Model UN Preparation
Like real UN bodies, Model UN committees have lengthy agendas and many delegates who want to convey their country's positions. To help maintain order, Model UN conferences adopt rules of procedure to establish when a delegate may speak and what he or she may address. Some conferences adopt a few simple rules, while others use lengthy and complex rules of procedure. Because each conference is independent – there is no governing body for Model UN – rules of procedure vary. A few conferences adapt their rules of procedure directly from the United Nations rules while most use variations of the Roberts Rules of Order. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the rules of each specific conference you plan to attend.
At a Model UN conference, there is formal debate as well as informal debate, called caucusing.
Formal Debate: During formal debate, the staff maintains a speakers list and delegates speak in the order they are listed. At this time, delegates have an opportunity to share their views with the entire committee. Delegates make speeches, answer questions, and introduce and debate resolutions and amendments. Formal debate is important to the committee's work. By not knowing the rules of procedure, delegates slow down the debate and hold back their committee's progress.
Moderated Caucus: During a caucus, which is a temporary recess, the rules of procedure are suspended. To go to a moderated caucus, a delegate makes a motion to suspend debate and the committee votes. Caucusing helps to facilitate discussion, especially when there is a long speakers list. A moderated caucus is a mixture of both formal and informal debate. Anyone may speak if they raise their placard and are called on by the Chair.
Unmoderated Caucus: In an unmoderated caucus, delegates meet informally with one another and the committee staff to discuss and negotiate draft resolutions, amendments and other issues.
What are the rules and procedures at a Model UN conference? View a chart of basic Model UN points and motions.
UNA-USA Classroom Activities