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Basic Rules of Procedure



Rules of Procedure is one of the important parts of the Model United Nations Conference. Most of the MUN conferences would apply the simplified version of the Robert's Rules of Order (RONR) since it’s content is largely based on the rules of procedure of the US House of Representatives and it has been adapted and amended to be applied to ordinary associations and organisations.


Despite Robert's Rules of Order, there are different rules of procedure in different countries and regions, but most of them are mainly based on the RONR, which have evolved through the incorporation of local conference customs. For example, the Beijing Rules of Procedure (motion-oriented/document-oriented), which are commonly used in Mainland China, and the European Rules of Procedure, which are commonly used in overseas Model United Nations conferences. There are also special rules of procedure for special committees, such as the Historic Committee and the Joint Committee.


Standard Rules of Procedure usually includes the following steps: Roll Call, determination of quorum, setting the agenda, moderated caucus and unmoderated caucus, drafting working papers and draft resolutions, then eventually the voting procedure.


The basic rules of procedures of the MUN often begins with a roll call. The dais/chairs will first ask the delegates to be seated on their countries’ seats and call the roll in order, with the delegate whose country is named should hold up the country placards and say "Present”, and for the last session of conference delegates would get to choose to say either “Present” or “Present and voting” which indicates the delegate would be guaranteed to perform decisions in the voting procedure. The dais members then would announce the actual number of attendees, whether the quorum is met, and the simple majority, two-thirds majority, and 20 percent of the meeting. Only when the actual number of attendees reaches a quorum will the conference be officially called.


After roll calling, the formal debate session will begin, and the main speakers list will be opened automatically. In the course of the formal debate, delegates can propose a motion to suspend the formal debate and enter the informal debate, i.e., to propose two types of motions, i.e., moderated caucus or unmoderated caucus. In addition to the two motions mentioned above, delegates can also propose other types of motions, such as motions to amend the formal speaking time and to end the formal debate. However, when three motions are not passed, the conference will then automatically return to the main speakers' list.


In addition, delegates can also apply a variety of points and rights: Point of Personal Privilege, Point of Parliamentary Inquiry, Point of Order, Right of Reply and Point of Information.


Once the main speakers' list is closed or the motion to end the formal debate is passed, the delegates can submit a draft resolution. This draft resolution is the document of the delegates' discussion and final decision on the topic of the conference, and will be circulated to all delegates and voted on as a clear and valid official document during the last session. If the delegates consider that there is a need to amend the draft resolution, they can submit an amendment for revision. When a draft resolution is approved or when no draft resolution is approved, the conference will automatically end as the formal debate is over.


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