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1-st Sofia International Model United Nations (SOFIMUN)

20-27 July 2008

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SOFIMUN Ex-Com has prepared the Delegate's Preparatory Guide & Rules of procedure.






Delegate's handbook

You can find more about the rules of the 1-st edition of Sofia International Model United Nations in the Delegate's handbook


Delegate's Preparatory Guide


Rules of procedure



Delegate's Preparatory Guide & Rules of procedure

I. How to write a resolution

What is a resolution?

Being a simulation of the United Nations, the outcome of the conference for each SOFIMUN committee will be the same as it would for a UN conference. The goal is to find solutions to contemporary problems and verbalize these in resolutions. A resolution is the formal format for a UN decision, recommendation or request.

A resolution will therefore reflect the points agreed upon by a majority of the country representatives in a committee. In order to reach this majority it is clear that delegates will have to debate their different opinions and will have to compromise until they find a solution most representatives can agree upon. The goal at SOFIMUN is to have one resolution on each topic on the agenda.

Draft resolutions

Before a resolution is adopted by an official vote, it is referred to as a draft-resolution. Such a draft resolution can be a combined effort, written by several countries with similar interests or could even be brought into the debate by one representative. A draft-resolution can provide a good basis to start the discussion and lobbying on the topics on the agenda, which will shape the final resolution. It can (and will) change substantially before it will be voted upon, which should be taken into consideration before rejecting a proposal. A draft resolution has no minimum or maximum length, but does need to adhere to some formalities that are found in the Rules of Procedure.

Introducing a draft resolution

Before a resolution can be discussed, it needs two sponsors and several signatories. Sponsors are often the writers of the draft resolution or delegates that agree with its contents. A Signatory does not necessarily have to support the resolution, but does want to see it discussed in the committee. One quarter of the committee must either be sponsor or signatory to the draft resolution. This means that in a committee of twenty delegates a total of 5 sponsors and signatories are needed. With a minimum of 2 sponsors the drafter will thus need to find at least 3 signatories.

Having obtained sufficient support, the draft resolution must be submitted to the chairperson to be approved by the secretariat. The secretariat gives the resolution a number and distributes it, after which the resolution can be introduced to the committee.

When the floor is open, one of the sponsors may now request to introduce the draft resolution, after which that delegate reads out the operative paragraphs. At this time other delegates can ask questions concerning technicalities and grammar. No debate or questions on the content is to take place at this time. Any apparent spelling or grammatical errors can also be pointed out and will be changed without a vote. A draft resolution is now properly introduced and can be discussed in the formal debate. N.B: A draft resolution cannot be referred to or discussed before it has been formally introduced.

The format of a resolution

A (draft) resolution consists of 3 parts: The header, preambulatory paragraphs and operative paragraphs. The header has to contain the committee name, the agenda topic it discusses, the sponsors and the document code. The latter is added by the secretariat.

A resolution, like many political documents, reads as one long sentence, stating who makes the decision, the reasons for the decision, and the decision itself (Committee A, because of B, takes action C).

Preambulatory paragraphs

The preambulatory paragraphs of a resolution state the reasons, considerations and background of the solution. It is used to refer to previous resolutions or other official documents that deal with the topic and to set out the considerations made to come to the decision in the operative paragraphs.

Preambulatory paragraphs always start with present of perfect participles (recalling, stressing, convinced, determined etc.) or with adjectives (aware of, alarmed by etc.) The first word(s) are underlined and indented and the paragraph ends with a comma (,).

Operative paragraphs

The operative paragraphs of the resolution specify the actions, requests or recommendations the committee agreed upon. Every paragraph deals with one specific part of the solution, so they should be as short and concise as possible as well as executable and rational.

Operative paragraphs start with a verb in the present tense, third person (decides, requests, calls upon etc.), some are accompanied by an adverb (strongly, deeply, further etc.). Again the first words are underlined. The paragraphs are numbered and end with a semicolon (;) except for the last paragraph that ends with a full stop (.).

The operative paragraphs are numbered. They can also contain sub-points, which have an extra indent and are numbers with lower-case letters. Following the one-sentence structure, the subpoints are a logical continuation of the paragraph they fall under. They end with a comma (,) except for the last one, that ends with a semi-colon (;).

Things to think of when writing a resolution

When writing a resolution, some things must be kept in mind. The resolution must not only be correct grammar - and format-wise, but it must also be an effective decision, attending to a certain issue. It cannot discuss more than one problem and must be executable and realistic.

The first thing to keep in mind is the competence of the forum that is to pass the resolution. The Security Council for example is the only body that can decide to use military force. The First Committee, although also discussing matters of peace and security, does not have this competence. It is up to the representatives to familiarize themselves with the competence of their committee and stay within them.

The powers of UN bodies (again with the exception of the SC) are not binding upon members states, but does not mean that a resolution is futile. They are generally respected because they represent what comes closest to the opinion of the international community.

When writing a resolution it is important to explore all the possibilities for a solution to the topic under discussion. Although delegates represent countries, and resolutions generally address member states, these are not the only entities that can be called upon. There are several levels on which a problem can be addressed:

·         The international community: a resolution can call for a conference, suggest treaties or call upon organizations such as the World Bank, WTO etc.;

·         The United Nations: a resolution can request another UN body to put something on their agenda, allocate funds, create working groups or sub-committees;

·         Regional organizations: some actions are better taken at a less centralized level. A resolution can suggest, welcome, recommend etc. international organizations such as the European Union, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and many more to take action;

·         Individual countries: A resolution can of course address an individual country to do or refrain from doing something;

·         Non Governmental Organizations: NGO’s are specialized organizations on certain issues. It is not uncommon for a resolution to ask an NGO to be involved in certain matters, assist with their knowledge or carry out certain tasks that fall within their area of specialty.

·         Your forum: many forums have different competences, most of which can be found in the UN Charter. Examples are budget changes, creating sub-committees, asking the International Court of Justice for an Advisory Opinion, requesting the Secretary-General to address certain issues etc.


An example of a resolution is on the next page. 


Security Council


Objective disarmament monitoring

Co-submitted by

Chile, China, France, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Syria, Canada, Brazil




 [preambulatory paragraphs]

Aware of the necessity of disarmament monitoring in certain cases to ensure regional and/or global security and stability,

Stressing the need that disarmament monitoring should be acceptable to all member states of the UN, in particular the state(s) in question,

Realising that objective disarmament monitoring can facilitate the reestablishment of mutual trust,

Appreciating the steps taken by the Security Council to establish a permanent weapons’ inspections body of the UN,

 [operative paragraphs]

1. Invites the General Assembly of the UN to:

a.      create a permanent list of independent persons whose expertise in the field of weapons of mass destruction and security issues is renowned,

b.      use his good offices to assist in successful negotiations on disarmament throughout the world;

2. Recommends member states propose two experts for this permanent list, to be reviewed every five years;

3. Suggests that these cases permanent list should be used in all cases of disarmament monitoring to select the members of the disarmament monitoring team;

4. Suggests also that in these cases, all parties to the disarmament have the right to select a part of the delegation from the above-mentioned permanent list of independent experts, this being 40% for the monitored state(s) and 40% for the parties requesting the monitoring, these chosen experts select the remaining 20% of the delegation of the permanent list;

5. Expresses the hope that all countries will co-operate on this matter.

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of words that can be used to start a paragraphs.

