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Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council

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Agenda Items: Thematic Issues

This page contains case studies on each of the agenda items relating to general and thematic issues which the Council has considered at formal meetings. Each case study includes chronological summaries of the discussions and documents considered at the meetings as well as the full text (1946-1999) or summaries (2000-present) of all resolutions, presidential statements or other decisions taken by the Council on these agenda items.

Below the links to the case studies, there is a short description of each agenda item prepared on the basis of the content of the Repertoire. The agenda items are organized under topical headings and then chronologically in the order of its inclusion on the Security Council’s agenda. Under each agenda item, related subsidiary organs of the Security Council featured in the Repertoire are also listed. 

Content

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z        


Others -  Briefings

Agenda for peace

An agenda for peace: preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping

An agenda for peace

An agenda for peace: peace-keeping

In June 1992, the Security Council examined a report of the Secretary-General entitled “An agenda for peace: preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping” which contained recommendations on ways to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations for preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping. The Council continued to discuss the issues and proposals raised in this report and its supplements until 1996.

Business and civil society

The role of business in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and post–conflict peacebuilding

The role of civil society in conflict prevention and the pacific settlement of disputes

Role of civil society in post-conflict peacebuilding

Under these agenda items, the Security Council considered the various aspects of the role of civil society, business and the private sector in conflict prevention, post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction.

Children and armed conflict

Children and armed conflict

Under this agenda item, the Security Council discussed various issues related to the harmful impact of armed conflict on children, including the targeting of children in armed conflicts and the recruitment of child soldiers. The Council also considered reports of the Secretary-General relating to the situation of children in conflict-ridden countries, including in situations not on the Council’s agenda.

Subsidiary organs:

Working Group on children and armed conflicts

Climate change

Letter dated 5 April 2007 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council

Under this agenda item, the Security Council discussed the threat that climate change may pose to international peace and security, including through possible humanitarian crisis, energy shortages and migration pressures.

Conflict diamonds

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

In 2003, the Security Council considered the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the implementation of the regime adopted at the Interlaken Conference, which certified the origin of rough diamonds in order to prevent diamond sales from supporting rebel movements. 

Food and security

Food aid in the context of conflict settlement: Afghanistan and other crisis areas

Africa’s food crisis as a threat to peace and security

In 2002, the Security Council considered the issue of food aid in the context of crises, particularly in Afghanistan where food security strategies were critical for the prevention of conflict. In the same year, it also considered Africa’s food crisis, receiving the briefing by the Executive Director of the World Food Programme.

HIV/AIDS

The responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security: HIV/AIDS and international peacekeeping operations

Starting in 2000, the Security Council discussed the HIV/AIDS global health crisis following the conclusion of the XIII International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa in July 2000, and the potential damaging impact of HIV/AIDS on the health of international peacekeeping personnel.

Humanitarian activities and assistance to refugees

Promoting peace and security: humanitarian activities relevant to the Security Council

Promoting peace and security: humanitarian assistance to refugees in Africa

Within the broad goal of promoting peace and security, the Security Council noted the importance of humanitarian activities and of ensuring the security and safety of humanitarian personnel.

Protection for humanitarian assistance to refugees and others in conflict situations

In 1997, the Security Council considered the matter of protection for humanitarian assistance to refugees and others in conflict situations following the increase in attacks or use of force in conflicts against refugees and other civilians.

International Criminal Tribunals

International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991;


International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994

The Security Council used this joint agenda item to discuss issues of concern to the International Criminal Tribunals. The Council also met to consider them separately, particularly to deal with procedural issues. For the individual agenda items on International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, see “Studies by region: Europe” under the former Yugoslavia and “Studies by region: Africa” under Rwanda, respectively.

Subsidiary organs:
Informal Working Group on International Criminal Tribunals

Maintenance of international peace and security

Letter of 23 May 1960 from the representatives of Argentina, Ceylon, Ecuador and Tunisia

After the failure of the Governments of France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to resolve major problems which troubled their relations at the 1960 Paris Summit Conference, Argentina, Ceylon, Ecuador and Tunisia submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council recommending the countries concerned seek a solution by negotiation or other peaceful means.

Review of the international situation

During the first periodic meeting of the Security Council held, in private, on 21 October 1970, the Security Council reviewed the current issues affecting the international situation, in particular how the peaceful political settlement in the Middle East could be supported, the problems of southern Africa, and the capability of the Council to act effectively for the maintenance of international peace and security.

United Nations for a better world and the responsibility of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security

On 26 September 1985, the Security Council held a commemorative meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations.

The question of hostage-taking and abduction

In July 1989, the Council condemned all acts of hostage-taking and abduction, and appealed to all States to become parties to international conventions relating to that topic.

The responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security

On 31 January 1992, the Security Council met for the first time at the level of Heads of State and Government to discuss the responsibility of the Council in the maintenance of international peace and how to deal with the new challenges faced by the international community in the post-Cold War world. The Council has subsequently used this agenda item to discuss a variety of issues, including the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998.

Maintaining peace and security: humanitarian aspects of issues before the Security Council

In 2000, the Security Council considered the various humanitarian aspects of crises as an important element of its primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security.  

