How to Write a 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 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
For you to sort your thoughts and research
Have a fact
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
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
Committee: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Topic: Combating Global Hunger
The Republic of Angola believes access to water is the best way to combat global hunger. Hunger should be a thing of the past year in 2018, over 795 million people do not have enough food to lead a healthy life. This does not count the half of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people, living 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 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
Committee: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Topic: Combating Global Hunger
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 38.5 percent of the population, only 6% of rural households have access to electricity. 38 percent do not have access to safe water sources. Approximately 15 out of every 100 children do not survive beyond the age of five, meaning the child mortality rate is around 17 percent. These challenges are especially difficult for us, as our new president, Joao Lourenco, needs to reform 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 per year, 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
The key is that the 4th paragraph needs to display a clear contribution to the Position Paper, show clear thinking and
Example of Extra
Committee: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Topic: Combating Global Hunger
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 have 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 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, insure your proposed policy can realistically be attained.
Timley – Specify when the result(s) from your proposed policy can be achieved, or when to revisit.
Example of Proposal
Committee: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Topic: Combating Global Hunger
Angola advocates for a UN-sanctioned policy that gives is permission for dry developing countries to locally produce the technologies of 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. Loosening the patent restrictions of biotechnology corporations like WeatherTec will allow nations like Angola to make generic replicas of their patented chemicals at a fraction of the cost and finally achieve water independence. We do 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
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
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.
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.
- Read & Reference Your Study Guide
The guides provided by the conference are a blueprint for you AND for the Chairs. They will
be lookingto 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 Whatto 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 goodalternative 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.
- 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 asother sources.
- 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 shouldaim to show the facts that are the strongest and most relevant to your case. For this reason, tryto 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 thenyou were able tofit 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 toyour knowledge.
- Create Solutions
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 marriedto 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.
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
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
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
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
Here are a few tells to look out for to know that 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
Pitfalls to Avoid
Potential issues you may run into:
- 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.
- There shouldn’t be a single sentence that has no purpose. Each
fact orstatement 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
thirdparagraph. 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 supportingdocument 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,
usuallyone 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.
Fontmust be Times New Roman, size 12.
- Justify the paragraphs. The left and right margins must both have straight edges.
name / institutioncommittee 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
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
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
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 ‘
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.
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.
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
- Did the delegate reframe the topic to make the problem-specific and relevant to them?
- Did they show their country’s relation to the topic?
- Did they offer policies that can gain a majority in the committee?
- Do these policies represent their countries stated interests?
- Did the delegate use examples?
- Do the examples go beyond the information in the study guide?
- Did the writer bring something new, unique and interesting?
Questions You Hope Your Chair Never Asks
- Was this position paper copied and pasted from Wikipedia or some other online source?
- If I change the country name on this super vague paper will it be just as “valid”?
- How inebriated was the delegate when they wrote this?
- 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).