The final results of research, caucusing and negotiation are resolutions — written suggestions for addressing a specific problem or issue. Resolutions, which are drafted by delegates and voted on by the committee, normally require a simple majority to pass (except in the Security Council). Only Security Council resolutions can compel nations to take action. All other UN bodies use resolutions to make recommendations or suggestions for future action.
Students are encouraged to practice writing resolutions as part of their conference preparations, but should not bring pre-written resolutions to the conference. Part of the learning experience is working on a draft document as part of a group with varied interests on the topic.
Draft resolutions are all resolutions that have not yet been voted on. Delegates write draft resolutions with other countries. There are three main parts to a draft resolution: the heading, the preamble, and the operative section. The heading shows the committee and topic. It also lists the draft resolution’s signatories (see below). Each draft resolution is one long sentence with sections separated by commas and semicolons. The subject of the sentence is the body making the statement (e.g., Plenary Committee). The preamble and operative sections then describe the current situation and actions that the committee will take.
A draft resolution must gain the support of half of the member states in the committee before it can be approved by the Chair. The Chair will read the draft resolution to ensure that it is relevant and in proper format. Once approved the Chair will circulate copies to all members of the committee for further consideration and potential amendments.
Tips for Resolution Writing
- Preambulatory clauses are historic justifications for action. Use them to cite past resolutions, precedents and statements about the purpose of action.
- Operative clauses are policies that the resolution is designed to create. Use them to explain what the committee will do to address the issue.
- Try to cite facts whenever possible.
- Create a detailed resolution. For example, if your resolution calls for a new program, think about how it will be funded and what body will manage it.
- Be realistic. Do not create objectives for your resolution that cannot be met. Make sure your body can take the action suggested. For example, the General Assembly can’t sanction another country – only the Security Council can do so.
- Solicit the views of many states. Your committee will be more likely to approve the resolutions if many delegates contribute ideas.
- Be sure to follow the format for resolutions provided by the conference organizers.
- Preambulatory Clauses : The preamble of a resolution states the reasons for which the committee is addressing the topic and highlights past international action on the issue. Each clause begins with a present participle (called a preambulatory phrase) and ends with a comma.
Preambulatory clauses can include:
- References to the UN Charter;
- Citations of past UN resolutions or treaties on the topic under discussion;
- Mentions of statements made by the Secretary-General or a relevant UN body or agency;
- Recognition of the efforts of regional or nongovernmental organizations in dealing with the issue; and
- General statements on the topic, its significance and its impact.
Sample Preambulatory Phrases
|Expressing its appreciation
|Keeping in mind
|Expressing its satisfaction
|Noting with deep concern
|Noting with regret
|Noting with satisfaction
|Bearing in mind
|Noting with approval
|Having devoted attention
|Taking into account
|Taking into consideration
|Viewing with appreciation
Operative clauses identify the actions or recommendations made in a resolution. Each operative clause begins with a verb (called an operative phrase) and ends with a semicolon. Operative clauses should be organized in a logical progression, with each containing a single idea or proposal, and are always numbered. If a clause requires further explanation, bulleted lists set off by letters or roman numerals can also be used. After the last operative clause, the resolution ends in a period.
Sample Operative Phrases
|Draws the attention
|Expresses its appreciation
|Expresses its hope
|Takes note of
Signatories are countries that may or may not agree with the substance of the draft resolution but still wish to see it debated before the body so that they can propose amendments.
*Please note: the sample resolution presented below is shown for formatting purposes only. It is intentionally simplistic, and is not meant to represent the content of an actual draft resolution.
TOPIC: Use of force in international relations
SIGNATORIES:[all of the countries that would like to see this resolution debated before the committee]
RECOGNIZING that the use of force in international relations cannot be condoned,
[commas after each preambulatory phrase]
AFFIRMING the principals of the UN Charter in regards to the non-usage of force in international relations,
SEEKING solutions to international problems without the use of force,
DEEPLY CONCERNED that some nations still consider the use of force acceptable,
1. REQUESTS all nations to refrain from the use of force in international relations;
[semi-colons after each operative phrase]
2. SUPPORTS the use of the various United Nations bodies for the settlement of international disputes;
3. CONGRATULATES all nations which choose to resolve their disputes in a peaceful fashion.
[Source: Adapted from UNA-USA]