In my article, my main aim is to explain the amendment procedure in MUNs which is usually being used in the THIMUN procedure. In a THIMUN conference, a delegate who does not know how to write an amendment will never be able to participate in the debates fruitfully. There are some complications and many different ideas about writing an amendment even though, most of them are correct, there are some serious misunderstandings about writing an amendment. Even some significant mistakes are being made by the committee board members. So, I hope this article will clear up the confused people’s minds and improve their knowledge about amendments.
What is an Amendment in MUNs?
Amendments are the minor or major changes in the draft resolution in order to achieve the best resolution possible at the end. In the THIMUN procedure, the formal debates are mostly based on amendment submission and discussion. After the resolution is being read by the delegates and concerns about the clauses are being made, in order to fix the problems and develop the resolution, delegates are expected to write amendments and debate upon them. All amendments are being voted by the whole house, delegates should not stay abstain during the voting procedure of the amendments.
What is the Aim of the Amendment?
The main aim of the amendments is to develop and improve the resolution. In this way, the delegates who have not co-submitted the resolution will have a right to share their opinions and make changes about the clauses that are not convenient for their country’s policy. Also, detailing the undetailed clauses, fixing minor or major problems, or even adding new necessary solutions that should have been covered.
What Are Some Reasons to Write an Amendment?
Almost everything can be the subject of the amendment, it may be something to detail the existing clause, adding new ideas, resolving the complications, removing the unnecessary information, or even just fixing a grammar mistake. Also, resolutions must always take into account every countries policy and find a common ground by suggesting international solutions. So, if a delegate finds a clause that is not applicable in their country they may suggest an amendment, this also means while writing an amendment all kinds of financial opportunities, development levels, etc. must be considered. Thus, the co-submitter of the draft resolution can submit amendments to improve the ideas and make the solution more applicable and effective. On the other hand, main-submitters are not expected to write an amendment to their own resolution so it can be overruled but it is up to the initiative of the chair.
Types of Amendments
Even though the content and the aim of the amendment is the most important instrument, also the rules of procedure must be considered while submitting and approving an amendment. Most of the first-timers and sometimes even chairs have a hard time differentiating the types of amendments. In MUN conferences some of these rules might change depending on the chair’s initiative. Although, it is always beneficial to able to see both aspects.
In many THIMUN conferences, you might have heard a motion called “motion to accept the amendment as a friendly one” or a paraphrased version of it. However, this motion is not acceptable in the THIMUN procedure and it is totally against the procedure. Friendly amendments are the minor grammar or punctuation mistakes, after it has been submitted by a delegate it will be approved by the chair board and directly added to the draft resolution without any voting. Nonetheless, most of the time amendments are not accepted as friendly ones and the chair board will encourage the house to discuss and vote upon it.
Add, Change, Strikeout
There are three things that a delegate can do while writing an amendment: changing something in an operative clause, adding another clause, or striking out a clause. There are some complications about considering the amendments as adding, changing, or striking out but also, in MUNs both considered as correct. For example, adding should be used as adding a brand new operative clause to the draft resolution although some chairs might accept adding a word to a sentence, adding a sub-clause to an operative as an official “add” amendment, it may sound weird but these should actually be considered as a “change”. Strikeout amendment is removing an operative clause as a whole but sometimes the chair might accept removing a word, a phrase, a sub-clause or a sub-sub-clause as an official “strike out” amendment these should also be considered as a change. So, there are complications like this and it depends on the decision of the chair. As a result, it is not possible to regard neither of these methods as totally wrong.
2nd-degree amendments are not commonly used cause it just complicates the process and might lost its benefit if is being used unnecessarily. It is basically submitting an amendment to the amendment that is being discussed at that moment. These amendments should be consist of a necessary change that complicates the amendment or improvement. 2nd-degree amendments might not be considered by the chair board and being overruled because of the time constraints.
Destructive and Constructive Amendments
An amendment that aims to develop the draft resolution by fixing mistakes or detailing the clauses is considered as constructive amendments which also shows a peace offering from the amendment submitter to the main submitter. All strikeout amendments are considered as destructive ones because instead of changing the clause to resolve the problem, removing the whole clause is definitely not an optimistic approach. Or changing the key solution because of the benefit for the amendment submitter’s country which might also destructive and detrimental at the same time, to the main submitter’s policy. So, in this situation “changing” might be considered as a destructive amendment. The house and the main submitter will always be open to the constructive amendments and instead of destroying the draft resolution, delegates must focus on developing the solutions and draft resolution as a whole.
I put a great effort to explain the amendments in MUN conferences the most simply and understandably. Please keep in mind that making simple researches and combining the main agenda and the solutions in the draft resolution will make you a qualified amendment writer and a skillful THIMUN delegate. I hope I have fulfilled your expectations.
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