MUN Terms & Procedures Cheat Sheet
Entering a Model UN conference can be intimidating. Although we at TRU MUN do our best to welcome and teach everyone along the way, some of the rules and policies that we take from larger MUNs can seem overwhelming. Think of this page as your personal cheat sheet to help you remember some of the terms and procedures! Please remember that we will also be holding regular informal sessions throughout the school year to help you practice before our conference!
Decorum.Decorum is a fancy word that reminds delegates to remain peaceful with each other, and to not be loud, disruptive or disrespectful at any point during the conference. Although this is sometimes subjective, delegates must respect the Chair’s judgement. If the Chair feels that any delegate(s) is/are not being respectful, he/she/they will say “Decorum” or “Decorum delegates”. If the issue persists, the Chair will ask the delegate(s) to leave, either temporarily or permanently.
Unmoderated vs Moderated Caucus.TRU MUN will always begin with a Moderated caucus, during which delegates may only speak one at a time according to the order of the Speaker’s List (more on this below). Delegates can speak to each other using notes (which are passed through Noterunners), but may not speak to each other verbally. Delegates can motion to switch to an Unmoderated caucus at any time, during which delegates may speak to each other freely; however, any ideas that delegates wish to discuss must be presented in Moderated caucus before they can be discussed in Unmoderated caucus.
Speaker’s List.At the beginning of a Moderated caucus, the Chair will ask which delegates wish to speak. Any delegates wanting to speak will then raise their placards and the Chair will read out their countries’ names one at a time. The order in which the Chair reads the countries’ names are recorded, and this becomes the Speaker’s List, or the order in which delegates will speak.
Motions.A motion is a formal way that a delegate can instigate an action. There are many kinds of motions that have many different purposes. When a delegate would like to put a motion forward, he/she/they would simply say "I motion to...". Some examples:
- Motion to move to an Unmoderated/Moderated caucus – this is used to change the kind of debate. This can be used when delegates want to start working on their Working or Resolution Papers (more on these later) in Unmoderated caucus, or when there are new ideas to present or discuss in Moderated caucus. When putting forward this kind of motion, delegates must remember to specify a time limit, and a speaking time where applicable (i.e. “I motion to move to an Unmoderated caucus with a duration of 15 minutes”, or “I motion to move to a Moderated caucus with a duration of 15 minutes and a speaking time of 3 minutes”).
- Motion to extend time of an Unmoderated caucus.
- Motion to take a break – if delegates find that the debate is at a standstill or need a moment to clear their minds, they can motion for a short break. It is important to remember that once delegates leave the conference room, they may not continue the debate or discuss ideas that were brought up in the simulation.
- Motion to table/reconsider a topic – delegates may table a topic if they cannot reach a resolution, and/or reconsider if they would like to resume the discussion at a later time.
Yielding time.If a delegate is speaking and has said everything they wish to say before their speaking time is up (i.e. if a delegate is given 5 minutes to speak but feels that he/she/they only needs 3 minutes), they may yield (give up) the rest of their time, either to another delegate or to the Chair. If the delegate yields their time to the Chair, the Chair will move to the next speaker on the Speaker’s List. In either case, if a delegate chooses to stop speaking before their time is up, they must use the phrase “I yield my time to (“the Chair” or another delegate’s country name)”.
Working Papers and Resolution Papers.During a Model UN conference, an official resolution must be submitted in the form of a paper in order for an issue to be considered resolved. As delegates compile their thoughts into a rough format, this becomes what is known as a Working Paper. At this stage, delegates may have split off into several groups, meaning that several working papers are submitted. Once a working paper has been submitted, delegates may decide to fine tune or combine their Working Paper into what is known as a Resolution Paper. A resolution paper has a more formal format, involves Sponsors and Signatories (more on this below), and can be voted on.
Sponsors vs Signatories.Sponsors and Signatories are both listed on the bottom of a Resolution Paper, but, in general, Sponsors play a greater role in getting the paper to pass. A Resolution Paper can have a maximum of 3 sponsors. Sponsors can be either the main contributors on the paper or the most influential countries (i.e. the Big 5). Signatories may sign on because they agree with the paper (or parts of it), and they want it to go to vote. Note that this is not the same thing as wanting it to pass – a signatory may sign on and then vote against the paper. Sponsors must support and endorse the entire paper as submitted.
Still have questions? We are happy to answer anything via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. As well, we encourage you to attend our Mock Sessions throughout the Fall semester, where we will be teaching these policies and more in a hands-on format!