First words for preambulatory paragraphs





Aware of

Bearing in mind






Deeply concerned

Deeply convinced

Deeply disturbed

Deeply regretting





Expressing its appreciation

Expressing its concern

Expressing its hope

Expressing its satisfaction

Firmly convinced


Fully alarmed

Fully aware of

Fully believing

Guided by

Having adopted

Having considered

Having examined

Having received

Having studied

Keeping in mind



Pointing out









Taking into account

Taking into consideration

Taking note

Viewing with concern


First words for operative paragraphs







Calls for

Calls upon









Draws the attention to




Expresses its concern

Expresses its hope













Solemnly condemns




Takes note of





The moment a draft resolution is introduced is only the beginning of the debate. It is by no means going to be the final document. Many representatives may want to see some things changed, added or left out. This can be achieved through amendments to the operative paragraphs of the resolution. There are two types of amendments: “regular” amendments and friendly amendments.

Friendly amendments

When a representative proposes an amendment that all the sponsors of the draft resolution agree upon, this is called a friendly amendment. To have a friendly amendment incorporated the amendment has to be submitted to the chairperson in writing, signed by all the sponsors. Effective lobbying can save the forum a lot of time voting on amendments by convincing the sponsors of the draft resolution.


Amendments that are not friendly are simply referred to as amendments. They require three (3) sponsors and need to be submitted in writing to the chairperson. 

An amendment can propose to insert, strike or replace a paragraph or part of it. An amendment must contain the following information: The code of the draft resolution it applies to, the paragraph it applies to and what it intends to change. For example:

·         Insert a new paragraph after para. 3: “Expresses its hope that all countries involved will do their utmost to solve the problem”

·         Insert the word “regularly” in para. 8 between “to keep it” and “informed”

·         Strike para. 5

·         Strike from para. 2 “and to (…) issues”

·         Replace in para 7. “to monitor the development” with “to accelerate the development”

Unless withdrawn a resolution remain “on the table” until they are voted upon after the closure of debate.

Working papers

A representative may want to distribute a paper that is not a draft resolution. These working papers have no prescribed format, it can for instance be a report by an expert, an article or data or suggestions written by the delegate, but also a preliminary draft for a resolution. Distributing a working paper is often done by NGO’s to make country representatives aware of certain issues, or by delegates wanting to inform the committee in an efficient way. The are an efficient way of conveying information to the forum without taking time away from the debate.

A working paper must be submitted to the chairperson for the secretariat to approve it, assign it a number and distribute it. No sponsors or signatories are required. Like draft resolutions and amendments, working papers cannot be discussed or referred to unless they have been approved and distributed.

II. The forum in session

Roll call

Before the beginning of each session the chairperson will hold a roll call to see how many and which representatives are present. The chair will call upon the representatives in alphabetical order at which point they may answer with either “present” or “present and voting”. When stating “present and voting” this means that representative may not, should a substantive vote take place during that session, abstain from voting (see Voting).

The quorum for sessions is the majority of the representatives on the roll call list. Without this quorum sessions cannot start.

The debate

There are three different types of session in the simulation, ranging from formal to informal debate. Each type of session has a specific purpose in the debate leading up to the voting on a draft resolution. Next to the debate there are several points and motions that delegates may raise to make a request, ask for clarification of the rules or move into a different type of session.

1. Formal debate

Formal debate, as the name suggests, is the most formal type. This is where the general direction of a resolution is discussed and statements on a country’s policy are given. Also the formal setting is the only one in which formal voting procedures can take place on the agenda, amendments and resolutions.

During the formal debate a General Speakers List (GSL) will be kept by the chairperson and there is a time limit for speeches. If a representative wishes to make a statement during formal debate he can be added to the GSL by sending a note to the chairperson with that request and you will be given the floor when it is their turn. The speaking time can be changed if the forum desires, this is done by a motion to change the speaking time (rule 13, see Points and Motions).

If a representative finishes his speech before the speaking time runs out they can choose to yield their remaining time (rule 14). There are three yields: to another delegate, to questions and to the chair. Yielding to another delegate will give them the opportunity to hold a speech for the remaining time. Yielding to questions gives other representatives an opportunity to ask questions until the time has run out. Yielding to the chair ends the turn after which the chairperson will recognize the next representative on the GSL. When speaking in yielded time, you cannot yield that time again.

Etiquette during speeches

Speeches follow a formal pattern. Representatives will start by thanking the chairperson for the floor before making their statement. They also refer to themselves in the third person. This is because “I” or “me” would imply that it is their personal opinion, which of course it is not. They represent their country, their government specifically. They will therefore refer to themselves by the name of their country, the government or the people of that country or simply “we”. The same goes for referring to other delegates. A typical speech will start like this:


Thank you, honorable chair. The People’s Republic of China does not agree with the statements made by the representative from the United States. The Chinese government firmly believes that the solution is to be found elsewhere. We therefore strongly suggest…

During speeches it is important to use parliamentary language and conduct. Respect is the key, remember that these people represent countries in the committee. Calling an idea stupid is nothing less than an insult to an entire nation. Not doing so will also hurt your own interests, for it is less likely that people will listen to you and your ideas if you discard theirs in a rude manner.

Between speeches, and sometimes during, delegates can raise points or motions. See Points and Motions for the possibilities.

2. Moderated Caucus

To get into more detail on certain matters that have come up in the formal debate, a slightly less formal form of debate provides for a quicker discussion. The moderated caucus knows no speakers list, delegates are recognized after raising their placard, indicating they wish to speak. This results in a more vivid and interactive debate on a specific issue within the debate.

A moderated caucus has a limited time, shorter speaking time and always has a specific purpose from which representatives cannot deviate. The motion for a moderated caucus (see Points and Motions) requires a second, meaning a fellow delegate that supports your motion. A request for a Motion for a moderated Caucus may go as follows:


Delegate: Motion for a moderated caucus.

Chair: United Kingdom, please rise and specify your motion.

Delegate: Thank you honorable chair, the United Kingdom proposes a moderated caucus of 5 minutes, with a speaking time of 30 seconds, for the purpose of discussing operative paragraph 2.

Chair: Do we have a second?

Delegate 2: Second!

Chair: Thank you Germany, we have a second, we will now go into voting procedure on the motion for a moderated caucus of 5 minutes with 30 second speaking time, for the purpose of discussing operative paragraph 2. All in favor, please raise your placards… thank you. All opposed, please raise your placards… thank you. With 9 votes in favor and 6 against there is a majority. We are now in moderated caucus, any delegates wishing to speak, please raise your placard.


A delegate that speaks on another matter that the purpose of the moderated caucus will be called to order by the chairperson. If the chairperson for some reason does not notice this, another delegate may raise a Point of Order to make this known (see Points and Motions). Other than the Point of Personal Privilege, - Parliamentary Inquiry and – Order, no motions are in order and time cannot be yielded. Etiquette during moderated caucus is the same as during the formal debate.

3. Un-moderated Caucus

The least formal type of debate is the un-moderated caucus, also known as a lobby session. This type of debate can be used to work out the small details of a resolution, take aside an ally or an opponent to discuss strategy or to have some time to write out amendments.

The un-moderated caucus essentially suspends the session temporarily and gives representative a chance to talk to each other. Voting blocs can go over their strategy or you can try to convince other side of your point, or maybe exchange voting promises on different topics. The opportunities are endless and will be discussed in more detail in the chapter on Representing your country or organization.

