Tips for writing a Position Paper

Ok, this is my first time writing a Position Paper. What exactly is a Position Paper?


First, what is a position paper? Many first-time practitioners of MUN stumble upon this question. However, careful preparation for the Position Paper is the key to a clear and coherent country stance and professional MUN attitude, and probably to the Best Position Paper award! Well, the position paper can be simply defined by its name: “Position” means your country’s “position”, ie. your representing country stance regarding certain topics, existing problems and issues, as well as possible solutions.

What do I write in the Position Paper?

Like English grammar, the contents of a position paper should consist of three things: the past tense, the present tense, and the future tense.

“Past” basically means what have been done on the topic, what past     resolutions and past actions have been taken by your country to address the problem. You can take an inside view of what your country did to contribute to the debate in the assembly or to provide the solution (in some case the solution could be controversial but nevertheless, it is from YOUR country's point of view that it may be the solution). Was your country a sponsor to a past resolution of the UN? Did your country adopt a resolution from the UN and how did it implement it? If your country did not, what is its reason for not adopting a resolution writing by the largest international organization in the world? This should all be written in the position paper. 

“Present” includes present developments - how things have changed from the past, and present problems that need to be solved. “What is happening at the moment?” This should be the question you keep resounding when starting the writing progress. Looking at news articles, TV shows, or observing the remarks and speeches of the political head of the country (for example, following President Trump on Twitter), could be an easy and straightforward way to have an impression of what you will write. Looking through Wikipedia, encyclopedia or reports from United Nations (UN) or other organization and news agency could help you understand the situation in your assigned country and how serious it is in the contemporary context. Some data or statistics (they should be reviewed and up-to-date) are encouraged to help you make a clear picture of the current state of affairs of your country. 

Finally, “future” includes what changes that will be made in the future. As your country is related to the issue, your government would probably pass down policies on how they will solve it or reduce the damage caused by it. You can find the online version of their guidelines on the implementation of such policies on the government website, or on the United Nations library. You can read experts’ research on the issue in relation to your country (case study or field study). To read all of them can take many days or weeks but if you are a serious delegate who is determined to shine and show everyone your diplomatic skills then the first step is to sit down and read all of the things listed above.

Sounds cool. Where can I get all of this information?


5 words: The Internet is your friend. Research materials could be news articles, books, videos, etc.  However, official information from the government as well as trustworthy sources is strongly recommended.      Writing the position paper is an important step to gain background information and insights into the topic of the conference and to prepare you for this event. Reading position papers from other countries, if permitted, is also useful to know their stances and look for potential allies. After everything, you should remember that Rome was not built in one day and a good position paper cannot be written in one night. Spend much time and effort in it and not only the Dais but also other delegates will be impressed by your knowledge about your country and the topic.