Ensuring an effective role of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, particularly in Africa

In 2000, the Security Council discussed how to ensure an effective role of the Council in the maintenance of international peace and security with particular concern to the challenges facing Africa.

Complex crises and United Nations response

The Council discussed the interrelated issues constituting complex crises, and approaches to response through enhanced, system-wide coordination.

The maintenance of international peace and security: the role of the Security Council in humanitarian crises — challenges, lessons learned and the way ahead

Under this agenda item, the Security Council addressed various aspects of a conflict, humanitarian crisis, and the need for focusing on civilian tasks and multi- dimensional peacekeeping operations.

The maintenance of international peace and security: role of the Security Council in supporting security sector reform

Starting 2007, under this agenda item, the Security Council has discussed the role of the Council in supporting security sector reform (SSR) in order to develop a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated approach.

Maintenance of international peace and security

Since the introduction of the item in 2007, the Security Council discussed various topics under it such as (i) the linkage between natural resources and conflict, (ii) the role of the Security Council in conflict prevention and resolution, in particular in Africa, (iii) mediation and settlement of disputes, (iv) strengthening collective security through general regulation and reduction of armaments, (v) respect for international humanitarian law, (vi) nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, (vii) HIV/AIDS and (viii) climate change.

Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize

The Security Council celebrated the award of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations and to its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and paid special tribute to United Nations staff members. 

Non-proliferation

Question of safeguards to non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty

In 1968, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council in response to the desire of many members that appropriate measures be taken to safeguard their security in conjunction with their adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The proposal by China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America on security assurances

In April 1995, for the first time, the five permanent members of the Security Council sponsored a resolution providing security assurances against the use of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. 

Signature of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (The Treaty of Pelindaba)

The Security Council welcomed the signature of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (The Treaty of Pelindaba) by more than forty African countries on 11 April 1996 in Cairo and noted the adoption of the Cairo Declaration on that occasion.

Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

In 2004, the Security Council addressed the issue of the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by non-State actors as a serious threat to international peace and security and adopted resolution 1540 (2004) requiring that States refrain from providing support to non-state actors in their attempt to acquire WMD, adopt and enforce laws in that regard, and take measures to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of WMD.

Subsidiary organs:

Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004)

Non-proliferation

Starting in 2006, under this agenda item, the Security Council discussed the various issues related to the nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Subsidiary organs:
Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006)

Non-proliferation/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


The Security Council introduced this agenda item to address the issue of non-proliferation in relation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) following its conduct of the underground nuclear test on 9 October 2006. The Council continued to address a variety of issues related to the nuclear programme in the DPRK, including the second nuclear test on 25 May 2009, under this agenda item.

Subsidiary organs:
Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006)

Pacific settlement of disputes

The role of the Security Council in the pacific settlement of disputes

In 2003, the Security Council considered its key role in conflict prevention and in the pacific settlement of disputes as an essential component of its work to promote and maintain international peace and security.

Peacebuilding

Maintenance of peace and security and post-conflict peace building

Under this agenda item, the Security Council recognized the importance of post-conflict peacebuilding elements in the mandate of United Nations peacekeeping operations and discussed related issues such as the role of United Nations peacekeeping in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR).

Peacebuilding: towards a comprehensive approach

In 2001, the Security Council discussed the necessity of a common approach of the United Nations and other actors in order to develop a comprehensive peacebuilding strategy. 

Post-conflict peacebuilding

In 2005, the Security Council considered the various issues related to the long-term process of peacebuilding in all its multiple dimensions as a critical instrument to prevent countries from relapsing into conflict, particularly in Africa.

Post-conflict national reconciliation: role of the United Nations

In January 2004, the Security Council discussed what the appropriate role and priorities of the United Nations were in post-conflict national reconciliation.

Civilian aspects of conflict management and peacebuilding  

In September 2004, the Security Council met at the Ministerial level to discuss the growing importance of civilian aspects of conflict management in addressing complex crisis situations and in preventing the recurrence of conflict.

Peacekeeping

United Nations peacekeeping operations

Starting in 1990, and recognizing United Nations peacekeeping operations as a valuable instrument for facilitating the settlement of international disputes and the growing support of the international community for these operations, the Security Council included this item on its agenda. It also urged Member States to respond positively and rapidly to requests from the Secretary-General for contributions of financial, human and material resources for the operations.

Security of United Nations operations

In August 1993, the Secretary-General submitted a report to the Security Council on the security of United Nations operations in which he discussed the effectiveness of existing arrangements for the protection of United Nations forces.

Items relating to peacekeeping

  1. Demining in the context of the United Nations peacekeeping
  2. Civilian police in peacekeeping operations
  3. United Nations peacekeeping: Dag Hammarskjold Medal
  4. No exit without strategy: Security Council decision -making   and the closure or transition of United Nations peacekeeping operations
  5. Strengthening cooperation with troop -contributing countries
  6. Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations
  7. United Nations peacekeeping
  8. The importance of mine action for peacekeeping operations

Under these agenda items, the Security Council considered various issues related to the United Nations peacekeeping operations including: the improvement of procedures for terminating peacekeeping operations; the role of civilian police; the strengthening of the cooperation with troop-contributing countries (TCCs) in order to enhance the success of United Nations peacekeeping operations; the immunity granted by the Council for a 12-month period from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to United Nations officials or personnel from States that were not a Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC; and the progress made in mine-risk education and mine-clearing activities.

