Rules of Procedure Guide
September 17, 2019
Understanding how Model United Nations committee sessions function is crucial for the best possible conference experience. While we strongly encourage any delegates to attend our beginner delegate training session on the first day of the conference, the guide below is a reference for delegates, new and old, in the Rules and Procedures (ROP) used during committee sessions. We implore all delegates to read over this guide in order to thoroughly understand ROP and get the best experience at the conference. That being said, this guide will be for all committees at PacificMUN 2020 except for the Joint Crisis Committee, Silicon Valley, United Nation Security Council, and ADHOC. Each of these committees have custom rules of procedure but generally adhere to this guide with some modifications
Table of Contents
- ROP Explanation
- Voting Procedure Explanation
- Voting Methods
- Points and Rights
- Types of Voting
- Order of Precedence
- ROP Flowchart Image
At the beginning of each committee session, Roll Call is used to to establish quorum in the committee. When the gavel is knocked and the dais calls for Roll Call, the committee session has started and requires all delegates to remain silent as Roll Call is done. In alphabetical order, delegations are read-out from all those represented in the committee. As a delegate, you must listen carefully for your delegation to be called so you can respond in one of two ways. This is either by saying ‘present’ or ‘present and voting’. By declaring you are present, you establish your delegation’s presence in the committee and retain the right to either vote or abstain on resolution papers. However, by stating you are present and voting, you acknowledge your delegation’s presence in the committee and affirm that your delegation will be voting on resolution papers thus conceding your delegation’s right to abstain. At the end of Roll Call quorum will be set meaning that the committee has enough delegates to engage in debate, writing, voting, and other elements of the committee session.
Opening the Debate
To open the debate, the dais will call for any motions on the floor. The first motion must be to open debate. This is motioned by saying, “The delegate of (insert delegation here) motions to open debate.”
Primary Speakers List
The first thing needed in the committee is to decide which topic will be discussed first. This is done by setting the agenda. The Primary Speakers List is only used in two topic committees as it is a platform for delegates to express their delegation’s opinion on which topic should be debated first. Typically, the dais will call for any delegates willing to speak to raise their placards. If you wish to speak, raise your placard and you will be added to the list.
Setting the Agenda
The agenda only needs to be set in two topic committees. It establishes which topic will be discussed first. At the end of the Primary Speakers list, the dais will call for any points or motions. At this point a delegate may say, “The delegate of (insert delegation here) motions to set the agenda to Topic (either A or B.)” Once this motion is proposed the dais will call for two delegates to speak for this motion and two to speak against it. This is the only time a motion itself is discussed as it will set the course of events for the entire committee. The delegates will speak in the pattern of one for followed by one against and once all four delegates have spoken the motion will be voted upon, and the agenda be set.
Secondary Speakers List
With the agenda set, the committee moves on to the Secondary Speakers List. The Secondary Speakers List is a time for delegates to speak on the topic at hand in a general sense. The delegates need not focus on a particular aspect of the problem but instead address the broader ideas and concerns their nation has. When finished speaking, a delegate must yield their time. The different forms of yields are described in Appendix 2. At the dais’ discretion, they may call for any points or motions on the floor. A list of possible points are found below in Appendix 1. There are four motions a delegate may propose, they are as listed below:
After the secondary speakers list, the committee will be open for motions. At this time, delegates may propose different types of motions such as moderated or unmoderated caucus. The dais will call upon delegates with a motion to raise their placard. A delegate may present their motion if the dais selects them. The presented motions are recorded and voted upon by the committee in the order of precedence.
An unmoderated caucus is a form of caucus that offers an unregulated debate and discussion. Unmoderated caucuses allow delegates to stand up and move around in order to discuss ideas with other delegates in an informal environment, continue progress in writing papers, and gain bloc support for their proposed solutions. An unmoderated caucus can last between 5 to 15 minutes. A delegate can propose an unmoderated caucus by motioning , “The delegate of [insert delegation here] motions for a [insert time here] unmoderated caucus.”
A moderated caucus is a form of structured and focus debate. This motion allows for the
committee to discuss specific aspects of the general topic. When motioning for a moderated
caucus, a delegate is required to specify the speaking time per delegate, as well as the total
speaking time for all delegates in the moderated caucus. A delegate may motion this by
saying “The delegate of [insert delegation here] motions for a [total speaking time] to
[speaking time per delegate] moderated caucus on [insert caucus topic]”.
