Dress Code & Procedure
During the conference, participants are expected to dress formally including subdued colours. Gentlemen wear suits and ties while ladies wear dresses of appropriate length or formal suits. Skirts are not to be shorter than one palm width above the knee. Shirts should have appropriate prints and necklines. The staff has the right to deny participants access to the conference if not appropriately dressed, and ambassadors will be held responsible for any disregard of the dress code.
Inappropriate dresswear includes, but is not limited to:
- Team accessories such as scarves and hats
- Sports shoes and denim clothes
- National costume or military attire
All standard committee procedures for BIGMUN 2018 can be found in the Delegate Handbook. Click here to download the Handbook. The Delegate Handbook will also be distributed to all delegates and MUN directors at registration.
As for the special committees: the Security Council (SC), the Crisis Committee (CC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) a detailed guide of their procdures are outlined below.
Please note that there will be no ambassador's speeches at any point during the conference.
Crisis Committee (CC)
The Crisis Committee (CC) is BIGMUN’s only forum which operates “in real time”. What is meant by this is that the topic of discussion is constantly developing, as events theoretically unfold in the crisis which the Chairs of the CC have meticulously prepared.
In the CC, Delegates must constantly respond to the developments which take place. Additionally, the crisis for the CC is first announced at the conference, meaning Delegates do not write position papers, but must still research their country’s attitude towards the UN and attitude towards the UN’s endeavours. Despite many differences between the CC and other forums, Delegates’ focus is still on creating a resolution.
Presenting the Crisis
On the first day of session (Thursday 22nd February 2018) the crisis will be announced. There will be documents and speeches to introduce the crisis and there will be ample opportunity to ask questions. In the start – and with later developments – Delegates are given time to do research and to discuss with other Delegates what their country’s response to the entire situation should be.
Participating Countries and Their Place in the Crisis
Usually, the crisis is place specific and may therefore impact some countries more than others. The placement of a country in relation to the crisis will not give it more power, however, Delegates should consider if their actions are acceptable to the nations affected by the crisis.
All the P5 countries (the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, France and China) will be represented in the CC. Supplementing these nations will be a broad spread of Delegates representing other countries.
The Use of Technology in the Crisis Committee
In the CC technology will be used to a large extent and mainly in the following ways:
-The resolution will be made in a Google Doc and shared with Delegates, so they may view it and write amendments which align with what is already written.
-The Credits overview will be made in a Google Sheet and shared with Delegates, so they can follow their country’s balance live.
-Amendments can be submitted digitally to save on paper.
Delegates should bring a laptop or similar device to the conference.
Procedure and General Practice
The CC follows an ad-hoc procedure and no nations have a veto power. This means that single amendments are discussed at a time, contributing to one resolution, and that no nation has the power to table an amendment without calling and winning a vote.
Seeing as there is only one crisis, there will also only be resolutions on this one topic. It is only expected that one resolution will be completed.
Aside from the added pressure of not knowing the crisis before the conference, the procedure is the same as with other Special Committees at BIGMUN, except for the inclusion of Credits, explained later in this guide.
In the CC, amendments can only be passed if sufficient funding is found amongst the Delegates in the committee. The cost (in Credits) to pass an amendment is decided upon by the chairs, depending on what the amendment entails. Before the Credits are addressed, an amendment must be passed through normal voting procedures. An average cost per Delegate is then made and announced to the Delegates. This is simply a recommendation and is NOT a binding amount they must give.
Following the announcement of the recommended contribution, the Chairs will read through the roll call list and ask Delegates how much they wish to contribute. When their country name is read out, they simply respond with the amount of Credits they wish to contribute. Delegates can choose not to contribute if the amendment does not align with their country’s views.
Should enough Credits be given, the amendment passes. If there are excess Credits, then there are three options which can be pursued:
1.Delegates who donated the most Credits may be given some Credits back
2.The Credits may be stored and used on the next amendment, should the Delegates agree to this
3.Each Delegate who contributed may receive an equal share of the leftover Credits in rebate.
If there are insufficient Credits, the Chairs will proceed to another roll call list asking for further contributions. If there still aren’t enough Credits contributed, then the amendment fails.
Overview of Voting Procedures Including Credits:
1.There is a motion to move into voting procedures on the amendment (this procedure only applies to whole amendments, not amendments to the 2nd degree).
a. Chairs call for those in favour and against.
2.If the motion passes, the Chairs see if there are Credits stored from previous amendments. If so, Chairs ask the Delegates if they wish to use these Credits on the amendment. A simple vote decides this.
3.If more credits are required, a roll call is done, whereby each Delegate says how many (if any) Credits they will contribute to the amendment.
a.If enough Credits are given, then the amendment passes.
b.If too many Credits are given, then the amendment passes and:
i.The Delegates who gave the most are given a fair amount in return, decided upon by the Chairs and/or
ii.The Credits are saved for the next amendment, if the committee agrees to this by a simple vote and/or
iii.An average of the remaining Credits is made and each Delegate who contributed to the amendment is given this in return.
c.If insufficient Credits are given, then the Chairs announce that there are insufficient Credits to pass this amendment and that more will be required.
i.They enter the roll call procedure and ask Delegates if they wish to contribute.
