Researching an agenda issue
There will be one in each committee/organ of the conference. In order to be active in the debate, deliver effective speeches and defend their countries’ views, delegates research each issue of committees’ issue and find the policy of their assigned country on such issue in order to defend their countries views. Below is the suggested flowchart on how to research an issue.
>> Select and define the key words of the issue.
>> Research relevant organizations on the issue.
>> Find the current position of your country on the issue.
>> Did the country sign any treaties or documents?
>> Is the delegation actively involved in the issue?
>> Is the delegation for or against the issue?
>> Find the relevant conferences and documents.
>> Find the relevant treaties.
>> Find the current status of the issue.
>> Figures and Statistics
>> Location and Development
>> Current Events
>> Write your country's policy statement.
A good place to start your research is to go to the United Nations website (www.un.org/en) and type in the issue. This is sure to return many articles and statistics as all JMUN topics are selected from the UN website. Learn as much as you can on the issue. The second step is to extract your country’s position on the issue. Start by visiting the website for the permanent mission of your country to the UN. Another good source is the website of the UN organization/s that is the main focus of the conference. You can simply type in your country on the website of such organization to see the field work, if any, of such organization in your country. Please refer to the Useful Links column at the right hand side of the page for online sources.
Researching a Delegation
Each participants will be assigned a delegation. All members of the delegation, including the ambassador, shall research their assigned country/NGO. Below is the list of items to be researched when delegates are researching their delegation.
1. What is the name of the country?
2. What is the capital of the country?
3. In which continent is the country is located?
4. What are the official languages of the country?
5. Is the country part of any blocs or organizations?
6. When did it join the UN?
7. Is it a member of the Security Council or the Economic and Social Council?
8. Administration and Politics
9. What type of regime?
10. What are the current ruling parties?
11. Who is the head of the state?
12. Is the government independent?
13. Is there a monarchy?
14. Does religion or monarchy influence politics?
15. Was the country a colony or a colonizer?
17. Is it a most developed country, developing country or a least developed country?
18. Is it affiliated with any economic or trade organizations?
19. What is the human development index?
20. What is the Gross Domestic Product?
21. What is the percentage of unemployment?
22. What are the natural resources?
23. What are the major exports?
24. What are the major imports?
1. Is the military independent?
2. Is the country currently in war or in danger of war?
3. If yes, who are the parties?
4. Who are the allies?
5. Who are the enemies?
6. Does the country have nuclear power?
7. What is its relationship with other nuclear powers?
8. Is the military affiliated to any military organizations?
9. Who are the members of the organization?
10. How is the relationship with other members?
1. How much energy is consumed in the country? (kWh)
2. Does the country use renewable energy sources?
3. Does the country overuse natural resources?
4. What are the alternative types of energy?
5. How much does the country recycle?
6. Is it affiliated to any environmental organizations?
7. Did the country sign or ratify any agreements or protocols?
Geography, Culture and Society
1. What is the surface area?
2. Does the country have a coastline or is it landlocked?
3. What is the land type?
4. What is the population of the country?
5. What is the percentage of indigenous people, if any, livinf in the country?
6. What are the major ethnic groups?
7. What are the major religions?
8. What is the average lifespan?
9. What is the poverty rate?
10. What is the literacy rate?
When researching your delegation, there are lots of resources that you can use. CIA World Fact Book is one of the websites that is commonly used. Just by typing in a country name, delegates can access a lot of information. It is also possible to look at the Council of World Affairs, BBC Country Profiles, UN Cyber Bus, CNN, Global Issues and Global Policy Forum to gain more information. Lastly, detailed information can be found at the official government, embassy foreign ministry websites of the assigned country. These websites contain official statements of a country and speeches made by the country’s diplomats. Wikipedia is not a reliable final source since it can be altered by anybody and that any information obtained from it needs to be independently verified.
Delegates are encouraged to write policy statements on each of the issues in their committees. While this is not required, it is highly recommended for the delegate’s success in the conference. A policy statement should be brief and state a delegation’s general position on the issue at hand.
A policy statement, also called a position paper, is a short text that clearly explains the countries’ point of view on the issues that will be discussed in the committees. It may also state what your government wants the UN to do to help solve the problem. It is the most important part of the preparation process since in them you will lay out your country’s policy on the issue at hand and the solutions you wish to see your committee pursue. Writing a policy statement will ensure that you understand the issues that will be debated in your committee thoroughly and after you read it out loud in the committee, it will also make sure that everyone in the committee will know your stand on a certain issue. In your policy statement, you should:
1. Explain the issue
2. Refer to recent action taken to solve this issue
3. State your country’s general opinion on the issue
4. Make brief suggestions to solve this issue
You may read your policy statements out to your committee, in order to tell the other ambassadors and delegates what the ideas (or policies) of your country's government are concerning a certain issue.
Please remember that you are representing your assigned country and its government, and not yourself. Your policy statements should not contain your personal views on an issue, unless they are the same as those of your government.
Sometimes, governments do not have clear ideas (or policies) concerning a certain issue or agenda item or sometimes policies change, depending on what happens at a conference.
Sometimes governments wait before saying anything, to hear what others will say first. Do not worry about this. This is normal; however, in the limited time of our conference, you may have to be creative and imaginative, in order to take proper part in the debates. Try to be realistic and use ideas that would be of obvious benefit to your country.
To write a policy statement, you will use your research results, and your answers to the questionnaires. Statements should be short and to the point, allowing other delegates to understand clearly what your government thinks and giving them a base for asking you questions about your policy, if need be.