MUNA RULES OF PROCEDURE
Note: These Rules of Procedure are adapted from the Model UN (MUN) Guide prepared by the United Nations Department of Global Communications. The full MUN Guide is available at: https://outreach.un.org/mun/. The Rules of Procedure for the real UN General Assembly are available at: http://www.un.org/en/ga/about/ropga/index.shtml
OFFICERS AT THE WINNIPEG MUNA
President of the General Assembly (PGA)
This role is played by a MUNA organizer in 2019. The President of the General Assembly (PGA) shall declare the opening and closing of each plenary meeting of the session, direct the discussions in plenary meeting, ensure observance of these rules, accord the right to speak, put questions and announce decisions. The PGA shall rule on points of order and, subject to these rules, shall have complete control of the proceedings at any meeting and over the maintenance of order thereat.
The PGA may, in the course of the discussion of an item, propose to the General Assembly the limitation of the time to be allowed to speakers, the limitation of the number of times each representative may speak, the closure of the list of speakers or the closure of the debate. The PGA may also propose the suspension or the adjournment of the meeting or the adjournment of the debate on the item under discussion.
The President, or a Vice-President acting as President, shall not vote.
Vice-President of the General Assembly
This role is played by a MUNA organizer in 2019. A Vice-President acting as President shall have the same powers and duties as the President of the General Assembly. The Vice-President replaces the president of the General Assembly, when he/she is absent.
This role is played by a post-secondary student in 2019. The Secretary-General shall make an annual report, and such supplementary reports as are required, to the General Assembly on the work of the Organization. For more information on the Secretary-General visit: https://outreach.un.org/mun/content/leadership-positions-secretariat.
This role is played by a secondary student in 2019. The main duty of the Deputy-Secretary-General is to support the Secretary-General. For more information on the Deputy Secretary-General visit: https://outreach.un.org/mun/content/leadership-positions-secretariat.
This role is played by a student at the Winnipeg MUNA. As described in the United Nations Model UN Guide (https://outreach.un.org/mun/content/leadership-positions-ga) the Chair, or Chairperson as it is often referred, declares the opening and closing of meetings of the committee. In these meetings the Chairperson directs the discussions, makes sure that the rules are observed, accords the right to speak, puts forward questions, and announces decisions. The Chairperson has complete control of the proceedings at any meeting and has the responsibility of maintaining order at all times. Because the Chairperson represents the whole Committee, he/she cannot simultaneously represent one of the participating delegations.
Chairpersons are expected to cease operating as a member of their national delegation as long as they are acting as Chairperson and do not vote. The Chair should speak and act impartially on behalf of the Committee as a whole and not seek to promote any national or personal views.
This role is played by a student at the Winnipeg MUNA. In the event that the Chairperson is not available for a meeting or any part of the meeting, the Vice-Chairperson shall take his/her place. While acting as Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall have the same powers and duties as the Chairperson.
This role is played by a counsellor at the Winnipeg MUNA. The Secretary is responsible for keeping track of amendments during formal meetings and during the informal consultations, is also responsible for compiling the operative statements prepared by the breakout groups and tracking changes made during the line-by-line review and negotiation of amendments. The Secretary supports the work of the Rapporteur in preparing the report of the Formal Committee and assists the Chair in properly applying the rules of procedure.
This role is played by a student at the Winnipeg MUNA. Rapporteurs at the Winnipeg MUNA take responsibility for preparing the report on the Committee’s work relating to a particular resolution and present it at the closing Plenary meeting. The Rapporteur may seek the support of the Secretary in preparing the report. Like the Chair and Vice-Chair, the Rapporteur is elected and therefore sits alongside the Chair on the podium and is not allowed to participate in the debate or vote.
Informal Consultations Main Facilitator
At the Winnipeg MUNA this role is played by the Vice-Chair of the Committee (a student). The responsibilities of the Main Facilitator are to provide instructions to the breakout groups during Part 1 of the Informal Consultations and to lead the line-by-line review of the resolution and moderate the negotiation of amendments during Part II of the Informal Consultations. Rules of procedure are suspended during these group discussions, however rules of proper conduct at MUNA remain in place always (see bottom of this page).
Informal Consultations Breakout Group Facilitators
At the Winnipeg MUNA this role is played by a student. There are five informal breakout groups under each Committee at the Winnipeg MUNA, each with a Group Facilitator. The responsibility of the Group Facilitator is to guide the discussion of their group (approximately 14 delegates) in drafting up to two operative statements for the sub-topic assigned to their group. Rules of procedure are suspended during these group discussions, however rules of proper conduct at MUNA remain in place (see bottom of this page).
RULES OF PROCEDURE DURING FORMAL PLENARY AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS
It is important to note that the United Nations is not a parliament. As such, the General Assembly rules of procedure are simpler than parliamentary rules. For one, General Assembly rules only have one point, a Point of Order.
Point of Order
A Point of Order can be raised by Member States at any point in the meeting. If a delegate believes that the Chair is not following the Rules of Procedure, he/she may raise a point of order. The Rules of Procedure require the Chair to interrupt proceedings to hear the point of order and to rule immediately on it (where ‘rule’ means to declare either that the point of order has no merit or to accept it and direct any delegate who is out of order to conform to the Rules).
The widely-used convention for signaling the Chairperson that a delegate is asking for the floor to raise a point of order, is for the delegate to make a ‘T’ with his/her hand and nameplate.
Speakers List (Opening Plenary only)
During the Opening Plenary Session at the Winnipeg MUNA the PGA keeps a list of delegations wishing to address the conference. This is known as a Speakers list. This list is pre-assigned by the organizers several months before MUNA. There is no Speakers List during other parts of the proceedings which include informal consultations, the final formal meeting of the Committee or Closing Plenary.
