1. Modes of Address:

(a) Before a delegate gives a speech, he or she must first address the chair and the delegates “Distinguished chair, honourable delegates…” (this rule does not apply in the Security Council)

(b) A delegate must always speak in the third person singular (i.e. Germany opposes this resolution because ... /is the delegate aware that ...?) or the first person plural (we believe that ...) - this is because each delegate is not there to represent one person, but a nation. 

(c) Once the speech is over and any subsequent points of information have been answered, the delegate must yield the floor back to the chair. This is the only exception when a delegate can refer to himself or herself as 'I' - “I yield the floor back to the chair.” 

 2. Points and Motions

(a) Point of order - If a mistake is made during debate by either the chair or a delegate concerning the course of discussion or the running of the committee, a delegate can call a point of order for the correct procedure;

(b) Point of Information - If something is unclear during a discussion, a delegate may ask a question to the chair using a point of information - points of information always concern the resolution or the amendment under discussion; 

(c) Point of Parliamentary Inquiry - If a delegate is confused about what to do next, he or she can use a point of parliamentary inquiry to ask the chair a question; 

 (d) Point of Personal Privilege - this is for situations where a delegate is not able to hear what is being said or wants to step out for a second. 

 (e) Motion to move into voting procedures - this motion is used if a delegate feels that there is no more to say about the resolution being debated.  It is up to the chair whether this motion is entertained or not;  

 (f) Motion to extend debating time  - when debating time has elapsed, but a delegate feels that the resolution has not been debated long enough, this motion may be used. The chair decides whether it is in order or not (not applicable in Security Council since no times are set for debates in this forum);

 (g) Motion to table the resolution - this motion can be used when delegates/chairs feel that it would be better to continue debate on a certain resolution at a later point in time e.g. after lunch. To table the resolution simply means that the resolution will be put aside for the moment. 

(h) Motion to split/divide the house - in a normal situation, delegates have the option to abstain when voting on a resolution. This motion though, forces each delegate to vote and is used when a vote has failed to decide a resolution decisively and the abstentions could have led to a different result. This motion is always entertained and a second vote takes place in which no delegate may abstain.

 3. Course of Debate 

(a) The main submitter reads out the operative clauses of his or her resolution; 

(Note - The Security Council does not debate resolutions as such. The President of the Security Council will submit a ‘resolution’ that contains only one preambulatory clause which reads something like “Concerned with the issue of…”.  - then each of the fifteen members submits one clause each about that resolution and the chair will decide the order in which they will be discussed. During the debate, delegates can submit amendments to the clause being discussed and these will be debated and voted on).

(b) The chair then sets debating time for and against the resolution and informs the forum whether it is an open or closed debate; 

(Note - The Security Council debate is always an open debate).

(c) The main submitter makes his/her speech highlighting the most important issues and explaining the ideas that the resolution contains;

(d) When he or she has finished, he or she will be asked by the chair whether he or she is open to any points of information. He or she can reply in one of three ways: 

  • The delegate is open to all points of information (an unlimited number of points of information 'any and all'
  • The delegate is open to  a specific number of   points of information (a limited amount of points of information - usually one, two or three) 
  • The delegate is not open to any points of information 

(e) Thereafter the delegate can yield the floor back to the chair.

(f) During all this time, countries can be submitting amendments they would like to see to clauses in this resolution. Once the delegate yields the floor back to the chair, the chair will set the time of the debate and invite countries to speak for or against the resolution in open debate. The chair will be aware of the amendments arriving in and will select either co-submitters supporting the resolution or countries proposing amendments (opposing the resolution) and then hand the floor to the delegate of the first country chosen. This delegate will then speak for or against the resolution, after which points (d) and (e) are repeated. . 

(g) When an amendment is being proposed, the chair closes the debate in on the amendment for a period of time, inviting countries to speak for or against the amendment - sometimes an amendment of the amendment is suggested in that debate and again the chair can close the debate in on that - not too many of those will be allowed due to time constraints, but when they happen, they are debated, voted upon, adapted or rejected and then the debate returns to the amendment being discussed previously with change either recorded or rejected. When a vote on an amendment is taken, again it is the same idea - the debate returns back to the main resolution with a clause either adjusted if the amendment was accepted or the same if the amendment was rejected. 

(i) When amendments or amendments on the amendments are being voted upon, delegates can vote for or against, or they can abstain. If the vote is close, a motion to split the house can be called which must be entertained and then everyone has to vote. When the final resolution is being voted upon, again everyone must vote.  

(h) In each forum there has to be a simple majority in order to let a resolution/amendment/amendment to the amendment pass. A simple majority means that if there is at least one more vote for than against, a resolution passes 

(Note - the Security Councils do not require a simple majority; they require at least nine of the fifteen votes in favour - but also there is a special situation in the Security Council  because if one of the five permanent countries with a veto decides to exercise that veto, the vote no longer matters - the resolution/amendment/amendment to the amendment always fails if there is even one veto-vote. The five permanent members are the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, France and China. This does not mean that for resolutions/amendments/amendments to amendments  to pass, they need nine votes and no permanent members against them).

4. Amendments 

Amendments are proposed changes to the resolution being debated. They may be submitted by delegates at any time during the debate - they need to be sent by chat message to the Deputy-Chair. The Deputy-Chair will check that all is in order with the amendments and pass them forward to the chair. In open debate, amendments may be debated at any time. In closed debate, they are debated during time against the resolution. An amendment can only refer to one clause of the resolution. Also, each clause can be debated only once in a debate, so once an amendment is accepted or rejected on a particular clause, that clause is no longer open for further amendments. If a delegate feels the need to change a clause of an amendment being submitted, he or she can propose an ‘amendment to the amendment’. 

If a delegate has submitted an amendment, that delegate should indicate by raising his/her hand when the chair asks if any delegate wishes to take the speak. If the delegate is called upon, he or she will then take the floor.The delegate now proposes the amendment and explains why it is needed: "(country name) has submitted an amendment - is that in order?" - the chair will answer “that is in order”, and read out the amendment. The chair will then set the debating time on the amendment, which does not count as time on the resolution. The delegate will then have the floor to make a speech about the amendment and can take points of information afterwards. 

After the debating time for the amendment has elapsed, voting procedure will take place. Following this, the debate on the resolution and the debating time on the resolution will recommence. 

5. Contacting Other Countries

During the debate delegates are allowed to contact each other through the chat function to communicate with each other. The idea of the communications is to lobby for support for a particular point of view during the debate.