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BISS ACAMIS Model United Nations 2010

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Guide to Writing Resolutions

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1 Guide to Writing Resolutions on Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:27 am


Resolutions: A Writer’s Guide

What is the purpose of resolutions?

Participants in a Model UN activity present issues or topics in the form of resolutions. Resolutions provide the focal
points for discussion and debate while also giving the instrument upon which negotiation, compromise and solution
will center. Resolutions:
1. represent the formal decisions made by UN bodies on an issue or topic.
2. may urge that action be taken by the UN through its organs and agencies.
Resolutions are submitted in draft form. Since one of the goals of a Model UN activity is to illustrate the cooperative
method by which decisions are made, amendments are desirable before a final text is approved.


Sponsors of a resolution are those countries that have been the principal authors of it. Sponsoring delegations will be invited to speak for the resolution. For such a delegation to vote against the resolution a formal withdrawal of sponsorship must be authorised by the Chair.

What are resolutions about?

Resolutions must always pertain to the issues set for the conference and must always fit within the scope of the UN
body being modeled. For instance, it would not be appropriate for the General Assembly to issue a resolution
ordering a Peace Force into an area without consultation with the Security Council.

What is the structure of a resolution?

A resolution within the United Nations should be constructed as one long sentence with commas and semi-colons
separating the various clauses and statements. A period should only appear at the end of the resolution. The
wording of the resolution must be carefully chosen to allow for this type of structure, while still allowing the intent of
the resolution to be clear.
  • the introductory word or phrase of each clause is underlined,
  • there is a line-space between each clause,
  • the lines of text are numbered,
  • each operative clause is numbered,
  • sub-clauses are lettered: a), b), c), etc.; sub-sub-clauses numbered i), ii), iii), etc.,
  • operative clauses and sub-clauses are indented (by using the tab settings, not the space bar!),
  • acronyms and abbreviations are written out in full the first time they are used in a resolution,
  • school names do not appear on a resolution.

There are three main parts to a resolution. These parts contain very specific information that is needed by
delegates for their research and discussion. The parts are:

1. The heading, which includes the topic of the resolution, the organ or agency in which it is being introduced
and the sponsoring nations of the resolution.

2. The preamble, which explains the purpose of the resolution and states the main reasons for the
suggestions that follow. The preamble might also be used to mention earlier UN resolutions or actions on
the same issue or topic, or refer delegates to appropriate sections within the Charter.
• Refers to the U.N. Charter;
• Mentions or cites past U.N. resolutions or treaties that been ratified under the topic of discussion;
• Statements made by the Secretary-General or a relevant U.N. body or agency;
• Recognition of the work or efforts of regional organizations in dealing with the issue; and
• General statements on the topic, its significance, and its effects.

3. The operative clauses (also called “activating” or “actuating” clauses), list the recommendations being
made for action on the issue or topic., including the countries main policy goals. The series of clauses may
request action from member nations or from UN organs or agencies.
Each operative clause begins with a number, ends with a semicolon and the final clause ends with a
Operative clauses should be organized in a logical progression, and each clause should contain a single
idea or policy proposal.

Resolutions are clear, concise and purposeful. Each clause has a reason for insertion into the resolution and
presents the character of the nations that sponsor it. The ideas and actions flow smoothly from the preamble to the
operative clauses so that there is a logical unity to the document. Research is vital to the writing of the document
and its subsequent amendments.

What are amendments?
During the course of negotiation and cooperation, resolutions will alter through changes known as amendments.
The guidelines for these amendments are less strict since many arise during the course of the activity itself:
however, the style, wording and intent of the amendment should complement the original resolution. Amendments
follow the pattern already stated and simply present new viewpoints or suggestions for action on the same topic.

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