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Writing Resolutions
By: Catharine Niuzzo Honaman


Time: Two to three days
Materials: Rules of Procedure (1 per student)
Student Debate Forms (1 per group)

 


Abstract
This lesson prepares the students to participate in the Youth Voices Forum by teaching them how to write resolutions using the actual format employed by the United Nations. Students explore the components of a resolution, including the formal language necessary. The lesson also gives the students the opportunity to write and critique resolutions.

Objectives
Students will demonstrate the ability to write a United Nations style resolution which:
1. contains formal language, appropriate to the resolution style;
2. conforms to the resolution format;
3. uses commas, semi-colons, and periods to separate the parts of the resolution;
4. has subject matter appropriate for the international forum.


Standards
WRITING
W-P1. Use transitional devices: varied sentence structures; the active voice; parallel
structures; supporting details, phrases and clauses; correct spelling, punctuation,
capitalization, grammar and usage to sharpen the focus and clarify the meaning of
their writings.
W-P5. Write formal communications for a definite audience and with a clear
purpose.

Teacher Background

Resource Websites

http://www.unausa.org
http://www.unausa.org/education/modelun/resolution.asp

 

 

Activity
1. Share with the students that during the Forum they will not only be debating topics of mutual interest with other nations (skills learned in lesson 5), but they will also be dealing with these concerns by creating United Nations style resolutions. As with any type of formal communication, there is a specific format that must be followed.

2. Discuss with the students how the United Nations is a form of international court. See if they can draw parallels between debating topics and lawyers presenting their cases and cross-examining witnesses. How else would the two be similar? Discuss how legal agreements, contracts, etc., are written in a specific type of formal language and follow a certain format. What are the advantages to this?

3. Writing a Resolution The United Nations Association of the United States of America has an excellent website which explains the many aspects of the United Nations. As part of its education outreach the particulars of resolution writing are explained. Using this resource, go over the specific language and formats that a resolution must contain:

Resolution Writing

Actions of the United Nations are expressed in resolutions submitted in draft form under the sponsorship of one or more delegations. Resolutions may simply register an opinion, or may recommend action to be taken by a U.N. organ or related agency. Only the Security Council may take "decisions" which bind Member States to a certain course of action.
Although it is helpful to come to a Model U.N. conference with a draft resolution prepared, the organizers sometimes forbid it as most draft resolutions are sponsored by several nations rather than a single delegation. Therefore, it is essential that delegates check with the organizers of the event.
When drafting and sponsoring a draft resolution, delegates should keep in mind the wording will influence its appeal (or lack thereof). The draft resolution should be clear, concise and specific. The substance should be well researched, and reflect the character and interests of the sponsoring nations.
United Nations resolutions follow a common format. Each resolution has three parts: the heading, the preamble and the operative clauses. It is one long sentence with commas and semicolons throughout the resolution and with a period at the very end. The first word in each clause should be underlined, and each clause in the preamble should end with a comma. All operative clauses end with a semicolon except the final clause, which ends with a period.

Sponsors and Signatories
Sponsors of a resolution are those countries that have been the principal authors of the document and agree with its substance.
Signatories are countries that may or may not agree with the substance of the resolution, but would like to see it debated on the floor.

I. The Draft Resolution
HEADING
Committee: i.e. the committee or organ in which the resolution is introduced
Topic: the topic of the resolution
Sponsored by: list of sponsoring countries
PREAMBLE
The purpose of the preamble is to show that there is a problem that needs to be solved. The preamble of a resolution does everything but propose action or make any substantive statement in the topic at hand. The preamble begins with the name of one of the three major organs. The preambulatory clauses can include:
- References to the U.N. Charter;
- Citations of past U.N. resolutions or treaties that been ratified under the topic of discussion;
- Statements made by the Secretary-General or a relevant U.N. body or agency;
- Recognition of the work or efforts of regional organizations in dealing with the issue; and
- General statements on the topic, its significance, and its effects.

Preambulatory Phrases:

Acknowledging ...
Affirming ...
Alarmed ...
Anxious ...
Approving ...
Aware …
Bearing in mind ...
Being convinced ...
Believing ...
Cognizant ...
Concerned ...
Confident ...
Conscious ...
Considering ...
Contemplating ...
Convinced ...
Declaring ...
Deeply disturbed…
Desiring …
Determined …
Emphasizing ...
Encouraged ...
Endorsing ...
Expressing ...
...appreciation...
...deep appreciation...
Expecting ...
Fulfilling ...
Fully …
...aware ...
...believing...
...bearing in mind...
Grieved…
Guided by...
Having…
...adopted...
...approved...
...considered...
...examined further…
...received...
...reviewed...
Keeping in mind...
Mindful…
Noting...
...further...
...with approval...
...with concern...
...with deep concern…
...with grave concern…
...with regret...
...with satisfaction...
Observing...
Reaffirming...
Realizing...
Recalling...
Recognizing...
Referring...
Regretting...
Reiterating...
Seeking...
Stressing...
Welcoming...

Operative Clauses:
Operative clauses are set out to achieve the country's main policy goals on the topic. Each operative clause begins with a number, ends with a semicolon and the final clause ends with a period. Operative clauses should be organized in a logical progression, and each clause should contain a single idea or policy proposal. Keep in mind that all resolutions except the Security Council are non-binding.

