How to Write a Model UN Position Paper - (Examples Inside)

How to Write a MUN Position Paper

A MUN Position Paper, also known as Policy Paper, is a strategic document that gives an overview of a delegates country position.

A good MUN Position Paper has three parts:

1) Country’s Position on the Topic
2) Country’s Relation to the Topic
3) Proposals of Policies to Pass in a Resolution

The following guide will show you how to write an excellent Position Paper, make the right impression to your chair and fellow delegates while achieving your overt, and covert, goals.

The Purpose of a Position Paper

Show chairs you’ve researched and successfully turned facts into a strong, country-specific case

 Make a first impression with the other delegates, to present yourself in the manner you want to be viewed

For you to sort your thoughts and research

 Have a fact and example sheet that you know, available to use in speeches

 Read what other delegates wrote to best strategize what course of action will get the best majority to pass your resolutions

What is a Position Paper?

A Position Paper/Policy Paper, is a document, normally one page, which presents your country’s stance on the issue/topic your committee will be discussing. A solid position paper has three parts 1) Country’s position, 2) Country’s relation 3) Country’s Proposal

Great Position Papers require research and strategic analysis to effectively convey your countries position. Most MUN conferences require Policy Papers for a delegate to be eligible to win an award. Having an outstanding Position Paper could be the tiebreaker to win an award.

Why is the Position Paper important?

A MUN Position Paper is important for a wide variety of reasons beyond ensuring that delegates do a basic level of research before the conference. Understanding why a Position Paper is important lays the foundation to help you sort your thoughts as well as delivering your desired message to the chair.

The chairs oversee the committee from start to finish and as a delegate, you will want to show consistency with the principles and values present in your Position Paper.

Goals of a Position Paper

1. Show your country’s unique understanding of the issue being discussed.
2. Show your country’s previous relationship with the topic (preferably with relevant examples).
3. Show policies and ideas that your country would like to see in the resolution.

As most position papers are limited to one page, a minimum of one paragraph should be devoted to each of the aforementioned goals, and there should be clear transitions from paragraph to paragraph. The following position paper outline is universal, with options to expand in specific sections if you see it is needed.

The Sections of a Good Position Paper

A position paper is the result of proper preparation and research for your Model UN conference. Once you finish researching, follow the position paper guidelines (the conference should provide you with these). With the formatting instructions in mind, follow the instructions below to produce a high-quality position paper.

Model UN Position Paper Structure

1) How you / your country sees the situation/problem in general

2) Your country’s relation to the topic

3) What you want to pass in your MUN resolution

1) Your Position on the Topic Being Discussed

To answer the question “how to start a Position Paper’, keep in mind that you are not only sharing your position, but also introducing the reader to see the topic being discussed from your eyes.

To establish your position, start with a brief history of the situation / problem the committee will be discussing (How you see the situation / your position on the topic).
Define what you see as the challenge to the global community (or at least what some of them face). Keep in mind that your goal is to meet this challenge by the end of the paper.

Frame the issue to be discussed as something that does not only pertain to your country but, ideally, also the other countries you would want to support your policy.

It helps to keep in mind that you will not get support for your clauses, or pass a resolution, alone. It is only if other countries see the topic the same way you do, that they will want to join you to implement your solution.

Example of Position
Country: Angola
Committee: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Topic: Improving Access to Clean Water

The Republic of Angola believes consistent access to clean water is a basic human right. Some countries have an abundance of water, such as: Canada, Scotland and Switzerland. Others have next to no water, such as: Yemen, Libya and Djibouti, or low rainfall like Namibia and Sudan which creates water scarcity and desertification. The solution to all of these problems is the weather control that comes from cloud-seeding, with richer countries already reaping the benefits. The National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) witnessed an increase in rainfall of 10%–15% in polluted air and 30%–35% in clean air. China uses cloud seeding over several increasingly arid regions including Beijing, the capital. In 2017, the United Arab Emirates launched 235 cloud-seeding operations by five cloud-seeding planes based in Al Ain. The use and success proves the technology works, but it is only accessible to those who can afford setting up the mechanisms to cloud seed, or pay for the chemicals from companies like Bayer and DowDuPont Inc, who control the patents and sales rights.

