UN Security Council Working Methods

  • Every year, the Security Council revisits its allocation of chairmanships of its subsidiary bodies, a task entrusted to elected Council members.

  • Beyond permanency itself, the veto power is probably the most significant distinction between permanent and non-permanent members in the UN Charter. Article 27 (3) of the Charter establishes that to be adopted, all substantive decisions of the Council must be made with “the concurring votes of the permanent members”.

  • The voting procedure of the Security Council is governed by Article 27 of the UN Charter and Rule 40 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure. Article 27 provides that decisions of the Security Council are made by an affirmative vote of nine members, whereas each member has one vote. The Charter distinguishes, however, between votes on “procedural matters” and votes on “all other matters”.

  • Arria-formula meetings are informal meetings convened at the initiative of a member or members of the Security Council in order to gather information from individuals or organisations with knowledge of developments on the ground.

  • Innovation and adaptability have been among the distinctive features of the Security Council. Some innovations take time to develop; some are invented literally on the spot. The informal interactive dialogue format is one of the working methods that emerged quite quickly. In this table we seek to compile all informal interactive dialogues to date, based on the sources mentioned above and interviews conducted by SCR.

  • Wrap-up sessions first appeared Security Council practice in March 2000 when Bangladesh, the president of the Council for the month, decided to invite the Secretary-General to meet with Council members in informal consultations to reflect on the work of the Council during the month and discuss follow-up actions.

  • This table documents all “horizon-scanning” held to-date. Information about the content of each briefing was based on monthly assessments by the presidents of the Council and interviews conducted by SCR staff.

  • A visiting mission has been a tool the Council has used for a number of purposes, including preventive diplomacy, gathering first-hand information, supporting peace processes and mediation. Until the end of the Cold War, the Council undertook fewer than a dozen missions; in the period since, a visiting mission has become a more frequent working method.

  • Under Article 24(3) of the UN Charter, the Security Council must submit an annual report to the General Assembly for its consideration.