Rules of Procedure for MOAS at SUNY Plattsburgh
North Country High School Model OAS General Assembly
Rules Of Procedure
(Revised May, 2004)
Note: This document is adapted from and in many cases duplicates the Rules and Procedures established by the Office of Public Information at the Organization of American States and the Edgar Maya University Model OAS General Assembly. We gratefully acknowledge their inspiration and hard work. We have aimed to simplify and adapt some aspects of the Rules of Procedure in order to enhance the learning opportunities for our students. All references below to the Model OAS should be construed as referring only to the North Country High School Model OAS.
- Secretary General
- Assistant Sec General
- Sessions and Meetings
The North Country High School Model Organization of American States General Assembly (MOAS) is a simulation of the General Assembly, which is the supreme organ of the Organization of American States. The simulation may depart from the real world procedures at the OAS, in order to maximize learning opportunities for students participating, or for other practical considerations.
English is the official language for all proceedings of the North Country High School MOAS.
Each OAS member state will be represented by one high school delegation, unless there are vacancies permitting a high school to have two (or three) delegations.
Each high school country delegation shall consist of ten delegates (five delegates and a maximum of five alternates). There may be an additional member who will serve as the Public Relations Officer, who shall have free access to all committee sessions, though he/she shall have neither the right to speak nor vote. Each delegation must include a Faculty Advisor.
Each high school country delegation shall have a Head Delegate, who shall be responsible for the general conduct of his/her delegation, so that his/her country may be represented at the Model in a coherent and consistent manner. The Head Delegate shall have the authority to assign duties to any member of the delegation. The Head Delegate will represent the delegation on the General Committee.
High schools may be allowed to attend the Model as Observers, without vote, voice, or eligibility for election. Observers shall be bound by the Rules of Procedure for the Model.
The Head Delegate of each country shall report to the Registration Desk at the designated arrival time and place in order to receive his/her delegation’s credentials and other registration material.
The Order of Precedence of delegations for the Model session shall be established twice, by lot, at the Inaugural Plenary Session of the Model, the changeover to take place in the afternoon of the second day.
The President of the Model is empowered to:
- Convoke the Plenary Sessions;
- Decide on the order of business thereof;
- Open and close the Plenary Sessions;
- Moderate discussions;
- Recognize the speakers in the order in which they request the floor;
- Submit points under discussion to a vote and announce the results thereof;
- Rule on points of order;
- Ensure parliamentary order; and
- In general, comply with, and enforce, the provisions of these rules of procedure.
The President shall have voice but not vote. The President shall have the opportunity to work with the Secretary General in assisting the Coordinator(s) in the planning of the Model OAS General Assembly, when appropriate.
III. Secretary General
The Secretary General of the Model participates with voice, but without vote, in the deliberations of the Model OAS General Assembly.
The Secretary General of the Model shall work in close cooperation with the Director, the Model OAS General Secretariat Staff, and the President in order to ensure that proceedings run smoothly and efficiently. In addition, the Secretary General shall preside at the MOAS Closing Ceremony.
IV. Assistant Secretary General
The Assistant Secretary General of the Model shall act as a liaison with, and report to, the Secretary General, in matters relating to the activities and services provided by the MOAS General Secretariat, and shall report to the President as necessary. In addition, the Assistant Secretary General shall supervise the work of the Rapporteurs and shall work closely with the Director of Model in order to ensure the appropriate dissemination of pertinent documents, press releases and necessary information to the delegates and faculty advisors.
The Model OAS General Assembly has the following standing committees:
- General Committee (Permanent Council, formed by Head Delegates);
- First Committee (Juridical and Political Matters);
- Second Committee A (Economic and Social Matters);
- Second Committee B (Educational, Scientific and Cultural Matters); and
- Third Committee (Administrative and Budgetary Matters).
Each high school country delegation is entitled to have two delegates in each committee. The two delegates will work at the same level of responsibility on different agenda topics, with the exception of the General Committee (following Article). Each delegate may allow the other to debate in his/her absence, or when the other is particularly qualified to speak on the issue under consideration; but only one delegate from a country can debate an issue at a time. Once a delegate has left his/her seat during debate, he/she may not return until the draft resolution has been voted upon, and must then request to be seated. Delegates may not switch places while a draft resolution is on the floor.