Like the moderated caucus, an un-moderated caucus is also limited in time and has a specific purpose. The motion for an un-moderated caucus is therefore the same, except for the speaking time. Because of the limited time and to ensure effectiveness, leaving the room during unmoderated caucus is generally not allowed.

Points and motions

Between speeches in the formal debate the floor is “open”. At this time a delegate can raise to a point or motion, which essentially is a formal request or a procedural statement. There are seven different points and motions that can be found in the Rules of Procedure.

1.      Point of Personal Privilege (rule 15): This point can be raised for personal reasons or discomforts, for example when something prevents you from following the debate or work. You can raise to a Point of Personal Privilege when you are cold and want the window closed, you need to leave the room to visit the bathroom, need to work on your laptop or it is simply impossible for you to hear what another representative is saying. For this last reason, the PoPP is the only point that can be raised during a speech, when someone speaks very softly or there is too much noise, you can interrupt the speech, asking for the chairperson to attend to the problem.

2.      Point of Order (rule 16): This point is raised to complain about improper parliamentary procedure. Normally, when a delegate is not following the Rules of Procedure, the chairperson will correct them, but it may happen that the chairperson misses it. If the PoO is recognized, you can explain why you believe correct procedure was not followed.

3.      Point of Parliamentary Inquiry (rule 17): Although we encourage you to study the Rules of Procedure carefully, it is understandable that in session questions may arise. What the speaking time is, how many votes are needed for a motion to pass or any other questions concerning procedure may be asked by raising a PoPI.

4.      Motion for Un-moderated Caucus (rule 19): As described above, the un-moderated caucus suspends the formal meeting for lobbying for a set time on a specific topic, both of which have to be specified in the motion. The motion is non-debatable and will be put to a vote immediately. The chairperson can rule out this motion, which is not subject to appeal.

5.      Motion for Moderated Caucus (rule 20): As described above, the moderated caucus interrupts the formal debate for a more rapid debate on a specific topic for a set time, with short speaking times, all of which have to be specified in the motion. The motion is nondebatable and will be put to a vote immediately. The chairperson can rule out this motion, which is not subject to appeal.

6.      Motion to Change the Speaking Time (rule 13): If during formal debate delegates feel the need to extend or reduce the speaking time they can raise a motion to change the speaking time. The decision is up to the discretion of the chairperson, which is not subject to appeal. Asking for a 10 minute speaking time is quite futile, and when the request is for a very short speaking time you might want to consider a moderated caucus.

7.      Motion for Adjournment (rule 21): At the end of the day’s session a motion for adjournment is necessary to adjourn the meeting until the next day. The motion requires a second and is debatable. This means that a moderated caucus of no more than 5 minutes can be held on whether to adjourn or not. After the debate the forum immediately votes on the motion. A majority is needed for the motion to pass. Since this is a procedural vote, representatives may not abstain (see Voting). The chairperson can rule out this motion, but this decision is subject to appeal. When appealing the decision of the chair a two-thirds majority is needed for the appeal to pass. The forum then goes into debate and voting on the original motion. Chairpersons will have valid reasons to rule out a motion, so use your appeals wisely.

8.      Motion for Closure of the Debate (rule 22): When the forum believes sufficient debate on an agenda topic has taken place and is ready to vote on the draft resolutions and amendments. Like the motion for adjournment this motion needs a second and is debatable. No abstentions are allowed when voting. The chairperson can rule out this motion, which is subject to appeal. When in formal debate and the GSL expires, the debate automatically closes without a motion.

The order of the points and motions above is also the order of precedence when multiple motions are raised. When the floor is open it is possible that several points and motions are simultaneously raised, at which time the chairperson will make an inventory of the types of points and motions and deal with them in the appropriate order.

If a motion to change the type of debate passes, the remaining motions are automatically off the table. If there are two similar motions, for example a moderated caucus, but one is for 5 minutes and the other one is for 10 minutes, the chair will deal with the one altering the proceedings the most. In the example that would be the motion for a 10 minute moderated caucus. If that motions fails, the forum will vote on the 5 minute moderated caucus.

Setting the Agenda

Before the forum can start debate on a topic, it has to be decided in which order the topics will be dealt with. This is done by setting the agenda.

At the beginning of the conference, the chairperson will distribute a provisional agenda. Some representatives may (and will) however propose to deal with another issue first, because they deem it more critical, or it lies closer to their interest. They may introduce a draft agenda with an alternative order of the agenda points. No new points may be added. A draft agenda need three (3) sponsors and procedurally follows the same formalities as a draft resolution. It needs to be submitted to the chairperson for approval, coding and distribution.

The normal rules of debate apply to the process of setting the agenda. When voting on the agendas they are dealt with in the order of which one changes the provisional agenda most. The first agenda that gathers a two-thirds majority will be the agenda for the entire conference. If no agenda gathers the required majority the debate resumes and a new speakers list is opened. If agenda setting takes a long time to set the agenda, the Secretary-General can impose an agenda on the forum to get the debate started.


When the debate is closed, the forum will vote on all draft resolutions and amendments or agendas on the floor. This can be because the GSL is expired or because a motion for closure of debate passes. Votes on draft agendas, draft resolutions and amendments are substantive votes. Voting will also take place to decide on motions for (un-)moderated caucus, adjournment or closure of the debate and to appeal the decision of the chair. These are considered procedural votes.

When voting on several draft resolutions on the same topic, they are dealt with in the order in which they were submitted and coded. First the amendments to that resolution are put to a vote, followed by the resolution as it is with the passing amendments.

Voting procedures

For most votes to pass a simple majority is necessary, meaning more votes in favor than against. If the division is 50-50 the matter put to a vote is rejected, because there are not more in favor. Some votes require a two-thirds majority to pass, like a draft agenda and the appeal of the decision of a chairperson. If the division is exactly two-thirds in favor and one-third against, it passes. The only exception to the majorities are substantive votes in the Security Council, requiring nine affirmative votes and not having a negative vote from any of the Permanent Five members of the SC (rule 35).

Non-member delegations or non-governmental organizations do not have a vote in substantive matters. They are allowed to vote on procedural matters.

During voting procedures no leaving the room or communication between representatives is allowed. The voting will proceed uninterrupted, with the exception of a point of order, parliamentary inquiry or personal privilege.

A representative can either vote “yes”, “no” or “abstain” indicated by raising your placard when the chairperson asks for all those in favor/against/abstaining.

Roll call voting

Another option in substantive voting is to ask for a roll call vote. The chairperson will alphabetically call upon delegates, starting at a random position on the list, and ask them individually for their vote. A representative may pass once, meaning the chairperson finishes the list and comes back to those that have passed. This gives you an opportunity to listen to what other delegates are voting, but after having passed, a delegate is not allowed to abstain, so they must vote either “yes” or “no”.

In a roll call vote, delegates may vote “with rights”. This will give the delegate an opportunity to explain their vote after the voting has finished. This may for instance be to explain why they did not vote according to expectations.

III. Representing your Country or Organization

During the SOFIMUN Conference you are no longer a student taking a course, but you are representing a country that is not your own or a non-member organization. Your task is to try to incorporate as many of your country’s or organization’s interests in the resolutions that are passed.

To effectively represent your position you will need to adapt to your role, effectively playing a part like an actor would, but while writing your own script. Like an actor, your performance will be most effective with good preparation and training. In this chapter we will deal with the tools and preparation you will need to play your role.

