Research Reports

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

  • 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.

  • This is our second Cross-Cutting Report on disarmament. It follows the report published on 1 September 2009 which dealt with the Council’s approach to weapons of mass destruction. Our series of Cross-Cutting Reports are designed to follow thematic issues on the Council’s agenda and track the way in which thematic principles are applied by the Council in individual country-specific situations. Disarmament is the thematic issue which has been longest on the Council’s agenda. It was the UN Charter itself, in 1945, which in article 26 gave the Council this mandate. In November 2008, at the initiative of Costa Rica, the Security Council returned to this wide and challenging responsibility. Following that debate Security Council Report began preparation of a detailed study of all aspects of the Council’s role in disarmament. This second part of the study addresses the Council’s role in respect of conventional weapons and small arms. It also looks specifically, in a cross-cutting way, at the impact on disarmament at the local level deriving from Council arms embargoes and mandates for disarmament and demobilisation in the field of former combatants. There is some inevitable overlap between the two reports, but due to the complexity of the issues and the timing of the Security Council debate in September on nuclear weapons, it seemed wise to publish them separately rather than as one single study.

  • Security Council Report’s series of Cross-Cutting Reports are designed to follow thematic issues on the Council’s agenda and track the way in which thematic principles are applied by the Council in individual country-specific situations. This report deals with the thematic issue which has been longest on the Council’s agenda—arms control and disarmament. It was the UN Charter itself, in 1945, which in article 26 gave the Council this mandate. In November 2008, at the initiative of Costa Rica, the Council returned to this wide and challenging responsibility. Following that debate Security Council Report began preparation of a detailed study of all aspects of the Council’s role in disarmament. This study is now being published in two parts. This first part deals with arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and is available to members in time for the summit-level Security Council meeting to be presided over by US President Barack Obama on 24 September 2009. The second part will also be published in September. It addresses the Council’s role in respect of conventional weapons and small arms. It also looks specifically, in a cross-cutting way, at the impact on disarmament at the local level deriving from Council action in country-specific situations, including arms embargoes, mandates for arms monitoring and disarmament of former combatants.

  • The 2008 Cross-Cutting Report on Children and Armed Conflict demonstrated that for more than a decade the issue of children and armed conflict was firmly entrenched as a significant thematic issue on the agenda of the Security Council. Since the late 1990s the Council had been paying close attention to the issue of children in war zones. Between 1999 and 2005 the Council adopted six resolutions, each one containing more concrete provisions to protect children. Its resolution 1612 of July 2005 was groundbreaking. It authorised the establishment of a monitoring and reporting mechanism at the field level and created the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. Resolution 1612 provided the Council with new practical tools to potentially influence the impact of the country-specific work of the Council. This report focuses on developments in 2008 and again seeks to answer the question whether, in practice, in the work of the Council in country-specific situations on its agenda, it is incorporating the discussions, principles and norms developed at the thematic level. Our 2008 report examined relevant data from 2003 to 2007 in resolutions, presidential statements, visiting missions, Secretary-General’s reports, peace agreements and peacekeeping mandates. In this report we again look at the data from those same areas for 2008 and compare the results with those of our report of last year and give an updated assessment of the impact of the monitoring and reporting mechanism and the Council’s Working Group on the mainstreaming of the issue of children and armed conflict into the Council’s overall work.

  • This Special Research Report analyses the activities of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) during its second year of operation and provides a follow-up to our Special Research Reports of 23 June 2006 which reviewed the lead-up to and establishment of the PBC and of 5 October 2007 reviewing its first year of work. Whereas the first year was largely spent on organisational issues, the second year of the PBC was primarily devoted to the country-specific issues of Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and, to a lesser extent, the Central African Republic (the CAR was added to the agenda of the Commission towards the end of its second session) as well as some organisational matters. The Commission’s report on the second year of its activities and outcomes was submitted to both the Security Council and the General Assembly on 24 June.

  • In the Security Council the thematic focus on protection of civilians in armed conflict is relatively recent and dates from the late 1990s. However, the issue has been a concern for many Council members over the years. The disproportionate burden that war imposed on civilian populations in the twentieth century has been a key factor. In the past century, the ratio of civilian casualties to military casualties as a result of conflict rose steadily until civilian deaths surpassed those of combatants. Causes included not only direct violence but also malnutrition and disease precipitated by war.

  • This report examines in depth the longest running Security Council sanctions measure still in existence (16 years). We have chosen this case because the crisis in Somalia continues to be as serious as it has ever been since 1992. It remains on the Council’s work programme and the humanitarian situation has dramatically worsened in recent months. Somalia is quite possibly the least successful example of Council-imposed sanctions. Historically, all sanctions regimes have presented challenges when it comes to implementation. But the arms embargo imposed on Somalia in 1992 has faced more difficulties than most. This report examines these difficulties. It suggests that some of the problem lay in the situation on the ground. There was no governmental entity with control over Somali territory. There was no customs or border control. But there were also problems the Council could have addressed, including weaknesses in design, unreasonable expectations of reliance on authorities in neighbouring countries to enforce the regime and lack of will to pursue diligently measures to enforce decisions or to adapt when the initial sanctions design proved wholly inadequate.

  • This Special Research Report attempts to provide for Council members, and other interested parties, a short history of the 45 years of Council involvement in the Cyprus issue. There now seems to be a sense of optimism and hope that the parties, with assistance from the UN and the Council, can at last reach a sustainable solution. On 25 July, Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed to resume full-fledged negotiations aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, and to put the agreed solution to separate simultaneous referendums. The negotiations began as scheduled on 3 September. This report focuses on Security Council involvement over the past 45 years. It also touches on developments in the General Assembly and successive UN-led peace talks. It does not aim to be comprehensive. Rather it is designed to explain the evolution of the UN and Security Council involvement.