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Resolution Writing

Part IVf: Resolution Writing

WHAT IS A RESOLUTION?


Resolutions are the end result of discussion, writing and negotiation. They are written international statements or international law, depending on the power of the committee. Most committees acting within the auspices of the United Nations produce suggestion-oriented resolutions; the Security Council produces resolutions that may be defined as having the force of law. 
 


STAGES OF A RESOLUTION:

WORKING PAPER

When delegates have just begun working on the document, the document is not a “resolution,” but a “working paper.” A document is a working paper from the moment it is created until it is “codified” or “approved by the dais,” which essentially means that it has been edited and meets the format rules of the conference, at which point it becomes a Draft Resolution. Prior to this approval, it is not officially property of the committee, and cannot be referred to in speeches.

DRAFT RESOLUTION

The Draft Resolution phase begins with being codified, at which point the code is added to the top of the document, and the sponsor and signatory lists are removed. At this point it can be voted upon by the members of the committee. It can be printed and distributed to the delegates and now it can be referred to in speeches. It is also now the “property of the body,” meaning that it is no longer “owned” by the authors but by the committee at large. The Draft Resolution phase ends when delegates move into Voting Bloc on the topic.

A draft resolution must always gain the support of a certain number of member states in the committee before the sponsors (the delegates who created the resolution) may submit it to the committee staff. Many conferences require signatures from 20 percent of the countries present in order to submit a draft resolution. A staff member will read the draft resolution to ensure that it is relevant and in proper format. Only when a staff member formally accepts the document and assigns it a number can it be referred to in formal debate.

In some cases a delegate must make a motion to introduce the draft resolution, while in other cases the sponsors are immediately called upon to read the document. Because these procedures can vary, it is essential to find out about the resolution process for the conference you plan to attend.

RESOLUTION

After a Draft Resolution has been voted on in voting bloc, it becomes a Resolution (if it passes).


PARTS OF A RESOLUTION:

CODE

The code is used for identification and consists of four parts – the committee acronym (i.e. “SC”), the status (“RES” for Resolution, “DR” for Draft Resolution), the number of the topic (you can find this in the background guides), and the number of the document itself, with 1 being the 1st one being approved by the Dais.

Example: For the General Assembly’s 1st draft resolution on its 3rd topic, the code is GA/DR/3/1.

COMMITTEE

This is the full name of your committee.

SPONSORS

Sponsors of a draft resolution are countries that support the resolution; they are bound to support it and vote in favor of it by virtue of being a sponsor. Usually, the list of sponsors is the list of the primary authors of the draft resolution. The list of sponsors is removed by the dais when the working paper is codified.

SIGNATORIES

Signatories are similar to sponsors, except that they are not bound to support the document. “Signing on,” or becoming a signatory, means that you want the resolution to be debated and/or voted upon – no more, no less.

TITLE

The title is usually the title of your topic (i.e. “The Situation in Iran”), though it can also refer to a particular proposal within the document at the discretion of the sponsors and the dais.

PREAMBULAR / PREAMBULATORY CLAUSES

Preambular clauses (also known as “perambulatory clauses” or “pre-ams”) are the clauses that provide context, reasoning and justification for the operative clauses. They usually “set up the problem” or explain why the committee feels a need to act. They also usually get more specific and state why the committee feels a need to act in the specific way they’re going to. The first portion of the clause is italicized. Preambular clauses may not be amended or divided.

OPERATIVE CLAUSES

Operative clauses are the parts of the resolution that actually do something. If you’re sending in peacekeepers, condemning a country’s actions, calling for a ceasefire, or allocating money, it takes place in the operative clauses. The first portion of the clause is underlined, and each operative clause is numbered.


TIPS FOR WRITING RESOLUTIONS:

  • Check the format guidelines for each conference prior to writing your resolution. This will save valuable time for you, the sponsors of the resolution, and the staff responsible for making edits. 
  • Be as detailed as possible. The more information you include in your resolution outlining what changes you'd like to make, the better. For instance, if you are advocating for a new program, detail what specific authority it will have, how it will be funded, and which body will be responsible for its oversight.
  • Cite. Use your knowledge of previous international agreements and international statistics to demonstrate the importance of what you're advocating.
  • Know the authority and enforceability of your committee. The background guide will often contain hints as to how far-reaching the committee is. 
  • Call for realistic decisions. Some countries make stronger assertions of what should be done. However, the vast majority of resolutions that pass take pragmatic steps rather than large leaps.
  • Negotiate using your resolution and control any changes that may be made to the document. It is always advisable to start from one end and compromise when needed. This will ensure that your country puts forward a resolution which accomplishes much of what matches their foreign policy. Another tactic one may use is commonly referred to as logrolling. This seeks to gather consensus by adding additional sections to the resolutions advocated by others with a promise to approve the entire resolution. As long as offered amendments do not challenge your country's foreign policy, it is a useful tool to build support for your resolution and make political allies who will vouch for the resolution to others. 
  • Incorporate ideas and feedback. Draft resolutions will not pass if you don't make an effort to reach out to them.

For Additional help on Resolution Writing, please consult the following attachments regarding a template/preamblatory and operative clause words.


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Aria Nikkhoui,
May 12, 2010, 3:26 PM
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Aria Nikkhoui,
May 12, 2010, 3:10 PM
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