If a motion for a moderated caucus passes, the delegate who motioned it is granted a right to speak first. The delegate may also concede their right to speak first in exchange for the right to speak last in the moderated caucus. After the first delegate speaks, the dais will call upon any delegates who wish to speak to raise their placards. The dais will select the next speaker among the delegates who raised their placards. Delegates do not have to yield their time at the end of their speech.
A roundtable is a where the dais calls upon each and every delegation to speak on a specific aspect of a topic. The delegates will be called one at a time in alphabetical order. A delegate may propose a roundtable by saying “The delegate of [insert delegation here] motions for a [speaking time per delegate] roundtable on [insert topic]”. Delegates are required to yield their time at the end of their speech.
Present Working Paper
After extensive debate, delegates will be able to formulate a cluster of ideas which, once reviewed and approved by the dais, becomes a working paper that can be presented to the committee. At this point, a delegate may motion to present a working paper. If this motion passes, sponsors of the working paper will be invited to the front of the committee to present the paper.
After the presentation of the working paper, the dais will ask for any points or motions. most commonly, this will be a motion for a Q&A Session of either 5, 10, or 15 minutes. During Q&A Session, delegates can ask questions to the sponsors of the working paper.
If a delegate wishes to alter a proposed working paper, they can use amendments to enact specific change. There are two types of amendments: friendly amendments and unfriendly amendments. A delegate can propose an amendment by sending a note to the dais. This note should indicate the specific clause the delegate wishes to amend, and should also include the revised version of that clause.
A friendly amendment is an amendment that is accepted by all sponsors of the working paper. This amendment would immediately be added to the working paper.
An unfriendly amendment is an amendment that is not accepted by one or more sponsors of the working paper. When proposed, a special secondary speakers list will be activated. At this stage, two delegates will be invited to speak for, and two delegates will be invited to speak against the amendment. The committee will then look for any other amendments before closing debate and entering voting procedures for all unfriendly amendments. This process is identical, but separate from the voting procedure for draft resolutions.
Voting Procedure Explanation
Once all proposed working papers have been presented, questioned, and amended, the committee can move into voting procedures. First a delegate must motion to close debate. Then a delegate needs to motion to enter voting procedures. After the motion to enter voting procedures pass, all spectators are asked to leave the committee and the doors will be barred.
Motion for Method of Voting
After entering voting procedure, a delegate first motions for a method of voting. There are three different methods of voting resolution papers: placard, acclimation, and roll call. The committee may motion for multiple methods of voting, but only one will be passed.
Vote on Method of Voting
The proposed methods of voting will be voted upon by the committee. If a motion for a specific
method of voting passes, that method will be used to vote on all draft resolutions.
Before voting on the draft resolutions, delegations may motion to vote by division of question or motion to reorder draft resolutions.
Motion to Vote by Division of Question
If a delegate wishes to pass only certain parts of the paper, they may motion to vote by division of question. This will allow the committee to split the resolution paper into different sections, and vote on them separately. Only the sections that pass will be added to the final resolution. If this motion passes, the delegate will be allowed to partition off the draft resolution. The most common method to split the paper is to divide it clause by clause.
Motion to Reorder Draft Resolution
If a delegate wishes to change the order in which the draft resolutions are voted upon, they may motion to reorder the draft resolutions. The delegate must specify the order they desire when presenting the motion. If there are no motions to reorder draft resolutions, the papers will be voted upon in ascending numerical order.
Voting on Draft Resolutions
The final step of the voting procedures is to vote on the draft resolutions. Using the chosen voting method, the committee will vote upon the draft resolutions. The draft resolutions will be voted one by one, and only one draft resolution will be allowed to pass. Once a resolution paper passes, the delegates will enter secondary speakers list for the next item on the agenda. If all items on the agenda are resolved, the delegates may motion to adjourn debate.
The methods of voting used in Model UN allow delegates to truly witness the success of their work in a way they deem fair and acceptable. Apart from voting by placard, the other methods of voting are only used when voting on substantial matters. Voting by placard is used for procedural voting and substantive voting.
Voting by placard is the most common method of voting. When voting by placard, the dais would call upon all delegates who agree with the draft resolution to raise their placard. The resolution paper would pass if ⅔ of the committee agrees with it.
