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📍A Message to Model UNs from the Real UN: Consensus

Did you know that many Model UNs do not follow actual UN rules and practices? In fact, many follow the procedures of parliaments. But the UN is not a parliament. It has different rules, practices and terms.

One important difference has to do with voting. Many Model UNs vote a lot. But in the real General Assembly, it has become unusual for Member States to vote on resolutions. Rather, the trend has been towards “consensus”. Member States agree on resolutions because they want them to be implemented. After all, General Assembly resolutions are non-binding. If a country votes against one, it’s unlikely to implement it.

The other difference is that the model UN is usually more competitive, but in the real UN there is no such thing as a winner or loser. Successfully passing resolutions at the expense of other countries does not mean a victory, but rather a missed opportunity to turn enemies into friends. Negotiating and reaching a "consensus" is not easy, whereas voting after a debate is obviously much easier. But the small difficulties are worth it to bring people together, and that is what the UN is all about.

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