CIMUN 2010: The Human Rights Council
Foreign Policy Handout
What is Foreign Policy?
A foreign policy is a country’s means of incorporating its own national goals and
objectives on its interaction with other members of the international community.
What Determines a Country’s Foreign Policy?
Global/External factors: Factors that exist beyond a state’s control that
influence its behaviour on an international level
Domestic/Internal factors: Circumstances that exist within the country that
influence its behaviour with other states.
The preparation of a foreign policy is divided into several steps.
Step 1: Delegation Profile
i. General Background:
Date of independence/state establishment
Former colonies/ relationship with colonial powers
Internal struggles / civil wars
Recent conflicts / wars / crises
Geographic Attributes → GEOPOLITICS:
Host/Source of refugees
Health and well-being indicators; including malnourishment,
disease prevalence rates, hospital capacity
Host/Source of refugees
Ruling regime (head of state, political party, ethnic/religious belonging)
Interest groups and NGO activities
Armed militia/terrorist groups
Army size, strength and equipment →Military budget
Military defence pacts
Previous military interventions
Involvements in international disputes/crises
ii. Economic Profile:
Poverty and Inequality rate
Major industries and sectoral contributions
Main exports (type and quantity)
Main imports; dependence ratios
Agricultural performance and commodities
Foreign aid (sources of foreign aid)
iii. International Relations:
Sphere of influence: how influential is your country in the global
political and economic arena?
Relations with regional and international powers
Significant International and Regional bilateral relations/treaties/pacts/agreements
Membership in international or regional organizations
(political, economic, social, military etc)
role within UN (financial contribution, sponsorship of programs/resolutions)
Fundraising role in international organizations, such as the IMF and World Bank
Voting stance on food-related treaties and declarations
Voting stance on Security Council resolutions esp. foreign policy ones (see:)
Voting stance on the environmental treaties
Voting stance on the humanitarian law treaties
Voting stance on the peace initiatives
Stance on “War against Terror” and has your country made
any statements concerning its commitment to pursuing threats against
international peace and security?
Stance on economic sanctions, both previous and ongoing
Foreign aid? Are you a recipient or a donator?
Step 2: In-depth Position Analysis
Here you use the background information obtained through your delegation profile
to determine your country’s position regarding the two topics. Below is a shortlist of
some of the issues you will need to be familiar with in preparation for the
Topic 1: Internet Freedom and Censorship
What is your country’s stance on the issue of Internet Freedom
Is your country known to advocate freedom of Internet usage?
Has your country implemented any crackdowns on Internet usage,
activism or cyber dissent?
Is your country known to advocate censorship or condemn it?
Does your own country have an established legislation that
regulates Internet usage?
Analyze your country’s position with regards to current human
rights violations pertaining to the Internet.
Topic 2: Contemporary Forms of Slavery
Is your country a party to any conventions, treaties or initiatives
that aim to combat contemporary forms of slavery?
Is your country seen as an origin, transit or destination country?
Analyze the economic conditions of your country in order to
accordingly assess how susceptible your citizens are to falling
victim to Forced Labour, Human Trafficking, or Debt bondage?
Does your country have a means of combating contemporary
forms of slavery?
Is your country known to have high levels of Poverty,
Discrimination or Social exclusion?
Step 3: Strategy
Set the strategy that you intend to follow in order to achieve your goals. Remember
that the conference will involve plenty of debating, negotiation and report-writing.
Here are some tips to consider when devising your conference strategy:
Do your homework. Delegates that typically stand out in MUN conferences are the
ones that do their research ahead of time and are comfortable with the topics being
Dig deep. Prepare arguments and counterarguments. Research not only your foreign
policy but others’ as well. This way you won’t be caught by surprise, and you’ll have
an idea what your bloc will look like.
Know your dirt. Expect what other delegations might criticize you for and try to
think how you will refute that
Be civilized. Self-explanatory
Prisoner’s dilemma. Know who your opponents are, their possible goals and who
your allies are and how you will go about attempting to persuade them to accept
your goal. Identify moderators that could assist you in building bridges. Be one
yourself if your foreign policy permits you.
Be creative. Different delegations will need different ways to be persuaded of
something. Adopt diverse negotiating tactics to get your point across.
Integrative and Distributive. Determine whether the combination of the topic
discussed and your foreign policy dictate the use of integrative vs distributive
Middle Grounds. Compromise can push the debate a long way forward. Make sure
not to neglect your and their red-lines though.
References. Improve the quality of your reports by referring to existing
documents/resolutions/declarations. It adds an ‘impressive’ edge to your final report
Comprehensiveness. We’re discussing two juicy topics this year with so many
dimensions that need to be addressed. Make sure that you tackle all sides of the
debates and have them included in the documents you produce. You choose
whether you want to produce one comprehensive report or several ones addressing
the different issues.
Fit the role. Remember that you are the head of a state/organization or a famous
public figure. Act the role professionally. The minute you walk into the conference
room you automatically become one of the finest diplomats out there with a specific
agenda/national interests that you need to argue for.
Fight for your right. Participate! Debate! Refute arguments! And most importantly
contribute to the reports being written by negotiating hard with other delegations to
make sure that your points are added in the final report.
1. Arrive on time so you don’t miss out on important debates/voting
2. Always make sure to coordinate with your partner
3. Maintain diplomatic decorum during both formal and informal debate
4. Do not panic- we will be there to assist you throughout the
5. Have fun- play it right and this could be an experience you will
remember for the years to come!!!
Please DO NOT rely on Wikipedia as your only source of
background information for your delegation. It should
only serve as a starting point. The websites mentioned
above provide far more timely and accurate data for
You do not need to memorize the information making up
your delegation profile. Just read it carefully to have a
better feel of your country’s agenda, and always keep a
copy with you in the conference. Your profile information
will be very useful in some conference situations
The delegation profile is not all of the foreign policy!!!!!
Relying solely on the delegation profile will mean that you
will not be able to engage in meaningful debate in the