Preparing for the Winnipeg MUNA requires an interest in global issues, acknowledging that the UN works on a collaborative basis, and an eagerness to speak out and listen to your fellow delegates.
Here we provide guidance to students in preparing for their MUNA experience. It is divided into three main parts:
1. Understanding the resolution topics and your country’s position
2. Understanding the basics of the United Nations General Assembly
3. Understanding how to participate in the Winnipeg MUNA sessions
Each MUNA is assigned an overall theme that frames the topics for the Opening Plenary of the General Assembly and the Resolutions to be drafted.
Online training webinars are held for students and counsellors in March and early April. These include specific training for table officers and facilitators as well as general participation. The Zoom link will be sent to all counsellors and delegates prior to the seminars.
At a general level, delegates and counselors should first familiarize themselves with the country they will represent including its history, geography, people, economy, system of government, and international alignments for the topics they will be debating.
Participants should familiarize themselves with the Resolution topics for the Winnipeg MUNA before coming to the conference. Delegates and counsellors can familiarize themselves with Resolution topics by reading the resolutions that have been adopted on this topic historically in the UN General Assembly (see below).
An understanding of how your country has intervened on these topics during the current and previous UN General Assembly (GA) Sessions may help inform the interactions that will take place between countries during MUNA. We recommend preparing a position for each of the resolution topics, for your own guidance. Some useful websites for researching these aspects include:
Archive of UN General Assembly Resolutions:
UN "Member States on the Record" website:
Here you can search for statements made by different countries.
General Assembly Meetings Coverage and Press Releases:
Here you can search for summaries of the various GA Committee meetings relating to resolution topics, which includes statements made by countries.
If possible, delegates and counsellors may read the statements of the political groups that countries they are representing belong to.
A successful learning experience at MUNA provides participants with an appreciation of the role of the UN as an instrument of world peace and understanding. Some useful websites include:
The United Nations Model UN Guide:
Here you will find a comprehensive overview of how decisions are made in the General Assembly, including the structure of the UN and an overview of the skills for participating in a model UN (for model UN Assemblies in general, not specifically for the Winnipeg MUNA)
UN General Assembly Website:
Here you will find lots of information about the GA, including its current agenda topics, the Committees and their Bureaus, and the GA’s rules and procedures.
United Nations Association in Canada:
United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA):
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and sustainable development goals (SDGs): Adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the 2030 Agenda and SDGs provide a shared blueprint for peace, prosperity, people, planet and partnerships.
A first essential step in understanding how to participate in the Winnipeg MUNA is to preview the current MUNA Agenda and to study the MUNA Structure and its Rules of Procedure and Rules of Conduct. Specific guidance for participating in each MUNA session is provided below.
Webinar training will be hosted by the MUNA organizers in March and early April to help students and counsellors prepare, including for: (i) officers of the General Assembly (President, Vice-president, Secretary General, and Deputy Secretary General); (ii) officers of the Committee Bureaus (Chair, Vice-chair, Informal Consultations facilitator, Rapporteur) and the Committee Secretary; and (iii) country delegation teams.
PARTICIPATING IN THE OPENING PLENARY SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
Formal Statements and Speaking:
Each country delegation is invited to submit a 300 word formal statement addressing the overall theme of MUNA. A limited number of delegations will be randomly selected to present their statements during the Opening Plenary of the General Assembly. The time limit for these speeches is 1.5 minutes each. This is a unique opportunity for students to hone their public speaking skills. Notes are helpful to have on hand, but a good rule of thumb is for the delegate to know the material well enough, so they are not simply reading their notes. This takes practice. Please note that when speaking in the Assembly, delegates always address their remarks to the President (or if in Committee, the Chair), for example, by beginning their statement with “Mr. President” or “Madame President”. This should be used instead of “Honourable President” or “Honourable Chair” which are never used at the real United Nations.
