Before the information and tips that I will give you, I would like to welcome all of you readers to my article. In this writing, I will try to convey all of my experiences and knowledge about General Assembly Committees. Most of the simple terms and rules of procedures are the same as every other committee. Let’s get started!
Types of GA Committees
GA committees have mainly 6 different types. They separate according to their purpose. All the General Assembly committees aim to solve the problems that have the potential of being a risk or having been a risk for the world. Let me give you more details about the types of GA committees.
First Committee: Disarmament & International Security (DISEC)
The committee DISEC basically deals with the issues about international security and disarmament. Acknowledging the fact that DISEC is the first committee of the main six GA committees and is one of the most common committees in the MUN’s. DISEC committees include these kinds of topics, which can put the human security in danger, in its agenda item; civil war problems, hot wars, usages of weapons & nuclear weapons, situations that include armed conflict.
While getting prepared for a DISEC committee, you have better know well your country’s policy and history about the agenda item. If agenda item doesn’t concern your country, you can search the policies of the country mostly being related to the agenda item and their past acts about it.
Second Committee: Economic & Financial (ECOFIN)
The committee; ECOFIN, which is responsible for financial matters, markets and aimed to discuss taxation matters, capital movements and economic issues about the countries outside the EU. If I am required to give an example for an agenda item “International Efforts to Combat Money Laundering -LIMUN, the Committee ECOFIN, 2014-” would be a great example for ECOFIN.
Third Committee: Social, Humanitarian & Cultural (SOCHUM)
The committee; SOCHUM basically established to resolve the situations that don’t fix with the policy determining by the United Nations. The curtain topics, which make some people victims, be discussed in SOCHUM and in order to fight the members of the UN efforts on them. In committee of SOCHUM usually, agenda items are; racism, terrorism, drugs, refugees, societies that try to defend the rights they want from the government such as LGBTQI+.
While getting prepared for the SOCHUM, you can determine your allies and opponents by learning the policies of other government about agenda item in the committee. And I think the most important thing that is necessary to do while getting prepared, to determine the attitude that you are going to attach. Like in every committee in MUN, a country has to be loyal to one policy otherwise you may not be able to make the committee take your ideas into account.
Fourth Committee: Special Political & Decolonization
The Special, Political and Decolonization Committee, basically was established with the aim of adjusting the trusteeship system and managing issues regarding decolonization and security. This committee’s agenda items are usually inspired by refugees, atomic radiation, mine action, peacekeeping, public information. Here a sample agenda item for you: Combatting Corruption in Latin American and Carribean Region. (SHNKYMUN Training, The Committee SPECPOL, 2018)
While getting prepared for SPECPOL, delegates have better to learn his country’s policy against the outer world and its history about the agenda item. For example, if you are representing the delegation of France, it means you are one of the arbiter countries in a committee of which topic is corruption since in France corruption has been an ongoing issue for France. So that you need to know your country’s policy well otherwise you may not be that much effective.
Fifth Committee: Administrative & Budgetary
This committee is for providing a budget plan for the United Nation’s future acts. Every kind of thing, which is related to budget necessities of UN acts, are discussed in the Committee; Administrative & Budgetary. Usually, MUN organizers don’t prefer this committee because this committee is not in demand by people so much because it is not a wide-ranged committee. I have never been in one and I couldn’t find any useful information about it so I am not sure if I should give an example agenda item.
Sixth Committee: LEGAL
United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee the Legal Committee is the last of the six main committees of the UN-GA. It is primarily concerned with the administrating and application of the laws. With the necessities of the new world’s people, laws may be old-fashioned. The world has been evolving day by day and it will be never done. The Committee; LEGAL is basically aimed to modernize the out-dated laws. Sixth Committee; LEGAL deals with any alteration, discussion or breach of international laws. If I am supposed to give an example for an agenda item “Dealing with the outcomes of any possible breaches of the international law of disarmament”.
In the first session when the chair board says ‘’Order in the house” it means the whole fun has started! Now the formal procedure was started by the chair board. The first thing that will be made is ‘’roll call procedure’’. In this procedure, the chair board will call the name of the countries in alphabetical order. Chair board will be calling every countries’ name twice. If you do not answer it by saying loudly ‘’present’’ or ‘’present and voting’’ the chair board will accept you as absent. You need to answer it by only saying these two words. Don’t you even dare to say something else! ESPECIALLY HERE! I will tell the differences between ‘’present’’ and ‘’present and voting’’ below the Voting Procedure subtitle. If you are late for the session and absent while roll call is being taken, don’t worry. You can send a message paper to the chair board which tells you are present or present and voting. They will accept that you are present in the committee as a delegate.
In the opening speech procedure, each delegate has to deliver a speech. Please use plural subjects such as; we, us, our. There will be an individual speaker time for each delegate in order to make their speech. If you overcome the time chair silences you instantly. In opening speeches you can talk about your country’s policy, what your country wants from the committee, what kind of solutions do you suggest to the committee. If you are a first-timer it is not necessary to try too hard in the opening speech. You can just talk about the problems in your country or the good sides of your country. It will be enough.
Setting the Agenda
In the first session of the conference, the agenda item must be set. The chair board will ask delegates to raise a specific motion. Any delegate can raise a motion in order to set the agenda item.
