Research Reports

Longer in-depth analysis of particularly significant Council decisions, processes or practices.

  • This report focuses on Council practice regarding individual accountability for international crimes and human rights violations in the situations on its agenda. To do so, it first provides the legal context of the development of individual accountability under international law and tracks the historical background of pertinent Council practice. Against this background, the report explores eight case studies that illustrate how the Council has been dealing with issues of accountability in specific situations.

  • The General Assembly is scheduled to hold elections on 18 October to select five new members to the Security Council.  Security Council Elections 2012 provides an overview of the candidates running for a 2013-2014 seat on the Council, as well as helpful information on voting procedures and modern regional groupings and historical background on past elections.   An annex provides a comprehensive review of all previous elections to the Security Council from 1946-2011.  

  • Security Council Report’s fifth Cross-Cutting Report on Children and Armed Conflict analyses statistical information on children and armed conflict in country-specific decisions of the Security Council and trends in 2011 and early 2012. It also suggests options for improving Security Council and Working Group decision making on this issue.  After several years of largely positive developments and progress, in 2011 the protection of children in armed conflict agenda faced a number of challenges. Although it was possible for the Council in 2011 to adopt resolution 1998, expanding the criteria for inclusion in the Secretary-General’s annexes to include attacks on schools and hospitals, the repercussions of the differences that emerged during the negotiations are still being felt in 2012. While resolution 1973 on Libya set off a series of reactions that significantly affected Council dynamics in most areas of its work, our findings indicate that this did not affect the children and armed conflict agenda substantively although it may have led to a more cautious approach to the issue in order not to roll-back progress made in the past.

  • This is Security Council Report's fifth Cross-Cutting Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict following the publication of our first such report in October 2008. With this report we continue to systematically track the Security Council's involvement in the protection of civilians since it first emerged as a separate thematic topic in 1999. The report looks at relevant developments at the thematic level since our last cross-cutting report and analyses Council action in country-specific situations relating to the protection of civilians, highlighting the case of Syria. It also discusses the impact of evolving Council dynamics and outlines some emerging issues for the Council's future consideration. It is our hope that the report will serve as a useful resource for Security Council members and others as they prepare for the Council's next open debate on the protection of civilians and beyond.

  • This is Security Council Report’s second Cross-Cutting Report on Women, Peace and Security. The first report examined the first ten years that women, peace and security was on the Security Council agenda. Resolution 1325, passed in 2000, recognised that civilians, especially women and children, make up the vast majority of people adversely affected by armed conflict and called for mainstreaming a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations. This report continues assessing the influence of resolution 1325, and subsequent related resolutions, on the work of the Council. As part of this analysis it reviews recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly mass rape in the Walikale region, and considers the Council’s response as one example of its engagement with women, peace and security issues.

  • This is Security Council Report’s first Cross-Cutting Report on the Rule of Law, covering a thematic issue which has been on the agenda of the Security Council since 2003. In order to gain an understanding of the relevance of the issue to the Council’s work, this report first analyses the relationship between the law and the Council. It then examines two main aspects of the Council’s relations with the rule of law. First, it gauges the degree to which it has been incorporated into the Council’s work in conflict and post-conflict situations on its agenda. As part of this analysis, it also examines the interaction of rule of law with two Council situations, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia. The second aspect is the degree to which the Council has been guided by the rule of law—taking into account the due process rights of those affected by Council measures—in the course of its resort to sanctions.

  • Elections for the Security Council are set to be held by the 66th session of the UN General Assembly on 13 October. Five of the ten non-permanent seats on the Council will be filled for the 2012-2013 term. The five seats available for election in 2011 will be distributed regionally as follows: two seats for the Africa Group (currently held by Gabon and Nigeria); one seat for Asia (currently held by Lebanon); one seat for Eastern Europe (currently held by Bosnia and Herzegovina); and one seat for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States or GRULAC (currently held by Brazil).

  • This is Security Council Report's fourth Cross-Cutting Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. Nine months have passed since our third report came out in late October 2010, but much has happened in the area of protection of civilians during this period. The crisis in Libya and the post-electoral violence in Côte d'Ivoire stand out as two of the most important protection challenges for the Security Council. But there were also continuing protection concerns in other situations such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Somalia and Sudan. Most recently, the situations in Syria and Yemen have caused growing concern among many Council members. The present report involves a change to our cycle of reporting. (Our previous cross-cutting reports were published every 12 months towards the end of the year.) The rationale for changing the cycle flows from the fact that our statistical analysis compares calendar years, so it seemed that an earlier publication date each year would make more sense and be more useful to our readers. (Our intention had also been to publish this report in time for the Security Council's open debate on protection of civilians in May. But unfortunately this became impossible when the date of the debate was moved forward at the last minute.) The result of this change in timing is that the present report covers less ground than our previous ones on this issue, although the statistical analysis still covers one full calendar year. In the future, we will be publishing a report every 12 months. Our next cross-cutting report on protection of civilians can therefore be expected in the first half of 2012.

