure may raise a Point of Parliamentary Inquiry to consult the Chair. This point may never interrupt another delegate.
Delegates with substantive questions should not rise to this point, but should rather approach the Committee staff during caucus or send a note to the dais.
10) Points of Order
If a delegate thinks that the procedure is not being followed by the Chair Board, they may raise a Point of Order. The matter will immediately be decided on by the Chair per these rules of procedure. This point may never interrupt another delegate.
11) Right of Reply
Right of Reply may be used when the national integrity of a delegate is infringed upon and shall be sent to the Chair by notepaper. The Chair may use its discretion to overrule the Right of Reply.
12) Points of Information
A delegate may raise a Point of Information if the delegate has a question regarding the Agenda Item or the debate proceedings.
Points of Information also constitute questions directed to other delegates. They may be raised when a delegate yields their remaining time to questions. Delegates can only make Points of Information regarding the content of the speech, rhetorical or ill-willed questions will be ruled out by the Chair.
D) PATH TO A DRAFT RESOLUTION
13) Working Papers
Working Papers are unofficial documents presented by delegates to the Chair Board and, with the signature of the Chair, can be distributed to the committee members. They can be presented in any format approved by the Chair and don’t require signatories. Working Papers can aid the committee as they lay a foundation for the draft resolution.
14) Draft Resolution
Draft resolutions are documents written during the sessions in a particular format, their content consisting of the outcome of the debates that the committee has had. Once passed, the draft resolution is called the resolution paper. There can be multiple draft resolutions written on one Agenda Item, but only one can pass. One important thing to note is, draft resolutions can only be written during sessions, writing clauses outside the committee is forbidden.
A draft resolution may be introduced when it receives the approval of the Chair and is signed by 20 members in the General Assembly, 10 members in the Economic and Social Council and Regional Bodies, or 5 members in Crisis Committees. Signing a draft resolution doesn’t mean support of every single clause in it, but only expresses a desire for the resolution to be discussed in the committee. There are no official sponsors of draft resolutions. A draft resolution requires a simple majority of members present to pass. Only one draft resolution may be passed per topic area.
Once the draft resolution has been approved, a delegate shall move to introduce the draft resolution. The Chair may ask for only the operative clauses to be read in order to save time for further debates.
Once introduced, draft resolutions can be altered by the delegates. These alterations are called amendments and can be in the form of deleting, adding to, or revising parts of the resolution.
A motion to introduce an approved amendment may be made when the floor is open. After this motion, the Chair may read the amendment aloud, time permitting. The motion will pass by a simple majority. General debate will be suspended and a Speakers’ List will be established for and against the amendment.
After a motion to close debate on the amendment is raised and passes, the Committee will move to an immediate vote. Amendments need a simple majority to pass. Votes on amendments are substantive votes. After the vote, debate will resume according to the general Speakers’ List.
16) Procedural Voting
Voting on any matter other than draft resolutions and amendments is considered procedural. Each member of the committee must vote on all procedural motions, and no abstentions will be allowed. A simple majority shall be considered achieved when there are more “Yes” votes than “No” votes. A two-thirds vote will require at least twice as many “Yes” votes as “No” votes.
17) Substantive Voting
Substantive voting includes voting on draft resolutions and amendments. Once the committee closes debate on the general agenda, it will move into substantive voting procedures on resolutions. At this time, the chambers are sealed, and no interruptions will be allowed. The only motions that will be in order are Motion to Divide the Question, Motion to Reorder Draft Resolutions, and Motion for a Roll Call Vote. If there are no such motions, the Committee will vote on all draft resolutions in the order in which they were introduced.
For substantive voting, each member will have one vote. Each vote may be a ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ or ‘Abstain.’ Abstaining members are not considered to be voting, and are subtracted from quorum to calculate a simple majority. All matters will be voted upon by a show of placards unless a motion for a roll call vote is accepted. A simple majority requires more “Yes” votes than “No” votes. Once any Resolution has been passed, the voting procedure is closed, as only one Resolution may be passed per Topic Area.
In the Security Council, the five permanent members have the power to veto any substantive vote. A “No” vote by one of the five permanent members of the Security Council is considered a veto, and the draft resolution will not pass if it receives a veto.
18)Roll Call Voting
A delegate has the right to request a roll call vote after debate on a draft resolution is closed or for any other substantive vote. A roll call vote is only in order for substantive votes. A motion for a roll call vote may be made from the floor and passes without a vote if it is seconded by 20 members of the General Assembly, 10 members of the Economic and Social Council and Regional Bodies, and 5 members of the Crisis and Historical Committees.
In a roll call vote, the Chair will call members in alphabetical order starting with a randomly selected member. In the first roll call, delegates may vote “Yes,” “Yes with Rights”, “No,” “No with Rights”, “Abstain,” or “Pass”. Delegates who vote either “Yes with Rights” or “No with Rights” reserve the right to explain their vote only when the delegate is voting against the policy of their country. A delegate who voted “Pass” during the first sequence of the roll call must vote (may not abstain or pass) during the second sequence.
The Chair shall then call for changes of votes; no delegate may request a right of explanation if he or she did not request on in the previous two sequences. All delegates who had requested the right of explanation will be granted time to explain their votes. The speaking time will be set at the discretion of the Chair, not to exceed thirty seconds. The Chair will then announce the outcome of the vote.
F) PRECEDENCE OF MOTIONS
The following are incidental motions that are dealt with immediately when they arise and thus have no precedence: Point of Personal Privilege, Point of Order, Point of Parliamentary Inquiry.
Motions will be considered in the following order of preference: Adjournment of the Meeting, Suspension of the Meeting, Un-Moderated Caucusing, Moderated Caucusing, Introduction of Draft Resolution, Introduction of an Amendment, Postponement of Debate, Resumption of Debate, Closure of Debate.
At the start of the voting procedure, the following points and motions are in order, in the following order of precedence: Reordering Draft Resolutions, Division of the Question, Motion for a Roll Call Vote.