Know the rules of procedure for the General Assembly and its Committees:
Refer to the MUNA Rules of Procedure webpage. Note that a delegation’s ‘Right of Reply’ may be exercised during this Opening Plenary Session, but at the discretion of the President of the GA given the time limitations of the Winnipeg MUNA. Any delegate exercising their Right of Reply must wait until the end of the assigned Speakers List to do so.
PARTICIPATING IN THE FORMAL COMMITTEE MEETINGS (DAY 1).
Finding your Committee:
There are two separate formal Committee Meetings. The GA’s First Committee considers Resolution #1. The Second & Third Committees meet together to consider Resolutions #2. One person from each delegation should participate in each committee.
Delegates will meet briefly in a formal Committee setting before commencing with informal consultations.
PARTICIPATING IN THE INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS (DAY 1).
In this part, the formal rules and procedures are suspended. This format was introduced at the Winnipeg MUNA in 2019, in consultation with the World Federation of United Nations Associations, and is designed to give students more experience in the UN’s consensus-building process and to work in smaller group settings.
The preambular section of MUNA's Resolutions are pre-drafted by the organizing committee, while the operative section is left blank except for an outline. This part of the simulation begins with the basic premise that informal consultations have already occurred on the preambular section and only the drafting of the operative section remain, along with any necessary revisions to the preambular section. The Committee Vice-chair will facilitate the Informal Consultations.
Participating in Part I of the Informal Consultations – Breakout Groups to draft operative paragraphs:
The Vice-chair will divide delegates into five groups, each taking a space in the dedicated part of the Committee room. These groups, and the countries included in each, are listed on Resolutions #1 and #2 under the operative section of the resolutions.
Each breakout group will have a student delegate(s) assigned as facilitators. Formal speeches are not received in these small group discussions, but rather, delegates work together informally to draft up to two operative statements for the resolution for the sub-topic assigned to the group (identified in the operative section of the corresponding Resolution). The facilitator will let you know how much time you have to draft your paragraphs.
To participate effectively in the breakout groups for drafting the operative paragraphs, it will be important to have already researched past examples of operative paragraphs from similar General Assembly resolutions that relate to the sub-topic your group has been assigned.
Participating in Part II of the Informal Consultations – Review of operative paragraphs and debate on amendments:
Over the break the Committee Secretary will compile all the operative statements prepared by the breakout groups and will present them together on the screen and make them available electronically. All delegates will then be given time to individually review all the paragraphs so they can decide if they want to sponsor the resolution (this means to support the resolution, not to speak).
The informal consultations facilitator will then ask which delegates wish to 'sponsor' the resolution (more on what this means below). These delegates can then caucus during the line-by-line review.
The Vice-chair will then facilitate an informal line-by-line review of each operative statement. The purpose of this review is to give the non-sponsors an opportunity to propose changes to any part of the text. During this part of the simulation, delegates participate as individual countries, but noting that non-sponsors can caucus with their original groups. Sponsors of the resolution can caucus together at this point. During the line-by-line review only non-sponsors are allowed to make comments, ask questions and suggest amendments. The sponsors have a different role, as described further below.
Once amendments have been orally submitted, delegates will debate each amendment, facilitated by the Informal Consultations Facilitator.
During the debate of amendments, sponsors can caucus separately to discuss further changes they may want to make in the text. If all the sponsors agree to make any changes to the resolution, they must inform the Committee Secretary so that these changes can be reviewed by the non-sponsors (the non-sponsors can propose further amendments to the new text if they so wish).
It is important to understand that during the informal consultation process, the sponsors are the gatekeepers of what goes in the resolution. No changes can be made to the text without the sponsors approving it. If they fail to come to agreement on a change that the non-sponsors wish to make, the facilitator can assist in getting the sponsors and non-sponsors to show some flexibility in their positions. If consensus cannot be reached after these efforts, one or more non-sponsors can request that the resolution be put to a vote in the final formal meeting. When this happens, the sponsors lose control over their resolution because the non-sponsors can also put their amendments to a vote in the final formal Committee meeting. This helps to incentivize the sponsors to make compromises during informal consultations.