1.If enough Credits can be found to meet the requirements, then the amendment passes.
2.If there are still not enough Credits to meet the requirements, then the amendment fails.
NOTE: Once in the Credits procedure, there may be no motions.
Delegates should familiarise themselves with this procedure.
International Labour Organization (ILO)
The ILO was originally part of the League of Nations, the forerunner to the UN, and is the oldest organ within it. After World War One, it was created as a part of the Treaty of Versailles. This reflected the belief that only through social justice and international cooperation could the world remain at peace. This is achieved through the unique tripartite system that is the heart of the ILO, where, workers, employers and governments meet on equal terms to discuss how to best protect workers, economies, and businesses from the risks, dangers and unfair systems centred around labour.
The Tripartite System
As well as being a symbol of cooperation and progress, the nature of the tripartite system generates a unique format of engaging in MUN debate. It is natural that governments, employers, and workers all will have different agendas. By placing representatives of these different factions together in a room, dispute is inevitable. Delegates must keep this in mind at all times during the conference, since they ultimately set the tone of the committee. The Presidents will, of course, attempt to steer the debate in the right direction, but Delegates are very much responsible for the outcome. Imagining the power and relationship dynamics between, for example, a government official and union member, or a businessman and a union member, will help Delegates understand the special nature of the ILO.
Expectations for the conference
Due to the unique composition and many interlocking motivations of the parties involved in the ILO, work in the committee is going to be characterised heavily by freer debate and lobbying. Due to the highly fragmented interests of the many parties involved, much of the debating will centre around explaining and debating how the topics at hand will negatively or positively affect Delegates’ specific interest group, and what provisions must be taken to protect their interests.
It will hence be crucial for Delegates to consider how they may find common ground with other Delegates and their interest groups. Will they form coalitions along lines of their own party, workers with workers and employers with employers? Will they come to an agreement with the relevant opposition parties civilly, or will they be fiercely competing, vying for the government Delegates’ favour to win their case? Will labour unions clash or cooperate with the Delegates of their mother countries? Will workers and employers of non-overlapping sectors work together to outmanoeuvre a common enemy?
Important to note is that ILO conventions (elaborated upon later) are only binding for those wishing to sign, meaning that no entity is within the ILO without believing it to have some merit. Even employers are not opposed to agreeing to some propositions which would restrict them to some extent, as the alternative to this might be strikes or even harsher national-level legislation being imposed in the future. Worker organisations may threaten with any such notions, should they feel their voices are not heard, just as the employers may threaten with lockout, movement of factories or the like. The ILO is about negotiation, not trampling.
An ILO convention is the central point of debate during session. Generally, ad-hoc Resolution procedure – starting debate with a blank resolution to which Clauses are added one-by-one through amendments – will apply directly to ILO conventions. Note that ILO conventions work like treaties, contracts which countries sign.
The convention’s equivalent to Operative Clauses are Articles. An Article is a description of a commitment a country which signs the convention must strive to uphold. The Articles can be phrased very bindingly (using words such as “must”) but can only dictate the actions of those that sign the convention. It is possible for a convention to pass, but only a section of the country Delegates signing it. Making a strong convention is hence not only about passing the convention, but also ensuring that many countries will sign it.
Normal MUN ad-hoc procedure applies for ILO. However, a few more motions are entertained and expected to be used:
Motion to engage in a moderated caucus:
Due to the unique nature of the ILO, it can be very useful to engage in a freer form of debate. This motion seeks to achieve this. Delegates will often be encouraged to make this motion by their Student Officers but may also propose it independently. When proposed, it can specify what the caucus’ focus is to be (phrasing, effect on certain industry, certain aspect of topic etc.). If it passes, the Student Officers will allocate time for this moderated caucus.
Frequently, a wealth of information regarding the agendas of many different Delegates and their opinion on the broad topics at hand needs to be conveyed in a short amount of time which will not be achievable through speeches.
When in moderated caucus, Delegates raise their placards to make motions or points. However, speeches are not entertained, instead, the Student Officers accept comments. A Delegate makes a comment simply by standing up and stating a brief point or posing a brief question. They do not need to address the house or take the podium for this.
Each commentator will have one minute to state their point and will then be asked to finish it promptly by the Student Officer. If they do not do this in the few following seconds, they will be cut off by the Student Officer.
A Delegate with time left in their comment can declare that they wish to yield the rest of their time to another Delegate. This can be a display of solidarity, if they believe this Delegate can add something to the debate or, most importantly, if they have asked another Delegate a direct question and would like them to answer. If this is approved by the Student Officers, the chosen Delegate can accept or reject the rest of the offered speaking time to continue the comment.
Large parts of the time in session is expected to be in moderated caucus. However, the rest of the debate will still be covered in standard procedure.