2) Your Country’s Relation To The Topic

presentation of the policies your country has used to deal with the issue in the past.
You should also describe the successes or failures of those policies (Your country’s previous relation to the topic and the precedents it set).

Note: This is also the place to write previous actions your committee has with the topic ONLY IF it is relevant to how your country introduces itself. Otherwise, you are repeating factual information that is not related to you introducing your position. Writing facts that do not forward your case is a trap many fall into.
In the cases where your country has a strong link to the issue, the examples in the 2nd paragraph should be about your country’s connection to the specific issue.

If your country has no direct relation, see if similar countries to yours, or countries with similar positions, have a relation to the topic. You can also conduct research to find out if your country has a relation to a similar topic, from where you can draw inspiration and a direction to justify your policies. (More on this in our article about ‘How to effectively represent your country’)

Example of Relation
Country: Angola
Committee: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Topic: Improving Access to Clean Water

Angola’s history is scarred with conflicts arising from the abuse and mismanagement of natural resources, such as iron ore, petroleum, uranium, and diamonds. Angola is oil-rich while our people are dirt-poor. We stand at 149 out of 186 on the 2016 Human Development Index poverty scale. In rural areas, which contain 11.4 million people (38.5% of our total population), only 6% of households having access to electricity and 38% do not have access to safe water sources. Approximately 15 out of every 100 children do not survive beyond the age of five, leaving us with a child mortality rate is around 17%. These challenges are especially difficult for our president Joao Lourenco, who entered the office in September 2017. President Lourenco biggest challenge is reforming 38 years of cronyism and corruption under former President José Eduardo dos Santos. During his 38 years in power, infrastructure has not been developed while tens of billions of petrodollars disappeared. The 2014 oil slump made our situation worse reaffirming that we are unable to pull ourselves up on our own. Additionally, we do not get enough rain. We only get 32 days of rain with more than 0.1mm of rainfall meaning only 2.7 days of quality rain, sleet, and snow per month. Not enough to maintain adequate crop yields.

3) Extra Supporting Material

Sometimes, a Position Paper will need a 4th paragraph of extra supporting material covering additional angles that don’t fit into the main three. This can be a case study, some topic-specific information about your (or another) country. It can be hard data needed to support paragraph 2 or justify paragraph 3; this 4th paragraph still comes before the final section where you describe your desired policies.

The key is that the 4th paragraph needs to display a clear contribution to the Position Paper, show clear thinking and, in the end, be supporting of the Call to Action/policy that is being advocated for. Collectively, all of the sections of the Position Paper should show how the delegates unique, country-specific research and analysis furthers the understanding of what was originally read in the committee study guide.

Example of Extra
Country: Angola
Committee: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Topic: Improving Access to Clean Water

The global system that depends on technologies provided by companies like Corteva is strongly entrenched in the Sub Saharan agriculture sector, as well as all over the world. The four biggest companies, Bayer-Monsanto, ChemChina, Corteva and Syngenta have 59 percent of the world’s patented seeds, 64 percent of all pesticides and held near-monopolies over other agrichemicals. The use of these crops and chemicals has become fundamental to grow corn in Tanzania, potatoes in Kenya and other crops in sub-Saharan Africa throughout their diverse range of crops and terrains. This position of power persists because the sub-Saharan farmers are similar in their lack of access to best practices, techniques, technologies, finances and markets. This lack of skills is combined with limited resources results in the agriculture sector that is as under-development in agriculture as it is dependent on companies like ChemChina.