When agreement is reached on whether to accept, withdraw or revise the wording of every amendment that has been proposed, then consensus has been achieved and there is no need to take a vote. The purpose of the consensus-building process is to give the delegates an opportunity to work together to find common ground to ensure that most, if not all, of the Member States will implement the recommendations put forth in a resolution. If consensus cannot be reached, one of the non-sponsors can request that the resolution be put to a vote in the final formal Committee meeting.
To participate effectively in this line-by-line review and negotiation of amendments, it will be important to have already researched examples of operative statements from the real General Assembly resolutions that relate to the operative sub-topics assigned to the other groups the delegate was not part of, including your country’s position on those statements.
Know the rules of procedure for the General Assembly and its Committees:
Guidance on the Consensus Approach:
The Model UN Guide provides guidance on the consensus approach that will be very helpful to delegates, noting for instance the following:
“…consensus is reached when all Member States have agreed to adopt the text of a draft resolution without taking a vote. However, reaching consensus is not the same thing as being unanimous. It is important to note that consensus does not mean that all Member States agree on every word or even every paragraph in the draft resolution. Member States can agree to adopt a draft resolution without a vote but still have reservations about certain parts of the resolution. The important point is that there is nothing in the resolution that is so disagreeable to any Member State that they feel it must be put to a vote.
When Member States have reservations on elements of a draft resolution that they have agreed to adopt by consensus, those who are not sponsors of the resolution have the opportunity to explain their position either before action is taken or after action is taken on the resolution. When Member States know that their reservations can be included in the public record of a Committee’s deliberations on an agenda item, it sometimes makes it easier to agree to consensus.”
For more information and guidance on informal consultations and consensus building, refer to:
PARTICIPATING IN THE FORMAL COMMITTEE MEETINGS (DAY 2).
Your committee will meet again first thing in the morning of Day 2 to conclude the Informal Consultations on its Resolution if necessary. Once the Informal Consultations have concluded, your Committee will reconvene under its formal rules of procedure and the direction of the Committee Chair.
Participating in the Introduction of Resolution #1 or Resolution #2:
The Committee Chair will ask the main sponsor of the resolution to introduce it to the Committee. If consensus is reached on Day 1, the main sponsor should thank the Committee for their hard work and for working together in the spirit of consensus. Then the sponsor should choose a few highlights from the resolution that he/she feels captures the most important elements of the resolution. This is all that is needed to introduce a resolution. At the real UN, the sponsor does not read the resolution when introducing it. Delegates should refrain from doing this.
After the resolution is introduced, the Chair will give any non-sponsors who may have reservations to explain their position before action is taken on the resolution. Non-sponsors will be allotted 2 minutes to make their statement. It should be noted that a delegation which makes an explanation of position in the Committee, cannot do so again in the Closing Session of the General Assembly.
After the explanation of positions have been completed, the Chair will ask if any delegations wish to be added to the list of sponsors. Then the Chair will note that it is the wish of the Committee that the Resolution be adopted without a vote and will ask the Committee if there are any objections. If no objections are noted, the Chair will note that the Resolution has been so decided. The number of non-sponsors granted speaking time will be determined by the Chair based on the time available.
If consensus is not reached, the main sponsor should explain why they think it is important for the Committee to vote in favor of the resolution when introducing the resolution and should choose a few highlights from the resolution that he/she feels captures the most important elements of the resolution.
The Chair will then allow any non-sponsors who wish to introduce one or more amendments and put them to a vote. The Committee Chair will then call on any non-sponsors that wish to give an ‘explanation of vote’. Non-sponsors will be allotted 2 minutes to make their statement.
It should be noted that a delegation which makes an explanation of position or vote in the Committee, cannot do so again in the Closing Session of the General Assembly.
After the explanation of votes have been completed, the Chair will conduct a vote on the resolution. If a simple majority of the delegates vote in favor of the resolution, it is adopted.
