A caucus, in MUN, is a way to move to a specific aspect of a topic or change the pace of debate. Caucuses are a great way to focus in on a specific element of a topic or to begin to form blocs and write resolutions.
using and creating BLOCS
Having an understanding of blocs and their importance is essential for getting your resolution passed. Blocs are groups of countries with similar policy stances which plan to vote the same way on a topic and tend to come up with a resolution together based on their mutual viewpoints. While issues in international politics should never be reduced to single factors, some information can be more indicative of what countries you’re more likely to form a bloc with.
For instance, if the country you are representing has a national religion that is only a sect of a larger world religion, it might be fair to assume that your country wouldn’t be working closely with nations whose national religion is that of another sect of the same religion. Therefore, you may be going to these nations for help writing resolutions when forming blocs depending on the topic at hand. However, nations you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be allies because of significant national differences still can be for political reasons or share overlapping views on a particular topic.
Similarly, countries being important trade partners can be indicative of national policies, especially for smaller countries. If a nation has a large portion of their economy invested in trade with another nation, they are unlikely to work towards aims that their significant trade partner would not agree to because they likely would not want to jeopardize their economy. This is especially true for smaller nations that rely on larger ones. While the amount of trade between the two countries can be small compared to the GDP of the larger country, it can be enough for a smaller country to be seriously influenced politically for fear of losing trade.
In a moderated caucus, delegates take turns speaking for short durations on a previously specified topic/issue. These speeches are generally less than one minute in speaking time, and 5-10 minutes in total duration. Speakers are chosen by the chair, either all preceding the beginning of the caucus or popcorn style in between speeches.
Moderated caucuses are useful to initiate faster debate than that provided by the speakers’ list and to focus on a particular subtopic to the forefront of debate. This format enables delegates to reply specifically to each other at a more rapid pace and to draw attention to certain parts of working papers that address certain parts of the issue at hand.
MOTIONING FOR A MODERATED CAUCUS
A motion for a moderated caucus requires you to list the topic, time per speech (speaking time), and total speaking time. Bear in mind that the speaking time per delegate must divide evenly into the total time, i.e. you can motion for a 5 minute moderated caucus with 30 second speaking time (evenly divides into 10 speakers), but not a 5 minute moderated caucus with 45 second speaking time (divides unevenly).
The motion for a moderated caucus goes as follows:
“Motion for a moderated caucus of [total time] with [speaking time] speaking time on the topic of [topic].”
Example: "Motion for a moderated caucus of 6 minutes with 45 second speaking time on the topic of nuclear proliferation."
In an unmoderated caucus, delegates stand up and speak amongst themselves, either one-on-one or in smaller groups. These are generally 5-15 minutes in length and are completely unstructured – anyone can approach or speak with anyone. An unmoderated caucus is a suspension of moderated debate where delegates can walk around and talk to whomever they want.
Unmods are useful for forming blocs, as mentioned before, sharing ideas, and writing resolutions. This format allows you to circulate policies/solutions more quickly, negotiate with other delegates, form caucus groups, and collaborate on resolutions more smoothly.
MOTIONING FOR AN UNMODERATED CAUCUS
A motion for a moderated caucus requires you to list the total time and topic or purpose. Bear in mind that these caucuses should not be so long that it is difficult to return to debate and not so short that you are unable to accomplish anything in the caucus.
The motion for an unmoderated caucus goes as follows:
“Motion for an unmoderated caucus of [total time] for the purpose of [purpose].”
Example: "Motion for an unmoderated caucus of 10 minutes for the purpose of forming blocs."
Formal caucus is the time allotted for resolution groups to present their draft resolutions (also called working papers) to the floor. Each group is generally granted 7-10 minutes, depending on the time motioned for or smiled upon by the chair, and is a unique setting in which you can showcase your work and field questions. You will present for some portion of your time, but it's important to leave a significant amount of time for questions.
1/3 of your resolution's sponsors are allowed to be at the front of the room for the presentation of your resolution, and you may only be a sponsor on one resolution per topic. Your presentation should be more than just you reading off operatives; it should give the committee an idea of the philosophy behind your resolution, the main outcomes or goals of the resolution, and some of the key resources that you will use to achieve those outcomes. While you are presenting, your chair will be scrolling through the resolution behind you so that your fellow delegates can read your resolution's full text. Do not be afraid of questions; this will be a great way for your resolution group to think of ways to amend your resolution or defend aspects which may be controversial. Questions are opportunities, not threats.
When in formal caucus and not presenting, you should be paying close attention to the ideas behind the resolution that is being presented and the details of how those goals will be achieved. Try to ask questions that challenge the presenters to elaborate on their plans and defend their ideas. This is a time for you to vet which resolutions you want to vote for and which resolutions you want to vote against. Your voting choices are considered when the chair evaluates you for staying on policy.
MOTIONING FOR A FORMAL CAUCUS
A motion for a moderated caucus requires you to list the total time per resolution group. These caucuses should not be so long that they leave excessive time or run longer than committee, but should not be so short that you are unable to present your resolution or provide time for questions.
The motion for a formal caucus goes as follows:
“Motion for a formal caucus of [total time] per resolution group.”
Example: "Motion for a formal caucus of 7 minutes per resolution group."