Please note that MUN Bilbao is only open to school students, and not university students.
The more research a delegate does before attending a conference, the more confident and able to participate that delegate will be during the conference. So research is vital to be successful at the conference.
It is advisable to do a little research on the UN: its mission, how it works, its structure and to have a quick read through the Charter, so that you do not violate the basic rules of the UN during the debates.
United Nations: www.un.org
A delegation can start researching their member country together. It is important to gain as much background knowledge about the country as possible as general knowledge is the foundation for all your further research.
The land and its history:
What is its name and flag? Where does it lay? How big is it? What are the needs of the different provinces? How many inhabitants does it have? How was the nation formed? What wars have they been in? How have the borders changed throughout time? Have there been any significant historical events?
Politics and economy:
What is the political situation? What is the leading political party? What recent laws or reforms have been adopted? How strong is the economy? How does it influence political relations? What trading groups does the country belong to? How developed is the country? How good is the health and education system? What is the infrastructure like? What developments is the government working on?
Look at what neighbors your country has and what are your relationships with them. Look at what conflicts you have and what your governments agree on. Also find out, whether your country is a part of any different union apart from the UN, such as the EU, NATO, NAFTA among others.
Demography and culture:
How is the society divided? Is there a great difference between the rich and the poor? What ethnic groups are there? What is the situation with the ethnic minorities? What traditions are there? Are there any problems with the traditions? What religions are there? What do these religions prohibit? What is the crime rate?
Does the country possess nuclear weapons? How strong is the military? Are there any disputed territories?
CIA World Factbook: www.cia.gov
European Union: www.europa.eu
US Department of State: www.state.gov
The World Bank: www.worldbank.org
Now each delegate needs to start individually researching the topics of the committee they will be sitting on. Firstly, they must research each topic generally to understand what the topic is about and which countries are involved. Please be aware that some topics are very wide and could include a mirage of situations and it would be impossible to include all of them in a resolution. So it is perfectly acceptable to choose one aspect of a topic and concentrate solely on that aspect.
Research the topics thoroughly, think about how they relate to your country and what would be your government’s approach to the problems. Remember, you represent your country, not yourself at the conference. Finding out what your government has done for the topics of your committee can be difficult, but it will be the most important information for you during the debates. Try to find resolutions submitted or co-submitted by your country or projects your country has funded. Put together your country’s approach to the problem and you will know how to react to the debates appropriately.
From mid-December, Research Reports written by the Chairs of the committees will be made available to you.
Having researched the committee’s topics, delegates now need to write at least one resolution on one of the topics to be debated and voted on in the committee. It is perfectly acceptable to write more than one if the delegate wishes. A resolution is an official document submitted by a member country to the UN with the aim of solving a specific situation, but it cannot contravene the Charter. There are very formal, strict rules on how to write and lay out a resolution and only a resolution from the Security Council can mandate military intervention.
A resolution has two parts: the preambulatory clauses and the operative clauses. Preambulatory clauses are facts that state the historical and current situations, whilst operative clauses state suggested actions to take. Both types of clauses need to start with an approved word or words from the following list:
Affirming Alarmed by Approving Bearing in mind Believing Confident Contemplating Convinced Declaring Deeply concerned Deeply conscious Deeply convinced Deeply disturbed Deeply regretting Desiring Emphasizing Expecting Expressing its appreciation Fulfilling Fully aware Further deploring Further recalling Guided by Having adopted Having considered Having examined Having received Keeping in mind Noting with deep concern Noting with satisfaction Noting further Observing Reaffirming Realizing Recalling Recognizing Referring Seeking Taking into consideration Taking note Viewing with appreciation Welcoming
Accepts Affirms Approves Asks Authorizes Calls Calls upon Condemns Confirms Congratulates Considers Decides Declares Deplores Designates Draws attention Emphasises Encourages Endorses Expresses it appreciation Expresses it hope Further invites Further proclaims Further recommends Further resolves Further requests Have resolved Notes Proclaims Reaffirms Recommends Regrets Reminds Requests Solemnly affirms Strongly condemns Suggests Supports Takes note of Transmits Trusts Urges
The resolution must start with four headings: the name of the committee that the resolution is being presented in, the topic that the resolution covers, which member country is submitting the resolution and the words 'General Assembly' to who the resolution will be directed at. If the resolution is being debated in the Security Council, the words 'General Assembly' should be replaced with 'Security Council'.
