UNA-USA is a style of MUN that focuses on the competition between different blocs and individuals. It features a general speaker’s list and an agenda that is often, and should be, interrupted by different motions raised by the delegates. Unlike THIMUN procedure, UNA-USA will give out awards for best delegations and other related awards. UNA-USA is also commonly considered to be more fierce and competitive than THIMUN, which in most cases is true because of the difference in rules of procedure and how the conference is run.
In this guide (cheat sheet?), we’ll be going through some of the most important rules & motions of a UNA-USA ROP oriented conference to clarify how they work!
This is a flowchart indicating the flow of debate. We’re putting it here so you get a grasp of the order in which what happens in the conference room:
(*Note that if there is only one topic for each committee, the setting of the agenda will be dismissed)
(**The debate session is composed of the general speakers’ list and numerous motions)
Every committee session begins with Roll Call. When your delegation’s name is called upon, raise your placard high and say “present” or “present and voting.”
General Speakers’ List
The speaking time for the General Speakers’ List is automatically set at one minute for each delegate. If delegates wish to be added to the General Speakers’ List, they should simply raise their placards when the Chair says “Delegates who wish to be added to the General Speakers’ List, please raise your placard.” They can also add themselves to the List by passing a note to the Dais team that says something like this: “The delegate of X would like to be added to the General Speakers’ List.” After giving a speech, delegates should yield their remaining time.
After a delegate finishes his/her speech, the Chair will ask: “Delegate, how would you like to use your remaining time?” Delegates are allowed to:
- Yield time back to the chair: This is the standard reply if delegates do not wish to do anything with their remaining time.
- Yield time to another delegate: If the delegate yields his/her time to another delegate, that delegate must use the remaining time to make his/her remarks.
- Yield time to questions: If the delegate yields his/her time to questions, other delegates in the committee room are allowed to ask him/her questions.
A motion is a formal proposal raised by a delegate. In the UNA-USA procedure, there are different types of motions that serve different purposes. If you’re not familiar with them, they can seem pretty intimidating. And that’s exactly why we’re here to help! We’ll be introducing some of the most commonly used motions in a conference below:
The Secondary Speakers’ List is in order when a motion for a “Moderated Caucus” passes. During a moderated caucus, a topic is chosen, and all speeches made should comply with that specific topic. The speaking time set for each speaker and the “topic” of the moderated caucus is set by the delegate who raised the motion. It is also very important to keep in mind that there is no time-yielding for the Secondary Speakers’ List.
During an unmoderated caucus, delegates are encouraged to walk around in the conference room to share their thoughts and opinions with other delegates. The time set for a moderated caucus is set by the delegate who raised the motion.
Introducing a Draft Resolution to the Committee
This motion is raised after delegates have received their copies of “potential draft resolutions.” To introduce a “potential draft resolution” to the committee, sponsors of the document must first approach the podium and read out all of the operative clauses. Then, the entire committee will have a vote on this motion. If it passes, the document will shall be referred to as a “draft resolution.”
Closure of Debate
By raising this motion, delegates are informing the Chair that the debate has come to an end and that they are ready to vote on the draft resolutions. Thus, most chairs forbid delegate to raise this motion until the very last session. If this motion passes, the committee will automatically move into voting procedures.
Suspension of the Meeting
To “suspend” is to “temporarily prevent from continuing or being in force or effect.” Thus, a suspension of the meeting would mean to temporarily end the meeting. Delegates are expected to raise this motion at the end of each and every (except the last) session for a lunch break or maybe a doughnut break (you wish).
From asking for permission to go to the restroom to asking a question about the rules of procedure, there are numerous situations in which a delegate would raise a “point.” There are three types of points in general: point of personal privilege, point of order, and point of parliamentary inquiry.
Point of Personal Privilege
Normally, this point is used to ensure that a delegate’s personal rights are being taken into account. The following are several more common situations in which a delegate would raise a point of personal privilege:
- asking the Chair whether you may use the restroom
- asking the delegate that is currently speaking to speak up
- asking to turn up/down the air conditioning
Point of Parliamentary Inquiry
If a delegate is not sure about a certain procedure, he/she may raise this point and ask the Chair about it. Here’s an example: “Point of parliamentary inquiry: What are some ways a delegate may yield his/her remaining time?”
Point of Order
This point is used to indicate an instance of improper parliamentary procedure. Now, unless you’re a veteran of Model UN and know all of the ROPs by heart, we wouldn’t suggest you to raise this because it may seem offensive to your Dais team (you don’t want that!). But anyhow, we’re still going to demonstrate how this point is used: “Point of order. The delegate believes that the Chair should not ask delegates how they would like to yield their time during a moderated caucus.”
Delegates are allowed to raise motions “for a roll call vote” or “to vote by acclamation.” If neither of these motions are raised, the committee will vote with regular voting procedures.
Roll call vote
A “roll call vote” simply means to vote by roll call. Delegates are allowed to vote “yes,” “no,” “pass,” or “abstain.” If a delegate votes “pass,” he/she may only vote “yes”/”no” upon the second round.
If a delegate had said “present” during roll call of the last session: allowed to vote “yes,” “no,” or “abstain” on documents.
If a delegate had said “present and voting” during roll call of the last session: allowed to only vote “yes” or “no” on documents.
Vote by Acclamation
Voting by acclamation simply means “to vote by clapping.” This motion is normally raised when there is only only dominant bloc in the committee room and that bloc is sure that no one will oppose its draft resolution. Thus if no one objects this motion and everyone claps when voting, the draft resolution passes.
Standard Voting Procedures
To vote by show of hands.
People make mistakes, and that is okay, as long as you remember to correct them. An amendment makes changes to the flaws of a draft resolution. There are three types of amendments: non-substantial amendments, friendly amendments, and unfriendly amendments. A delegate can submit them directly by sending them to the Chair. Keep in mind that amendments can only be made to draft resolutions (ones that have already been introduced to the floor)!
An non-substantial amendment is used to amend mistakes regarding grammar and spelling, and can be applied to both preambulatory and operative clauses
A friendly amendment can be submitted by any delegate in the committee room to amend operative clauses. (premise: all sponsors of the DR must show their approval in order for the amendment to be friendly; if not all sponsors agree with it, it automatically becomes an unfriendly amendment)
It will be announced by the Chair after he/she approves it.
An unfriendly amendment can be submitted by any delegate in the committee room to amend operative clauses and must acquire support from at least ⅛ of all delegates in order to be valid for submission
It will be introduced to the floor if they meet the above criteria, then will be debated and voted on by the committee*. If it passes, the amendment will be incorporated into the draft resolution that is being amended
(*** Delegates must raise a motion to “introduce unfriendly amendments.” If the motion passes, a secondary speakers’ list will automatically be established. When delegates are ready to vote on the amendment, they must motion for a “closure of the debate.” This will directly lead to voting procedures for this amendment.)