Amendments modify resolutions in the hopes of improving or making acceptable certain substantive points. Amendments can alter any operative clause, add an operative clause, or delete an already existing operative clause. Any combination of those can be used in an amendment, but the amendment must leave at least one operative clause untouched and the general intent of the resolution intact.
Friendly vs. unfriendly amendments
A friendly amendment is an amendment submitted with all of the original sponsors of the resolution as sponsors to the amendment. This means all original authors consent to the proposed modifications. These are automatically applied to the resolution without a vote.
Unfriendly amendments are submitted by members of the committee and do not include all original sponsors of the resolution as sponsors of the amendment. These amendments require a vote to make the proposed changes to the resolution. They are voted on before the resolution, and then the amended resolution is voted on as adjusted based on amendments, friendly and unfriendly.
Amendments are divided into two parts: Header and Operative clauses.
The header contains basic information about the amendment, namely, the topic, the committee name, which resolution the proposal is amending, and the sponsors’ names.
This is the real meat of amendment because it explicitly lays out what changes are being proposed. There are three ways operative clauses in amendments can start:
- Amends operative clause xx to read:
- Deletes operative clause xx.
- Includes a new operative clause to read:
TIPS ON amendments
Amendments should not be written for the sake of having another piece of paper with your delegation’s name on it. Only write amendments when you feel that it will add something substantive and constructive to the resolution. Also, amendments should not attempt to change the resolution so much that the original intent of the resolution is compromised. For example, if you write an amendment that deletes half of a resolution and changes the content of the remaining operatives, it is better to simply vote against the resolution or divide the question then to write an amendment. After all, amendments are only supposed to be minor adjustments in the content of a resolution, not radical revisions.