A resolution is a document that seeks to solve the problems that a committee address. Technically, a resolution is called a Draft Resolution until the latter is successfully passed during voting procedure. Draft Resolutions are more formal documents that must be written in the correct UN resolution format. In the early days of the UN all draft resolutions were put to a vote, now every draft resolution is discussed beforehand in informal consultations where some of the language is sacrificed in a spirit of compromise.
The key to successful drafting of both oral proposals and/or Draft Resolutions is to consult widely to know the concerns of others before you put pen to paper, and then to factor these into your draft so as to recruit sponsors and disarm opponents. When your Draft Resolution is written, you should again consult widely and be ready to modify it in response to the concerns of other delegations. This process will often ensure the draft’s acceptance when it is put to the committee for decision. At the very least, any points of serious disagreement will have been identified and isolated.
FORMAT OF THE DRAFT RESOLUTION
The resolution begins with the name of the organ that is adopting the resolution (in this case, “The General Assembly”). This is followed with several preambular paragraphs (or perambulatory clauses). These are not really paragraphs, but clauses in the sentence. Each one starts with verb in the present participle (e.g., Recalling, Considering, Noting), which is capitalized, and ends with a comma. Sometimes the clause begins with more than one keyword, such as, Noting with satisfaction, Noting with regret, etc. These words are always italicized. After the preambular paragraphs come the operative paragraphs (or operative clauses), each of which begins with a verb in the present tense, also capitalized, and finishes with a semi-colon, except for the last, which has a period at the end of it.
A Draft Resolution must include:
• the committee’s name (e.g. United Nations Security Council);
• the names of the sponsors;
• the name of the signatories;
• the topic;
• pre-ambulatory clauses;
• operative clauses.
WORDING OF THE RESOLUTION
Each resolution consists of one long single sentence. After the committee’s name, the name of the sponsors and signatories, and the topic, come the pre-ambulatory clauses, followed by the operative clauses. Informally, the preambular paragraphs are referred to as PP1, PP2 etc. and the operative paragraphs as OP1, OP2 etc. The wording of the resolution is key.
Preambular paragraphs serve to explain the basis for the action called for in the operative paragraphs. They can be used to build an argument. They can also be used to build support. Sometimes they express general principles and the tone can be elevated. Some lack of precision in the wording of preambular paragraphs is tolerable. These clauses are not numbered, end with a comma and start with words such as:
Pre-ambulatory: Alarmed by, Approving, Aware of, Believing, Bearing in mind, Confident, Convinced, Declaring, Deeply concerned, Deeply convinced, Deeply disturbed, Deeply regretting, Desiring, Emphasising, Expecting, Fulfilling, Fully aware, Fully alarmed, Fully believing, Further deploring, Guided by, Having adopted, Having considered, Having examined, Having studied, Having heard, Having received, Keeping in mind, Noting with regret, Noting further, Noting with appreciation, Noting with approval, Noting with deep concern, Noting with regret, Noting with satisfaction, Observing, Pointing out, Reaffirming, Realising, Recalling, Recognising, Referring, Reminding, Seeking, Taking into account, Taking into consideration, Taking note, Viewing with appreciation, Welcoming.
2. OPERATIVE CLAUSES
express what the committee has decided to do. They form the policy that the sponsors of the resolution believe would help resolve the issues regarding the topic being discussed. Precise clear language enhances political impact and facilitates implementation. Likewise brevity is preferable, as it is politically much more powerful. Each clause should address one aspect of the issue only. Clauses should be numbered (1, 2, 3) and can include subclauses (1a, 2a, 3a). Clauses should support one another and continue to build your solution. Your clauses should be detailed in order to have a complete solution. Operative clauses should end with a semicolon, with the exception of the last operative clause, which should end with a period. They should start with words such as:
Operative: Accepts, Affirms, Approves, Authorises, Calls, Calls upon, Condemns, Congratulates, Confirms, Considers, Declares accordingly, Deplores, Draws the attention, Designates, Emphasises, Encourages, Endorses, Expresses its appreciation, Expresses its hope, Further invites, Further proclaims, Further reminds, Further recommends, Further resolves, Further requests, Have resolved, Notes, Proclaims, Reaffirms, Recommends, Reminds Regrets, Requests, Solemnly affirms, Strongly condemns, Supports, Takes note of, Transmits, Urges.