Preparing for your position

It is paramount to remember that your own opinion should not prevail during SOFIMUN. The success of the conference depends on the accurateness with which delegates represent the position they have been given. To properly represent your country or organization you will need to prepare your role thoroughly. Become familiar with the political philosophy, the economic- and foreign policy and the culture of your country. The following points are important in your preparation:

1.      History: The history of a country, both domestic and international, is often important to know when researching their policy on current events. The history may show certain existing relations and alliances or reasons for taking a certain stance on a topic. Find out about recent conflicts, domestic history or any other historical factors that may influence foreign policy.

2.      Political structure and ideology: Does your country have democracy or dictatorship, is it a Kingdom or an Emirate? Is it based on capitalism, socialism, religion etc.? As a representative of this government you must know what their philosophies and interests are in order to properly try to achieve your (their) goals.

3.      Economy: What monetary system does your country have? Are they dependent on certain resources, areas of business or other countries? Are they heavily indebted? To what economic or trade organizations is your country a member. These are all factors that may come into play when trying to reach an agreement.

4.      Defense: What kind of military structure does your country have? Are they regular contributors to peace keeping missions? Are they member of a military alliance? The factors may be essential when discussing crisis situations and trying to offer or obtain assistance.

5.      Foreign policy: Your county’s foreign policy is perhaps the most important during your deliberations. Not only is it influenced by the points above, but it can be influenced by many other factors. To which treaties is your country a signatory and has it made reservations? How much influence does it have in the world or its region? Is it a member of a bloc or international organizations that may influence policy? Countries can be very active internationally or be very secluded, advocate pacifism or humanitarian intervention. These are essential facts to know, for they will determine the truthfulness of the conference. Other delegates will also study your policy, therefore misrepresenting your position can frustrate the proceedings.

Preparing for the topics

The points above are all still very general. After you learn more about your country and its policies, you must subsequently find out what they country’s position is on the specific topics on the agenda of your forum. This means applying what you learned about your country, but it will also take a lot of specific research.


To resolve a matter it is important to look at the causes of the conflict or the situation. Delegates must be familiar with the roots of the problem, whether it is a military crisis or climate change. Knowing the causes will help in the quest for solutions.

But it is not just the history of the topic itself that is important. What has been undertaken in the past? It is futile to discuss solutions if they have proven ineffective in the past. But an answer may also be as simple as improving on a past effort. A representative must be aware of what the UN, a regional organization, neighboring countries or NGO’s have attempted or achieved.

The present

To adequately address a topic, a delegate must be fully aware of the current status of the issue and the factors influencing it. For this it is not only important to know your country’s involvement, but also that of the UN in general, other organizations and other representatives in your forum.

Countless sources can be used to research the topics. Websites of the UN or organizations or sites dedicated to the issue itself, newspaper archives, magazine articles or academic articles are all very good sources. Combined they will give you the expertise you need to address the topics.

Your position

Knowing the general politics and interests of your country or organization will help you to determine their position on the topics, but as said before, this is only general. Many more factors may influence an country’s standpoint.

To research the specific position of a country one must to further than the general politics. There are many ways of finding out what it is, but it is not necessarily easy. Of some countries the foreign policy is well known or quite obvious, they may be on the news on a daily basis or be very open. But the truth is that most countries are never fully open about many of their policies or the reasons behind them.

The most obvious place to start is the website of their government, their ministry of foreign affairs or of their Permanent Mission to the UN (most can be found at If the country you represent has an embassy in your country, they will often prove willing to offer you assistance. The catch with this information is that it is not necessarily accurate or complete. A country may have a number of reasons for withholding certain details or deviate from reality. This may be for security reasons, to leave room for bargaining or because the full truth is not as appealing as they may want to divulge. A country may for instance be an advocate of human rights, but at the same time not have the best history when it comes to human rights violations.

By combining the public policy with knowledge obtainable from other sources, such as academic or journalistic articles it is possible to reconstruct their actual policy. Other sources may also be helpful to achieve this. National political debates are sometimes published, but voting records and official statements in the UN can often be found. The more sources you employ, the more accurate your role fulfillment will be.

The debate

A resolution will not magically appear after representatives have given their policy statement. This merely lays out the starting point of the debate. Once you know what the different positions are it becomes clear who have similar interests, who may be won over and who your fiercest opponent will be. It is through persuasion, cooperation and late-night lobbying that a resolution will slowly take its final shape.


To get a point across, delivering a good speech is essential for every representative. In formal debate and moderated caucus you must use your speeches to convince the forum of your position, and why the opposing position should not be considered. Whether a speech is good depends on both content and presentation. Content largely depends on preparation, but both rely on practice.


Most of the content of your speeches can be contrived during your preparation. While researching your policy you can carefully construct the arguments that speak in your favor. By researching your opponent’s policy you can already construct counter-arguments to their possible arguments.

Speaking time is limited, therefore you must learn to keep your arguments concise. If you have one minute to bring your case it is no use to bring 5 separate arguments why your position is the right one, and the other’s is wrong. If you want to cut down a tree you do not saw off the branches, you must saw at the base. Leaving the details for lobbying makes the plenary debate much more effective and you’re less likely to lose the attention of your audience.

In some positions it may not be wise to reveal the whole truth, depending on your position and what you are trying to accomplish. But remember that your credibility will suffer if your forum discovers that you are not telling the truth, which may affect their willingness to listen to you in the future.


To keep an audience interested in what you have to say it is important you give them something they want to listen to. A clear speech that is understandable and easy to listen to is essential for this. During your speech, pay attention to the following points in your presentation:

1.      Audibility: Speak loud enough for all to hear. Speak calmly and articulate clearly, but do not speak too slowly, for that quickly becomes boring.

2.      Structure: Make sure your speech has an opening, an explanation of your main arguments and a closing. Structure helps you keep track of your thoughts, but a well-structured speech also helps your audience to remember better what you tell them.

3.      Relax: Take a deep breath before you speak and try to appear relaxed. Stand still while you speak and do not make big gestures with your hands. However good your speech is, a tense attitude will distract from the content.

4.      Be concise: Formulating long and complicated sentences can cause much confusion. Short and effective speeches are much more powerful.

5.      Captivate your audience: A good speech doesn’t only depend on what you say and how you structure it, but also on how you tell it. Monotonously reading from a paper is very likely to  lose the interest of your audience. Vary your tone, show emotion in your speech and make eye contact with your entire audience.

6.      Use humor: An ancient cliché, but not without reason, humor helps. You want your speech to be the one your fellow delegates remember and a well-placed joke from time to time works wonders. Don’t exaggerate however, when you try too hard to be funny, it’s most likely that you’re not.

Countless books have been written on techniques of argumentation and presentation. The points above are merely general guidelines. Representatives are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the techniques of public speaking and argumentation. Many people feel uncomfortable speaking in public. Most universities have a debate society that offer courses for you to overcome this fear and perfect your argumentation and presentation. Practice makes perfect.


As explained in the chapter on The forum in session most of the details will not be settled in the plenary debate. Lobbying is a very powerful tool to form strong alliances, persuade your opponents, get your amendment to pass or alter the agenda. Lobbying is an art that some people have turned into careers. It does not only entail negotiating and persuading, but also networking and socializing. Delegates are not mindless robotic extensions of a government, they are people. In lobbying therefore people skills are equally important as power of persuasion.