4)Proposal – What You Want to Pass in a Resolution

Give an outline of possible / likely solutions that your country proposes and would advocate to see implemented during the Model UN simulation.
Do this within the limits of what your particular committee can do (What you would want to pass a resolution about).
If you want to do additional actions beyond the mandate of your committee, you can outsource them to other committees. If this is an integral part of your strategy they should also go here.
In the Proposal section, you can either commit to one strong Call to Action, a few different policies or two extreme red lines, which you say you intend to work between. Remember, while you do not need to fully commit yourself to what you write in your Position Papers, it is important that you show the margins within which you will be operating at the conference. Doing this shows there is thought behind your actions and gives you more credit with the chairs for diplomatic progress. It is thus strongly advisable that you not write something that you will directly contradict through your actions in committee sessions.

What is a Policy?
A policy is a course of action proposed, or adopted, by a government, party, business, or individual. Your policies are a Call to Action telling the UN officials, who get the resolution, what to do.

You want your MUN policy to be clear, concise, and SMART.

The SMART MUN Policy

SMART is an acronym to describe the criteria needed to set policy goals.

Specific – Target a specific area for improvement in your policy.

Measurable – Suggest an indicator of progress once the policy is in place.

Actionable– Specify what action this policy will do.

Realistic – Given available resources and committee mandate, ensure your proposed policy can realistically be attained.

Timely – Specify when the result(s) from your proposed policy can be achieved, or when to revisit.

Example of Proposal
Country: Angola
Committee: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Topic: Improving Access to Clean Water

Angola advocates for a UN-sanctioned policy that gives permission to dry developing countries to make generic replicas of their patented chemicals at a fraction of the cost to achieve water independence. An example of these technologies belongs to German rainfall enhancement leader WeatherTec Services GmbH. WeatherTecs cutting edge technologies to improve water access are cheaper than many of their competitors but the operating costs start at 11 – 15 million Euros a year. Angola does not believe the United Nations should subsidize the cost of the chemicals, as the subsidy is a temporary solution and it would take funds from other important programs while leaving the corporations with the same level of control. Today, aside from South Africa, none of us can afford cloud seeding. We can cloud seed on our own if freed from the shackles of patent laws that benefit the rich. Dupot made net sales of $62.5B in 2017, by charging prices which the poorer dry countries could never afford. The UN should allow the relevant member states to locally produce WeatherTecs technologies so we can join the ranks of self-sufficient nations who can provide for themselves the basic water needs to survive.

The PReP Formula for Successful Position Papers

PReP stands for Position, Relation, extra & Proposal, which are the essential parts of every position paper. PReP will help you remember the formula.

Position – Your view / interpretation of the issue being discussed. (Paragraph 1)

Relation – Your connection to the topic being discussed. (Paragraph 2)

extra – The optional 4th paragraph which can contain extra information your feel is critical to your case, but doesn’t naturally fit into one of the other three paragraphs. This paragraph still comes before the one containing your policies.

Proposal – The practical policies you would want to see in the resolution. (Paragraph 3)

The PReP Strategy

Tool tip

With the Proposal (paragraph 3), you solve the issue shown in your Position (paragraph 1) with the tools and relevance you set up in your Relation (paragraph 2). (The examples used in paragraph 2 should, preferably, also show the policy margins of your country).

The policy outlined in the final section of the Position Paper should show ideas that address the issues outlined in your position associated with the committee topic (as should have been specified in the first paragraph). This position should be justified by the country’s relation (or guesstimate relation) to the topic (the second paragraph). These should be used to justify the policy proposals you outline in the third paragraph. Each of these paragraphs should try to have as much unique information as possible that can’t be found in the committee study guide (because everyone in the committee should theoretically know that information). Obviously, your paper should have some connection to the main issues of the topic, but if you feel the paper should go in a different direction, that is completely your right.

Topic: Finding the cure for the Zika virus

Country: Greece

While this topic is one that is important, the delegate of Greece can decide that he doesn’t want his country to fund viruses they don’t have and only exists half a world away. In such a case, we would see:

Position (First paragraph): How the global community spends collective money on local issues.

