What is General Assembly?
General Assembly is the gathering of delegates to go through the resolution booklet and through discussion, argument and reasoning, assess whether the resolution is fit to pass, or whether it requires alteration (usually resulting in a failure to pass). The outcome is decided by vote. Whilst it is positive if your resolution passes, if you’ve stated your case and reasoned with your fellow delegates as best you can and your resolution does not pass, you should not be disheartened.
How does it work?
General Assembly follows the same structure for every resolution.
- The proposing committee will be invited (and will hopefully accept the invitation) to make a 3 minute defence speech.
- Following this, committees will be asked to offer a 3 minute attack speech. If the chosen committee does not use the full 3 minutes, the remaining time may be given to another offering committee.
- The floor will then be open for debate. All committees should offer points throughout the debate, but bear in mind that the proposing committee will be returned to more frequently in order to answer questions and points from other committees.
- The debate will conclude with a 3 minute summation speech from the proposing committee to address all issues raised and answer any outstanding questions in the final bid to defend their resolution.
- The result of the resolution is down to a vote. Each committee will be asked to state their votes in favour, against and any abstentions.
Note that abstentions should try to be avoided, and should not really be viewed as an option unless due to moral, religious or cultural reasons a delegate cannot give an opinion on the subject.
Which placard should be raised and when?
In all sessions of EYP, there are 4 placards committees should be prepared to use.
The Committee Placard – This placard should be raised whenever the committee wishes to make a point. It should also be raised when using all other placards so the board know which committee to recognize.
The Direct Response – This might be the most important placard you will use in General Assembly. The Direct Response placard allows your committee to responded to the point which was made immediately before you raised it. It can only be used once in every debate, but encourages a good flow of discussion and is smiled upon by the board and panel.
The Point of Privilege – This is the placard to use if the point being made is inaudible (usually due to a keen speaker being too close to the microphone…) Once recognised by the board, the speaker will be asked to repeat their point.
The Point of Order – On the (very) rare occasion that the board diverge from the scheduled order of affairs, raise the placard to alert them to their mistake. The correct order will then be resumed.
Remember to research all the resolution topics so you can contribute effectively to the resolution debates. Amongst all the stress, heated discussions and cramping arm muscles from waving your placards around, remember to enjoy General Assembly. It’s a privilege to have been selected to voice your views and discuss them with some of the brightest young minds you will meet. Get your voice heard, and have fun!
General Assembly, although the main reason we’re at this session, is not the most important part of EYP. Remember the things you learned in team building and committee work, and most of all, remember the people you met.