In the General Committee, the two delegates will be designated as the Head Delegate and the Alternate Head Delegate. The same debate rules apply as in the previous Article. However, duties differ on some situations of governance of the Model as provided in other Articles.
The General Committee shall be comprised of the Head Delegates and their alternates. The President of the Model shall be the Chairperson of the General Committee, with voice but without vote. The Vice-Chairperson shall replace the Chairperson when she/he is absent. A Rapporteur, and Vice-Rapporteur (when available), shall support the work of the Committee.
The General Committee shall see that the work of the Model and its committees proceeds correctly. It shall also decide upon matters, which may be referred to it by other committees. The Chair, Vice-Chair or any delegate on the General Committee may move to refer a proposal to the General Committee. The motion requires a 2/3 majority for approval.
The First, Second A, Second B, and Third Committees shall be composed of representatives of the member states participating in the Model. Each of the committees shall have a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, a Rapporteur, and a Vice-Rapporteur (when available).
The Committee Chair (and Vice-Chair when filling in during the Chair’s absence) shall have, as appropriate, the same power as those indicated for the President of the Model in Article 19, with the exception of convoking Plenary Sessions.
The Rapporteur shall keep accurate records of all committee business, including attendance and roll call votes. The Vice-Rapporteur shall be available to assist.
The committees shall consider the agenda topics approved during the inaugural plenary session of the NCHS-MOAS. Committees may not change the agenda as adopted by the Plenary Session.
VI. Sessions and Meetings
The Model OAS General Assembly will simulate the activities and sessions of the OAS General Assembly, and will hold the following sessions:
An Inaugural Plenary Session; Committee sessions; and A Closing Plenary Session.
Plenary sessions of the Model OAS General Assembly require full participation of delegations. Delegations must be present for the Inaugural Plenary and cannot depart prior to the Closing Plenary Session.
MOAS General Assembly sessions are open to properly accredited delegates, alternates, faculty advisors, observers and staff.
The Agenda of the Inaugural Plenary Session of the Model OAS General Assembly shall include the following (in order):
Opening statement by the President of the Model OAS General Assembly; Establishment of the Order of Precedence of delegations, by lot; Reaching agreement on the Plenary Session’s Modus Operandi; Additions to, or deletions from, the Draft Agenda; and Adoption of the Agenda.
Approval of motions to adopt the Agenda or to change it in any way requires 2/3-majority vote of the member states represented at the Model. Once adopted, no new agenda topics may be added or deleted.
The first committee session of each of the Committees shall have as its order of business the following topics (in order):
- Opening statement by the Committee Chair;
- Introduction of the Committee Officers and staff (Vice-Chair, Rapporteur, Vice-Rapporteur,
- Review of Modus Operandi adopted at the Inaugural Plenary Session; and
- Beginning of debate on previously distributed First Resolution Booklet.
At the beginning of the second committee session of each of the Committees, draft resolutions shall be submitted for the Second Resolution Booklet, and at the beginning of the sixth committee session for the Third Resolution Booklet. All adopted resolutions with funding from the OAS Budget (revised for amendments, if necessary), shall be turned into the Committee Chairs at the beginning of the fifth and eighth committee sessions, who will present them to the Secretary General.
The agenda of the last session of each Committee, if all resolutions have been considered, shall include a moderated caucus on any issue(s) encompassing the work of the Committee, to be determined by the Committee, with guidance from the Chair. The session will conclude with closing remarks by the Chair.
The Closing Plenary Session shall include:
- Final adoption or rejection of all resolutions approved by committees during their sessions;
- Introduction of any declarations and courtesy resolutions;
- Presentation of Awards;
- Closing remarks by the:
- Secretary General of the Model OAS General Assembly;
- President of the Model OAS General Assembly;
- Representative of the faculty advisors;
- Director of the North Country High School Model OAS;
- Any other procedural and ceremonial matters as deemed appropriate by the Secretary General.