  • This is Security Council Report's fourth Cross-Cutting Report on Children and Armed Conflict. The first report in 2008 examined relevant data from 2003 to 2007 in resolutions, presidential statements, Council missions, Secretary-General's reports, peace agreements and peacekeeping mandates and tried to assess the degree to which the thematic issue of children and armed conflict had been addressed and reflected in the mainstream of the Council's overall work on country-specific situations. That report also examined the impact of the 2005 adoption of resolution 1612, which set up a monitoring and reporting mechanism and established the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. Our 2008 report also provided a baseline for the second and third reports published in April 2009 and June 2010. These two reports built on the historical background of the issue and analysed data for 2008 and 2009. They also highlighted key trends and options for the Council and the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict over those years. Continuing with this series of reports, the 2011 Cross-Cutting Report on Children and Armed Conflict now provides data on and analysis of trends in 2010.

  • Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's first term in office is due to expire on 31 December 2011. No alternative candidate has emerged and it appears likely that the Security Council will recommend that he will be reappointed to a second term. At this stage some key Security Council members (both permanent and elected) have publicly indicated support for Ban's reappointment. Others, including some of the P5, have not yet expressed their positions. But there is no evidence of any emerging opposition to a second term by any P5 member. This is important because of the key role played by the P5 members, any of whom may veto a decision to recommend reappointment of the Secretary-General. There are no formal requirements for the timing of reappointment decisions. (The last reappointment decision by the Security Council was in 2001 when Kofi Annan was recommended for a second term by acclamation. This occurred on 27 June 2001 in a closed private meeting.) This report outlines the main processes guiding the appointment of a Secretary-General and recalls a number of recent proposals for reforming the selection and appointment process. It does not traverse in detail the history of procedures for contested elections since it seems unlikely that the 2011 decision will be contested.

  • Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s first term in office is due to expire on 31 December 2011. No alternative candidate has emerged and it appears likely that the Security Council will recommend that he will be reappointed to a second term. At this stage some key Security Council members (both permanent and elected) have publicly indicated support for Ban’s reappointment. Others, including some of the P5, have not yet expressed their positions. But there is no evidence of any emerging opposition to a second term by any P5 member. This is important because of the key role played by the P5 members, any of whom may veto a decision to recommend reappointment of the Secretary-General. There are no formal requirements for the timing of reappointment decisions. (The last reappointment decision by the Security Council was in 2001 when Kofi Annan was recommended for a second term by acclamation. This occurred on 27 June 2001 in a closed private meeting.) This report outlines the main processes guiding the appointment of a Secretary-General and recalls a number of recent proposals for reforming the selection and appointment process. It does not traverse in detail the history of procedures for contested elections since it seems unlikely that the 2011 decision will be contested. Readers may find these details in reports by Security Council Report in 2006 in the lead-up to the appointment of the current Secretary-General

  • This Special Research Report responds to a growing interest in how to improve the joint efforts of both the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council to prevent and end violent conflicts in Africa. For almost six years SCR has been analysing these efforts in country-specific situations and at the thematic level. But with the tenth anniversary of the AU inauguration just over a year away it seemed clear that the relationship still had many problems and was very far away from realising its potential for being an effective partnership. In an effort to provide some detailed analytical tools for the parties, this report represents the beginning of an ongoing and detailed engagement by SCR on this issue. The preliminary conclusions from this report suggest that most of the necessary institutional steps are already in place, but given the resource constraints in the UN and even more so in the AU, it is a mistake to expect the secretariats to bring about a real partnership. Leadership by the member states of both Councils will be key and engagement needs to go beyond the brief and often symbolic visits to Addis Ababa and New York. Investment of more time and member state energy will be essential. A number of possible options in this regard are identified in this report. Other possibilities including the role of the subregional bodies will be examined in future reports.

  • This special research report provides an analysis of a set of new issues that have been emerging in the West African subregion and possible implications for the Security Council in the coming year(s). It identifies some key emerging threats to peace and security in the 16-state subregion and their linkages to existing security challenges. The report points to a key feature: the fact that some of the new threats are essentially criminal rather than political in nature. However, it explains also the growing political and security implications. The report also highlights action already taken by the Council to recognise these threats and considers options available to the Council to tackle these issues going forward. The raw material for the study was derived from literature research; field research in a number of countries in the West African subregion (including Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria); and interviews in the region with diplomats, government officials and officials of relevant international intergovernmental bodies (e.g. UN Office in West Africa or UNOWA, UN Office for Drugs and Crime or UNODC, the Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS and the AU), NGOs and academics.

  • This is SCR’s third Cross-Cutting Report on Protection of Civilians. It builds on our previous reports and offers a resource for systematically tracking the Security Council’s work on this issue. This 2010 report reviews developments at the thematic level (focusing on events of 2010) since our last cross-cutting report of October 2009 and offers a statistical analysis of Council action in country-specific situations in 2009 compared with the previous five years. (It also touches on important developments in 2010.) Two case studies are presented—on Chad and Somalia—offering a more in-depth view of the dilemmas the Council faces in addressing protection needs. There is also a section on special issues related to protection in the peacekeeping context. As always in SCR’s publications, some future possible options for the Council are outlined. The options section is not intended as an exhaustive list, but rather offers some suggestions. In the period covered by this report, protection of civilians has remained a major issue in the Council’s work. While there were perhaps fewer acute conflict-related crises than identified in our last report, the situation for civilians in Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Chad in particular, but also elsewhere, remained serious or deteriorated.

  • This is Security Council Report’s first Cross-Cutting Report on Women, Peace and Security and is being published as a resource in the lead-up to the debate in the Security Council in October 2010 on the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325. This is the third series of thematic cross-cutting reports published by SCR. The others are Children and Armed Conflict and Protection of Civilians.