Relation (Second paragraph): How Greece doesn’t have the money to spend and how it has local diseases and problems at home.

Extra (Fourth Optional Paragraph): Optional paragraph could include data on regional diseases that broke out in neighboring countries and remain a viable threat for Greece.

Proposal (Third paragraph): Passing laws that would have localized diseases with body counts that don’t cross the tens of thousands, to be funded by local unions. There can also be a second idea that the World Health Organization divert extra funds instead of countries collectively forking out money.

Pro Tip

There is no set amount of space each section needs to have. Some Position papers need a longer first section while others need double the space for the policy. What is certain is that no paper can miss any of the sections (except the extra part) and each one should be developed to at least 25% of the paper.

Practicum: The four-step plan to implement PReP

Writing a Position Paper should come after you finish your MUN research. Once you have completed that (and especially if you haven’t), follow this three-step plan and don’t over complicate things.

  1. Read & Reference Your Study Guide
    The guides provided by the conference are a blueprint for you AND for the Chairs. They will be looking to see if you properly read and interpreted them. They didn’t spend a bunch of time writing them for no reason; they are usually quality documents (when you have a bad study guide, check out our article What to do With a Vague Study Guide). They expect you to use them in some form in your papers, or, if you deviate from them, to see a very good alternative topic interpretation. Reading the guide does not absolve you of your own independent research. YOU NEED TO DO BOTH. The key is to make sure you have a good understanding of everything written in the guide before you begin writing.
  2. Find Your Position
    Once you read the guide and understand the issues, figure out how your country relates to the topic (see in our How to Represent Your Country guide. This will eventually turn into your second ‘relation’ paragraph. You can also search for past resolutions in the UN as well as other sources.
  3. Choose What is Most Important
    -You will find a lot of data when researching your country and the topic. Filtering through it and choosing what is important and relevant is part of the challenge of writing a good Position Paper. To show your most important ideas in the limited space you have, you should aim to show the facts that are the strongest and most relevant to your case. For this reason, try to avoid writing the obvious in your Position Paper and avoid being off clash.
    – The right mix of research, and strategic writing, should give the reader the feeling that your Position Paper had much more relevant content then you were able to fit into the paper. You want to show that, while the most relevant of your research is there, it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your knowledge.
  4. Create Solutions
    The third paragraph, where you write your policy, is the section where you can get creative. Yes, make sure any solution you come up with is viable and based on research, but don’t be afraid to be bold. You are not married to the policies you write in the Position Paper and a chair will understand if you need to deviate for the sake of compromise in the committee. In the Position Paper, the policy paragraph needs to be clear and consistent with the previous two paragraphs.

Types of Position Papers

– Position Papers chairs read
– Position Papers delegates read
– Position Papers everyone will read
– Position Papers no one will read

“Everyone has a story to tell or a product to sell. Know your audience before you open your mouth.” – April Sims

While not all Model United Nations conferences require Position Papers, many of them do. Whether it be your Chairs, other delegates, a mix or none of the above, knowing who will be your audience will help you craft the right paper and achieve your desired goal.

Position Papers Only The Chair Will Read

When the chair is required to send feedback, this usually means they will have read your Position Paper. This is an excellent opportunity to go all out, regarding the reasons for why your country has the position that it is taking and why you chose the policies that you did. (See our article on ‘Properly Represent Your Country?’) This is also the place to describe your Call to Action / the policies you want to implement in detail. The reason for such open and clear (but not too clear) writing is because no one but the Chair will read it, meaning you don’t need as much nuance as you would in a public Position Paper or opening speech. This is the place to give your ideas in a clear, unfiltered manner so that the Chair can understand it later when you give a more layered speech during the formal sessions.

‘For Chair eyes only’ Position Papers are also an excellent opportunity to bring facts and ideas that you want known to the chair, but don’t have time to fit into your first speech or two. While not bluntly giving away your country’s real motivation, you have a lot more liberty to flag things you’re afraid might be missed once the committee session starts.