PARTICIPATING IN THE CLOSING PLENARY SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (DAY 2).
After the resolutions are adopted in Committee, they must be adopted a second time by the GA Plenary before they are considered an official resolution. The first order of business of the Closing Plenary is for the Committee Rapporteurs to deliver a report on the work done in their respective Committees and to recommend that the resolution be adopted by the Plenary. Non-sponsors who had reservations about the resolution and that chose not to explain their position or vote in Committee are allowed to make a statement in the Closing Plenary. Delegates should remember to address the President when speaking to the General Assembly.
Right of Reply:
A delegation’s ‘Right of Reply’ may be exercised during this session, but at the discretion of the Chair given the time limitations of the Winnipeg MUNA.
Adopting a resolution without a vote or by voting:
It is the practice of the UN that if a resolution was adopted by consensus in Committee, it is adopted by consensus in the GA Plenary. If a vote was conducted in Committee on a resolution, a vote will also be conducted in the GA Plenary. No new amendments can be tabled at this point.
Know the rules of procedure for the General Assembly and its Committees:
Tabling New Resolutions (serious and fun)
Delegations may wish to table new resolutions, both serious and fun, during the Closing Plenary Session of the GA. Serious resolutions will be considered first, followed by fun resolutions. New resolutions can be submitted during MUNA to the President of the General Assembly via (by uploading to the MUNA Google shared drive) up until 12:30pm on Day 2. Instructions will be provided for how to do this prior to MUNA. Submitted resolutions must be co-sponsored by at least one other countries (note that in the real UN, any Member State can submit a resolution without a co-sponsor. Requiring co-sponsors at the Winnipeg MUNA is to encourage interaction among delegates during the simulation). As a reminder to delegates, the more you consult with other country delegates during MUNA on your new resolution, the better chance it can be passed in this Closing Plenary Session.
Only two serious resolutions and one fun resolution can be considered within the time limitations of the Winnipeg MUNA. Therefore, the President of the General Assembly will conduct a vote among delegates to determine which resolutions to consider in debate. Debate will consist of a 2-minute opening statement by the sponsor (and co-sponsor if desired), followed by a series of up to eight delegates who request to speak in favor or opposition to the resolution or who would like to propose amendments (2-minute statements). The sponsor will then be given an opportunity to deliver a final 2-minute reply.
Following this period of debate, the President of the General Assembly will conduct a poll among delegates to gauge the overall opinion of the General Assembly as to whether the resolution topic merits any future consideration.
Guidance on the form and syntax of General Assembly resolutions is available at: https://www.un.org/en/model-united-nations/drafting-resolutions
The President of the GA will then proceed to close this session of the assembly. Before doing so, the Deputy Secretary General will deliver a closing statement (note that this is not done in the real UN General Assembly but is part of the Winnipeg MUNA simulation).
Innovation and Adaptation
The MUNA 2023 provided delegates the opportunity to highlight the positive changes being made to make the world safer, more equitable and sustainable.
Each delegation should prepare a brief 2 minute speech on the above theme. A random draw will determine which 4 delegations are chosen to present their ideas during the Opening Assembly.
See below for PDF full text of resolution.
See below for PDF full text of resolution.
April 5th, 2023 via Zoom.
Leadership Training Webinar - Part 1 Introduction to Roles
April 11th, 2023 via Zoom
Leadership Training Webinar – Part 2: Simulation Practice
April 19th, 2023 via Zoom (link to be emailed)
This training webinar is for students assigned specific MUNA leadership roles
The 2022 Leadership Webinar for assigned officers of the General Assembly and Committees was held on April 7th. Click the adjacent video link to view the webinar recording (including the overview and training for committee leaders) To download the webinar slides, see the section below.
The 2022 General Orientation Webinar for all delegates was held on March 24th. The Leadership Training Webinar for assigned leaders of the General Assembly and Committees was held on April 7th. Click below to access the webinar slides. See above to view the webinar recordings.