Voting by acclamation is used to reach total consensus within the committee. When voting by acclamation, the dais would call upon all delegates who disagree with the draft resolution to raise their placard. The resolution paper would only pass if every delegate in the committee agrees with it.
Voting by roll call is used to let delegates vote one at a time on the draft resolution. When voting by roll call, the dais would call upon each delegate in an alphabetical order. The delegates may respond by saying “yes”, “no”, or “abstain”. Delegates who indicated “present and voting” before opening debate are not allowed to abstain from voting. A delegate may also respond by saying “yes with rights” and “no with rights”. By voting with rights, a delegate is granted speaking time to make remarks on their stance. The resolution paper would pass if 2⁄3 of the delegates who voted responded “yes”.
Division of the Question
Division of The Question allows delegates to group together clauses from a Draft Resolution and then evaluate them in groups. Each group of clauses will have two delegates speak proposing the clauses and two delegates speak opposing the clauses. During this time the clauses can be further amended. Once the four delegates have spoken and all amendments have been proposed and solved, the clauses will be voted on. These are considered to be substantive matters.
Voting Clause-by-Clause is the least common form of voting. Each clause must be amended individually, followed by two speakers proposing the clause and two other speakers opposing the clause. Then the clause will be voted upon as a substantive matter. While this method of voting is holistically comprehensive, it is also very time consuming.
Points and Rights
The following are the points a delegate can propose and the rights they have. A delegate may propose a point by raising his or her placard at anytime during the committee session, as long as another delegate isn’t speaking.
Point of Order
A Point of Order is used when the delegate finds an issue or error with the committee’s execution of the rules of procedure. This should not focus on any content-related matter, but instead an issue regarding the format of the flow of debate.
Point of Personal Privilege
A Point of Personal Privilege is used when delegates are physically discomforted in the conference by external factors that affect a delegate’s ability to participate in the committee session. This can include aspects such as the temperature of the room, the size of text displayed on the screen, or a lack of pens and paper. Delegates do not need to use a point of personal privilege to leave the committee room to use the restroom or get a drink of water.
Point of Inquiry
Point of Inquiry is used by delegates when they wish for a clarification on an aspect of the committee. This can include concerns with the topic, the rules of procedure, or any general information pertaining to the conference. Delegates may not use a point of inquiry to pose a question to another delegate.
Point of Reply
When a delegate’s national or personal integrity comes under attack by another delegate by their words or actions, a delegate can call for a right of reply. Delegates can request for a right of reply by sending a note to the dais. If the dais approves the request, the delegate will be given one minute of speaking time to respond to the issue.
At the end of a speech in the Primary or Secondary Speakers List, all delegates must yield their remaining time. Delegates may yield their time in one of the following ways.
Yield to the Dais
Yielding to the dais concedes the remaining speaking time to the chair. This concludes the delegate’s speech and allows the dais to call upon the next delegate on the speakers list.
Yield to Another Delegate
Yielding to another delegate allows one to give the remainder of their speaking time to another delegate. If that delegate accepts the yield, they may speak until the time elapses. If the new delegate finishes their speech before the time elapses, they must further yield their time; however, they are not allowed to yield to another delegate.
Yield to Questions
Yielding to questions allows delegates to be questioned by the committee in the remainder of the time they have left. The speaking time will only count down while the delegate is answering the question.
Yield to Comments
Yielding to comments allows other delegates to comment on their speech. They may also comment on the current situation or address any concerns they may have. The speaking time will only count down while other delegates are commenting
Types of Voting
When the committee votes on non-substantial matters, such as passing basic motions, the committee uses a simple majority of ½ of the committee. All procedural voting uses placard as the method of voting.
When the committee votes on substantial matters, such as voting on a draft resolution, the committee uses a ⅔ maMorit\. $n\ motion that affects the committees decisions on handling certain topics are considered substantial. Substantial voting may utilize other voting methods than Placard.
Order of Precedence
If there are multiple motions presented by the committee, they are voted upon in the order of
precedence. Points take precedence over all motions.
- Right of Reply
- Unmoderated Caucus
- Moderated Caucus
- Introduction of a Working Paper
- Introduction of an Amendment
- Closure of Debate
- Suspension of Debate
- Adjournment of Debate