Motion to extend/shorten the moderated caucus
If Delegates find that there is much more to be said in a moderated caucus or that there is some more value to be found in it, they can set forth this motion. If confirmed by Student Officers and backed by at least two seconds and no objections, the Student Officers extend or shorten the caucus to the extent that they find in the interest of the debate. The Delegate may make a suggestion in proposing the motion, but it is ultimately under the discretion of the Student Officers.
Motion to extend commentary
If a Delegate runs out of commentary time, they can make a proposal to the Student Officers to prolong their time. This should only be used if the Delegate has a relevant conclusion building up and the Student Officers are confident that they will reach it soon or if the Delegate has had unrealistically little time to make their point, e.g. if they were yielded half of another Delegate’s time to answer a question. This motion cannot be objected to and does not need seconds. As long as the Student Officers agree to it, it passes. The Student Officers extend the commentary to the extent that they find in the interest of the debate. The Delegate may add a suggestion to the motion, but it is ultimately under the discretion of the Student Officers.
Examples of Articles are outlined below:
They can describe an obligation of signatories:
(C098 - Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98))
Machinery appropriate to national conditions shall be established, where necessary, for the purpose of ensuring respect for the right to organise as defined in the preceding Articles.
Specify terminology or extent of other Articles:
(C102 - Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102))
The persons protected shall comprise--
a. prescribed classes of employees, constituting not less than 50 per cent. of all employees; or
b. all residents whose means during the contingency do not exceed limits prescribed in such a manner as to comply with the requirements of Article 67; or
c. where a declaration made in virtue of Article 3 is in force, prescribed classes of employees, constituting not less than 50 per cent. of all employees in industrial workplaces employing 20 persons or more.
And discuss meta-aspects of the convention and its circumstances:
C117 - Social Policy (Basic Aims and Standards) Convention, 1962 (No. 117)
1. This Convention shall be binding only upon those Members of the International Labour Organisation whose ratification have been registered with the Director-General.
2. It shall come into force twelve months after the date on which the ratifications of two Members have been registered with the Director-General.
3. Thereafter, this Convention shall come into force for any Member twelve months after the date on which its ratification has been registered.
The Articles do not need to be phrased beginning with BIGMUN OC opening phrases (Encourages, decides etc.)
The articles can have several sections, denoted as follows:
1. First section
2. Second section
The sections can have sub-sections, denoted as following:
Which in turn may have their own subsections, called undersections:
To be inspired as to the structure of conventions, please browse through ILO conventions found here:
After the conventions have been discussed, and if they are to be passed by majority vote, each country will decide whether to sign them. All delegates, country, employer or employee may vote for any motion or the passing of any amendment or resolution. However, only country Delegates may sign the convention, as it is their countries which will have to obey and enforce its standards. If a country accepts the terms, and the conventions are voted into acceptance, this is considered the standard cause of action.
By signing a convention, a country agrees to adopt its principles in national law, follow them, and report annually on its application. For countries that violate ratified conventions, complaint procedures can be initiated against them and may result in the use of article 33 of the ILO convention: "[i]n the event of any Member failing to carry out within the time specified the recommendations, if any, contained in the report of the Commission of Inquiry, or in the decision of the International Court of Justice, as the case may be, the Governing Body may recommend to the Conference such action as it may deem wise and expedient to secure compliance therewith." This article has only been applied once in ILO history, although more than a dozen complaints have been filed.
Security Council (SC)
The BIGMUN Security council aims to provide delegates with a realistic experience of what it is like to be in the United Nations Security Council. Differing from the real SC in the United Nations, the BIGMUN SC consists of 16 non-permanent members and five with veto powers (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States of America). Because the SC aims to deal with peace and security issues at various levels, both long-term and current political crises will be debated in the council.
The BIGMUN Security Council is an ad-hoc council, meaning that there are no pre-ambulatory clauses in the resolution is nor any lobbying time. Instead resolutions are created from scratch, one Operative Clause after another, in open-debate.
As resolutions are legally binding, the responsibility of the 21 members in the Security Council is very high. Because of this there are certain rules in regards to voting that differ from other BIGMUN forums.
•Veto: Veto power is granted to P5 countries, these are: China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Despite being granted this power, veto power is used extremely sparingly in the Security Council. This does not mean, however, that P5 nations are forced to agree with everything – P5 members are encouraged to abstain should they not agree with an amendment. A veto is only used when a country’s national benefits are extremely threatened.
•Amendments: Voting on amendments is done by a simple majority vote. Abstentions are not allowed.
•Voting on the resolution: Seeing as SC resolutions are legally binding, a supermajority, or 2/3 of the council, is needed for a resolution to pass. If a P5 country votes no, it constitutes as a veto and the resolution will not pass. It should be emphasised that abusing the veto power is a serious threat to the realism of the BIGMUN Security Council, and a warning will be issued if misused.
As the use of the veto power is an anomaly in the Security Council, a motion to initiate a P5 can be conducted in case of a veto threat. A P5 caucus is a private talk between the P5 nations and Presidents of the SC that aims to find a solution that avoids a veto.
Delegates should familiarise themselves with this procedure.