Accepts...
Adopts...
Affirms…
Appeals...
Appreciates...
Approves...
Authorizes...
Calls upon...
Commends...
Concurs...
Condemns...
Confirms...
Congratulates...
Considers...
Decides...
...accordingly...
Declares...
Deplores...
Designates...
Directs...
Emphasizes...
Encourages...
Endorses...
Expressing...
...its appreciation...
...its conviction...
...its regret...
...its sympathy...
...its thanks...
...the belief...
...the hope...
Further...
… concurs…
… invites
...proclaims...
...reminds...
...recommends...
...requests...
...resolves...
Instructs...
Invites...
Notes...
...with appreciation
...with approval...
...with interest...
...with satisfaction...
Reaffirms...
...its belief...
Recognizes...
Recommends...
Regrets...
Reiterates…
Renews its appeal
Repeats...
Suggests...
Strongly...
Supports...
Takes note of...
Transmits...
Urges...
Welcomes...

II. Sample Resolution

Committee: GA Third Committee
Subject: Strengthening U.N. Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance
Sponsors: United States, Austria, Italy
Signatories: Greece, Japan, Canada, Mali, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Belgium, United Kingdom, India and Gabon

The General Assembly Reminding all nations of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity, equality, and inalienable rights of all global citizens,

USE COMMAS TO SEPARATE PREAMBULATORY CLAUSES & UNDERLINE THE FIRST WORD OR PHRASE

Reaffirming resolution 33/1996 of 25 July 1996, which encourages governments to work with established U.N. bodies aimed at improving the coordination and effectiveness of humanitarian assistance,

Noting with satisfaction the past efforts of various relevant U.N. bodies and Non-Governmental Organizations,
1. Encourages all relevant agencies of the United Nations to collaborate more closely with countries at the grassroots level to enhance the carryout of relief efforts;

USE SEMICOLONS TO SEPARATE OPERATIVE CLAUSES & UNDERLINE THE FIRST WORD OR PHRASE

2. Urges member states to comply with the goals of the U.N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs to streamline efforts of humanitarian aid;
3. Requests that all nations develop rapid deployment forces to better enhance the coordination of relief efforts of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies;
4. Calls for the development of a United Nations Trust Fund that encourages voluntary donation from the private transnational sector to aid in the funding of rapid deployment forces.

END RESOLUTION WITH A PERIOD

Amendments. During the course of negotiation and cooperation, draft resolutions will alter through changes known as amendments. The guidelines for these amendments are less strict since many arise during the course of the activity itself: however, the style, wording and intent of the amendment should complement the original draft resolution. Amendments follow the pattern already stated in the document and simply present new viewpoints or suggestions for action on the same topic. Most conferences have two forms of amendments:

- Friendly amendment. A friendly amendment is a change to the resolution that all of the sponsors feel is appropriate.
- Unfriendly amendment. An unfriendly amendment is an amendment that the sponsors of the resolution do not support.

Sample of an amendment
Committee: GA Third Committee
Subject: Strengthening U.N. Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance
Sponsors: France, Romania, and Poland
Signatories: Togo, Australia, Fiji, Brazil, St. Lucia, Viet Nam, New Zealand, Pakistan, Kuwait and Argentina

Requests the expansion of preventive actions and assurance of post conflict assistance though reconstruction and development;

Bringing a resolution to the floor for debate Every conference has a different process for allowing draft resolutions to come to the floor for debate. Many conference require that a certain number of delegations sign the document, and then someone from the staff reads over the resolution to ensure that it is in proper format and relevant. After someone from the staff has read the document, it is then introduced by the sponsoring delegations. In some cases a delegate must make a motion to introduce the draft resolution, while in other cases the sponsors are immediately called upon to read the document. Again, this differs from conference to conference and it is essential to find out the resolution process for the specific conference that the delegate plans on attending.


5. As with the Rules of Order, having a highly structured format for bringing problems to the floor of any type of international meeting is a necessity when numerous cultures with various expectations of how interpersonal interactions should be conducted. Can the students come up with any examples about what is considered polite in different cultures? Can they see how one culture might be insulted by language or behavior that is acceptable, or even valued, in another culture? Explain to the students that structure in the case of international forums is a mechanism for maintaining peaceful interactions, and this is why it is important that they be able to write resolutions for their Youth Voices Forum.

6. Have the students get into their country groups. Ask them to predict what issues, problems, situations may be of concern for their country when meeting other nations in an international conference.

7. Ask them to follow the format outlined above, using the specific terminology to write perambulatory phrases and operative clauses to write three or four practice resolutions. Using whichever technology is appropriate for your classroom, have students transfer these practice resolutions to overheads or create short PowerPoint presentations so that the entire class can see the practice resolutions as they are being discussed. Ask each group to present their practice resolutions to the class. Ask the class to critique the practice resolutions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
http://www.actdu.org.au/
http://www.soros.org/usdebate/bodyagree.htm

Embedded Assessment
A natural time to assess how successfully the students have written their practice resolutions is during the critique involving the entire class. For those groups who made many mistakes you may wish to require them to list what they will need to do differently in the Youth Voices Forum in order to be successful.


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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