Preparation

Priorities

Each delegation will have many objectives they will want to achieve. Therefore, an important part of preparing for a conference is to be clear what your objectives are and to rank them in order of importance.

Making a list of priorities can help guide you in your negotiations. At the top of the list should be those objectives that are absolutely imperative and beneath them a list (in order of importance) of objectives you will also pursue but do not have the same compelling force as your top objectives.  Priority rankings are an aid to deciding which of your objectives are worth more effort and which ones can be sacrificed for others if needed.

Here is a check list of questions to consider to help clarify your objectives:

  • What are the questions to be decided at the conference?
  • What are the views and aims of other delegations?
  • What are my basic objectives?
  • How could these be achieved?
  • How much flexibility do I have?

Background information

Another important component of preparation is to be well-informed both about the issues to be negotiated and the positions of countries that will be represented at the conference.

At UN meetings delegates are people carrying credentials to represent the views of their government. As such, they typically have some form of instructions from their capitals on what their priorities and objectives are. In MUN simulations, delegates are role playing these positions and the only information they have available are statements and speeches given by official representatives at meetings to help them to figure out what their priorities and objectives might be.

In addition, it is equally important to be aware of the views of other delegations attending the conference as well. This knowledge will enable you to identify possible obstacles in the path of reaching a mutually acceptable outcome that will advance your objectives. You can then think of possible ways to overcome or get around these obstacles. The final step is to test your assessments by consulting widely to make sure others understand the solution you have identified and can be persuaded to agree with it.

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