- Adoption of the Organized Crime Convention
- Historical context: why Palermo?
- Features of the Organized Crime Convention
- The protocols
- Related international instruments
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
Published in May 2018.
Regional Perspective: Eastern and Southern Africa - added in April 2020
This module is a resource for lecturers
Structure and flow of the Working Group meeting
The general structure and flow of the simulation of the Working Group on International Cooperation meeting is as follows:
All States Parties to the UNTOC, as well as signatories and observers, are invited to participate in the Working Group meeting. The designation of roles may be done randomly (i.e. drawing of lots), or on a voluntary basis where students pick their own roles or the roles may be assigned by the teacher.
The Secretariat and Bureau will lead the preparatory process for the simulation, including preparing the rules of procedure, choosing a topic or topics for the meeting (i.e. the exact issues to be discussed), keeping the list of participants, preparing the necessary background documents, etc. Please note that members of the Bureau are also States parties and will sit on the podium to direct the meeting; therefore, they cannot act as delegates, which means they cannot make speeches on behalf of their country and in general should remain neutral.
The students representing countries also need to prepare well in advance of the simulation. These preparations include preparing a position paper, which reflects the general and specific position of the country they are representing in regard to the topic being discussed. This will allow the students to apply and deepen the knowledge they have acquired in relation to transnational organized crime. The position paper should be provided to the Secretariat in advance of the simulation (it is recommended that the teacher make the submission of the position paper a pre-requisite for participation in the simulation. In many cases, an MUN simulation can be part of the overall marking for the course and/or participating students can be awarded extra-credit for their participation).
At the start of the simulation, and following the rules of procedure, the meeting should be formally opened. Afterwards, all countries should be allowed the chance to present their position in the form of official statements.
For the purposes of the simulation, students should get together to conduct consultations (or "caucus") during the course of the simulation after the official positions have been heard, in order to begin drafting a draft resolution for consideration by the meeting and its adoption at the end of the simulation.
Once a draft resolution or resolutions are ready, they should be officially tabled and distributed to all participants. The deliberations can then focus on the specific topics contained therein - this will help to focus the discussions and debate, and deepen the substantive analysis of the topic.
A draft resolution is usually sponsored by at least one State (it may be co-sponsored by an unlimited number of States). It must contain the formal standard structure of UN resolutions, which consists of preambular and operative clauses. Students should consult and become familiar with the resolutions and decisions of the COP UNTOC.
The Chair (or President) circulates the draft resolution to the attendees of the Working Group in the form of printed copies or using other methods as appropriate. After submission and circulation, the draft resolution is put to discussion and consideration.
If two or more draft resolutions are submitted, they are considered in the order in which they were submitted. The Bureau should encourage delegates to present only one draft resolution.
In real life, in the particular case of the Conference of the Parties to UNTOC (and of some other intergovernmental bodies based in Vienna), deliberations and meetings never include a vote. The meetings of the COP UNTOC are guided by what is referred to as "the spirit of Vienna", whereby all decisions are made by consensus. In the simulation of the COP Working Group meeting, teachers and students may decide in advance whether they would like to follow this approach or rather take the opportunity to simulate voting procedures. If the latter is chosen, then the rules of procedure of the Conference in relation to voting should be followed.
During the simulation, the draft resolution should be reviewed paragraph by paragraph. Amendments can be made at this point. The teacher and students should decide and plan in advance whether they will carry out the review and amendments to the resolution on-screen, that is, by projecting the text so that everyone can see it.
The final draft of the resolution is then adopted either by consensus or by vote. Consensus should always be the first option to adopt a resolution and States should therefore make every effort to reach consensus before deciding to vote. All States Parties present at the meeting have one vote each; observers cannot vote.
After a motion for closure of the meeting, the Chair (or President) declares deliberations closed. Please note that, in the actual Working Groups of the COP, no resolutions are debated, as only the COP itself can consider draft resolutions. However, for the purposes of the simulation, the Working Group can consider a resolution which should be transmitted to the COP for its approval.