Skip to main content

Model United Nations

Writing Resolutions

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 to a draft document as part of a group with varied interests on the topic.

Draft Resolutions

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

Affirming Expressing its appreciation Keeping in mind
Alarmed by Expressing its satisfaction  Noting with deep concern
Approving Fulfilling Noting with regret
Aware of  Fully alarmed Noting with satisfaction
Bearing in mind  Fully believing  Noting further
Believing  Further deploring  Noting with approval
Confident Further recalling  Observing
Contemplating Guided by Reaffirming
Convinced Having adopted Realizing
Declaring Having considered Recalling
Deeply concerned Having devoted attention Recognizing
Deeply conscious Having examined Referring
Deeply convinced Having heard Seeking
Deeply disturbed Having Received Taking into account
Deeply regretting Having studied Taking into consideration
Desiring   Taking note
Emphasizing   Viewing with appreciation
Expecting   Welcoming

Operative Clauses

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

Accepts Draws the attention Proclaims
Affirms Emphasizes Reaffirms
Approves Further invites Recommends
Authorizes Encourages Regrets
Calls Expresses its appreciation Reminds
Calls upon Expresses its hope Requests
Condemns Further invites Solemnly affirms
Confirms Further proclaims Strongly condemns
Congratulates Further reminds Supports
Considers Further recommends Takes note of
Declares accordingly Further requests Transmits
Deplores Further resolves Trusts
Designates Note  


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.

Sample Resolution

*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]

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …