MUN: How to Write a Resolution


The resolution is the main result of the work of your committee, and is meant to do exactly what the name implies: “resolve” the problem that your committee is focused on. Resolutions are the documents the UN uses to make decisions, and are written by groups of Member States collaborating on their ideas. Resolutions have two main functions: to determine what the United Nations will do about the issue, and to recommend or request that individual Member States undertake actions to help solve the issue. There is a very specific format to resolutions, and three main sections: the header, the preamble, and the the operative section.

Sponsor: An author of all or parts of a resolution, that agree with the content of the resolution.

Signatory: A delegate that wishes to see the resolution debated before the committee, but does not necessarily contribute content or agree with the content of the resolution.

The Header

There are four main pieces of information in the header of the resolution:

  • Committee- The name of the committee you’re representing
  • Topic- The name of the topic you’re debating
  • Sponsors- The main authors that wrote the clauses of the resolution
  • Signatories- The delegates that would like to see this resolution introduced in the committee. They don’t necessarily support the resolution, but want it to have the requisite number of signatories so it can be accepted by the Chair (usually about 20% of the committee is required).

Preambular Paragraph: These paragraphs constitute the Preamble of a resolution, and explain why the United Nations is discussing this issue. Also known as Preambulatory Clauses.

Operative Paragraph: These paragraphs constitute the actual actions to come from a resolution, and say what the United Nations and Member States will do about it. Also known as Operative Clauses.

The Preamble

The goal of the preamble of a resolution is to set the scene for the resolution. Here, you can talk about why the resolution is being written, for example by talking about how serious the issue and who it is impacting. You can also refer to past UN Resolutions, Treaties, and International Actions related to the topic.

Preambular paragraphs each start with “preambular phrases”, which should be italicized in your resolution. Each preambular paragraph should end in a comma.

Preambular Phrases

Select a preambular phrase and Italicize it to start your preambular paragraph. Here is a recommended list to start with, though there are over 50 preambular phrases used by the United Nations

The Operatives

Operative paragraphs determine what action the UN will take on the issue. This can mean funding solutions, directing members of the UN Secretariat what to do, or requesting actions by UN Member States. Each paragraph takes action, so it’s important to be careful with each of the operative paragraphs in a resolution!

Operative paragraphs start with operative phrases, which should be italicized. Each operative paragraph should also be numbered, and end in a semicolon, except for the final operative which ends in a period. If at any point an operative is broken into sub-operatives, you would use a colon to introduce those sub- operatives, which start with lowercase letters.

Operative Phrases

Select an operative phrase to start your operative paragraph, and italicize it. Here is a recommended list to start with, though there are over 100 operative phrases used by the United Nations.

Sample MUN Resolution

Committee: General Assembly 1st Committee: Disarmament and International Security (DISEC)

Topic: The Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones)

Sponsors: Argentina, Ethiopia, Germany, Kazakhstan

Signatories: Poland, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine The General Assembly,

Bearing in mind Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations, which states that the purposes of the United Nations include “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace…”,

Recalling its resolution A/RES/68/178 which sought to limit the use of armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAVs in combating terrorism without the express permission of Member States,

Concerned by the recent high rate of civilian casualties in the rate of armed UAV strikes,

Aware of potential medical, commercial, agricultural, and other beneficial functions of unarmed UAVs,

Expressing concern that countries’ national sovereignty is being violated by certain nations, conducting extrajudicial targeted killing in their territory with UAVs without declaring war,

Welcoming the January 2014 report of the Secretary General S/2014/9 on the need for global cooperation to combat terrorism, specifically in sub-saharan Africa,

1. Encourages countries to adopt a UNHCR and UNODA orchestrated 2014 Covenant on Extrajudicial Drone Strikes that:

  • Treats extrajudicial targeted assassination outside declared conflict zones as violations of the 1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
  • Reaffirms the rights of nations to develop drones, especially for nonviolent purposes,
  • Acknowledges that drone use in self-defense and inside declared war zones is acceptable in accordance with existing international law;

2. Strongly encourages the use of drones in peaceful and primarily civilian affairs within each nation for instances of agricultural progress, surveillance, monitoring natural disasters and the environment;

3. Notes that the 2014 Covenant on Extrajudicial Drone Strikes will be based on the principles that:

  • Every state has the right to develop unmanned aerial vehicles for peaceful civilian purposes such as development and transportation of goods,
  • In times of peace, no state can operate UAVs in another state’s airspace without consent,
  • Parties undergoing war must adhere to the norm of proportionality, which states that the anticipated benefits of waging war are greater than the expected evils or harms;

4. Calls for the establishment of the World Forum on Drone Innovation (WFDI) that will meet annually starting in 2015 for private companies, national governments, and NGOs to discuss drone uses for peaceful purposes including but not limited to scientific, agricultural, and economic uses;

5. Affirms the use of drones for:

  • Emergency Preparation and Disaster Responses,
  • Agriculture, including but not limited to crop dusting, pesticides, infestation eradication, and monitoring of soil moisture levels and crop growth,
  • Cargo Delivery including but not limited long haul trips, transporting hazardous material, and deliveries during hazardous flying conditions and emergencies,
  • Environmental Monitoring, including but not limited to wildlife tracking and monitoring droughts and floods,
  • Maritime Domain Research and Awareness, such as:
    • criminal personnel search and pursuit,
    • personnel search and rescue,
    • identification and surveillance of low observable vessels and small craft,
  • Law Enforcement, such as:
    • reconnaissance and criminal personnel search and pursuit,
    • personnel search and rescue,
    • communications augmentation,
    • border Patrol Security;

6. Encourages the creation of a fund supported by the UN ICS to develop satellite technology drones (instead of the actual antenna technology drones) in the following five years specificaly for efficient longer-ranged operations that contribute to international security;

7. Recognizes the work of the “Responsibility to Protect” which was launched in 2005 and insists that drones should be used under the following guidelines:

  • carry the primary responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, and their incitement,
  • international communities have the responsibility to encourage and assist states in fulfilling the protection of their countries,
  • the international community has the right to use appropriate diplomatic humanitarian and other means to protect populations from crimes;

8. Emphasizes the need for protective measures used against any violations that destabilize public security and pose any nation to the threat of terrorism, which can be done by methods including but not limited to expanding the relations between the UN Counter-Terrorism Center and governments;

9. Calls for the international community wishing to increase their aid for expanding and enhancing community centres that ensure the rehabilitation of people traumatized and physically affected by drones that can be done by means including but not limited to:

    • providing psychological aid for those suffering the aftermath of drone attacks such as PTSD,
    • insuring the medical care for physically injured persons,
    • providing shelter and food for those affected by drones until they are physically and mentally able to pursue their lives;

10. Requests the Secretary General to deliver a global report on the progress toward achieving peace through the use of unarmed UAVs in UN Peacekeeping Operations and UN Special Political Missions.