Where the Security Councils’ rules differ, a note in italics has been added.
Modes of address
• When a delegate is going to give a speech, he or she must first address the President or chair, then the delegates.
“Distinguished chairs, honourable delegates…”
The Security Councils are not this formal and do not request delegates to begin each and every speech by formally addressing the house.
• A delegate must always speak in the 3rd person singular or the 1st person plural because he or she is representing a country or organisation
“Spain is against this resolution, because it feels that …”
“No, Italy does not agree with China’s proposal because …”
“We are of the opinion that …”
“Isn’t the honourable delegate aware of the fact that … ?”
• After a delegate has finished his or her speech and has answered any points of information he or she must yield the floor back to the chair. If not, the chair is officially not able to speak. This is the only time that a delegate may refer to himself or herself in the first person.
“I yield the floor back to the chair.”
The Security Councils officially have this rule too. However, the President will normally not apply it so strictly and he or she will often allow delegates to follow up each other without his or her interference.
Points and motions
During the debate, various points and motions can arise. These concern the flow of the debate or can draw attention to a particular problem.
Most points or motions cannot interrupt the speaker.
If a delegate wishes to make a point they should raise their placard and state it. They will then be recognised by the chair.
If other delegates agree with the motion they may shout “second!”. If not, they may shout “objection!”. There can be no seconds or objections to points, only to motions.
Here are the main points used during debate.
• 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 use this point.
• Point of information to the chair
If something is unclear during debate, a delegate may direct a question to the chair using this point.
• Point of parliamentary inquiry
If there is some sort of confusion during the debate concerning the rules of procedure, and a delegate is unsure of what to do next, he or she may use this point to ask the chair a question.
• Point of personal privilege
This point is used to draw attention to either the discomfort of a delegate, or when a delegate is not able to hear what is being said. In the latter case, a delegate would say
“Point of personal privilege due to audibility”
This is the only point of personal privilege that may interrupt a speaker.
• Point of information
A point of information is a question to the delegate who has the floor. Points of information always concern the resolution or the amendment being discussed.
• Motion to move into voting procedures â€¨
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.
• 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. The Security Councils do not set a debate time on a resolution; thus, there is no motion to extend it.
• 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. For example, delegates feel that they should do more research before they will be able to properly debate the issue at hand. Or, a resolution can be tabled in order for a forum to be able to go to lunch and continue afterwards or go home and continue the next day. Also, when the main submitter of a resolution has to leave because his or her presence at the Security Council is requested, this is a reason to table the resolution. To table the resolution simply means that the resolution will be put aside for the moment. There can also be a motion to un-table a resolution; obviously this motion is one that is used during a session but not during actual debate.
Course of debate
1 The main submitter reads out the operative clauses only of his or her resolution.
The Security Councils do not debate pre-written 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 perambulatory 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.
2 The chair then sets debating time and informs the forum whether it is an open or closed debate.
3 The main submitter then has the floor to explain the resolution. He or she should highlight the most important operative clauses and explain the ideas that the resolution contains.
4 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:
â—¦ “The delegate is open to all points of information” â€¨(Opens himself or herself to an unlimited number of points of information)
â—¦ “The delegate is open to two points of information” â€¨(Opens himself or herself to a limited amount of points of information)
â—¦ Says that he or she is not open to any points of information
5 Thereafter the delegate can yield the floor back to the chair or to another delegate.
â—¦ 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.
â—¦ 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 4 and 5 are repeated.
6 When the debating time for the resolution has elapsed all delegates vote on the resolution. Delegates can vote in favour or against, or they can abstain.
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 in favour than there are votes 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. Therefore, in the Security Councils it is also allowed for permanent members to abstain from voting when voting on amendments. (Allowing other members to abstain is useless, of course, as it would make no difference in the voting results.)
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. Also, each clause can only be debated once in a debate. If a delegate feels the need to change a clause to which an amendment is being submitted, he or she can propose an ‘amendment to the amendment’.
The Security Councils also use the amendment to the amendment to the amendment, where other forums are limited to the 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.â€¯The delegate now has 2 options:
1. The delegate can present his amendment straight away by saying:â€¯“The delegate has submitted an amendment”.
2. However, the delegate can also choose to first speak on the resolution. He or she then first gives an opinion on a certain operative clause, followed by the sentence: "Therefore I proposed an amendment."
Following both options, the chair will say, “That is in order”, and then the chair will 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 which point four (see above) will take place.
After the debating time for the amendment has elapsed, the voting procedure will take place. Delegates can only vote in favour or against an amendment. They cannot abstain. Following this, the debate on the resolution and the debating time on the resolution will commence.
The Permanent Members of the Security Council can abstain.
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 whom it is adressed by the Administrative Staff. The Admins are to decide whether the content of the note is conference-related and accordingly whether it can be passed to the recipient. If the Admins 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 the fraud of notepaper every delegation brings its own official notepaper. It should have an official letterhead and logo that identifies the delegation's country or organisation.
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