Security Council Working Methods

  • 1 March 2021

    Programme of Work for March 2021

    What's in Blue

    The US is the president of the Security Council in March. The Council adopted its provisional programme of work for the month earlier today. It appears that all meetings will be held virtually in March because of the COVID-19 virus....

  • Secretary-General António Guterres’ five-year term concludes on 31 December 2021. The process of selecting and appointing the next Secretary-General officially commenced when the British Ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, acting in her capacity as president of the Security Council, and General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, issued a joint letter on 5 February to all member states, soliciting candidates for the position. 

  • 1 February 2021

    Programme of Work for February 2021

    What's in Blue

    The UK holds the presidency of the Security Council in February. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Council’s work is expected to continue to take place virtually this month. As an objective of its presidency, UK Ambassador Barbara Woodward has said...

  • Despite new working methods put in place in 2016 to facilitate a more efficient and transparent process, getting agreement this time was protracted and challenging.

  • 4 January 2021

    Programme of Work for January 2021

    What's in Blue

    Tunisia has the presidency of the Security Council in January. Council members adopted the provisional programme of work earlier today. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, much of the Council’s work is expected to continue to take place virtually this month. Five...

  • January 2021

    In Hindsight: Looking Back to Look Ahead

    Monthly Forecast

    Every January, five new members take their seats for a two-year term on the Security Council. In 2021, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway are the incoming five (I-5) replacing departing members Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa. While we don’t have a crystal ball, the events of 2020 may provide an indication of what these members can expect in 2021.

  • 1 December 2020

    Programme of Work for December 2020

    What's in Blue

    South Africa is the president of the Security Council in December. Council members adopted the provisional programme of work earlier today. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, much of the Council’s work is expected to continue to take place virtually this month....

  • The Security Council presidency, which rotates monthly in English-language alphabetical order, is an opportunity for Council members to showcase their foreign policy interests and goals. The “signature event”—convened as a debate, open debate, briefing or, during the COVID-19 pandemic, as open videoconferences (VTC)—is a prime vehicle for doing so.

  • The 18th annual workshop for incoming members of the UN Security Council, titled “Hitting the Ground Running”, will be held on 12 and 13 November in New York City. The government of Finland is convening the workshop, in cooperation with Security...

  • 2 November 2020

    Programme of Work for November 2020

    What's in Blue

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the president of the Security Council in November. It appears that most, if not all, of the meetings this month will be held virtually due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19. As the signature event...

  • Security Council procedural votes—which require nine votes in favour to be adopted and cannot be vetoed by a permanent member—remain rare, with a recent high of four such votes in 2018. From 1946 through 1989, there were 153 procedural votes, and since 1990 there have been only 28. Since the end of the Cold War, most procedural decisions—adopting the agenda for a particular meeting; adding a new item to the “seizure list”, as the list of all formal agenda items is known; or inviting an individual to participate in a Council meeting—have been arrived at by consensus during consultations.  

  • 1 October 2020

    Programme of Work for October 2020

    What's in Blue

    Russia is the president of the Security Council in October. The Council plans to hold several meetings in person this month, although some will take place via videoconference (VTC) due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19. As a signature event of...

  • 1 September 2020

    Programme of Work for September 2020

    What's in Blue

    Niger is the president of the Security Council in September. Although the Security Council is expected to continue to work largely remotely via videoconference (VTC), due to COVID-19 restrictions, it plans to hold some meetings—including adoptions—in person on UN premises....

  • The way chairs of subsidiary bodies are allocated has changed fundamentally in recent years. Although Council subsidiary bodies are chaired by elected members, with only rare exceptions, the allocation of these positions was historically decided by the permanent members, with minimal consultation. The decisions would be finalised late in the year, and sometimes not until January. Elected members were frustrated with the process that left them no time to prepare and with appointments that did not reflect their country’s interests and political priorities.   

  • 3 August 2020

    Programme of Work for August 2020

    What's in Blue

    Indonesia is the president of the Security Council in August. The Security Council is expected to continue to work remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, as reflected in the programme of work. It could decide to hold some meetings on UN...