Model UN Preparation
Many conferences require that each delegation submit a position paper-an essay detailing your country's policies on the topics being discussed in your committee. Writing a position paper will help you organize your ideas so that you can share your country's position with the rest of the committee. If you conduct extensive research, a position paper should be easy to write.
Most conferences that require position papers ask for them about one month before the conference so that staff members can read them and get a feel for the direction debate will take. If the conference you are attending does not require a position paper, you should still consider writing one to help you organize your research and prepare your speeches. Many delegates use their position papers as their opening remarks.
View a sample position paper to help you write an effective position paper.
How to Write a Position Paper
Writing a position paper might appear to be a daunting task, especially for new delegates. But with enough research, you will find that writing a position paper will be easy and useful.
Position papers are usually one to one-and-a-half pages in length. Your position paper should include a brief introduction followed by a comprehensive breakdown of your country's position on the topics that are being discussed by the committee. A good position paper will not only provide facts but also make proposals for resolutions.
Many conferences will ask for specific details in a position paper, so be sure to include all the required information. Most conferences will provide delegates a background guide to the issue. Usually, the background guide will contain questions to consider. Make sure that your position paper answers these questions.
A good position paper will include:
• A brief introduction to your country and its history concerning the topic and committee;
• How the issue affects your country;
• Your country's policies with respect to the issue and your country's justification for these policies;
• Quotes from your country's leaders about the issue;
• Statistics to back up your country's position on the issue;
• Actions taken by your government with regard to the issue;
• Conventions and resolutions that your country has signed or ratified;
• UN actions that your country supported or opposed;
• What your country believes should be done to address the issue;
• What your country would like to accomplish in the committee's resolution; and
• How the positions of other countries affect your country's position.
Position Paper Tips
• Keep it simple. To communicate strongly and effectively, avoid flowery wording and stick to uncomplicated language and sentence structure.
• Make it official. Try to use the seal of your country or create an "official" letterhead for your position paper. The more realistic it looks, the more others will want to read it.
• Get organized. Give each separate idea or proposal its own paragraph. Make sure each paragraph starts with a topic sentence.
• Cite your sources. Use footnotes or endnotes to show where you found your facts and statistics. If you are unfamiliar with bibliographic form, look up the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines at your school's library.
• Read and reread. Leave time to edit your position paper. Ask yourself if the organization of the paper makes sense and double-check your spelling and grammar.
• Speech! Speech! Do you plan to make an opening statement at your conference? A good position paper makes a great introductory speech. During debate, a good position paper will also help you to stick to your country's policies.
• Let the bullets fly. Try not to let your proposals become lost in a sea of information. For speechmaking, create a bulleted list of your proposals along with your most important facts and statistics so that you will not lose time looking for them during debate.
Sample Position Paper
Sample Position Paper UNA-USA
Committee: International Labor Organization
Topic: Globalization and Development
In the past two decades the rapidly growing world trend has been toward globalization. With the emergence of the internet as a means of communication and the increasing accessibility of international trade physical barriers are not the only barriers withering away. Protective tariffs are plummeting and free trade agreements are becoming more prevalent. Romania appreciates that globalization creates favorable situations for expansion of commercial as well as economic assets. In the past year Romania has seen a foreign direct investment (FDI) increase of 199%. Inward FDI increased from EURO 234 million in 2005 to EURO 699 million in 2006. However, Romania realizes that increased globalization does not automatically produce more equality.
Globalization and Development can contribute to the advancement of the overall international human condition; however, the delegation of Romania recognizes that without proper regulation the potential for advancement will remain limited to an elite few individuals, businesses, and nations. Unless checked and aimed toward the common good, globalization cannot effectively serve the global community. Crucial in dealing with the complexities of globalization, good governance must act with solidarity and responsibility. Romania believes that in involving people in globalization we must promote moral values, democratic principals, inclusive global political culture, institutions that safeguard both individual civil rights and inherent freedoms, and the common good. In addition, coping with the influx of information from globalization governments must act with solidarity and insight. Access to digital education will undoubtedly result in the confidence of citizens in their respective administrations and allow for a greater degree of transparency, and therefore a lesser degree of corruption.
Romania believes the multinational business community has the ability and the obligation to support pertinent values in human rights, labor standards, and environmental preservation. As stated by the president, Mr. Traion Basescu, Romania feels a "heartfelt attachment to multilateralism, as an effective instrument designed to identify the adequate answers to the challenges brought by globalization."
Romania is party to the majority of multilateral treaties and conventions identified as such by the Secretary General in the context of the Millennium Summit in 2001. Romania has always supported innovative and effective ways of establishing cooperation within and between regional organizations. As one of the newest members of the European Union, Romania is an active member of the World Trade Organization, and looks forward to offering its support to the redirection of globalization to best benefit the global community.