Before starting the lobbying process it is important to make an inventory of the situation. What is it exactly you are trying to achieve? Who are your allies, who can be persuaded and who is beyond persuasion? This goes beyond the one topic under discussion, some countries may have something you want, while you have something they want on the next agenda item.

Secondly you need a strategy. This will depend on the topic, what it is you are trying to accomplish and what can you afford to lose? In the end no representative will achieve fully what they set out to achieve, so prepare to compromise. There are several ways to build up your strategy:

1.      Convincing with good arguments should always be the first tactic to try. Know your topic and position well and try to sell it. If your points are valid this will prove to be most successful.

2.      Gather enough allies to convince adversaries of your cause. If a delegate realizes he will lose when it comes to voting, he will want to become productive. If he doesn’t his national interests will be completely neglected in the resolution.

3.      Make sure you have “diplomatic change”. If you have something another delegate needs, it could be traded for what you need. If topic A is very important to your country, but topic B is not that vital to your foreign policy. If this is the other way around for a fellow delegate, you may convince them to support you on topic A in exchange for your concurring vote on topic B.

4.      Aim high. You may choose to enter the debate with higher aims than you actually want to achieve. This way you build up virtual diplomatic change. This strategy requires caution though, for aiming too high may scare other delegates into turning away from you. And if they realize you are purposely being rigid they may not want to negotiate further with you.

These strategies are not the only ones, but most others are derived from these or are combinations of these, but you are only limited by your imagination. Regardless of your strategy, there are some essential directions for lobbying:


Effective lobbyists:

ü       Set clear objectives, priorities and targets;

ü       Build well-argued, timely and united positions;

ü       Bring constructive and positive input;

ü       Propose realistic alternatives.


Bad lobbyists:

§         Lack understanding of what can/cannot be done;

§         Don’t compromise;

§         Make shallow arguments;

§         Intervene too late;

§         Are aggressive;

§         Make little personal contact.


Also remember that lobbying is a very social tool, it does not end when sessions are adjourned. Sometimes buying a fellow delegate a drink during the evening program can prove as effective as your strongest argument.

The Security Council

As indicated above, the Security Council differs slightly from the other committees. For a resolution to be adopted in the SC they need more than a simple majority as well as the concurring votes of the Permanent Five members (P5). This will often mean that compromising will be more essential than in other committees.

As it is the goal of the conference to adopt a resolution on each agenda topic, all delegates must work together on the matter. If you feel that a possibly very good resolution may encounter opposition from a P5 member, it is important to include them in the negotiations, to see what changes can be made to prevent them from using their “veto power”.

At the same time it is important for P5 members to realize that the veto is a powerful tool, not to be used lightly. It is a last resort for when a matter is absolutely critical to your foreign policy. When used to bully fellow delegates, you will lose credibility and consequently valuable support for other matters that may be important to your country.

The Human Rights Council

Part IIX of the Rules of Procedure is specific for the Human Rights Council. It gives them some extra powers regarding the appointing of a Special Rapporteur for certain issues or countries. This appointment, including the specific mandates, shall be included in the Council’s resolution.

The Conference on Disarmament

Part IX of the Rules of Procedure is specific for the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Other than the other committees, the CD does not produce resolutions that require a majority to pass. Due to their special character, they produce Programs of Work that require consensus. Consensus essentially means that the CD should be in full agreement, which obliges the delegates to cooperate closely and compromise.

The CD can establish subsidiary bodies that can deal with specific issues with more detail than the CD could. These subsidiary bodies can take the form of ad hoc sub committees, working groups, technical groups or groups of governmental experts.

Non-member delegations

Next to member states, there are many more actors in the UN. They are the non-member delegations such as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s). These organizations play a very important role, and have a very difficult task.

Most NGO’s are single issue organizations, think of Greenpeace for the environment or Amnesty International for Human Rights. It is their objective to convince governments to incorporate as many of their aims into a resolution. The catch is that they do not have a vote on substantive matters and they cannot sponsor a resolution. Their power of persuasion is paramount. To accomplish this NGO’s are often represented by professional lobbyists.

The fact that an NGO cannot vote on the resolution however, does not mean that they can be ignored. They are specialists in their field, which can prove to be very helpful in finding solutions that countries may not have thought of. Not taking into account the position of a specialized NGO will also reflect negatively on your country, reducing your credibility in the debate. Nevertheless representing an NGO will require a lot of dedication and hard work.

Although NGO’s cannot officially sponsor a draft resolution, this does not mean that they cannot write or help write one. To have an NGO added to the minimum number of sponsors and signatories may give a draft resolution more authority, for it has the support of those whose specialty and ideology it concerns.


During sessions, communication is not limited to the verbal speeches. Representatives may pass notes to each other while in formal debate or moderated caucus. Notes can be used for questions, asking support or coordinating your strategies. During sessions there may be note-passers present do deliver your notes to the addressee or you may simply have them passed along.

Note-passing is strictly for diplomatic purposes only, not for inquiring where to have dinner or other unrelated matters. Note-passers and chairs reserve the right to read notes or suspend note-passing when they deem it necessary.

Opening statements

Delegations or blocs may be required to give an opening statement at two moments in the conference.

The first is at the opening of the conference, during the General Assembly, where one representative from each country or bloc will hold a short speech on the general position of their countries and some specific matters that they consider essential. This will give all representatives a good overview of where you stand and who to lobby with. The blocs will have one representative speaking on behalf of, for example, the countries represented in the African Union. Before these speeches are given the delegations will be given the opportunity to coordinate their speeches.

The second moment is at the start of the forum sessions, before the agenda is set. Each representative will be given the opportunity to shortly set out their position and objectives concerning the topics on the agenda. This will give your fellow delegates a better understanding of the general direction of the forum and what areas they will need to focus on. 

The media

The media will also be represented in the conference in the form of an online media space of SOFIMUN 2008, a daily in-brief news space covering the proceedings in the conference week. There will be journalists in jour forum, publishing the efforts that are going on both in and out of sessions. But the press can be used for more than mere informing.

A good delegate may find that he or she can use the press to their advantage. You may convince them to interview you so that all can read about your efforts and be convinced by your arguments. Having a good relationship with the media may persuade them to display your side of the story rather than that of your opponent. You can make yourself look good in the media, which is a very effective way to gain support. Simply think of all the photo opportunities used and abused in election campaigns.

The press can also be a good source of information. A journalist may have had the chance to interview a fellow delegate and thus having information others will not know before it is published.

These are only two of countless possible means to use the media to your advantage. Like in lobbying you are only limited by your imagination, but please note that bribing is very inappropriate and therefore not allowed.

Final general remarks

Some final general remarks to keep in mind during the conference.

Be constructive and cooperate! Being rigid may be necessary in some exceptional cases, when a matter is essential for your foreign policy. It is very likely however to work in your disadvantage. Ignoring the majority may result in them ignoring you, leaving your interests disregarded. Remember that only a simple majority is needed for the resolution to pass. Instead of being obstinate, be constructive and offer acceptable alternatives. This way it is possible to work some of your interests into a resolution that you may oppose, but that may pass nevertheless. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Be diplomatic in your speeches and in your behavior! You are representing autonomous governments and the people they represent. Not treating them with the respect they deserve will result in them returning the favor. In this regard it is also important to think of language. The official language at SOFIMUN is English, and you will need to use it at all times. Even when lobbying with fellow delegates that all speak the same other language as you, it will be very uninviting for other representatives to join the discussion when they find out you are not speaking a language they understand.

