What Does the Chair (Committee Director) Mean?
The Chairs are the heads of a committee. In every committee there at least two chairs. One of them calls Committee Director/ Chair/ President and the other one Vice President. In some General Assembly Committees, there can be more than two chairs because GA committees are always crowded and it can be tough to deal with.
They are responsible for keeping the debate flowing while ensuring that all rules are being complied with by the delegates. You can think of themselves as teachers in the school handle and answerable to the classroom. Lastly, they do not represent any member of the United Nations (UN) and countries.
Procedure and Phrases for Chairs
After the conference begins with the opening ceremony, the committees are dispersed and the session begins. Especially at the first session of the committee the task and responsibility of committee chairs begin.
All sessions must start with the voting because the committee members and chairs should know where the delegate is and also it is important to be present in the committee because of the certificates.
STEP1: ROLL CALL
The first phrase is ‘’ The house will now come to order. We will begin this session with/ conduct the roll call. Delegates are reminded to raise their placards high when their country’s name is called and respond with “present and voting.’’ After that all out every countries name (delegate of…) in alphabetical order. If there is no answer, call the country once more, then look at the seat and see if the delegate is there or not – roll call must be taken after every break. Check again with‘’Any delegates which did not hear their name called please raise your placards now.’’ to make sure no mistakes in the roll call.
If you see the delegate arriving late after taking the roll call you can say ‘’Any delegates that arrive hereafter must send a note to the Chair stating their arrival.’’
STEP2: OPENING SPEECHES
Opening speeches are special just for the first session. In that speeches it is a big opportunity to explain your country policy, introduce key sub-issues you want the committee to focus on, and determine countries you want to work with during the lobbying and merging session). ‘’ We will now proceed with opening speeches. Delegates will be called up in groups of 3 and will have a speaking time of 1 minute each.’’ If it is necessary the Chair has to remind the delegates to refrain from using personal pronouns/ use the third person.
STEP3: OPENING DEBATE
The chair should open the stand with the question of “Are there any points or motions on the floor?” This is one of the things you as a chair are going to be saying the most throughout committee. You need to keep consistent with this but you can change to say just “points” or just “motions” depending on what you’re looking for.
After taking a useful motion you have to ask “This is in order, are there any seconds to this motion?” to the committee? The purpose of this question is to see if the other delegates have approved the motion or not.
The dialogue between the chair and the delegates should proceed like;
‘’ -Delegate raise seconds
+Thank you, are there any objections?
-Delegates Raise objections
+Thank you, seeing seconds and objections, we will now take this to a vote, all those in favour of this motion to open the debate please raise your placards now
-Delegates vote in favour
+and all those against this motion please raise your placards now
-Delegates vote against
+Thank you delegate, this motion passes/fails’’
STEP4: SETTING THE AGENDA
The delegate who presents the topic for the voting is first asked whether she/he wants to be the first speaker or the last. According to the given answer, the chair to prepare the speaking list with the question of “All those wishing to be added to the primary speakers’ list, please raise your placards now”. After getting people on the list: “First we will have the delegate of X speak, delegate of X you now have the floor” and the delegate of X comes to the stand. After the number of speakers’ on the list is decreasing and there is more time for speakers “All those wishing to be added please raise their placards’’.
After the list has been emptied you can say “Seeing that the primary speaker’s list has been exhausted, we will automatically close the debate on setting the agenda to topic X and move to the voting procedure. All those in favour of adopting Topic X first before moving onto topic Y please raise your placards now” to move to the new topic.
STEP5: MAIN DEBATE STARTS
Upon getting set the agenda, the actual enjoyable begins and the foremost substance of the debate can! You will be in this section for a majority of the conference, likely one full day, interrupted occasionally with suspending the debate you will mostly continue with this part.
You should make sure that after the speakers’ list is established and speeches have started, that once enough speeches have been made for some key issues. If you feel that it has not been spoken adequately, you can make suggestions to delegates yourself and hint at issues they need to talk about.
STEP6: THE GENERAL SPEAKING LIST
The general speaker list should always be full, never be empty. In the first session of the day, especially when there are no recommendations, it would be good to scroll through this list from time to time as the motion is written, as delegates can agree on anything they want to mention here. The chair can ask like ‘’Delegates who want their country to be included in the general speaker list, please raise their placard.’’ Do not forget to make an announcement about not every delegate whose name is on the list will speak, and will move forward from the general speaker list at regular intervals.