Position Papers Only Delegates will Read (but not Chairs)

These are Position Papers where all the delegates are able to read each other’s work, research and position on the topic at hand. An example of where this can happen, is a large conference (e.g. 200 delegates), where the Position Paper deadline is the day before the conference.

For these papers, you still want to use the Position Paper platform to show why the discussion should focus on where you want it to go. For this reason, the Position Paper should be written more to frame the issue than give concrete detailed policies. Delegates who did not research to the same extent, or have no clear position, can be introduced to your interpretation of the topic. Some may completely adopt it, or at least be familiar with it when they hear it in a speech. (See our article on ‘Writing the Killer Speech’)

Position Papers Everyone Will Read (Chairs and Delegates)

The Chair + Delegate Position Papers are the most complex to write. In these cases, the ideal situation is for the chair to see what you would want them to see, as if it was written just for them, while at the same time, the other delegates would see a Position Paper customized for them. This is a hard balance to find, but if erring to one side, it is better to build a paper for the delegates and hope the chair has the experience to read between the lines.

One more variable to take into consideration is when Position Papers are written for a gigantic committee (100 or more delegates).

In gigantic rooms, the Position Paper should have at least the basics of the policy, because one might not speak in the first few hours and this might be the only way to get you onto the floor.

Position Papers No One Will Read

Yes, this actually exists in MUN. Some Position Papers will not be read by the Chairs or anyone else at all. However, the conference requires submission to qualify for a diplomacy award. A few conferences will admit that no one will read the Position Papers, but most will not.

Here are a few things to look out for to know your Position Papers likely won’t be read:

-When Chairs are not required to send you feedback on the Position Paper

– The deadline is the day before the conference.

In these cases, the main benefit of writing a Position Paper is to organize your thoughts. However, in practice, a poor document can be just as easily submitted to qualify.


Pitfalls to Avoid

Potential issues you may run into:

  Conflicting information

  • You may run into a situation where your country does not have a clear policy towards a topic, or they have recently changed policy. For example, with the election in the US and the change from one ideology to another, their rhetoric towards the Iran Nuclear issue changed almost overnight. It would be tempting to follow the words of the leaders in a case like this, but pay attention to actual actions. Nothing has changed.
  • When faced with conflicting positions from your country, choose one and stick with it. Use the position that you can find the most research on.

 Lack of information

  • Sometimes you will be stuck with a topic or committee that your country has little to no interest in. This will cause a lack of information to work with. For example, if you are in UNESCO and the topic is oil drilling in Ecuador’s rainforest, you may find that Malawi has not put out any statement on the issue. Don’t despair.
  • In a situation like this, when your country has no position on a topic, you have to get creative. Find similar issues that affect your country and extrapolate that to the current topic. For the Ecuador example, Malawi can use their position of environmental issues in their own country and throughout the continent as a guide as to how they would respond.
  • If you find yourself on a topic with indigenous people’s rights, but your country does not have a strong position, find out if there are indigenous groups in that country. Do they treat them well or poorly? Both will give you a direction to take with your Position Paper.

 Loose Ends

  • There shouldn’t be a single sentence that has no purpose.  Each fact or statement should support the identity you are constructing.
  • If you feel a fact or statement that doesn’t seem to have a place, must be in the PP, think about why. If it is so vital that it fits into the first, second, or sometimes the third paragraph. If it does not, perhaps it can be replaced with one which does.
  • The information can be used later – this fact or statement can be important and be saved for a later speech. However, the position paper needs to be a self-supporting document and just because it is important doesn’t mean it has to go here.