Preambulatory clauses end with a comma. Operative clauses are numbered and end in a semi colon, with the last clause ending with a full stop. A resolution cannot have more than 18 operative clauses, including sub clauses. Operative clauses should be the delegate's own work, not taken from other resolutions. The clauses should be arranged in a logical order, clearly formulated and should not repeat themselves but deal with a different aspect of the given matter. The use of correct grammar, spelling and punctuation is important. During debate, committees can accept amendments on operative clauses, but not on preambulatory clauses.
An Example Resolution:
Topic: Question of hydraulic fracking
Submitted by: State of Kuwait
Declaring the State of Kuwait as being a state member in the Basel Convention, an international agreement that parties to Hazardous Wastes and states:
“The Convention has 175 Parties and aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects resulting from the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes.”,
Deeply concerned by the environmental impacts and impacts on human health these gas and oil extraction techniques imply,
Declaring fracking wells release compounds into the air,
Having studied drinking water wells close to natural gas wells, the scientists at Duke University found the levels of flammable methane gas were increasing to dangerous levels,
Believing methane concentrations are seventeen times higher in drinking water wells near fracking sites,
Keeping in mind methane has twenty five times more greenhouse effect than CO2,
Contemplating chemicals released after fracking may harm human reproduction and development as so is suggested by over 150 studies,
Bearing in mind the study done in 2012 by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health showing air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing could contribute to immediate and longterm health problems for people living near fracking sites,
Noting the State of Kuwait also parties to the Environmental Modification Convention, a convention on the prohibition of military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques,
Aware of the severe degradation of the landscape involved in hydraulic fracturing,
Taking into consideration only 30-50% of the fracking fluid, which contains water, sand and chemicals, is recovered and is not biodegradable,
Fully alarmed by the drop in oil prices as a result of the surging production in the US, being now the world´s largest oil and natural gas producer due to the use of fracking,
Recognising the meeting held in Vienna by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) having as a result an agreement of the state members in not declining the oil production and in letting the market establish itself,
Observing OPEC´s members are declaring war on frackers by allowing prices to fall to a level at which a lot of American fracking companies would lose money,
Taking into consideration the Chinese market crash and the dollar appraisal dropped oil prices to under $50 a barrel in January,
Noting with deep concern Russia and Iraq need to sell at over $100 a barrels to balance budgets,
1-. Asks the UN to conduct an exhaustive exam on the impacts of fracking techniques on health and environment and contamination;
2-. Calls for a study of the contamination in drinking wells in nearby fracking areas;
3-. Designates the approval of an international law which obligates fracking companies to publish a list of chemicals and quantities used in their fracking wells;
4-. Expresses its hope governments will make people aware of the fracking impacts;
5-. Urges to ban hydraulic fracturing wells close to urban areas;
6-. Considers setting conditions that states:
a-. A safety ratio that prevents fracking close to urban areas
b-. A maximum number of times a well can be fracked
c-. A minimum of 65% of fracking fluid must be recovered
d-. Waste products must be stored in an environmentally friendly way
e-.Methane concentration in the air must be under 2%, keeping in mind levels are over this average
f-. Formation water needs to be treated and radiation free;
7-. Requests the UN to set inspections of every fracking well every year and close those which do not achieve the conditions set.
Policy statements are presented in committees during the Friday morning session and this is the one moment of the conference where all delegates have the opportunity to speak. Policy statements can last for anything up to a maximum of one minute, but no longer. The first member to present their Policy statement will be decided by randomly choosing a name from a bag and then all other members will follow on in alphabetical order. Written notes and small electronic devices will be permitted at the podium, however larger devices such as laptops will not be allowed.
In order to write a good Policy statement, you first need to understand the topics that are to be debated in your committee. Your Policy statement should explain your country’s policy with regards to the topics being discussed and briefly outline any solutions you would like your committee to consider. Your policy statement should not contain your personal views on a topic, unless they are the same as those of your country.
