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Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council

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Regional Arrangements (Chapter VIII)

Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations provides the constitutional basis for the involvement of regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security for which the Security Council is primarily responsible.
Article 52 provides for the involvement of regional arrangements or agencies in the peaceful settlement of disputes; Article 53 allows such arrangements to take enforcement action, but only with explicit authorization by the Security Council. Article 53, therefore, creates a mechanism that allows the Council to utilize regional arrangements to implement its enforcement measures. Finally, Article 54 stipulates that regional arrangements or agencies shall inform the Council of their activities for the maintenance of international peace and security at all times.
All volumes of the Repertoire include implicit references and explicit references to Chapter VIII and Articles 52-54 in official Security Council documents, as well as case studies on instances where the provisions of Chapter VIII were discussed.

The Repertoire has included the following subsections:

A. General consideration of the provisions of Chapter VIII

This subsection explains the relevant debates and decisions of the Security Council on general and thematic issues touching upon the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter.

B. Encouragements of and calls for the efforts undertaken by regional organizations in the pacific settlement of disputes

This subsection highlights instances in which the Security Council, in dealing with country-specific situations under its consideration, encouraged and supported efforts by regional organizations towards the peaceful settlement of disputes, by, for instance, expressing its support for regional peacekeeping operations and mediation and peace talks held under the auspices of regional organizations. For materials from 2008 onwards relating to regional peacekeeping operations, see subsection D below.

C. Authorization of enforcement actions, including the use of force, by regional organizations

This subsection highlights instances in which the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, authorized regional organizations to establish their peacekeeping operations, implement mandatory measures and to resort to force. Such instances may include requests for regional organizations to implement sanctions, and undertake or establish regional peacekeeping operations under Chapter VII of the Charter. For materials from 2008 onwards relating to regional peacekeeping operations, see subsection D below.

D. Regional peacekeeping operations

This subsection, created in the 2008-2009 volume, comprehensively deals with the practice of the Council in connection with peacekeeping operations deployed by regional organizations, including the Council’s expression of support, authorization of use of force and reporting mandates.

E. Challenges to the appropriateness of the Security Council action

This subsection highlights instances in which Member States challenged the competence of the Security Council to consider situations where regional organizations were involved in light of Articles 52, and discussed the necessity of Council action, arguing that Article 53 had been violated.

F. Consultations with, briefing and reporting by regional organizations

This subsection highlights the procedures used by regional organizations for communicating with or reporting to the Security Council.

G. List of communications from regional organizations

This subsection lists communications for the period between 1946 and 1988, which were drawn to the attention to the Security Council but not included in the provisional agenda of any meetings. Those communications originated from (a) regional organizations such as the Organization of African Unity and the Organization of American States, (b) States parties to disputes or situations, and (c) other States concerning matters before regional organizations.

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