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 or Historical 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 debate or running of the committee, it is in order for a delegate to call a point of order for the correct procedure;

(b) Point of Information - If something is unclear during debate, 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 there is some other cause of discomfort. 

 (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, however debating time has not elapsed yet.  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 or after more research is done on the topic. 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 participate in the vote and is used when a vote has failed to decide a resolution. This motion is always entertained and a second vote takes place in which delegates may not abstain.

 3. Course of Debate 

(a) The main submitter only reads out the operative clauses of his or her resolution; (The Security Councils do not debate resolutions. A Security Council debate starts with a speech delivered by the President of the Security Council or by the Secretary General on why the issue to be debated is an important one. Thereafter, the President will submit a ‘resolution’ that contains only one preambulatory clause which reads something like “Concerned with the issue of…”. During debate (which is always an open debate) delegates will try to add clauses to the resolution by submitting amendments)

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

(c) The main submitter makes his/her speech highlighting the most important operative clauses 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 
(Opens himself or herself to an unlimited number of points of information 'any and all') 
  • The delegate is open to (says a specific number e.g. 3) points of information 
(Opens himself or herself to a limited amount of points of information) 
  • Says that he or she is not open to any points of information 

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

(f) If the delegate wishes to yield the floor to another delegate (usually a co-submitter of the resolution), that delegate will take the floor and speak on the resolution, after which points 4 and 5 are repeated. However, the second delegate must yield the floor back to the chair once he or she has finished. If the delegate yields the floor back to the chair, the chair will then yield the floor to another delegate. This delegate will then speak on the resolution, after which points (d) and (e) are repeated. 

(g) When the debating time for the resolution has elapsed, all delegates vote on the resolution. Delegates can vote for or against, or they can abstain.  

(h) In each forum there has to be a simple majority in order to let a resolution/amendment pass. A simple majority means that a resolution passes if there is at least one more vote for than against (the Security Councils do not require a simple majority; they require at least nine of the fifteen votes in favour. Also, a Security Council resolution/amendment always fails if there is at least one veto-vote. A veto-vote is a vote against by one of the permanent members. The permanent members are the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, France and China. This does not mean that amendments/resolutions can only pass if all permanent members are in favour, it means that they can only pass if no permanent members are against);

4. Amendments 

Amendments are proposed changes to the resolution being debated. They may be submitted by delegates at any time during the debate using the delegates’ notepaper. 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, he or she should raise his or her placard when the chair asks if any delegate wishes to take the floor. If the delegate is called upon, he or she will then take the floor.The delegate now has two options: (a) present the amendment straight away by saying:“the delegate has submitted an amendment” or (b) giving an opinion on a certain operative clause in the resolution and following that by saying: "Therefore I propose the following amendment" - in both cases, the chair will say, “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. 

After the debating time for the amendment has elapsed, the voting procedure will take place. Delegates can only vote for or against an amendment. They cannot abstain. Following this, the debate on the resolution and the debating time on the resolution will commence. 

5. Notepaper

During the debate delegates are allowed to pass around notes to communicate with each other. Each delegation is supposed to bring its own note paper. The delegates can write their notes on this notepaper which will be passed to whoever it is addressed by the Administrative Staff. The Administrative Staff must first check that the content of the note is conference-related before it is passed to the recipient. If the Administrative Staff believe the note is not conference-related, it can either be thrown away or passed on to the press team that will publish it on the conference newspaper. To prevent fraud with notepaper, every delegation must bring its own official notepaper. Unofficial notepaper will not be passed on by Administrative Staff. It should have an official letterhead and logo that identifies the delegation's country or organisation.