VIII. Debate and Procedure
All aspects of debate will be conducted according to the modus operandi adopted at the Inaugural Plenary Session.
A majority of the registered delegations representing member states of the OAS shall constitute a quorum at the Plenary Sessions and Committee Sessions of the Model OAS General Assembly. However, in order for a vote to be taken, 2/3 of the registered delegations must be in attendance at the Committee Session or Plenary Session. In the event that delegations must depart prior to the conclusion of the General Assembly, this will be taken into account when considering quorum.
At the start of each Plenary and Committee Session, the Rapporteur will call the roll to determine attendance, consistent with Article 39. Delegates arriving after the roll call has been completed must be recognized by the Chair before the delegation may take part in the proceedings.
Proposals shall be presented in writing (typed) to the Rapporteur of the Committee. In order for a proposal to be accepted for consideration, it must conform to the following specifications:
- Pertain specifically to a topic on the agenda of the committee in question;
- Conform to the stylistic standards of the Model OAS General Assembly, provided by the Director. Proposals that do not comply with the proposed format will be automatically rejected
- Bear the signature of the Faculty Advisor of the delegation making the proposal, approving the proposal for form and substance; and
- Bear the signatures of at least four (4) or five (5) delegates representing at least four (4) or five (5) delegations-depending on the number of delegations attending-other than the proponent’s, indicating commitment to support the proposal as originally presented.
In each committee, no delegation may present more than two proposals, excluding courtesy resolutions and declarations. This provision does not apply, however, to proposals that may originate in the course of debate on a given topic, or within working groups.
The NCHS-MOAS Director will review all draft resolutions initially submitted prior to the Model Assembly. During the Model Assembly, re-submissions will be reviewed by the NCHS-MOAS Director, the Secretary General, and Assistant Secretary General. At the discretion of the officials reviewing draft resolutions, two or more resolutions may be considered similar enough in content that they be combined into a single draft resolution, to be prepared by the delegations that had submitted the original draft resolution, organized as a "working group." The resulting draft resolution will be co-sponsored by several delegations; in this case the total number of co-sponsors and co-signatories must be greater than or equal to six.
Delegates assigned to a working group may not re-submit their original individual proposal. Cosignatories of working group proposals will be listed by alphabetical order. The members of the group will elect the primary presenter/speaker on the proposal, who also will answer any and all questions. The Committee Chair will give preference to the other delegates in the working group in establishing a speaker’s list.
Debate on each proposal considered shall consist of the following procedures:
- Presentation of Proposal (Draft Resolution) to be considered;
- Establishing a Speakers List;
- Presentation, debate and vote on draft amendments (if necessary);
- Vote on proposal (as amended or originally presented); and
- Announcement of vote result, with adoption or rejection of proposal.
When debate is completed on a Draft Resolution, the Chair shall announce the next Draft Resolution to be introduced and debated. Immediately after that announcement, there shall be an interim caucusing session, to last no longer than five minutes. During this session, delegates are expected to remain in the committees meeting room (and to consult with each other, and their Public Information Officer if necessary, but not their faculty advisors). At the conclusion of the caucus session, delegates will return to order immediately, to begin the discussion of the announced Draft Resolution, consistent with the previous article. In the case of a resolution submitted by a Non-Delegate (Public Information Officer, Rapporteur, Vice-Rapporteur, or Newsletter Reporter), a second, moderated five-minute caucusing session will be held, during which time the non-delegate will present their resolution and answer any questions pertaining to it.
A draft resolution is formally presented to the committee first through the reading of the proposal title, and operative clauses by the Committee Rapporteur, and then by the proponent speech of the draft resolution, which deal directly with the proposal being considered. The chair will automatically recognize the sponsor of the draft resolution to speak after the reading of the title and operative clauses.
Immediately following the proponent speech, the chair will recognize delegates to ask questions concerning the draft resolution. All questions must pertain specifically to the proposal and must be made in the form of a question. All questions and answers must be conducted through the Chair, or they will be ruled out of order.
