How to Write a Position Paper by Neris AYDEMİR
You are attending a conference and you are planning to start doing some research regarding your agendas and you are looking for something which will make your job easier with your preparation for the conference but what can that be? If you want to gain insight on the issue of yours and need something to make your job easier, the definite answer would be a “Position Paper”. I am going to talk about its definition, purpose and how to write it. Enjoy!
Position papers are the documents/reports that delegates write before the conference which outlines a nation’s policies and intentions regarding a particular matter, some general information about the agenda and relevant past events and future plans which can also be called as possible solutions. The main aim of a position paper is to convince the audience that the opinion presented is valid and worth listening or debating upon. Briefly, position papers are essays that present arguable statements and information about both the nation’s position and the agenda’s status. You also can easily use your position papers while doing speeches, answering the questions of other delegates or as an introductory speech.
Let’s now talk about what should your position paper include. Before you start writing, I recommend you to have a draft paper like an outline for you to decide which points you want to have in your paper and make an analyze through your research. Try to keep it simple and refrain from using extraordinary and misunderstandable vocabulary and phrases and try to keep it organized a much as possible so that you won’t create confusions. Your position paper should be 3-4 paragraphs long and can be created by 4 sections.
- Topic Background: In this section, you are supposed to give basic, brief and general information regarding the agenda in order for other delegates and you to know the topic and make your job easier which is to consolidate the existing foundation. By knowing the background which contains: definitions and key terms, you can be more familiar with your topic since the country’s policy will take form accordingly.
- Past Actions: In this part, you are supposed to give information about the past actions or decisions taken by the UN, NGOs or countries as individuals. Those things that you can include in your position paper do not have to be the treaties or deals but can also be events or documents so it is totally up to you and your agenda item. You can talk about important historical events that changed the direction of the agenda and its outcomes which means its impacts and the changes.
- Country’s Policy: This section, is probably the one which you have to do the most detailed research of, as it is all about an independent nation taking decisions and implementing or regulating its ruling system. Since every nation has different value judgments, this part can be considered as the most “subjective” or “nominative” part of the position paper. While writing this part, you have to be sure that your sources are credible and reliable. Basically, this part is about the policies or justification for these policies.
- Possible Solutions: In this section, you are supposed to write possible solutions which can be used in a more detailed form during the debate and can be used in order to prevent or provide something which will prevent the problem itself and create a better condition. So you have to write about the future steps regarding your agenda. Another important point in this section is that you can use your study guide’s “possible solutions” section and answer those questions so that you can convince the house or offer a solution. Please read related study guides as they are helping you A LOT with your research by providing you with the information which will be discussed during the conference and please have a look at the “useful links” section so that you can have more to analyze and utilize whilst writing your position paper.
The sections that you are supposed to include in your position papers are those. I would like to give you some tips about your position papers. First of all please try to keep your position paper organized and simple in order to prevent complications and confusions. Try to answer the questions which take place in your relevant study guide (if there are any). Use quotes from someone important who played an active role in your country. In order to increase your credibility, use statistics and facts so that you can convince other delegates surely and clearly. Talk about the actions taken and conventions or resolutions from the UN which your nation has signed or ratified so that you can have another opportunity to state your relevancy or position on the topic.
Thank you for your time:) Hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions (does not have to be about this article) please don’t hesitate to contact me, I would be very happy if you do so. Take care!
An Example Position Paper from NAMUN’18
Committee: ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council)
Agenda Item: Improving Global Access to
Drinking and Sanitation
Canada is the second largest country in the world and a nation of great ethnic and cultural diversity. Initially populated by various First Nation tribes and then colonized by the French and the British, Canada is today a cultural mosaic made up of people who have come from all around the world. Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II being the head of state. The country is officially bilingual at the federal level. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Its advanced economy is the eleventh largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada’s long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. Canada has been active at the United Nations since its foundation in 1945 and played a key role in drafting the UN Charter – an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations.
Every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease because approximately 40% of the inhabitants of the world live without access to proper waste-disposal facilities. Regions of the globe that are experiencing the most persistent sanitary crises include sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, yet not for exactly the same reasons. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from a more serious lack of improved facilities but has been successful in reducing the practice of open defecation. Southern Asia on the other hands has a higher yet not satisfactory rate of access to basic sanitary resources but has not been able to sufficiently diminish the practice of open defecation. Open defecation is the practice of people defecating outside and not into a designated toilet. The roots of these problems still extend to today from overpopulation to a lack of technological and educational infrastructure. It is important to acknowledge that often these states and many are not equipped with enough funding to install facilities or is not advised to use their existing resources.
The Better Life Association for Comprehensive Development (BLACD) has worked closely with communities such as the Egyptian village of Nazlet Fargallah to improve the issue of sanitation due to the village suffering from an extreme lack of potable water and waste disposal systems. The organization installed a neighbourhood plumbing system, built household-levellatrines, and educated the village on not only proper sanitary techniques. Grand Challenges Canada (which is funded by the Government of Canada) funds water filter and water treatment infrastructure innovations because they solve a grand challenge in global health. To date, through the Stars in Global Health program, Grand Challenges Canada has funded 58 projects in water hygiene and sanitation (WASH) which encompasses 30 water innovations including filters. Grand Challenges Canada uses a systems approach to fund innovations in this space, where consideration of the entire value chain and process regarding water purification takes place. This involves factors such as the manufacturing process, distribution, after-sales service, user feedback, product design, etc. Grand Challenges Canada has supported innovators that are identifying solutions to solve this problem at various levels, such as the community, family, and individual level. Below are two of the innovations that were supported through the Stars in Global Health program.
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