Be punctual! Time is a scarce commodity in a one-week conference so it must be used effectively. Appearing late for a session not only disrupts the session and the proceedings, but it will also mean  you may have missed some crucial moments in the deliberation, weakening your position. However late you may find yourself lobbying at night, being late the next morning is indefensible. Moreover, tardiness is considered very disrespectful to those that did show up on time.


IV. Rules of Procedure


RULE 1 - Rules of Procedure

1.      The SOFIMUN Rules of Procedure (hereinafter the “SOFIMUN Rules”) are not subject to change and shall be considered adopted prior to the beginning of the conference.

2.      In a case of conflict between a general rule of the SOFIMUN Rules (Chapters I-VI) and the special rules of a committee, the latter shall prevail.

RULE 2 - Languages

English shall be the official working language of the conference.

RULE 3 - Representative

For the purpose of the SOFIMUN Rules, Delegates and Observers will be referred to as Representatives.

RULE 4 - Credentials

The SOFIMUN Secretariat has accepted the credentials of Delegates or Observers prior to the opening of the conference. Actions relating to the alteration of rights or credentials of any Staff Member, Delegate or Chairperson may exclusively be initiated by the Secretary-General.

RULE 5 – Delegates

1.      Each Member State to a committee shall be represented by one Delegate.

2.      The Delegates shall have speaking and voting rights on all matters in the committee they belong to.

RULE 6 - Observers

The Representative of an accredited SOFIMUN observer (Non-governmental Organization or International Organization) shall have the same rights as a Delegate except that he/she may not vote on substantive matters and may not sign nor sponsor Draft Agendas, Resolutions and Amendments.

RULE 7 - Chairperson

1.      The Chairperson shall preside over the committee. The Chairperson shall declare the opening and closure of each committee session, compose the Speakers’ list, propose the limitation of the speaking time, accord the right to speak and announce decisions.

2.      The Chairperson acts in an equitable and objective manner, observes the SOFIMUN Rules and shall have complete control of the proceedings in the committee and of the maintenance of order at the meetings. The Chairperson shall have the right to rule out points and motions put forward by Representatives, unless otherwise provided in the SOFIMUN Rules. The Chairperson may advise the Representatives on substantive and procedural matters in order to enable the good functioning of the committee.

3.      The Chairperson has the right to suspend the committee meeting for a limited time, which he/she must indicate beforehand. This right is not subject to appeal.

4.      The Chairperson’s interpretation of the SOFIMUN Rules shall prevail. Rule 8 Paragraph 3 is reserved.

RULE 8 - Secretariat

1.      The Secretary-General shall have the rights described hereinafter in all meetings of the committees. The Secretary-General may nominate a deputy to act in his place.

2.      The Secretary-General may at any time make oral and written statements to a committee concerning any question under consideration.

3.      The Secretary-General’s interpretation of the SOFIMUN Rules shall prevail. The Secretary- General shall, in his interpretations, take into consideration equality of treatment and the good functioning of the conference. The Secretary-General is entitled to adopt measures not stated herein, if he considers it necessary.

4.      The Secretariat shall:

a.      Assist the Chairperson and the Secretary-General;

b.      Receive, correct and circulate documents;

c.      Have custody of the documents in the archives; and

d.      Generally perform all other work that may be required for the good functioning of the conference.




RULE 9 - Provisional Agenda

A Provisional Agenda for the committee sessions will be set by the Chairperson and communicated to the Representatives prior to the opening of the SOFIMUN.

RULE 10 - Adoption of the Agenda

1.      A speakers’ List is kept in order to discuss the Provisional Agenda.

2.      A Delegate may introduce a Draft Agenda, which may alter the order of items as well as delete items on the Provisional Agenda. No additional items may be added to the Provisional Agenda. Three (3) sponsors are required for the Draft Agenda to be considered.

3.      When the speakers’ list is exhausted or a Motion for Closure of the Debate passes, the Chairperson determines the order in which the Draft Agendas are voted upon. Draft Agendas, which alter the Provisional Agenda most fundamentally, are considered first. The original Provisional Agenda is put to vote last. The Agenda shall be adopted in the form of the first Draft Agenda, which gathers a majority of two thirds of the Delegates present and voting. Discussions concerning the Agenda shall then cease and the committee immediately moves to the first item on the Agenda.

4.      If no Agenda is adopted during voting procedure, debate on the Agenda shall resume and a new speakers’ list shall be established.

5.      If a committee fails to adopt the Agenda within a timeframe the Secretary-General considers reasonable, he shall set the Agenda.

6.      The Agenda adopted at the beginning of the conference shall remain for the duration of the SOFIMUN. The inclusion of an urgent Agenda item at the discretion of the Chairperson is reserved.




RULE 11 - Quorum

1.      A committee meeting can be opened provided at least a majority of the Representatives are present.

2.      In order to establish presence, the Chairperson, prior to the opening of the meeting, shall proceed with a roll call in the course of which he/she shall call upon Representatives in English alphabetical order. Delegates stating ‘present and voting’ must not abstain from voting on substantive matters.

RULE 12 - Speakers’ List

1.      If not decided upon differently, formal debate rules apply. The Chairperson shall keep a Speakers’ List, which determines the order of speeches.

2.      A Representative may request to have the name of his/her delegation added to the Speakers’ List by raising his/her placard.

3.      If circumstances do not allow to clearly determine which Representative has raised his/her placard first, the Chairperson shall decide on the order of the Speakers’ List by taking into account considerations of equity and the good functioning of the committee.

4.      A Representative, whose delegation’s name is already set forth on the Speakers’ List, shall not be added again until he/she completes his/her speech.

RULE 13 - Speeches

1.      No Representative may address a committee without having previously obtained the permission of the Chairperson.

2.      The Chairperson limits the time allotted to each speaker. A Representative may at any time when the floor is open, but not during speeches, introduce a Motion to Change the Speaking Time. This motion is non-debatable and passes at the discretion of the Chairperson. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal.

3.      If a Representative addresses the committee without permission, exceeds the allowed time for his speech, makes irrelevant or offensive statements, or violates the SOFIMUN Rules in any other way, the Chairperson may call him/her to order.

RULE 14 - Yields

1.      A Representative who was granted the right to speak by the Chairperson during formal debate may yield his/her remaining speaking time to another Representative.

2.      A Representative may also yield his/her remaining time to answering questions. In this case, the Chairperson designates Representatives whose questions may consequently be answered by the yielding Representative. Statements and comments, which go beyond a mere question, are not in order.

3.      A Representative may, if he wishes, yield the floor back to the Chairpersons.

4.      The floor may be yielded only one (1) time during a speech.



RULE 15 - Point of Personal Privilege

A Representative may at any time, introduce a Point of Personal Privilege in order to remove a personal discomfort, which impairs his/her ability to participate in the proceedings. The Representative shall rise when called by the Chairperson and explain his/her grievance. The Chairperson may rule out a Point of Personal Privilege. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal.

RULE 16 - Point of Order

1.      A Representative may at any time, except during the execution of another Point of Order introduce a Point of Order to complain about improper parliamentary procedure. The Representative shall rise when called by the Chairperson and explain his/her grievance. The Chairperson may rule out a Point of Order. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal.