 Strong Words ≠ Strong Conclusion

  • You want to end every Position Paper on a strong note, but you do not want to have a conclusion that is overwhelming or concrete. Remember, you will not have many pages, usually, one to get your country’s position across. The Chair is not judging your Position Paper on how well you close, they are judging it based on your understanding of the issues and the solutions you bring to the table.
  • That being said, it helps to close the paper well. There is an old saying about writing an essay that can apply to a Position Paper as well:
  • “Your introduction tells them they will be intrigued. The body is the meat of the argument. The conclusion reminds them that they were impressed.”
  • How do we apply this to a Position Paper? In the beginning, you frame the problem, not wasting your time giving a detailed research paper. The bulk of the paper is letting the Chair know that you understand your country’s relationship to the topic and your proposed solutions. Your conclusion is going to close briefly with a strong, concluding remark. BRIEFLY is the key word here.

Position Paper Format

The format of each Positions Paper, or Position Paper template, varies from conference to conference. However, even if you have no format instructions you do not want to have a messy position paper.

An unorganized paper can:

  • Make you look less serious (to chairs and delegates)
  • Make your text harder to follow
  • Give your reader less incentive to pay attention

Messy Position Paper – Example

You can see here how the bunched lines, uneven spacing, random bullet points, different sizes, confused margins and everything else makes the paper unappealing to the eye before we even start reading.

Organized Position Paper – Example

Here you can see the Position Paper is more organized and easier to read.

Sometimes, the conference will give you an unfilled Position Paper template, with the logo and blank headings for you to fill in. Other times, the conference will send you a Model UN Position Paper sample. Other conferences will send you specific, or loose, Position Paper instructions about how they want the paper formatted.

Each Position Paper should be measured by its content and its ability to inform and influence the respective Chairs and delegate. However, the Position Paper will not reach that point if it is not accepted. It is a pity when your work is not be read or forwarded on because you got the font wrong, exceeded the margins or sent the paper in late. For this reason, whether strict or lax, read and follow the Model UN Position Paper formatting instructions so the hard work you put into the document will achieve its strategic objective.

Examples of Position Paper Instructions


Position Paper Instructions Example #1:

Write the Position Paper for ExampleMUN 2026 using the standards below:

  • Length must not exceed two pages.
  • Margins must be 2.54 cm or 1 inch for the entire paper.
  • Font must be Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Justify the paragraphs. The left and right margins must both have straight edges.
  • Country name / institution committee name must be clearly labeled on the top of the 1st page.
  • Agenda topics must be clearly labeled as the title.
  • National symbols, such as flags, logos, etc. are deemed inappropriate for ExampleMUN Position Papers.
  • Send your document in PDF format.

Position Paper Instructions Example #2:

We ask delegates of ExampleMUN to each produce a position paper before the conference. It must outline their country’s position, main objectives and issues they are seeking to address during the conference. Your Chairs will return the Position Papers to you with feedback a fortnight before the conference. This will give you time to ascertain which countries would be considered natural allies for you and for you to read which issues the other delegates may deem important.

A Position Paper the length of one side of A4 should be sufficient to state your position.

Example of Formatted Position Paper

Angola feels that in this day and age, hunger should be a thing of the past. However, in 2018, over 795 million people do not have enough food to lead a healthy, active life. This does not include the half of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people, who live on less than $2.50 a day. For better or worse, the road to more accessible and cheaper food is strongly related to water supply. Some countries have an abundance of water, such as: Canada, Scotland and Switzerland. Others have next to no water, such as: Yemen, Libya and Djibouti, or low rainfall like Namibia and Sudan which creates water scarcity and desertification. The solution to all of these problems is the weather control that comes from cloud-seeding, with richer countries already reaping the benefits. The National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) witnessed an increase in rainfall of 10–15% in polluted air and 30–35% in clean air. China uses cloud seeding over several increasingly arid regions including Beijing, the capital. In 2017, the United Arab Emirates launched 235 cloud-seeding operations by five cloud-seeding planes based in Al Ain. The use and success proves the technology works, but it is only accessible to those who can afford setting up the mechanisms to cloud seed, or pay for the chemicals from companies like Bayer, Dupont and Dow Chemical Company, who control the patents and sales rights.

