On the Representation of the Commonwealth within the MUN
Submitted by the Foreign Secretary of the MHoC
In recent times, the MUN has experienced what one could describe as a Renaissance of sorts with the creation of blocs within the MUN. There have been recent calls for the creation of a Commonwealth bloc. In this paper, I shall examine the case for the representation of the Commonwealth. I shall examine what I view as the two main options for the Commonwealth before advocating what I would term a bloc-lite approach to the desire for some kind of representation for the Commonwealth. While the creation of blocs has been positive, we must avoid fragmenting the MUN into various communities and I believe that my solution will help this situation.
Representation of the Commonwealth within the MUN
Recently attempts have been made by cl_steele among others to begin work towards creating a Commonwealth within the MUN. In my previous paper, I set out the various pitfalls for the EU Bloc and evaluated the state of each of the blocs which existed at the time. There is, therefore, little need for me to set out these general arguments again. However, the one argument I shall look at briefly in this paper is that of the desire of the Commonwealth countries to see a bloc formed.
In previous attempts at forming a bloc, the one argument that seems to have been overlooked is that of what the members of the MUN want. Each bloc put forward proposals or formed, but there wasn’t any particular research into whether the general concept of the bloc would be desirous to the members of the MUN and of the bloc in question. In this current attempt at forming a bloc, cl_steele has undertaken that early stage research into the desire for a Commonwealth of any sort to be created within the MUN. Over five days of voting, his poll has shown that the concept of a Commonwealth of any sort is supported by 85% of the MUN. If we include, the MHoC’s vote which was initially opposed to the idea on the basis of there being too many blocs currently, then this increases to 90%. One wonders in fact if the other two votes are also for much the same reason. With a 90% approval rate, we can see that the concept is widely accepted by the MUN.
While this statistic is impressive, we must consider the possible level of activity that this may provide for the MUN. In the poll for the EU Bloc, 13 members voted, yet currently activity is bolstered by between 5 to 7 members. Given that effectively half of those voted have actually participated in this bloc, one could conclude that this should effectively give rise to around 8 or 9 members participating in the bloc. When one factors in the inclusion of certain active members within the MUN, one can see that, not only does the Commonwealth bloc have a high level of support, but it is also expected to have a high level of activity. It is hoped that this high level of activity will also encourage debate. What seems to be the problem at the moment is that members give their opinion, but they don’t seem to engage with others in their opinions. This means that debate is very low. However, in the EU Bloc in particular, one can see that debate is occurring. This would suggest that these types of arrangements are beneficial to the MUN in terms of debate and so, to conclude, one can see that a Commonwealth of any sort would have a positive impact in terms of potential activity in the bloc as a result of highly active members being included and also in the MUN as a whole through members visiting the forum in order to access the bloc.
From our research into the statistics provided, one can see that there is a clear desire for a Commonwealth. However, it is the arrangement of this Commonwealth which I will now examine in more depth.
Arrangement of the Commonwealth
There are two potential methods of representing the Commonwealth within the MUN – a bloc and a summit arrangement. I shall examine the potential of both of these models before advocating that the MUN adopt the summit arrangement.
A full time Bloc presence within the MUN
The MUN has currently just one style of bloc and this is the full time bloc. If the Commonwealth were to adopt this model, then it would be assumed that the Commonwealth would operate in a similar way to the current blocs. This would certainly link the countries that make up the Commonwealth in a more full time arrangement and encourage collaboration between each of the states.
While collaboration is an aspect of the MUN which should be encouraged, one should also bear in mind that the MUN should also seek to relate itself to the real life arrangements. The EU Bloc works as a full time bloc precisely because there is an EU Parliament which operates on a daily basis. However, there is not that aspect to the Commonwealth. Leaders of the Commonwealth meet every so often (and indeed the MUN can decide how often this is), but there is no permanent Parliament and indeed there is very little need for the Commonwealth to meet every day. If one considers the individual aspects of the EU Bloc, there is not that political edge to the Commonwealth which the EU Bloc. There are few, if any treaties for example (though it may be advisable to bring treaties in for the sake of the MUN). There seems to be little need for motions either nor Guidance Document amendments. Indeed most of what the other blocs and the EU bloc currently do, the Commonwealth would not do.
It has been seen that the current model of the bloc is inappropriate for the Commonwealth on the grounds that the frequencies of meetings is somewhat less than the frequency of EU Parliament meetings/ summits of EU leaders and that many of the current aspects and functions of any of the blocs are not particularly appropriate to the Commonwealth.
