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Taking part in a one-and-a-half day MUN
Below is a possible timetable for a Model UN lasting for one-and-a-half days:
9:30am Welcome Before the session begins, your teacher will talk about what will happen during the day. Before you start, make sure that the tables are arranged in a horseshoe shape. This ensures everyone can see each other and creates a friendlier environment during the session. It is good to organise the countries in alphabetical order.
9:45am Introductions Your teacher might have organised for someone to come and speak to you about the topic you are going to discuss. It is important to listen carefully at this point as it might give you some useful ideas on the issue.
10:00am First Session You will be working in groups of three. Each group represents one country. During this session you will have time to research the topic and your country. A tip is to give each other different assignments within the group to make the research more productive:
- One delegate should be responsible for general research on their country (government, population, developing country etc.)
- Another delegate should be responsible for research on the political policies of their country (recent conflicts, history, current policy etc.)
- The third delegate should be responsible for outlining the position the country would take in the topic that is being discussed
12:30pm Lunch break Try to remain in character so that you can lobby and negotiate with each other. You should try to talk with delegates from countries which feel the same way as you do about this issue – these will be your allies. Start to think about what you would include in a resolution on the topic. This will set out what your countries think about the issue, and what you think should be done about it. This might include military action against another country, or might ask countries to work together to beat a problem which affects all countries, such as climate change.
1:30pm Second Session The three delegates from each country will present the results of their research to the other countries. Your teacher will tell you how long you are able to speak for. You must remember that you are presenting the view of your country, not your own view. So, ‘stay in character’ all the time!
Delegates from other countries should take notes during this time and should not interrupt other delegates’ speeches. Later on, you will have to work with other like-minded countries to produce a resolution. So, try to identify countries that feel the same way as you do about the issue, building on the negotiations that you did during the lunch break.
The third speakers could identify any allies that they have worked with over the lunch break. They might include an idea of what they would like to be done about the issue you are discussing.
2:45pm Third Session - Caucus Your teacher will allow the various delegations to divide into two broadly opposing groups. After the lunch break and the second session, you should be aware of which countries feel the same way as your country – these will be your allies, and will form part of your group to negotiate a draft resolution.
Within the groups, countries should lobby each other over the elements which will make up their draft resolution. Each group will try to agree on a resolution explaining what the countries think about the issue, and what should be done about it. You will have to negotiate between yourselves – not every country in your group will feel the same way that your country feels.
However, you will have to come to an agreement on some wording which satisfies all countries in the group. Your teacher will try to push agreement within each group as, tomorrow morning, the groups will have to each produce an agreed draft resolution.
3:30pm Clean up!
9:30am Resolution writing session The two groups should each agree on three or four points expressing their understanding of the issue. They should then agree on two or three points explaining what solutions they would like to adopt. Remember to stay in character – you are representing your country’s views, not your own views. Your teacher will help the groups to reach a consensus, so that two completed resolutions can be put to the vote.
10:30am Voting The two groups should return to the main seating area and your teacher will read out the two different resolutions. They will then put the two resolutions to the vote. You will be voting like countries in the UN General Assembly - each country has one vote. The three delegates from each country must decide which resolution they support. You can only vote for one resolution. Whichever resolution gets more than half the votes is adopted by the Model UN.
10:45am Security Council The voting procedure adopted so far (in which each country has one vote) is that used in the UN General Assembly. You will now switch to the voting procedure used in the UN Security Council. Each country has one vote, but the US , UK , France , Russia and China now have vetoes. For information about the veto power, click here.
You will return to your two groups and attempt to negotiate draft resolutions using the Security Council voting procedure. If you are representing a country that has a veto power, you should use this to stop any resolution that you do not approve of. All countries will find that it is much harder to negotiate a resolution under the Security Council voting than it was under the General Assembly voting. These are exactly the problems that countries on the Security Council face when trying to agree solutions to pressing problems.
11:30am Plenary session The two groups will return to the main seating area and your teacher will discuss with the pupils the differences between the two voting procedures.
11:45am Closing ceremony Your teacher will go over what you have learnt during the day, and will congratulate delegates who have been particularly effective during the speeches or negotiations. This is the end of the Model UN.