Caucuses

Caucuses 

There are two types of caucuses that can be called for within the debate setting of a committee. There is the moderated Caucus, in which a specific topic is discussed in more depth so that it won´t get lost in the overall discussion. On the other hand there is the unmoderated caucus, which is a set amount of time that can be used to write resolutions or converse with other delegates to form alliances. In this segment of MUN Basics we will outline the differences between those two caucuses and their specific benefits.

Motion for a caucus

In some cases multiple delegates will have initiated a motion for a moderated or unmoderated caucus. In both cases there will have to be a vote on whether the caucus is approved and can be held or not. In order to structure which causes to vote on first after all motions have been collected there are a few rules: 
  • The more dispruptive a caucus, the earlier it will be voted upon
  • The disruptiveness of a caucus is mesasured by the length of the time it is supposed to occupy
  • Unmoderated caucuses are always valued more disruptive as moderated ones since there is no moderation
Out of these guidelines the following voting can be derived:
1. Unmoderated caucuses (longest to shortest) 
2. Moderated caucuses (longest to shortest)
So in order to make sure that your caucus gets voted on first it is a good idea to apply for a longer timeframe than the previous motions. Be careful however, as most delegates and chairs don´t wish to spend more than 15 minutes in a caucus of any kind. Most conferences also have a limit on how long a caucus can be.

Why choose a moderated caucus?

A moderated caucus focuses on a sub topic of the overall debate. It is ideally suited to solve smaller disputes that are adjacent to the overall topic but shound´t take up the entire session. Alternatively a moderated caucus may be chosen to bring attention to a topic that was ignored so far and you might want to highlight.
A moderated caucus is set up similarly to the general debate. There is a speakers list with a set speakers time (which should be specified by the delegate putting the motion forwar.) The delegate initiating the caucus can choose wether he/she would like to speak first or last.
Unlike the general debate you cannot raise a point of personal privilege, point of order or comment on the speech of a single delegate. A moderated caucus is designed for a quick and seamless interaction between the various delegates without the debate being held up by too many formal requirements.
The specific formel procedures will differ from conference to conference though. In order to avoid confusion you can prepare ahead by reading through the Rules of Procedures of the conference. 

Why choose an unmoderated caucus?

An unmoderated caucus is actually X minutes of downtime that can be used for a huge variety of things. In the beginning of a session it is especially useful to either start or continue your research for the topic of debate. Toward the middle of the session it is useful to converse informally with other delegates, find or form countries that align with your point of view or would at least be open to writing a resolution together. Toward the end of a session the unmoderated caucus is mostly used to formulate a resolution with your allies without having to loose out on the contents of the ongoing debate. 
The unmoderated caucus essentially allows you to do all of those things at any time - you can also keep researching when you´re nearing the end of a session of course. The main benefit of an unmoderated caucus however is that it pauses the debate - meaning that you don´t fall behind because you try to listen and research/write simultaneously.