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Model United Nations

Position Papers

Submission of position papers is required by all delegates. Writing position papers enhances the quality of preparation of the delegates and helps to focus their thoughts on the topic areas. CCMUN will once again hold its position paper competition this year and provides position paper awards to the top three papers for General Assembly delegates and the top three papers for Security Council delegates and the top three papers for Human Rights Council delegates. (Delegates seeking an award must have their papers submitted by Friday, October 13, 2017.)  

Delegations can conduct research collaboratively, but each student should write his or her own position paper for an award. 

A position paper is a statement of a country’s policy on both topic areas on the committee’s agenda. The submission should be no longer than one (1) page total.

Format Guidelines:

  • Student name, school, and advisor name should be listed on the top of the page.
  • Country name, Committee and topic area should also be listed at the top of the paper.
  • Papers should contain the country’s position as well as possible remedies for the problem.
  • Papers should be no more than one page, double-spaced total (half page/topic).
  • The deadline for those seeking an award is Friday, October 13, 2017. (After this date, delegates should either send their position papers via email or bring them in hard copy to the conference but they will not be considered for a paper award.)
  • Schools should send position papers as a batch.


Send Word.docx or PDF e-mail attachment to Dr. Jeffrey Roberg: jroberg@carthage.edu

Delegates should bring copies of their position papers to the conference so they can refer to them as they make speeches and draft resolutions.

How To Write a Position Paper

A position paper should include:

  • A one-sentence introduction with history of your country’s involvement and/or interest in the topic. 
(Ex: Norway has actively participated in UN peacekeeping for several decades including operations in ___ and ___ with ___# of troops)
  • Discussion of your country’s current policies on the topic.
(Ex: Norway takes an active interest in achieving peace in the Middle East and has been fundamental in the signing of the Oslo Accords. Norway is in a unique position as a mediator because it has a clear understanding of Palestinian demands and a working relationship with the PLO, but the Norwegian people also have considerable interest in and support for Israel as a nation.
  • Policy proposals - list potential solutions to the problems posed in the topic area that your country might be willing to support.
(Ex: Norway is willing to cooperate with other members of the international community that are interested in providing a peacekeeping force for Jerusalem in accordance with Security Council resolution 255. In addition, we would support further resolutions ensuring Israeli compliance with the Peace Accords).


Tips on How to Write a Position Paper

  • Avoid use of “flowery” language. Try to state what you want to say as succinctly and clearly as possible. Diplomats can be round-about and vague, but position papers should not be.
  • Writing in the present tense is better than past perfect. Ex: “Finland supports the UN’s efforts to ____” NOT “Finland has supported the UN ____” (the exception is when you are actually referring to specific events in the past. “Finland has supported historical peacekeeping efforts by contributing over 2,000 troops throughout the Cold War”).
  • Avoid too much use of first person pronouns (I, We). Refer to your position by country name. “Germany believes…”, “Germany supports…”
  • Avoid superlatives: greatest, best, most, very, extremely. These tend to sound like exaggerations.
  • Frequently used terms: international community, global community, member states, mechanisms, guidelines, implementation, conventions, treaties, resolutions, conferences, multilateral, bilateral, national.
  • Some commonly used verbs:
 affirms, endeavors, recognizes, allocates, acknowledges, encourages, believes, hopes, recommends, urges, considers, addresses, emphasizes, advocates

Key questions and structure:

  • State why the problem is important. Who should care about it? Why is it on the UN’s agenda?
  • What work has been done already to address this issue? What UN agencies deal with it? You can frame these in terms of an assessment - the agencies are “effective”, “successful”, “overburdened” etc. What conventions, conferences, meetings, etc have been held? What documents have come out of these meetings? Resolutions, treaties, conventions? Frame these in terms of our countries support (or rejection) of these efforts.
  • Link your country to the work that has been done. Have they contributed funds? Sponsored/attended conferences? Signed treaties? Have they taken notable steps domestically to address this issue?
  • Propose some specific steps to resolve the problem. These may not be directly linked to your country’s position, but should not be contradictory to your interests. Focus can be on multilateral steps, or on regional organizations, or on pursuing domestic/national legislation that will address the problem.

SAMPLE

Country: France


Committee: Plenary

Committee
Delegation: Wichita State University

France believes the work of the Plenary Committee is [adjective] for addressing [issue(s)].

I. Topic I

This is a serious problem that affects the world [how specifically?].

France has supported the work that has been done in the past through [ ____ agencies, organizations, international conferences (dates) ]. France has ratified the _____ [treaty, convention]. France has taken steps domestically to address this issue by [ passing specific domestic legislation].

France recommends that the following steps be taken to resolve/address this problem: First ____. Second, ____. Finally, ____. [three proposals for action are plenty].


II. Topic II

Same as above.

[Source for How To Write a Position Paper: Dr. Carolyn Shaw, WAMUN]

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