Position Paper Solution Sets

Developing a Custom Solution Set for Model UN

I cannot stress this enough: your solutions are the most critical aspect of any position paper. For all of the research you’ve done into the background of the issue, the key process rests in analyzing it to develop solutions.

A good chair or director will not only notice you’ve developed solutions but should make note and provide feedback on your position paper. If your chair or director doesn’t give you notes on your position paper by the first committee session, I encourage you to ask them to provide you with comments– pssst, that’s their job!

Recall our definition of a solution set:

Solution Set: A number of inter-connected ideas proposed to combat a global issue; because international and inter-governmental problems are complex, no one idea, or solution, can effectively address the concern, instead, a solution set should be developed.

Ok, great, but what?

Hopefully you’re more articulate than that in your position paper! Let’s you and I agree on a few things. First, no single solution can solve a global issue, right? Ok, good. Second, resolutions are more than one clause long. Good so far? Therefore, your position paper should address many sides of a problem. See what I did there? I’m so glad you agree!

But how do you develop a solution set? Lucky for you, we’ve set up a framework for you to build your solutions around.

Economic Solutions

The first part, and most overlooked aspect, of any issue area is the economic impact. When you start to brainstorm your economic solution, you must consider two separate areas: cause and effect, or in economic terms, supply and demand.

Example Topic: Small Weapons and Light Arms (SWAL)
Supply Issue: How do halt the supply of SWALs and ammunitions?
Demand Issue: How do you limit the demand for SWALs and ammunitions?

Political Solutions

Another area of solutions rest in politics; however, it is important to remember that if you’re simulating the General Assembly, committees can only recommend solutions. This doesn’t mean the GA has “no power.” In fact, it means the General Assembly has the responsibility to provide a blueprint for government to follow. Again, let’s break our political solutions down into cause and effect categories.

Example Topic: Re-integration of Extremist Groups into the Political System
Cause: What are the initial reasons a group becomes an extremist group? How can the government politically limit those reasons? By giving increased autonomy? By increasing voting rights?
Effect: What has happened as a result of the group becoming extremist? How can governments combat those negative effects?

Social Solutions

Social solutions are closely tied with economic and political solutions but merit their own separate consideration. Many times, the root of international issues comes down to social inequalities or societies misconceptions. Adjusting cultures and educating peoples takes time, which makes social change one of the hardest solutions to develop and execute.

Example Topic: Violence Against Women
Cause: How can the international community combat the causes of violence against women?
Effect: How can the international community help mitigate the effects of violence against women?

No position paper is complete without addressing the Economic, Political, and Social aspects of an issue area.

Common Mistakes when Developing Solutions

1.) Confusing cause with effect, supply with demand.
Take your time when separating the cause of an issue and its effect. Solution sets must address both areas to be complete.

2.) Not considering and research past solutions.
The best solution sets will not repeat past proposals for solutions. Research what has already been done to address the issue, or what is currently happening, and improve upon it.

3.) Passing the buck and “creationism.”
Please think critically! Do not simply create another body, committee, or expert council to examine the issue and propose their solutions. The purpose of Model UN simulations is to push yourself to develop those solutions.

Action Item

Take the above three example topics and develop a full solution set for each of them. Remember to make sure your economic, political, and social solutions support one another.

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