What is a resolution?

What is a resolution? Resolutions are the tools with which the United Nations aims to solve problems. They are statements from the international comm...
Author: Eric Harris
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What is a resolution?

Resolutions are the tools with which the United Nations aims to solve problems. They are statements from the international community expressing the desire and need to change a certain situation and the ways in which it can be done. At the United Nations, a country or NGO drafts a resolution, and lobbies it with other diplomats. In order for a resolution to pass, more diplomats have to vote in favour of the resolution than against it. Even though you will certainly incorporate your country/NGO’s policy on the issue into your resolution, bear in mind that the resolutions that tend to pass are those that are for the ‘greater good’, and not for the sole benefit of one nations or NGO. Resolutions at Model United Nations conferences show how a country or NGO feels about a certain issue. It is the pretext for lobbying and forming alliances. Resolutions at conferences need to go into the specifics of a given topic i.e. if financing is the topic, the resolution needs to say exactly how financing will happen, who will finance, and how much is needed.


The heading of a resolution needs to contain three things: the forum the resolution is being debated in (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, etc.), the topic or question the resolution addresses (e.g. The Exploitation of African countries through industrialized and industrializing nations), and the main submitters (authors) of the resolution – it has to be the full name of your delegation (e.g. The Kingdom of Belgium).

Preambulatory Clauses

The first half of the resolution consists of perambulatory clauses. These clauses define the issue, recognize its importance, state any previous resolutions or action addressing the issue or mention important statistics. Basically, they acknowledge and describe the problem. Preambulatory clauses are not numbered, and must start with present of perfect particles (e.g. recalling, recognizing) or with adjectives (e.g. aware, concerned). They must end with a comma (,) and are always separated using a blank line.

Operative Clauses

Operative clauses are the second half of the resolution. They are the clauses that are focused on during debate. Operative clauses indicate what action a resolution calls for; methods for solving the problem at hand. Each clause must address only one point or issue. Operative clauses can contain sub-points in order to be informative and elaborate. Sub-points serve to detail specific aspects of a point, and are to be numbered (a, b, c); sub- subpoints are to be numbered (i, ii, iii).

Resolutions aim to provide solutions to problems discussed at the United Nations. They are not meant to condemn or take drastic actions, which are likely to be voted against in debate. It is also important to stay concrete and realistic when writing operative clauses. Every clause needs to be viable to real life situations. If any action is called for, briefly explain how it should be carried out. The final clause serves as a conclusion that ties the whole resolution together: it is usually reserved for expressing hope that countries will work together on the issue, or that the committee remains seized of the issue.

Sample Resolution

This resolution addresses the problems of globalization and migration. It serves to reiterate that the international community needs to regard and acknowledge that international movement has many problems. Many migrants are subjected to an extreme violation of human rights as they enter foreign countries. This resolution seeks to provide concrete solutions for member nations to adopt in order to ensure that the well being of its immigrants.

FORUM: Economic and Financial Committee (GA 2) QUESTION OF: Globalization and interdependence: International migration and development MAIN SUBMITTER: Kenya SIGNATORIES: Romania, St. Lucia


Noting that approximately three percent of the world’s population resides outside their place of birth: as migrants,

Highlighting the radical differences in the living standards between More Economically Developed Countries (MEDC’s) and Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC’s),

Recalling resolutions 53/169 (1998), 54/231 (1999), 55/212 (2000), 56/209 (2001), 57/274 (2002), 58/225 (2003), 59/240 (2004) and 60/204 (2005) on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence,

Recalling also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that all humans are born and free and entitled to all rights and freedoms, without any distinction of colour, race or origin,

Recalling further the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights,

Realizing that globalization effects all countries in many ways, exposing them to progressive and damaging occurrences,

Recognizing that no culture or community be disregarded, in response to avoiding the risk of a mainstream monoculture for it presents itself as a threat should the developing world remain poor and omitted,

Concerned at the negative outcome of international financial commotion which affects people on a social and economical level,

Deeply concerned about the insufficiency of courses to increase the similarities of living standards between More Economically Developed Countries (MEDC’s) and Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC’s), thus fuelling poverty particularly in developing countries,

Referring to the Millennium Goals, one of which strives to eradicate poverty on every front,

1. Emphasizes that the promotion and protection of human rights in all forms is first and foremost the responsibility of the State;

2. Reaffirms that all countries hold primary responsibility for their own development, and that national policies and development strategies should be persistently active to achieve sustainable development;

3. Requests all States and international organizations to thoroughly review their policies and approaches to migration and apply due methods when considering regional and international cooperation to combat the problems of undocumented or irregular migration, while granting priority to the human rights of migrants, in default of discrimination;

4. Urges concrete measures are adopted by all States to prevent the abuse and violation of human rights of migrants during transit, counting airports, ports, migration checkpoints and borders by

a. Training public officials in the respective facilities to regard migrants with respect and in accordance to the law of the State, and to only conform according to the applicable law when prosecuting migrants, especially refraining from forms of torture as it is violating human rights

b. Only implementing laws which deal with the prosecution of migrants that do not violate the right to one’s life during the migrant’s transit in the respective State;

5. Strongly condemns any and all manifestations of racial, social, discriminatory and xenophobic prejudice when in contact with migrants in all States by implementing the existing laws against those who commit racist and xenophobic acts, with special emphasis on border areas, so as to fully eradicate impunity;

6. Requests professionals in developed countries to continue working towards applying scientific and technical knowledge for developing countries so as to increase their independence;

7. Urges financial and technical assistance be rendered to developing countries so as to

a. Create the human and institutional capacity required when pursuing national policies that improve modernization systems

b. Encourage investments in science and technology education to equip future generations with tools to participate in the fast growing industries of the global economy;

8. Further urges the critical need to create and establish an unbiased, transparent and democratic international system in view of building and strengthening the partnership between developed and developing countries in international financial and economic decision-making and promoting economic development in a world economy that benefits all people;

9. Decides to remain actively seized on the matter.