A summit style arrangement loosely linking together the various countries of the Commonwealth
While the bloc style arrangement would not be particularly beneficial to the Commonwealth, the MHoC believes that a loose summit arrangement would be more beneficial. This style of bloc could hopefully be adapted as a more fitting model for future blocs which don’t require a Parliament of sorts. The arrangement would be rather simple, the countries of the Commonwealth would hold a summit lasting one week once every three months. An agenda for the summit would be put together in the weeks between each summit and each country would PM any item for the agenda to the Secretariat who would then collate an agenda from all the items that they have received. This agenda would be split into seven equal portions with one portion of the agenda being discussed each day. After the summit, there would then be any relevant votes on motions and treaties that arose from the summit.
In order to demonstrate the agenda of the summit, I have placed below a sample agenda:
(Original post by Sample agenda for the Commonwealth leaders summit on XX/YY/ZZ)
- Treaty to change to the rule of succession to the British throne (Monday)
- Motion to increase trade between the Commonwealth and to reduce tariffs on trading (Tuesday)
- Motion to encourage investment in the environment in Commonwealth countries (Wednesday)
- Report on the current state of preparations for the Commonwealth Games (Thursday)
- Motion to congratulate country X on their hosting of the Commonwealth Games (Friday)
- Motion of congratulations for HM Queen Elizabeth II for celebrating 60 years on the throne (Saturday)
- Motion of support for the right for the Falklanders to determine their own future with regards to their government. (Sunday)
As has been shown above, the agenda would be stated, but spread out over the seven days. Any member of the Commonwealth could submit any of the above items at any time prior to the summit. After the summit, any items that needed to go to vote (i.e. motions and treaties) could then be sent to vote.
I feel that the Secretariat should either alternate every six months between the RL UK rep and the MHoC or that one or the other should take on the role permanently. Adopting the above strategy could see a leap in activity just as occurs when a hypothetical is taking place and doesn’t bog the Commonwealth down with having to debate Commonwealth issues every day.
With all this in mind, I believe that we require only a very simple Guidance Document just to formalise the various aspects of the Commonwealth summit arrangement:
(Original post by Guidance Document of the Commonwealth)
1. Arrangements prior to a Commonwealth Summit
i) Any nation of the Commonwealth may submit a motion or treaty to the Secretariat for the next summit once all voting from the previous summit has been concluded.
ii) Any nation may submit an amendment to the Guidance Document to the Secretariat provided that two other members support it once all voting from the previous summit has been concluded.
iii) There is no limit to the amount of motions, treaties or amendments that a country can submit to the Secretariat.
2. Arrangements for a Commonwealth Summit
i) On day one of a Commonwealth summit, the Secretariat shall post the full agenda in a thread entitled ‘Commonwealth Summit’ (with the date in the title).
ii) The Secretariat shall split the agenda into seven equal sections and post one section per day with treaties given priority for being posted first.
iii) All members of the Commonwealth can debate any motion on any day after and including the day that it has been posted.
iv) After seven days, the Secretariat shall lock the summit thread. Nations who have submitted any item to the summit should indicate whether they want their item to go to vote before the thread is locked.
v) A Commonwealth summit can only be held once every three months and cannot be held until three months have passed since the previous summit’s thread was locked.
i) The Secretariat shall post in individual threads any items that are sent to vote.
ii) Each item can only be voted on for four days.
iii) A motion shall pass if 50% vote for the motion.
iv) A treaty shall pass if 100% vote for the treaty. If 100% threshold is not reached, then provided that at least two members have voted for the treaty, then the treaty shall be adopted as a pact between all state voting for the treaty.
v) An amendment shall pass is 2/3 vote for the amendment.
vi) All votes on treaties are taken as ratification except for the MHoC which will vote according to the Guidance Document and Constitution of the MHoC.
4. The Secretariat
i) The MHoC Foreign Secretary shall be offered the position of Secretariat first.
ii) If the MHoC Foreign Secretary rejects the role, then the UK representative of the MUN shall be offered the position.
iii) If the UK representative rejects the role, then the Secretary General of the MUN shall take the role until such a time that either of the above member accept the role.
This Guidance Document is not exhaustive.
Note also that we are open to negotiating any part of the above Guidance Document.
With the statistics given and the method outlined, the Commonwealth has a real chance at succeeding. We urge all members to support our proposals for the creation of a summit style bloc. This bloc could be a positive step forward for the MUN and we look forward to hearing your feedback on this position paper.