How to Win a Best Position Paper Award

The difference between a good and a great Position Paper

Good Chairs will give credit to delegates who properly predict the room and are able to guide their policies from the Position Paper to the final resolution. This is because it means that the delegates accurately predicted which direction the discussion would go in, or better still, were able to direct the room in that direction.

This does not mean that the best delegate must have an excellent Position Paper, or perfectly stick to it. Aside from the ‘Best Position Paper’ award, the actions that take place in the committee are almost completely what Chairs will consider for awards. However, it is not uncommon that a Position Paper is used as a tiebreaker between two extremely close delegates.

In all these cases, you need to have an opinion. To win the ‘Best Position Paper’ award, your Position Paper needs to be full of new solutions, it must follow proper format and it has to be concise and ‘fluff-free’. Neutrality on an issue, or saying your country has no opinion, is admitting that you will let other delegates take the lead on the issue. It is better to find a policy of a country similar to yours, or your own policy on a similar issue, than saying nothing. More on how to deal with this can be found in our ‘Research’ and ‘How to Represent Your Country’ articles.

Top Position Paper Strategies

The R and S strategy
For the entire Position Paper, keep the R and S strategy in mind. This is the RESEARCH and SOLUTION strategy. Try to ensure that every sentence is either research-based or solution-based. This helps cut down on unnecessary sentences.

Facts and Name Dropping
Nothing shows research like using numbers, names and dates. This is especially impressive when it’s information that was not in the study guide. Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 2 should be full of these. Remember that it is not enough to simply throw facts onto the page, they need to be connected to the point you are trying to make. Good use of facts, with numbers and names properly capitalized, makes an impressive first impression. Effective use in the paper can be the difference between runner-up and the Best Position Paper award.

New Solutions and Interpretations

    • The Chair of your committee will be reading so many Position Papers about the same exact topic that they will be bored to death of seeing the same solutions over and over again. To stand out, come up with a viable, new strategy that other countries may not have thought of. We say viable because it cannot be so outlandish as to be impossible, but it should be something that makes the Chair stop and focus on your paper.
    • You can get a little off-the-wall with solutions, as long as they have a basis in reality.
      • Alexander Hamilton employed a similar strategy during the Constitutional Convention in the US. When debating an overhaul of the US government, there were two main plans (the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan). The New Jersey plan was closer to what was already in place, while the Virginia Plan was a change almost too much for people to handle (though most knew this was the only way to save the nation). In order to discredit the New Jersey Plan, Hamilton boldly proposed a plan so radical, that the Virginia Plan became moderate in comparison.
      • Hamilton’s plan opened the discussion and changed the conversation. It caught the attention of everyone present and moved them towards a solution.
      • You can do this with a position paper. Even if you do not ultimately get what you want, you have caught the Chair’s attention and have become a player in the game.

Follow proper format

While this seems self-explanatory, you would be surprised how many people disregard the format rules given by the conference. Do not ignore this. As Chairs are reading the papers, they will come to expect certain formatting and anything not following the rules will stand out, and not in a good way. Do not get on the Chair’s bad side before the conference even begins. You can be sure that they will take points off for improper formatting and keep your name written down for conference time.

Concise and fluff-free
Don’t waste a single sentence with fluff. Due to the short length, everything you write in a Position Paper should be concise and free of fluff. We know that as students, you have mastered the ability to fluff your way through a paper, but that won’t work here. Not if you want to win Best Position Paper.

When you think about how to start a Position Paper, don’t go for an intense sound-bite. Flare is not good without substance. Try to be as clear as you comfortably can and reach your important points as quickly as possible.

What Chairs Look For

Similarly to how Position Paper format instructions are given to delegates, Chairs are also given instructions by the Model UN Conference Secretariat on how to evaluate Position Papers. Chairing, from when you write the study guide until the closure of debate, is a sacred responsibility.

Sometimes, the instructions given by the secretariat on how to evaluate Position Papers are clear and uniform. However, often, a Chair needs to fill in some gaps between the secretariat’s instructions and doing the job in real-time.  To better understand the considerations regarding Position Papers, read the following instructions, given by an Under-secretary General of Chairing to their staff.