STEP7: ACCEPTING MODERATED/ UNMODERATED CAUCUS
You have to inform them about the general time and speaking time.
For instance, the delegate of the USA motions for Moderated Caucus, Speaking time 1min, Overall time 10mins on the Subject of X. You have to proceed with the motion to the voting. “Thank you the delegate of the USA, this is in order, the delegate has motioned for a 10 minute moderated caucus, 1-minute speaking time on the subject of X, are there any seconds to this motion? “Seeing more votes in favour/no objections this motion passes, delegate of X, do you wish to speak first or last in this moderated caucus?”
Always make sure to keep track of who is speaking in Mod Caucuses, stops you from accidentally choosing spoken people, and stops confusion. And always check the timer. The delegate should minimum speak for 10 seconds. Once when the speaker has ten seconds left beat the gavel one and when the speaker has five seconds left do it two times so that the delegate’s sentence is not interrupted. Lastly, the delegate must yield the time to the chair. In unmoderated caucuses when the motion passes “The motion has passed, we are now in an unmoderated caucus for 20 minutes, delegates can get up from their seats and discuss with each other, however, we would like to ask delegates not to leave the room” and when the time has elapsed for the unmoderated caucus “Delegates -bang gavel-, your time has elapsed, please take your seats”.
The most important part is the writing resolution for delegates. During this period, the chair of the committee should always check what the delegates do and the items have written. There are no specific phrases to be used in the resolution writing part because no debate going on.
Amendments are always the hardest part of the committee. Amendments are some of the most important parts of the committee as it allows for constructive debate towards the end.
After an amendment has been sent and is approvable;
“+Delegates, we have received one (Friendly/unfriendly) amendment from the delegate of X, this amendment is ready to be introduced as Amendment 1.1.
- The number for an amendment is dependent on which topic and how many have preceded it, 1.1 is the first, 1.2 the second, etc.…
Motion to introduce Amendment 1.1 (which is friendly) is raised
+This motion is in order, are there any seconds?
-Seconds and no objections, motion passes
-Chair briefly reads out the amendment
+Sponsors of resolution 1.1, (read out the sponsors), are you all in favour of this amendment?
-They all say yes
+This amendment is therefore automatically introduced into the draft resolution 1.1
-Motion to introduce Amendment 1.1 (which is unfriendly) is raised
+This motion is in order, are there any seconds to this motion?
-Chair reads out the amendment
+We will now take two delegates who wish to speak in favour of this amendment, and two against. All those wishing to speak in favour of this amendment please raise your placards now
-Chair chooses 2 speakers to speak in favour, adds to a speakers list
+All those wishing to speak against this amendment please raise your placards now
-Chair chooses 2 speakers to speak against, adds to a speakers list, alternatives speakers so it is for, against, for and against
+Delegate of X, you have the floor for 60 seconds speaking in favour of this amendment
-The rest of the speeches occur
+We will now close the debate on the amendment and move swiftly to the voting procedure on amendment 1.1, remember delegates this is a substantive vote, so the options to vote are in favour, against and abstain. If you declared yourself present and voting, you cannot abstain. All those in favour raise your placards now
-Delegate raise, e.g. 10 in favour, 9 against, 2 abstentions
+With 10 in favour, 9 against and 2 abstentions this motion passes, it will be added to the draft resolution shortly”
STEP10: VOTING THE AMENDMENT/RESOLUTION
‘’Time allocated for debate on the resolution/ amendment as a whole has elapsed. We will now be moving directly into voting procedures/the previous question. Note passing is suspended. Secretaries/ admin staff please secure the doors, suspend note passing, and assist in the counting of votes. All delegates voting for this resolution please raise your placards high. Against. All delegates wishing to abstain from the vote please raise your placards high.’’
STEP11: ANNOUNCING THE RESULT OF THE VOTING
‘’The results of the vote are as follows: … votes for… votes against … abstentions. With a vote of … for…, against, and … abstentions, this resolution has passed/ failed. Clapping is/ not in order.’’
Note: That some in some conferences delegates can’t abstain when during voting procedures for an amendment.