Rules of Procedure

Debate Style

OPOMUN, is a clause-by-clause styled conference, which seeks to incentivise a constructive, step-by-step approach to resolution making, while at the same time providing the ideal environment in which ideas can presented, discussed and judged in a streamlined and engaging way. Unlike most Model United Nations conferences, delegates present draft clauses. These are then debated by using this parliamentary procedure, where they are amended and discussed. If the clause is adopted by the committee, it is added to the resolution, which is debated as a whole at the end of the session.

Language

OPOMUN is a formal conference and therefore, delegates are expected to use formal and appropriate language. Delegates are also expected the use of the 3d person when referring to themselves and when addressing other delegates or the chair. Therefore instead of saying “I” or “You”, Delegates should say “This Delegate” or “The Delegate of France”. This is a list of the most common ways to address someone:

  • Honourable Chair...
  • The Delegate of ______ has a point of _______
  • Is the the Delegate of ______ aware that ________
  • Doesn’t the Delegate of ______ realize that ________
  • This Delegate yields the floor back to the chair / to the delegate of ______
  • Would it be in order for the Delegate of _______ to _________

Behaviour

In any debate, behaviour is extremely important. No talking between delegates is expected. Instead, all communication between delegates should be through note passing paper. These will be provided by OPOMUN. MUN meetings are very serious and are a forum to discuss world issues, therefore declaring war on another nation or similar situations are not appropriate and will not be tolerated. If the Chair deems it necessary, he / she may issue a warning to a delegation that repeatedly breaks parliamentary procedure. After three warnings, a delegation will be asked to leave the room.

Eletronic Devices

Electronic devices can be used in OPOMUN, with the exception of cell phones. However, devices must only be used for conference-related purposes. Warnings will be issued for the misuse of electronic devices.

Caucus Time

During caucus time (sometimes referred as lobbying), delegates will have the opportunity to take their clauses to other delegates and try and gain support for their ideas. Most importantly, delegates must try and get co-submitters for their clauses, A minimum of 5 co- submitters is needed for a clause to be submitted. Co-submitting a clause does not necessarily mean that you agree to the content of the resolution but that you agree to debate on it. Clauses may only be submitted to the chair once they meet the minimum requirement of signatures, as without 5 co-submissions, their clause won’t be debated. Delegates have the option to modify their clauses at the suggestion of others, or merge clauses if they find another delegate with a very similar proposal. Caucus takes place in the individual committee rooms, which means that a student will be placed amongst a group of other delegates working on the same issues on the same theme; but delegates are too encouraged to caucus during coffee break or lunch time. Caucus also provides a chance for students to “break the ice” and meet the other delegates from other schools. They should aim to locate and get to know their potential allies, and identify those who share their goals.

Yielding

When delegates finish speaking they need to yield the floor to the chair or to another delegate by saying, “This delegate yields the floor back to the chair", or "This delegate yields the floor to the Delegate of Brazil". Note that the floor can only be yielded to another delegate once - i.e. Delegate A can yield the floor to Delegate B, but Delegate B must yield the floor to the Chair.

Amendments

An amendment is a proposed change to the clause at hand. A delegate can fix the wording of a clause and/or add/strike a sub-clause. To propose an amendment, it is necessary to first write it clearly on amendment paper and send it to the Chair. When he/she asks for a speaker to address the house, the delegate must raise its placard and wait until the chair recognises the delegate. At the podium the delegate must say: “The Delegate of _________ has proposed an amendment. Is that in order?”. Amendments can be of two types: a "friendly amendment" which is supported by the original draft clause co-submitters, and is passed automatically, while an "unfriendly amendment" is not supported by the original co-submitters and must be voted on by the committee as a whole . The chair will ask if there are objections from the part of the main or co-submitters. If there are, then unfriendly amendment procedure is applied, if not, the amendment is passed and the clause is updated. Amendments to the second degree are not in order in OPOMUN (except for Security Council).

Motions and Points

Point of Personal Privilege: A point of personal privilege is used used when a delegate experiences personal discomfort that hinders their ability to participate in the committee. It is the only point that can interrupt the speaker.
E.g.: Could the delegate of Japan please speak up?

Point of Order: This is used when a delegate wishes to question the Chair about a action taken by another delegate e.g. inappropriate language.
E.g.: Is it in order for the Delegate of Japan to insult the Delegate of China?

Point of Parliamentary Inquiry: This is used when a delegate wishes to question the Chair about his/hers action based on the Rules of Procedure or when a delegate wishes to clarify any specific term/language relating to the debate.
E.g.: Could the chair please explain what is meant by abstaining?

Point of Information to the Speaker: This is a question made to the speaker, and can only be done if recognised by the chair. It must be made in the form of a question. Delegates must remain standing whilst their Point of Information is being answered.
E.g.: Is the Delegate of South Africa aware that sub-clause b) violates the sovereignty of nations?

Point of Information to the Chair: This is a question made to the chair that is not related to the Rules of Procedure but is relevant to the debate.
Point of Information to the Chair - Could the chair explain what is the Atlantic Treaty?

Motion to move to Voting Procedures: In open debate, it means that the debate will be moved into voting procedures. It requires a “second”, but it is up to the Chair to decide wether or not to entertain the motion.

Motion to move to the Previous Question: In closed debate, if the house is in time in favour, motioning to move to the previous question, will move debate into time against. If debate was in time against, debate will then be moved into voting procedures. It requires a “second”, but it is up to the Chair to decide wether or not to entertain the motion.

Motion to adopt without a vote: This motion means that the clause being debated will automatically pass without a voting, and will be added to the resolution. It requires a “second”, and there must be no “objections”. This motion can only be considered when debating clauses.

Motion to Table the Clause: This motion requests the Chair to entertain a vote on consideration of a clause. If the vote ends favourably the clause is tabled to the end of the “line up” and is only to be considered after all other submitted clauses have been discussed.

Motion to Table the Clause: This motion requests the Chair to entertain a vote on consideration of a clause. If the vote ends favourably the clause is tabled to the end of the “line up” and is only to be considered after all other submitted clauses have been discussed.

Motion to Divide the House: A motion to Divide the House is a motion to have the Chair call out every country in alphabetical order and record the votes individually, instead of using the method of raising placards. This motion can only be called after a “tied vote”, and delegates can only vote either for or against. The chair can decide to entertain it or not.

Order of the Day: This point is used when a delegate believes the debate has gone off topic and the discussion is no longer related to the agenda topics.

Flow of Debate