Dear Chairs, 

As of this weekend, all the registered delegates should receive their study guides. While a few delegates will still be getting allocations over the next week, most of them will have received guidelines for how and when to send Position Papers. The delegates are required to send the Position Papers to the committee email from the 20th – 26th of February. Any Position Paper received by the 26th before midnight should receive feedback from one of the Chairs. You are not obligated to give feedback to papers received from the 27th onwards. Hopefully, you should get most or all of the papers before the deadline. Papers received after the 28th are not eligible for the best position paper award, as you may not have time to check them. Position Papers that are received after March 1st, or not at all, will make the delegate ineligible for an award.

In the Position Papers, we want to see that delegates show they understand (a) the topic (b) their countries positions and history and (c) the policies they propose to solve it / perpetuate it (if they are evil).

The Position Papers which arrive on time should get feedback. This does not need to be more than a few lines per topic. However, we do require you to tell the delegates if they did a good job or if they are lacking in one of the three sections mentioned above. You should also tell them what you want them to improve. In the feedback, where possible, please use examples from their text. To do this most effectively, divide the position papers amongst yourselves and return them when you can. You are not required to send feedback if the delegate sends you an improved position paper. Our main goal is for you to have prepared delegates in your committee, and a rewritten position paper generally indicates better preparation.

 If anyone would like more information on how to give feedback, or have any other questions relating to Position Papers, please let me know in a reply to this email.

 If your delegates write you asking how to write a policy paper, or any other questions, we expect you to be helpful, courteous and available.

 Good Luck

USG Chairing


Not every MUN conference secretariat will have this level of instruction for their Chairs. Some have more; a few give online workshops about Position Papers, while others give no instruction at all. However, in most cases, the final feedback is left to a Chair’s discretion.

If your secretariat left you alone, giving feedback on the basics according to the guidelines at the beginning of this article is a good start. You can also give topic-specific feedback, which uses examples of where more research or analyses can be used, based on what you wrote in your study guide.

11 Questions Chairs Ask When Reading Your Position Paper

Question Chairs Ask About A Quality Position Paper

  1. Did the delegate reframe the topic to make the problem-specific and relevant to them?
  2. Did they show their country’s relation to the topic?
  3. Did they offer policies that can gain a majority in the committee?
  4. Do these policies represent their countries stated interests?
  5. Did the delegate use examples?
  6. Do the examples go beyond the information in the study guide?
  7. Did the writer bring something new, unique and interesting?

Questions You Hope Your Chair Never Asks

  1. Was this position paper copied and pasted from Wikipedia or some other online source?
  2. If I change the country name on this super vague paper will it be just as “valid”?
  3. How inebriated was the delegate when they wrote this?
  4. Has the writer even heard of Model UN?

Using these questions to measure the quality of your paper will let you review your work with a Chair’s eyes. If the answers to these questions aren’t good enough, then you now know what to work on. A few appropriate modifications can result in a complete makeover of a Position Paper, and possibly a much-improved delegate as well.

Closing thoughts on Position Papers

Position Papers are important. Knowing if the Position Paper will be read only by the Chair or by the delegates should be taken into account when choosing what to write and focus on. Position Paper format should also be taken into account, but not at the expense of quality.

A Position Paper should accomplish three goals:
1. Show a country’s position on the topic being discussed.
2. Show a country’s previous relationship to the topic (preferably with relevant examples).
3. Show policies and ideas that (1) represent the interests of your country and (2) you would ideally like to see in the resolution.

When you’re the Chair, give instructive feedback with specific examples. Your comments could be the difference between a lost delegate or an effective one, or between a good conference and a great one.

Lastly, don’t forget the PReP strategy:

In Policy (paragraph 3) you solve the issue in Position (paragraph 1) with the tools and relevance you set up in Relation (paragraph 2).