Research Reports

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

  • 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.

  • Elections for the Security Council will be held during the 65th session of the UN General Assembly. The General Assembly is expected to hold elections on 12 October for five of the ten seats on the Security Council for non-permanent members serving two-year terms. The five seats available for election in 2010 will be distributed regionally as follows: one seat for Africa (currently held by Uganda); one seat for Asia (currently held by Japan); one seat for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC), (currently held by Mexico); and two seats for the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), (currently held by Austria and Turkey).  The five new members elected this year will take up their seats on 1 January and will serve two-year terms on the Security Council for the period 2011-2012.

  • This is Security Council Report’s third 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 in order to assess the degree to which the thematic issue of children and armed conflict has 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 our second report published in April 2009. The second report built on the historical background of the issue and analysed data for 2008. It also highlighted key trends in 2008 and options for the Council and the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict during a period when a new resolution was starting to be discussed. Continuing with this series of reports, our 2010 Cross-Cutting Report on Children and Armed Conflict provides data on and analysis of how successful the Council was in 2009 in incorporating the discussions, principles and norms developed at the thematic level in its country-specific decisions. It also provides an updated assessment of the trends seen in the previous two reports.

  • In April the Security Council will undertake a mission to the Democratic Rep ublic of the Congo and neighbouring countries. The main issue will be the future role of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC and developing a new vision for the mission that will help to build a new compact that is acceptable to both the DRC government and the Council. At the heart of this exercise will be resolution 1906 which the Council adopted in December 2009 to extend the mandate of the mission until the end of May. It is a long and complex text. At such a delicate time, and given that there is such an intricate mandate and very short deadlines, it seemed that this would be a good time to provide policy makers with an in-depth analysis of resolution 1906, what it really says and the various obligations it imposes on all the different actors, as well as an assessment of the status of implementation of each obligation at press time.

  • On 18 October 2007 Security Council Report published its first Special Research Report on Security Council working methods. It was entitled Security Council Transparency, Legitimacy and Effectiveness. It tracked the efforts which had been made to reform Council working methods from 1993 to 2007. A second report, Security Council Working Methods, was published on 12 August 2008 as a resource in preparation for the open debate in the Security Council that month. This report is designed to update readers on developments since 2008. And also, now that there has been over three years of practice since the adoption by the Security Council of its note S/2006/507 on 19 July 2006 on Council working methods, this report examines the level of implementation of the measures agreed in the note and their effectiveness. Finally, this report outlines some of the ad hoc evolutions of Council working methods which have occurred in the context of specific cases, particularly in 2009.

  • This Special Research Report analyses the third year of operations of the UN’s Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), and is a follow-up to Security Council Report’s Special Research Reports of 17 October 2008 and 5 October 2007, analysing the second and first years of the work of the PBC, respectively, and the Special Research Report of 23 June 2006 which reported on the lead-up to and establishment of the PBC. Its third year saw the PBC continue to focus on four countries—Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. No new countries were added to its agenda. The Commission’s report was formally adopted by the PBC on 4 September and is expected to be considered by both the Security Council and the General Assembly in late November 2009. (This timing was set to align it with the new timeline for election of its members in December to assume office in January 2010. On 18 December 2008, the General Assembly adopted resolution 63/145 indicating that the term office for members of the Organisational Committee elected from the General Assembly shall begin on 1 January. The resolution also invited other UN organs with members on the PBC’s Organisational Committee to adjust the term of office of their respective members accordingly.)

  • Security Council Report published its first Cross-Cutting Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in October 2008. It provided background on relevant provisions of international humanitarian law and on Security Council involvement in the issue of protection of civilians starting in the 1990s. It also analysed the way that the Council had implemented its thematic decisions on protection of civilians in specific cases following the adoption of its first thematic decisions in 1999 through to the end of 2007 and examined protection issues in the context of implementation of UN peacekeeping mandates. This 2009 Cross-Cutting Report builds on this historical background and analysis and looks specifically at developments since the end of 2007, both at the thematic level and in country-specific situations. As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Council’s first thematic decision on protection of civilians as well as the 60th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, there has clearly been greater focus on the Council’s role in relation to protection issues. Several ongoing and recent crises have also highlighted the wider implications of attacks against civilians for international peace and security. In addition to analysing recent Council action related to the protection of civilians agenda, including through case studies of the situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gaza and Sri Lanka, and identifying key challenges, the present report suggests some possible future options for the Council. This and future annual cross-cutting reports on protection of civilians should enable stakeholders to begin to systematically track progress in the Council’s handling of this issue.

  • The General Assembly is expected to hold elections on 15 October for five of the ten seats on the Security Council which are available for elected members serving two-year terms. The five seats available for election in 2009 will be distributed regionally as follows:two seats for Africa (currently held by Burkina Faso and Libya); one seat for Asia (currently held by Viet Nam); one seat for Eastern Europe (currently held by Croatia); and one seat for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC), (currently held by Costa Rica). The five new members elected this year will take up their seats on 1 January and will serve on the Security Council for the period 2010-2011. At this time it appears that all five candidates will enjoy “clean slate” elections (i.e. they do not have any competing candidates). This is the first time since 2004 that there has been an election to the Security Council with absolutely no contested seats.