Selecting Candidates for Leadership Positions
The leaders of the General Assembly (GA) and the Bureau of the Main Committees are elected in advance.
Election of the President of the General Assembly (PGA), Vice-Presidents and Members of the Bureau
How it is done at the UN:
The PGA is elected by a simple majority vote of the GA at least three months before formally assuming office. The Presidency of the General Assembly usually rotates among the five regional groups (Group of Asian States, Group of Eastern European States, Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, Group of African States and the Western European and other States). The Member States of a regional group decide on one candidate and present a clean slate.
The Main Committees usually elect their Chairs and other officers on the day of the election of the PGA. No Member State can serve both as Vice-President and Chair of a Main Committee during the same GA session. Main Committee Chairs usually rotate among the five regional groups. Each regional group is allocated one chair. The sixth chair rotates among the Groups of African, Asian, and Latin American and Caribbean states based on an agreement that will expire at the end of the 68th General Assembly. The three Vice-Chairs and the Rapporteur are allocated to the four regional groups that do not hold the chair. Each regional group usually agrees on a clean slate which allows for election by acclamation. As clean slates are not always ready in time, the election of some bureau members can be postponed until the first formal meeting of the respective Main Committee.
How it might be done at a MUN conference:
MUN conferences that have assigned countries from all five regional groups can try to mirror the process followed at the UN in the following way
- Ask delegates who are interested in being a GA Official (i.e., the PGA, a Vice-President, Chair, and Rapporteur) to submit an application describing their past experience participating in MUN conference and an essay explaining why they want to be a GA official.
- Convene a steering committee to review the applications. If you want to mirror the process used at the UN, select a candidate to represent a regional group for each position that matches the regional groups chosen for these positions during the most recent GA session. If, for instance, the PGA is from the Eastern European Group, then choose a candidate to represent the same regional group at the conference. Do the same for the remaining positions. If you want to submit a clean slate to the opening plenary session then the delegates would elect the candidates selected by acclamation.
If you want to offer a slate of different candidates, convene a steering committee to review the applications and have them recommend two candidates for each position. The candidates for each position should represent the same regional groups as those currently holding these positions at the UN. Post each candidate’s MUN experience along with their essay and conduct an online election before the conference convenes. The election of officials at the start of a GA plenary is usually a formality, having been informally agreed to long before the conference. Debate or any manifestation of disagreement over the selection of the leadership would be highly negative for the conference, so prudent management will not permit any discussion.
Whichever way you choose to select GA officials, it is important to show that the candidates are chosen in a way that ensures the leadership is geographically diverse.
- Each GA Main Committee should have at least one Chair and one Rapporteur but the number of Vice-Chairs can vary depending on the size of the conference.
- Although it would be possible to recreate the process for selecting the Secretary-General as it occurs at the UN, if the membership of the Security Council is chosen well in advance of the conference, this would probably be too difficult for most MUN conferences. As an alternative, the same process used for selecting the PGA can be used to select the Secretary-General. First, ask delegates who are interested in being the Secretary-General to submit an application describing their past experience participating in MUN conferences and an essay explaining why they want to be the Secretary-General. Then convene a steering committee to review the applications and nominate a candidate for the General Assembly to appoint at its first plenary meeting. Since there will only be one candidate that is nominated, the Secretary-General will be appointed by acclamation. Once the Secretary-General has been nominated, he/she would be involved in the decision-making process to appoint the remaining leadership positions within the MUN Secretariat. An application process for these positions should be implemented to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to be in a leadership role. Appointments should strive to be gender-balanced and geographically diverse.
- The leadership structure of the simulation (i.e., the GA and MUN Secretariat officials) should be chosen from the pool of delegates who will be attending the conference.