General Speakers List (GSL)
After setting the agenda item chair board will ask the committee if there are any delegates wishing to be added to the General Speakers List. If you want to be in GSL you are supposed to raise your placard high. JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER! You avoid to raise your placard while the chair is talking otherwise chair may warn you strictly. In GSL you can deliver a speech about any topic but it needs to be related to the agenda item. You need to be careful because there will be an individual speaker time as opening speech.
Motions and Moderated Caucuses
Moderated caucuses are aimed to speed up to discussions on the topics, which were given in agenda item, and which are critical. In this caucus, there are total time and individual speaker time. Any caucus can be max. 20 minutes. Individual speaker time cannot be equal or longer than that of GSL. If you want to have a moderated caucus, you need to raise your placard after the chair board asks ‘’Are there any motion in the house?’’. If the chair chose you to offer your motion, there are a couple of things that you are supposed to do. First, you have to introduce your motion. “What is the purpose of this motion?” and “How much is the duration in total and for each individual speaker?.’’. The purpose of the motion has to be related to the agenda item. If a topic was given for motion, it cannot be given again. When a motion has given by any delegate, chair board puts it to the vote. The first chair introduces the motion to the delegates. Then the chair says “Are there any second?”. If there are some delegates who accept to talk about the point motion, they are supposed to say second loudly. Then, the chair asks for delegates “Are there any objections?”. If you are not eager to discuss on that motion you can say “objection” loudly. If there is any objection chair board will firstly invite the delegates, who are in favor with that motion, to raise their placards and admins will count them. After that delegates, who are not in favor with that motion, supposed to raise their placards. In the voting procedure, every delegate in the committee has to vote.
Process of the Moderated Caucus
After a motion was accepted for a moderated caucus, the chair board asks for the sponsor of the motion if he wants to deliver the first speech. The delegate who is the sponsor of the motion has two options; You can make the first speech or the last speech. After the sponsor of the motion finished his speech, the chair board ask for delegates who are eager to speak and if you want to speak at that moment you need to raise your placard. Chair board chooses 3 following delegates for their speech. After that, those 3 chosen delegates start to deliver their speeches one by one.
Points are mainly being used for personal requests and corrections such as;
1. Point of Information: A question, normally after a delegate has delivered his speech. This is your chance to respond or enhance the speech made by a delegate.
2. Point of Personal Privilege: Ask the Chairs to change something making you uncomfortable, such as temperature, technical issues, or inability to hear the speaker. This is the only point that may interrupt a speaker.
3. Point of Parliamentary Procedure: When you think something is not proper to parliamentary procedure.
4. Point of Inquiry: A question directed to the Chairs about the MUN procedure.
5. Point of Clarification: A point normally made by the Chairs to clarify something, such as a fact.
6. Point of Reply: When a delegate mentions your country’s name in his speech in an offensive way, you can use this point in order to reply.
Unmoderated caucuses are aimed to write down the solutions which have been talked in moderated caucuses. The official language is still English in the unmoderated caucuses. Delegates gather in an area in order to finalize the solutions and write a resolution paper on the computer. Timing rules are valid for unmoderated caucuses as moderated caucus but there is no individual speaker time. If you want to be one of the effective delegates in the committee, you have better be personally involved in unmoderated caucuses.
What are we supposed to do in unmoderated caucuses?
In order to raise a motion for an unmoderated caucus, delegates have to have discussed solutions in moderated caucuses. Usually, the first unmoderated caucus takes part in the last day of the conference. All the solutions that have been discussed until that time should be written down by a committee board by using a computer in a resolution paper. And you cannot add anything that hasn’t been discussed in a moderated caucus. Being active while resolution paper is being written, is so much important to be successful in MUN. You should be the one who writes the resolution paper or you should help the delegate writing the resolution paper. If you are a first-timer, I think you should just learn how does it work. In my opinion, a first-timer shouldn’t attempt to write a resolution paper. You can help the delegates to write it but the responsibility of writing a resolution paper is bigger than it seems.
Voting Procedure of Resolution Paper
After submitting a resolution paper, chair board puts it to the vote. Chair board asks for delegates one by one in alphabetical order whether he says yes or no. As I mentioned below “Roll Call’’ subtitle, there are some important points about ‘present’ and ‘present and voting’. If you said ‘present’ during the roll call procedure, you can say ‘abstain’. But if you said ‘present and voting’ you cannot stay abstain. You have to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Other Voting Options
Pass: You can say ‘’pass’’ during the voting procedure. When the voting procedure ends, the chair board asks you if you’ve said ‘pass’. You cannot say abstain after saying pass during the voting procedure. You have to say ‘’yes’’ or ‘’no’’.
Yes with rights: If a delegate said ‘’yes with rights’’ during the voting procedure, it means s/he wants to deliver a speech at the end of the voting procedure. The delegates can talk about subjects in resolution paper. When you say yes with rights it means you accept the resolution paper but you want to mention something.
No with rights: “No with rights” has the same meaning as ‘’yes with rights’’ but when you say no with rights it means you didn’t accept the resolution paper and you want to tell the reasons why.
CLAPPING IS IN ORDER!
After resolution paper was accepted chair board allows the delegates to clap. Now you can brag with your efforts and success!
I would like to thank all of my readers who got round to my article. I hope this article could be beneficial to you. As a closing of my article; NEVER STOP MUNING!
Halil Ibrahim KUZU
If you like the article, please share and make comment 🙂
For more information, please visit https://www.un.org/en/ga/maincommittees/
Cover picture is from https://www.un.org/en/ga/maincommittees/