Sample Position Paper 2
Delegate: Vidur Arora
Country: South Africa
Committee: UN Human Rights Council
Agenda: Human Trafficking
Poised at the foot of Africa, with a stable, Democratic Government, leading the continent in industrial development and technology, glittering with modern cities and amenities, representing approximately 25% of the continent's GDP, South Africa inevitably attracts migrants from across the continent.
Along with the migrant population come the attendant exploiters to capitalize on their vulnerability, ready to satisfy the demands of the diverse and complex 'rainbow' society - which makes South Africa as one of the biggest sufferers of the menace called human trafficking.
Molo Songolo (a South African NGO) recognized by the UNESCO while reporting on Human Trafficking in South Africa states that criminal groups from Bulgaria and Thailand, Chinese triads and even the Russian mafia have been involved in Human Trafficking.
South Africa strongly condemns human trafficking and is party to various protocols and faithful to UN conventions like Palermo Protocol and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. South Africa is currently in the process of making all its national legislations in compliance with the same. Pertaining to the question of involvement of Government Officials in Human Trafficking, no reports of their involvement have surfaced as yet.
IOM's Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme (SACTAP) is a key player in Southern Africa's efforts to tackle and respond to human trafficking. It is organised into four components:
• Victim assistance;
• Capacity building;
• Research and data collection;
• and awareness raising;
South Africa did not have laws that specifically prohibited trafficking in persons, though a variety of other criminal statutes, such as the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, were used to prosecute trafficking crimes. However, in December 2007, several sections of the Sexual Offenses Amendment Act came into force, including Chapter 7 Part 6, which contains broad provisions against sex trafficking. The comment period on a draft comprehensive human trafficking bill closed in June 2007 and the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) staff finalized the text to be recommended to the Department of Justice in early 2008, which mainly criminalizes human trafficking as well as debt bondage. The bill also has guiding principles, which protect victims of trafficking.
The Republic of South Africa would appreciate the HRC to frame resolutions that:
• Urge member states to spread awareness about traffickers, consequences of trafficking in areas that are most prone to trafficking;
• Call upon member states to be engaged at bi-lateral and multi-lateral levels to facilitate information sharing on traffickers;
• Provide victims of trafficking access to support centres with counseling, health care, legal advice, shelter, and food services;
• Address the problem of human trafficking collectively, by all member states, through proper cooperation and rehabilitation of the victims of trafficking with the help of various NGOs.
Sample Position Paper 3
Delegate: Nehal Bajaj
Country: United States of America
Committee: General Assembly First Committee - Disarmament and International Security
Civil wars of separatist nationalism raged around the globe in the 1990's. These wars have caused considerable loss of life, massive refugee crisis, economic devastation, considerable strains on power relations in important international institutions like NATO and the United Nations.
The United States of America considers National and Separatist Terrorism as a critical issue, threatening world peace and international stability and security. Having a very strong approach towards terrorism:
• The USA ratified the Inter-American Anti-Terrorist Pact on 15th November 2008, signatories of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, International Convention for the Suppression of Financing Terrorism and International Convention against the Taking of Hostages. It supported the UNSC Resolution 1373 and 1566.
• It recognizes the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as terrorist organizations.
USA, being one of the first countries to initiate peace talks between Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel, India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue and recently between Georgia and Russia, encourages peace and urges SSMs and De Jure governments to meet regularly with international monitors to address continuing security incidents and abuses and prevent issues from escalating into wider conflicts.
United States of America would appreciate the cooperation of the countries in the General Assembly to frame resolutions that:
• Representation of SSMs: Develop a mechanism to ensure that non-violent separatist state movements should be granted an observer status so as to keep a check on violation of human rights and so that the separatist movements do not turn violent due to suppression;
• Cutting the Source of Funding: There is an imperative need to have stricter checks on drug trafficking and illicit trade in conflict diamonds, as they form the major source of funding for terrorist organizations;
• Humanitarian Aspect: Special Emphasis needs to be laid on the Humanitarian aspect of the agenda, i.e. the rehabilitation of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in countries suffering from Civil Wars, and concentrate on prevention of Human Rights Violations, by ensuring basic fundamental rights for example equal job opportunities and equal representation in the government.
To conclude, the world is at threat and a global effort is the call of the hour. Member states must take proactive steps in maintaining regional peace, ensuring a world without Terrorism, Extremism and Separatism.
TOOLS OF A DELEGATE
Chit(pad)s can be used as messages to an of Ficial sitting inside the council, be it a Delegate or an Executive Board Member.
GENERAL POWERS OF THE COMMITTEE STAFF
Various uses of a chits are:
• To inform the Executive Board of any points you might want to raise in council or ask them a question (via Executive Board);
• To ask or answer questions from other Delegates;
• To persuade other members of the Committee to support your Resolution.
SPEECHES AND QUESTIONS
Rules of Procedure is another tool a Delegate can use. As with any structure, full knowledge of the structure enables you to use it most efficiently and to work around the obstacles sometimes. Delegates are accorded the right to speak and question, debate and create resolutions and other outcome documents using this structure called the Rules of Procedure.