Right of Reply (Opening and Closing Plenary only)
During MUNA’s Opening and Closing Plenary Sessions, rules of procedure (or in some cases tradition) also allow a delegation a ‘Right of Reply’. This right of reply is only granted if there is a remark made by a delegation that is clearly offensive to another delegation. If a delegation simply disagrees with a statement made but the statement was not explicitly directed at another Member State, the President or Chair can deny the request.
This Right of Reply statement is subject to a stricter time limit (1 minutes at MUNA) than the General Debate statement and typically can only be made at the end of the General Debate, when all delegations on the speakers list have had their opportunity to speak (pre-assigned speakers at MUNA). In addition, the Rules of Procedure for the Winnipeg MUNA permit only one statement in reply per delegation. Given the time limitations at the Winnipeg MUNA, the ability to grant the Right of Reply will be at the discretion of the President/Chair.
A delegate may request their Right of Reply by sending a message via one of the Floor Pages. The number of Replies granted will be at the discretion of the Chair given the time available and will be honoured in the order received.
Explanation of Position or Vote (Committee Meeting and Closing Plenary of GA)
Whether a resolution is to be adopted with or without a vote, a non-sponsor is given the opportunity to make a statement about any reservations they may have about particular paragraphs that are included in the draft resolution.
If a resolution is adopted by consensus (i.e., without a vote), It is possible to agree to adopt a resolution without a vote and still have elements of a resolution that the non-sponsor is not entirely pleased with. Or it may be to express their disappointment that something important to the non-sponsor was left out of the resolution.
Several months in advance of MUNA the organizers pre-assign a list of delegations to give their explanation of position or vote in the Closing Plenary Session. However, during the Formal Committee meetings, any delegation that is a non-sponsor of a resolution may ask the Committee Chair or Secretary to give an explanation of vote or position before the resolution is adopted in Committee. A delegate may do so by sending a message via one of the Floor Pages. The number of explanations granted will be at the discretion of the Chair given the time available and will be honoured in the order received.
Adopting a Resolution when Consensus is Reached
When a resolution will be adopted by consensus, amendments during the final formal Committee meeting are not allowed. A resolution adopted by consensus in Committee is also adopted by consensus in the Closing Plenary of the GA.
Adopting a Resolution by Vote when Consensus is Not Reached
A resolution adopted by vote in Committee is also adopted by a vote in the Closing Plenary of the GA.
Submitting an Amendment to resolutions
At Winnipeg MUNA amendments to a draft resolution are submitted electronically (refer to the MUNA Structure and MUNA Preparation webpages) before the session. The Committee Chair will consider the amendments in the order that they were submitted and within the time allotted to the session.
Withdrawal of Amendment:
A Member State may withdraw their amendment at any time before action is taken.
Motion to Divide the Draft Resolution (not used at the 2019 MUNA)
If consensus is not reached on a resolution during informal consultations, a delegate can request to divide a resolution into separate votes before the adoption of the whole text. This means that delegates can request to put one or more paragraphs to a vote. If no one objects to the motion, the Chair will proceed immediately to a vote. If one or more delegates object to the motion, the request for the motion will be put to an immediate vote, carried by a simple majority, after a maximum of two delegations have spoken in favour of and two against the request. If the motion to divide the resolution into separate votes passes and there is more than one paragraph to vote on, each paragraph will be voted on separately.
No-action Motion on an Amendment or Motion for Adjournment of Debate (not used at the 2019 MUNA)
The sponsors of a resolution can try to kill an amendment during a formal meeting by raising their placard to make a No-action Motion or a Motion for Adjournment of Debate (both motions are just different names for the same thing) after an amendment has been introduced but before it is voted on. When this motion is proposed, the Chair will give the floor to a maximum of two delegations who wish to speak in favour of and two who wish to speak against the motion. If a No-Action Motion is passed by a simple majority of Member States present and voting, discussion of the amendment ceases and is never put to a vote.
Motion to Close Debate (not used at the 2019 MUNA)
Delegates can make a Motion to Close Debate. The Chair will give the floor to a maximum of two speakers opposing the closure, after which the motion shall be immediately put to the vote. If a Motion to Close Debate is passed by a simple majority of Member States present and voting, discussion of the agenda item ends.
The Spoken Word
No one may intervene in the debate (i.e. speak so as to be heard by the conference) without having been given the floor by the Chair. Delegates must address their remarks to the President of the GA or Chair of a Committee, although everyone understands that what they say is meant for the whole conference.
The purpose of these rules is to ensure that only one person speaks at any given time and allow the President/Chair to steer the debate. They also tend to dampen any tendency towards quarrels between delegates, at least in the formal setting. This is extremely important as quarrelsome behaviour is not conducive to the efficient management of meetings.
Other rules of debate are not spelt out in the written Rules of Procedure but are enshrined in practice. For example, normally it is the tradition for each Member State to make one statement during the General Debate and if they request to speak a second time, it is the tradition for them to start by apologizing. This is not articulated in any Rule of Procedure but is a long-standing tradition.
PROPER CONDUCT WHEN ENGAGING YOUR FELLOW COUNTRY DELEGATES AT MUNA
All discussions between delegates must adhere to proper respectful conduct. This applies to discussions during the formal MUNA sessions either in person or via Floor Page notes and during breaks and off-hours. Disrespectful, hurtful and hateful communication with your fellow student delegates is not tolerated at MUNA. Complaints should be directed to your counsellor, who will then direct it to one of the MUNA organizers (the chair and vice-chair of the MUNA Organizers will be on hand at all times during MUNA). Under a zero-tolerance policy, a student found in breach of conduct will be expelled from MUNA by the organizers.