2.      Representative may not, in raising the Point of Order, speak on the substance of the matter under discussion.

RULE 17 – Parliamentary Inquiry

A Representative may at any time when the floor is open, but not during speeches, introduce a Parliamentary Inquiry in order to clarify a technical point regarding the SOFIMUN Rules. The Representative shall rise when called by the Chairperson and make his/her point. The Chairperson shall respond to the Representative’s concern and attempt to clarify the matter.

RULE 18 - Right of Reply

1.      A Representative whose personal or national integrity has been infringed by another Representative may, at the end of the latter’s speech, request the Right of Reply. The Chairperson shall decide upon the request immediately. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal. If the Right of Reply is granted, the wronged Representative may immediately speak during one (1) minute.

2.      Right of Reply to a Right of Reply is not in order.

RULE 19 - Motion for Moderated Caucus

1.      Moderated Caucus interrupts a formal debate for a time specified by the Chairperson. No Speakers’ List shall be kept. A Representative may signal his/her desire to speak by raising his/her placard. The Chairperson designates the speakers taking into consideration equity and the good functioning of the committee. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal. The Chairperson shall limit the speaking time.

2.      A Representative may at any time when the floor is open, but not during speeches, introduce a Motion for Moderated Caucus. The Representative shall rise when called by the Chairperson to explain the purpose of the motion and propose a time for the Caucus and the individual speaking time. The Motion for Moderated Caucus requires the support of a second Representative, is non-debatable and shall immediately be put to vote. A majority of Representatives present and voting is required for the Motion for Moderated Caucus to pass. The Chairperson may rule the Motion for Moderated Caucus out of order. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal.


RULE 20 - Motion for Un-moderated Caucus

1.      Un-moderated caucus interrupts a formal debate for a given time specified by the Chairperson. It is used for informal debates and negotiations.

2.      Representative may at any time when the floor is open, but not during speeches, introduce a Motion for Caucus. The Representative shall rise when called by the Chairperson to explain the purpose of the motion and propose a time for the Caucus. The Motion for Caucus requires the support of a second Representative, is non-debatable and shall immediately be put to vote. A majority of Representatives present and voting is required for the Motion for Caucus to pass. The Chairperson may rule the Motion for Caucus out of order. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal.

RULE 21 - Motion for Adjournment

1.      The adjournment of the meeting suspends the meeting for the day.

2.      A Representative may at any time when the floor is open, but not during speeches, introduce a Motion for Adjournment. The Motion requires the support of a second Representative. The Chairperson may rule out the Motion for Adjournment. The decision of the Chairperson is subject to appeal and can be ruled out by two thirds of Representatives present and voting.

3.      The Motion for Adjournment is debatable. Rules governing Moderated Caucus apply. The debate on the Motion for Adjournment shall not exceed five (5) minutes.

4.      A majority of Representatives present and voting are required for the Motion for Adjournment to pass.

RULE 22 - Motion for Closure of the Debate

1.      The closure of the debate immediately terminates all discussions on the item of the Agenda under debate and brings all Amendments and Resolutions on the floor to vote.

2.      A Representative may at any time when the floor is open, but not during speeches, introduce a Motion for Closure of the debate. The Motion requires the support of a second Representative. The Chairperson may rule out the Motion for Closure of the Debate. The decision of the Chairperson is subject to appeal and can be ruled out by two thirds of Representatives present and voting.

3.      The Motion for Closure of the Debate is debatable, rules governing Moderated Caucus apply. The debate on the Motion for Closure of the Debate shall not exceed five (5) minutes.

4.      Two thirds of Representatives present and voting are required for the Motion for Closure of the Debate to pass.

RULE 23 - Precedence of Points and Motions

Points and Motions will be considered in the following order of preference:

1. Points in order at any time including during speeches and voting procedure:

a.      Point of Personal Privilege (Rule 15)

b.      Point of Order (Rule 16)

2. Point in order when the floor is open:

a. Point of Parliamentary Inquiry (Rule 17)

3. Non debatable motions in order when the floor is open:

a. Motion for Un-moderated Caucus (Rule 19)

b. Motion for Moderated Caucus (Rule 20)

c. Motion to Change the Speaking Time (Rule 13)

4. Debatable Motions in order when the floor is open:

a. Motion for Adjournment of the Meeting (Rule 21)

b. Motion for Closure of Debate (Rule 22)




RULE 24 – Working Papers

A Representative may have a Working Paper distributed to the committee, the format of which is free. If a Working Paper has been approved by the Chairperson, the Secretariat assigns it a number and distributes the Working Paper to all the Representatives. Working Papers require no sponsors or signatories.

RULE 25 - Draft Resolutions

1.      The Chairperson approves a document if it has the required format and the required number of Sponsors and Signatories. An approved document is referred to as a Draft Resolution and may be introduced to the committee.

2.      Sponsors are recognized as the writers of the Draft Resolution. A minimum of three (3) Sponsors are required for the Draft Resolution to be discussed in the committee.

3.      Signatories supporter discussion of the Draft Resolution and do not have further obligations. One quarter of the Delegates present must be either Sponsors or Signatories of the Draft Resolution for it to be introduced to the committee. A Delegate may not at the same time be Sponsor as well as Signatory of a given Draft Resolution.

4.      Delegates may add to, or remove their name from the list of signatories at any time during the debate. This request should be submitted in written form to the Chairperson for approval.

5.      More than one Draft Resolution may be on the floor at any time.

RULE 26 - Introducing Resolutions

If a Draft Resolution has been approved by the Chairperson, the Secretariat assigns it a number and distributes the Draft Resolution to all the Representatives. A Sponsor of the Draft Resolution may motion to introduce the Resolution when the floor is open. The introduction of the Draft Resolution will be limited to reading out the operative clauses. Subsequently, the Sponsor will answer questions of clarification regarding the Draft Resolution. Substantive statements regarding the Draft Resolution are not in order at this stage. The question session shall not exceed five (5) minutes.

RULE 27 - Withdrawal of Resolutions

A Draft Resolution may be withdrawn by its Sponsors at any time before voting on it has commenced. This request should be submitted in written form to the Chairperson. A Draft Resolution may not be withdrawn if an Unfriendly Amendment to it is on the floor.




RULE 28 - Amendments

1.      Amendments to the preambulatory clauses are not in order.

2.      Grammatical, spelling and formatting errors in Draft Resolutions will be corrected without a vote. The final decisions on corrections are at the discretion of the Chairperson.

3.      Substantive Amendments may be considered ‘friendly’ if approved by all the Sponsors of the Draft Resolution. Friendly Amendments are immediately incorporated into the Draft Resolution without a vote.

4.      Substantive Amendments to a Draft Resolution, which are not approved by all the Sponsors of the Draft Resolution, are considered ‘Unfriendly’. Unfriendly Amendments require three (3) Sponsors and need to be submitted in writing to the Chairperson for approval. A majority of Delegates is required to incorporate an Unfriendly Amendment into the Draft Resolution.

5.      Amendments to Unfriendly Amendments are out of order.

RULE 29 - Withdrawal of Unfriendly Amendments

An Unfriendly Amendment may be withdrawn by its Sponsors at any time before voting on it has commenced. This request should be submitted in written form to the Chairperson.




RULE 30 - Voting Procedure

1.      In the case of exhaustion of the Speakers' List or when a Motion for Closure of Debate passes Resolutions, Unfriendly Amendments and Draft Agendas on the floor will be put to vote. If no Resolution is on the floor the committee shall move to the next Agenda item.