During the question period, any delegate may move to limit the number of questions or to end the question period immediately. This procedural motion must be approved by a 2/3 vote.
A Speakers List will be opened for discussion of the draft resolution considered. Speakers will be identified as being in favor of the proposal or against the proposal. For purposes of balancing debates, if there are no speakers in the negative, the Speaker’s List will be considered exhausted; but if there are no speakers in the affirmative, those speaking in the negative will be permitted to do so. The delegates on the Speakers List may speak when recognized by the Chair, who will determine the order of speakers.
Once the Speakers List has been exhausted, the Chair, Vice-Chair, or any delegate may move to extend the speaker’s list. This procedural motion will be subject to a majority vote by the committee, unless the Chair observes that there is no objection to extending the Speakers List. Delegates who have spoken on prior speakers lists may be recognized to speak on subsequent speaker’s lists, however priority will be given to those delegations who were not recognized on prior speaker’s lists. Sponsors of draft resolutions may also participate on any subsequent speaker’s lists.
During the discussion of a topic, any delegate may raise a point of order, to address immediately a procedural error, or to seek clarification or information. The President or Chair shall promptly act upon points of order. Any delegation may appeal the President or Chair’s decision, in which case the appeal shall be put to a simple majority vote. While raising a point of order, a delegate may not discuss the substance of the matter under discussion; rather, the delegate’s point must focus on the perceived procedural error, or the need for clarification or information.
The President, Chair, or any delegate may propose suspension of debate. This motion, if approved, tables the draft resolution or topic under consideration without a vote or conclusion of the speaker’s list.. Only two delegations may speak in favor of, and two against, this procedural motion, which then shall be put to a simple majority vote. Any proposal tabled in this fashion may be reconsidered subsequently, under the procedures of Article 49, as appropriate.
At any point in a debate, the President, Chair, or any delegate may propose that debate be closed. This procedural motion, if approved, closes debate and moves to an immediate vote on the matter being considered. A speaker’s list on this motion shall be limited to two delegations wishing to speak against the motion to close debate, and may not be extended. This procedural motion shall be declared approved if voted for by 2/3 of the member states.
At any time during the consideration of the draft resolution, a motion may be made to amend it by a delegate on negative side of the speaker’s list. The text of proposed amendments must be submitted in writing (printed legibly), on the appropriate form, to the Rapporteur.
A motion shall be considered to be an amendment to a draft resolution only when it constitutes an addition to, or deletion from the proposal, or changes part of the proposal. A motion that would totally change the original intent of the proposal, or that is not directly related to it, may not be approved for form and substance, at the discretion of the presiding Chair. No "friendly amendments" are permitted.
The proponent or any of the co-sponsors of a motion may withdraw a motion, proposal, or amendment, before it has been put to a vote. Any delegation may reintroduce a motion, proposal, or amendment that has been withdrawn.
Delegates may move to reconsider earlier votes in any Committee or in Plenary Sessions. If there has been a roll call vote on the earlier question, a motion to reconsider can be made only by a delegation that has voted in the affirmative in the roll call vote. Motions for the reconsideration of decisions must be approved by a vote of 2/3 of the member states.
During the discussion of any topic, the President, Chair, or any delegate may propose that the session or meeting be suspended or adjourned. A motion to suspend session recesses the current meeting for an amount of time specified by the proponent of the motion. A motion to adjourn ends the committee session until the next scheduled meeting. This procedural motion shall be put to a simple majority vote immediately and without discussion.
Motions shall have precedence in the order set forth below, from highest ranking to lowest:
- Suspension of the session;
- Adjournment of the session;
- Suspension of debate to table the topic under consideration; and
- Closure of debate on the topic under consideration.
Each delegation shall have the right to one vote.
In both the Plenary Session and in the Committee Sessions, decisions shall be taken by the vote of a majority of the member states registered for the Model, except in those cases in which these Rules of Procedure may provide otherwise.
Votes shall be taken by a show of placards, but any delegation may move for a role-call vote, which shall be automatically granted, using the Order of Precedence of the delegations established at the Inaugural Plenary Session. No representative may interrupt the voting, except for a Point of Order relating to the manner in which the voting is conducted. The voting shall be considered terminated when the President or Chair has announced the results.