Policy statements should be short and to the point, allowing other delegates to understand clearly what your government thinks and giving them a base for asking you questions if needed.
Prior to attending the conference, each delegation must design and print stationery to be used for note passing in committees and the general assemblies.
The stationery should be of size A5 and maybe black and white or in colour. The stationery must clearly show the name of the delegation and the names of the delegates within that delegation. There must also be sufficient space / lines for writing the message, but apart from this the delegation is free to design the stationery in anyway.
Typical examples of design include using the flag, a map or a well-known symbol of the member country.
It is very important that delegates know and use the proper language and rules of procedure whilst debating. The most important rules include:
1. Delegates always have to refer to themselves as well as others in the third person
2. In order to speak, delegates have to have the floor or an appropriate point or motion
3. Delegates must stand to speak or to ask Points of Information (questions) and remain standing until they have been answered
4. After finishing speaking, delegates must yield the floor back to the Chair or to another delegate
1. Point of Personal Privilege: may be raised by any delegate in case of personal discomfort, but can only interrupt the speaker if it concerns audibility.
2. Point of Information to the Speaker: may be raised when the Speaker opens themselves up to Points of Information, and the Speaker may open themself up to any and all Points of Information, a specified maximum number of Points of Information or no Points of Information. Points of Information to the Speaker should be in the form of a question, although a short introductory statement may precede the question. The Point of Information shall only refer to the matter being discussed and the Speaker may choose not to answer. To ask a follow-up Point of Information, the delegate must first ask permission of the Chair.
3. Point of Information to the Chair: may be raised by any delegate when the Chair has the floor, but cannot interrupt the Chair and the delegate must wait to be recognized before asking it. Points of Information to the Chair should be in the form of a question and be about the proceedings of the session or a request for information concerning the topic under debate.
4. Point of Order: may be raised by any delegate but may only refer to the order of proceedings or a violation of the Rules of Procedure, including a mistake made by the Chair. This point may interrupt the Speaker and the delegate shall then explain the nature of their Point. The Chair must evaluate and respond to the Point immediately.
5. Right of Reply: may only be raised by a delegate that was mentioned by the Speaker in a manner they consider offending, either personally or on behalf of their country. This Point may not interrupt the Speaker and the Chair may choose not to entertain the Point or must rule on it immediately. Exclaiming "Right of Reply" along with raising the placard is acceptable when raising this Point. The Right of Reply shall consist of a short, factual statement and may include a demand for an apology. The Speaker will then be asked if they wish to apologise.
1. Motion to extend debate time / points of information : may be raised by any delegate and requires a Second. The Chair may choose not to entertain this Motion. If the motion is accepted, it is at the Chair's discretion how long to extend the time.
2. Motion to move to previous question: may be raised by any delegate and requires a Second. If any delegate raises an Objection, the Motion is not in order. The Chair may choose not to entertain this Motion, although the Chair cannot override an objection. This Motion allows the debate to move on to the following step without discriminating against any delegate who wishes to participate.
During debate, any delegate may suggest an amendment to a resolution. This amendment can take the form of wishing to add a new clause to the resolution, striking a clause from a resolution, or amending an existing clause of a resolution.
In order to propose an amendment, the delegate must write their suggestion on an Amendment Sheet, which can be obtained from the Chairs, and then return the Amendment Sheet back to the Chairs. It is at the Chairs' discretion when the amendment will be brought up for debate but when it is, the delegate must read out their proposed amendment and then give a short speech explaining the reason for the amendment. Other delegates will be able to speak in favor or against the amendment before Voting on the amendment takes place.
Amendments to the Second Degree are used to change an original amendment. The process is the same as when proposing a regular amendment. If an Amendment to the Second Degree is approved, the entire amendment is also approved.
When voting on an amendment or an amendment to the second degree, all delegates must vote and cannot abstain as it is a procedural vote.
Once the Chairs declare that the committee is moving into voting procedure, all note passing must cease and the secretaries will take their voting positions. The Chairs will ask delegates to raise their placards to vote either for, against or to abstain on a resolution, and the secretaries will count the votes and pass this information on to the Chairs.
Motions to Divide the House are not permitted.
When voting on amendments or amendments to the second degree, all delegates must vote for or against and cannot abstain.