2.      Each Representative shall have one vote, which may be “Yes”, “No” or “Abstain”. Rule 6 concerning the status of Observers is reserved. On procedural matters Representatives must not abstain from voting. Representatives recognized prior to the opening of the meeting as ‘present and voting’ must not abstain from voting on substantive matters.

3.      During voting procedure, Representatives must strictly refrain from communicating with each other. The voting procedure must not be interrupted except to raise a Point of Order or a Point of Personal Privilege.

RULE 31 - Required Majority

1.      A procedural or substantive matter requiring a simple majority shall be passed by a majority of Representatives present and voting. If a vote is equally divided the matter put to vote shall be regarded as rejected.

2.      A procedural or substantive matter requiring a qualified majority shall be passed by two thirds of Representatives present and voting. If a vote is divided in exactly two thirds and one third of the Representatives present and voting, the matter put upon vote shall be regarded as accepted.

3.      Decisions regarding the adoption of Amendments and Resolutions shall be made by a simple majority of Delegates present and voting.

4.      For the purpose of the SOFIMUN Rules, ‘Representatives present and voting’ are Representatives casting an affirmative or negative vote. Representatives, which abstain from voting, are considered as not voting.

RULE 32 - Modes of Voting

1.      If not decided upon differently, Representatives vote by raising their placards.

2.      For substantive matters, a Delegate may request a roll-call vote. This request is automatically accepted unless ruled out by the Chairperson. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal.

3.      A roll-call vote takes place according to the English alphabetical order of the names of the States represented in the committee, beginning with the State whose name is drawn by lot by the Chairperson. The Chairperson shall subsequently call the name of each State. The Delegates shall reply “Yes”, “No” or “Abstain”.

4.      In roll-call vote, a State may pass once, but then must vote in the affirmative or negative.

5.      Upon completion of voting, a Delegate may request the right to explain his/her vote provided the substantive nature of the matter. The Chairperson grants the right to explain the vote. The decision of the Chairperson is not subject to appeal. The speaking time shall not exceed two (2) minutes. The delegates that reply “Yes, with rights” and “No, with rights” during roll call vote will automatically be granted the right to explain their vote. The number of delegates that will be able to exercise their right to explain the vote remains at the discretion of the Chairpersons.

RULE 33 - Voting on Amendments

1.      When an Amendment is proposed to a Draft Resolution, the Amendments shall be voted on first.

2.      If two or more Amendments to a Draft Resolution are proposed, the Chairperson shall determine the order, in which they are voted upon. The committee shall first vote on the Amendment furthest removed in substance from the Draft Resolution and then on the Amendment next furthest removed until all Amendments have been put to the vote. Where, however, the adoption of one Amendment necessarily implies the rejection of another Amendment, the latter shall not be put to the vote. The committee will consider a Draft Resolution including all Amendments adopted by the committee.

RULE 34 - Order of Voting

If two or more Draft Resolutions relate to the same question, they shall be voted on in the order in which they were submitted.





1.      Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.

2.      Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of a simple majority of the members. Decisions of the Security Council on substantive matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members.


1.      During a Closed Door Session only delegations of the Member states represented in the Security Council, the Chairperson, the Secretariat, and persons particularly authorized by the Secretary-General are allowed to attend the session of the Security Council. The time for a Closed Door Session is specified by the Chairperson and rules for Moderated Caucus shall be applied.

2.      A Representative may at any time when the floor is open, but not during speeches, introduce a Motion for Closed Door Session. The Representative shall rise when called by the Chairperson to explain the purpose of the motion and propose a time for the Closed Door Session. The Motion requires the support of a second Representative is non-debatable and shall immediately be put to vote. The Chairperson may rule out the Motion for Closed Door Session. The decision of the Chairperson is subject to appeal.

3.      The time of the Closed Door Session may be extended once.


The Chairperson may propose to invite any Member of the United Nations not a Member of the Security Council and any State not a Member of the United Nations to attend a meeting of the Security Council. The proposal of the Chairperson shall be put to vote. A majority of Delegates present and voting is required for the proposal to pass.


The Security Council may appoint a Commission or Committee or a Rapporteur for a specified question.


1.      The Security Council may choose to issue a Presidential Statement on issues which do not warrant a resolution. This statement is formally from the Chairperson of the Security Council, but is drafted by the body.

2.      This statement must be accepted by a consensus of the Security Council.

3.      These may either be produced as a “Presidential Statement” or as a more strongly worded “Presidential Statement of Consensus”.





1.      The Human Rights Council (hereinafter ‘the Council’) may appoint a Special Rapporteur, an independent expert or a working group to examine, monitor, advice, and publicly report on a situation specific country or territories, entitled as country mandates, or on a thematic issue of human rights violation, entitled as thematic mandate.

2.      The scope and length of a mandate is set out by a Resolution of the Council.

3.      Mandates may include conducting studies, providing advice on technical cooperation, responding to individual complaints, and engaging in general promotional activities. All mandate holders are required to report on their activities to the Council on an annual basis.



RULE 41 - Functions and Membership

1.      The Conference on Disarmament (hereinafter referred to as the Conference) is a disarmament negotiating forum open to the nuclear weapon States and 15 other States.

2.      All member States of the Conference shall take part in its work in conditions of full equality as independent States, in accordance with the principle of sovereign equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

RULE 42 - Agenda

1.      At the beginning of the session, the Conference shall adopt its agenda, requiring a two thirds majority of the members present and voting. In doing so, the Conference shall take into account the Provisional Agenda made to it by the Chairperson and Draft Agendas presented by member States of the Conference.

2.      A Draft Agenda that includes additional items not contained in the Provisional Agenda requires six (6) sponsors. Such items must be consistent with the Conference on Disarmament’s Decalogue.

RULE 43 - Working Documents

Proposals submitted to the Conference shall be referred to as ‘Working Documents’. The process of proposing, amending and voting Working Documents shall be governed by the SOFIMUN Rules with the exception of the designation of the document.

RULE 44 - Organization of Work

1.      Whenever the Conference deems it advisable for the effective performance of its functions, including when it appears that there is a basis to negotiate a draft treaty or other draft texts, the Conference may establish subsidiary bodies, such as ad hoc sub committees, working groups, technical groups or groups of governmental experts, open to all member States of the Conference unless the Conference decides otherwise. The Conference shall define the mandate for each of such subsidiary bodies and provide appropriate support for their work.

2.      The Conference shall decide if its own rules of procedure may be adapted to the specific requirements of its subsidiary bodies. The meetings of the subsidiary bodies shall be informal unless the Conference decides otherwise.

RULE 45 - Program of Work

1.      On the basis of its agenda, the Conference may establish a Program of Work, which will include a schedule of its activities for that session or for the duration up to the beginning of the next

2.      The Program of Work shall address specific problems and outline the procedures leading to a solution of such problems. The Program of Work shall build on converging points which lead to international instruments acceptable for all members and may include the establishment of subsidiary bodies or the appointment of a Special Coordinator to address the defined problem.

RULE 46 - Consensus

The Conference shall adopt its decisions on all substantive matters, with the exception of the Agenda, by consensus. Such decisions require the presence and voting of at least two thirds of the Delegates.


VI. Diagram: The birth of a resolution

*NB: The diagram states 5 signatories are needed, this is true for committees of 29-32 members (see rule 25.3)





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- Programme schedule of SOFIMUN 2008

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Transport & VISA


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