When taking a vote by a show of placards, the President or the Chairperson shall ask for "those in favor," "those opposed," and "abstentions." When named in a roll call, a delegate shall answer "yes," "no," or "abstain." Delegations should abstain in voting on substantive matters only when a resolution puts their country diplomatically in a sensitive or embarrassing position; uncertainty or lack of adequate knowledge is not grounds for abstention. Delegations cannot abstain on procedural motions.
After the speaker’s list has been exhausted, the draft resolution being considered, along with any approved amendments (or procedural motion where debate is permitted), shall be put to a vote immediately, and be approved by a majority vote (unless the rules of procedure specify otherwise).
A simple majority is required to approve draft amendments. All delegations, regardless of their status as co-sponsors or co-signatories may vote in favor of draft amendments. Adoption of an amendment to a draft resolution releases cosignatories from their obligation to vote in favor of the proposal.
When several draft amendments to a proposal are presented, the consideration and vote of each draft amendment shall be taken in the order in which they were proposed. When the adoption of one amendment necessarily implies the exclusion of another, as determined by the Chair, the latter shall not be put to consideration or a vote.
Prior to the vote on any proposal or amendment that contains several parts, any delegation may move for Voting by Parts. If the Chair perceives no opposition to this procedural motion, he or she will proceed to conduct the vote by parts. If there is opposition, the procedural motion will be put to an immediate vote, without debate. The procedural motion to vote by parts is approved by a simple majority.
If voting by parts is accepted, each operative clause of the draft resolution (or amendment) shall be voted upon individually, in order. The resulting draft resolution, which will consist of operative clauses approved by majority vote, shall be put to a final vote, unless all the parts of the draft resolution (or amendment) have been approved or have been rejected, in which case the draft resolution (or amendment) shall be considered to have been approved, or rejected, as a whole.
After the voting on a draft resolution or amendment has ended, any delegate may request the floor-via a Point of Order-to give a brief explanation of the delegation’s vote. The President or Chair shall use discretion in limiting time spent on explanation of votes.
X. Documents for the Model OAS General Assembly
All delegations, as part of their preparation for the model, shall be responsible for obtaining all documents relevant to their draft proposals and other research. The Director of the Model of the Model will provide a "final document" (Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly) to each delegation, via the Faculty Advisor, for distribution to its members.
XI. Responsibilities of Participating Institutions
Each participating institution shall ensure prompt payment of the School Participation Fee established by the Director of the North Country High School Model OAS.
Each participating institution shall appoint a member of its faculty to serve as advisor to the prospective student delegation. The Faculty Advisor shall be the focal point of contact for the institution, the student delegation, and the Director of the Model.
The Faculty Advisors shall:
- Select student delegations sufficiently in advance to permit proper preparation for the Model;
- Take an active role in all phases of preparation for the Model, scheduling and attending discussion sessions, assigning research topics to individual students, monitoring the progress of their efforts, and stimulating them to work as a team;
- Be responsible for maintaining a permanent OAS reference "library" composed of background materials, or other materials generated by earlier sessions of the MOAS.
- Accompany their respective student delegations to the Model OAS General Assembly sessions;
- Ensure that their student delegations attend all officially scheduled sessions and for the entire duration of the Model;
- Notify the Director of the Model OAS General Assembly immediately should conditions make it necessary to leave any event early;
- Assume the role of observers at the Model Assembly, confining advice and comments for delegates to time outside of Committee and Plenary sessions;
- Address, in private, the NCHS-MOAS Director, or the appropriate committee officer, regarding problems that may arise during the Model Assembly;
- Vote for the Most Diplomatic Delegation and Runner-up Most Diplomatic Delegation (except for their own delegation), and submit to the Committee Chairs recommendations for the Most Diplomatic Delegation by Committee; and
- Meet, upon returning to their respective institutions, with the student delegations to evaluate the Model course and Model Assembly (the resulting suggestions and observations being welcomed by the Director).
NCHS-MOAS Rules of Procedure as of May, 2004