Those rules shall regulate the organization and work of a particular Model UN committee. They are modeled after the original rules adopted first by the Security Council (1946) and the General Assembly (1947), and subsequently updated at multiple occasions. No MUN could operate without those rules, since their purpose is to ensure a smooth work as well as to uphold legitimacy and authority of the distinguished house.
Adapted MUN Rules of Procedure usually consist of the following sections: sessions, agenda, President and Vice-Presidents, Conduct of Business, Voting and Amendments. Every MUN is using more or less standardized Rules of Procedure, but there are the four segments of them which need further clarification:
Point is a means which enables a delegate to participate in the work of the committee. Whether you want to ask for clarification of a procedural matter (point of order, point of inquiry), pose a question or comment to a preceding speech (point of inquiry), or address some personal discomfort of yours (point of personal privilege), points are the only way to do that properly.
A motion enables a delegate to come up with a proposal before the committee, either procedural or substantive. Usually, a motion serves to influence a particular setting of the debate (moving to formal/informal debate, entering the unmoderated caucus, closing/opening the debate on an agenda item, suspending/adjourning the meeting, etc.), or to actively influence a substantive part of the session (when discussing draft resolution, introducing amendments, etc).
Below are some of the most common Motions:
Motion to enter/close/extend formal/informal debate
Motion to enter/extend unmoderated caucus
Motion to set/extend speech time per delegate
Motion to suspend/adjourn the meeting
Motion to overrule the decision of the Chair
Image: United Nations
A Yield is makes it possible for a delegate to return his/her remaining time back or forth so the session can go on. It is an established practice that a delegate every time after finishing a speech (intervention) says “I yield the floor back to the Chair” or some variation of that. However, it is possible that this rule is somewhat modified during the informal debate - but you should carefully study the Rules of Procedure prescribed by your MUN.
Below are some of the most common Yields:
Yield back to the Chair
Yield to co-delegate/other delegates
Yield to Questions/Comments
Every Member State of the committee shall have one vote, except for the observers and non-members whose voting rights are limited. Member States can vote on both substantial and procedural matters, while observers (other states, with non-state actors excluded) can usually vote on procedural matters only (depending on a particular MUN committee).
Procedural matters cover issues regarding the operation of the committee (points, motions). For procedural matters, it usually takes majority of the members present or a qualified majority to pass affirmative vote on the matter (depending on the committee).
Substantive matters deal with things such as voting on amendments and draft resolution. It usually takes absolute or qualified majority of states present and voting to pass affirmative vote on the matter. For example, in the Security Council, a resolution cannot pass without the 9 affirmative votes with concurring votes of all five permanent members.
Remember, only after you have mastered the Rules of Procedure you can fully enjoy your MUN experience in session. Let the games (procedurally) begin!
Also, be sure to check out our free eBooks:
MUNPlanet eBook: "Becoming a Model UN Delegate - An Essential Guide Through the MUN World"
- MUNPlanet eBook on how to start a Model UN conference
Cover Image: United Nations