Security Council Working Methods

  • The Security Council will hold its annual retreat with the Secretary-General starting this evening (2 May) and continuing throughout the day tomorrow (3 May) at the Greentree Estate on Long Island. The Secretary-General and senior UN Secretariat staff will meet...

  • May 2019

    In Hindsight: Arria-Formula Meetings

    Monthly Forecast

    The “Arria-formula” is the most flexible meeting format the Security Council has at its disposal. It has been used every year since March 1992, when Ambassador Diego Arria of Venezuela wanted fellow Council members to hear an eyewitness account of atrocities occurring in the former Yugoslavia. Unable to find a formal way to hold such a meeting, Arria invited Council members to meet with the witness in the UN delegates’ lounge. This was deemed useful; several similarly informal briefings were soon held, and the term “Arria-formula meetings” was born.

  • Germany holds the Council presidency in April, as the March-April “joint presidencies” of France and Germany continue. In their press conference on 1 March, Ambassadors François Delattre (France) and Christoph Heusgen (Germany) outlined several priorities for March and April: to...

  • France holds the presidency in March. France and Germany, which will be Council president in April, have chosen to hold “joint presidencies” covering both months. The March programme has been adopted, while members have taken note of and welcomed the...

  • Under the UN Charter, the Security Council’s only clear obligation to the UN General Assembly is to submit an annual report for its consideration, as set out under Article 24(3). For nearly three decades, the annual report has been criticised by the UN membership. The Council has, however, made efforts to address some of the problems.

  • Equatorial Guinea is Council president this month. The “provisional programme of work” for the month was not adopted as planned today, due to disagreement over whether Kosovo should be on the programme. The frequency of reporting on the UN Mission...

  • The tables in this Forecast have been updated to reflect the Security Council penholders and chairs of subsidiary bodies as of January 2019. They do not include all agenda items of which the Council is currently seized but do include items with regular outcomes or where a subsidiary body has been established. For the full list of the agenda items, please refer to the latest summary statement by the Secretary-General of matters of which the Security Council is seized and the stage reached in their consideration (S/2019/10). The list of chairs of subsidiary bodies is contained in a 2 January note by the Council president (S/2019/2).

  • 21 December 2018

    The Penholder System

    Research Report

    This short report provides background information on a relatively new Security Council practice whereby three permanent members—France, the UK and the US, referred to as the P3—perform ongoing leadership roles on most country-specific and some thematic issues on the Council agenda.

  • The 16th annual workshop for incoming members of the UN Security Council will be held on 29 – 30 November, commencing this evening (29 November) in Long Island, New York. The workshop is convened by the government of Finland in...

  • Bolivia is the president of the Security Council in October. The programme of work was adopted earlier today. As its signature event, Bolivia intends to hold a meeting on the role of natural resources as a root cause of conflict,...

  • October 2018

    In Hindsight: Emergence of the E10

    Monthly Forecast

    In October, the five incoming members of the Security Council—Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa—will begin attending meetings of the Council, both formal and informal, as well as meetings of the subsidiary bodies. Starting on 1 January 2019, these five members will make up the E10 together with Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland.

  • This afternoon (Thursday, 21 June), the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions (IWG) will hold its second formal meeting since Kuwait took over the chairmanship of the IWG in January. Assuming the chairmanship soon after the Security...

  • Russia is the president of the Security Council in June. As its signature event, it plans to hold a debate late in the month that focuses on the roots of crisis in the Middle East and North Africa. The month...

  • Parting Reflections of Executive Director Ian Martin

  • March 2018

    In Hindsight: Procedural Votes

    Monthly Forecast

    The fact that procedural votes are occurring more frequently—there have been five since 2014, whereas there were only two in the decade prior to that—may be a reflection of the difficult dynamics in the Council in recent times, as well as the willingness of members to push for the Council to address specific issues, in spite of opposition from some members. Procedural votes can also be viewed as a useful way to of raise awareness and create a record of the Council’s efforts to engage on critical issues.