Subsidiary organs:

Working Group of the Whole on the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

Prevention of armed conflicts

Role of the Security Council in the prevention of armed conflicts

Starting in 1999, the Security Council considered its role in the prevention of armed conflicts and the development of preventive strategies aimed at addressing the root causes of conflicts.

Protection of civilians

Protection of civilians in armed conflict

This issue was first addressed by the Council in 1999. Under this agenda item, the Council expressed grave concern at the increasing targeting of civilian populations in armed conflicts and condemned this as violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

Subsidiary organs:
Informal Working Group on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

Protection of United Nations personnel

Protection of United Nations personnel, associated personnel and humanitarian personnel in conflict zones

Starting in 2000, the Council held a series of meetings to discuss how to create a better framework of protection for United Nations, associated and humanitarian personnel in conflict zones in order to prevent attacks against such personnel.

Regional organizations

The Security Council and regional organizations: facing the new challenges to international peace and security

In 2003, the Security Council considered cooperation with regional organizations in addressing new challenges to international peace and security such as terrorism, drug trafficking, illicit trade in arms and natural disasters.

Items relating to the role of regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security

  1. Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in stabilization processes
  2. Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security
  3. Relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, in the  maintenance of international peace and security
  4. The role of regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security

Through a series of meetings and decisions, the Security Council considered its relationship with regional organizations and their role in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Rule of law

Justice and the rule of law: the United Nations role

Under this agenda item, the Security Council considered the role of the United Nations in the promotion of justice and the rule of law, particularly in the work of the Council in relation to the protection of civilians in armed conflict, peacekeeping operations and international criminal justice.

Strengthening international law: rule of law and maintenance of international peace and security

In 2004, the Security Council discussed the critical role of international law in fostering stability and order in international relations, and in providing a framework for cooperation among States in addressing common challenges.

Sanctions

General issues relating to sanctions

Under this agenda item, the Security Council considered various issues related to multilateral United Nations sanctions as a primary tool of peace enforcement, and in particular how to improve their effectiveness and design following the difficulties encountered in their implementation and the unintended consequences on civilian populations and on neighbouring States.

Subsidiary organs:
Working Group on General Issues of Sanctions

Security Council mission

Security Council mission

Under this agenda item, the Security Council reviewed and discussed the outcomes of its missions to the field.

Small arms

Small arms

Starting in 1999, the Security Council has discussed the destabilizing effect of the accumulation of small arms and light weapons in armed conflicts.

Proliferation of small arms and light weapons and mercenary activities: threats to peace and security in West Africa

In March 2003, the Security Council held a workshop on the issue of light weapons, particularly in West Africa where mercenary activities represented a widespread practice.

Terrorism

The situation created by increasing incidents involving hijacking of commercial aircraft

During the late 1960s and early 1970’s, in response to requests by the United States, United Kingdom and, later, the Governing Body of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA), the Security Council considered the threat posed by the increase in hijacking of commercial aircraft. These were originally included in the Repertoire in the section on “Decisions in the exercise of other functions and powers”.

 

Statement by the President of the Security Council [in connection with the Achille Lauro incident]

In October 1985, following the hijacking of the Italian vessel Achille Lauro, the Council condemned all acts of terrorism, welcomed the liberation of the hostages and deplored the reported death of a passenger.

 

Letter dated 16 December 1985 from the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council

Statement by the President of the Security Council [in connection with hostage-taking and abduction]

In December 1985, the United States requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council following the serious situation created by the prevalence of acts of hostage-taking and abduction. By resolution 579 (1985), the Security Council unanimously condemned “all acts of hostage-taking and abduction” and called for the immediate safe release of all hostages and abducted persons.

Statement by the President of the Security Council [in connection with the incidents at the Rome and Vienna airports]

The Council strongly condemned the terrorist attacks at Rome and Vienna airports on 27 December 1985.

Marking of plastic or sheet explosives for the purpose of detection

In June 1989, the Security Council urged the International Civil Aviation Organization to intensify its work on devising an international regime for the marking of plastic or sheet explosives to make them more easily detectable, and condemned all acts of unlawful interference against the security of civil aviation.

Security Council action regarding the terrorist attacks in Buenos Aires and London

In a statement to the media, the Council strongly condemned the terrorist attacks which took place in Buenos Aires on 18 July 1994 and in London on 26 July 1994, and demanded an immediate end to all such acts.

Threats to peace and security caused by terrorist acts

Under this agenda item, the Security Council has both condemned specific terrorist attacks world-wide as well as discussed and approved counter-terrorism measures aimed at preventing and suppressing the financing of terrorist acts and organizations.

Subsidiary organs:

Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED)

High-level meeting of the Security Council on the anniversary of 11 September 2001: acts of international terrorism

On 11 September 2002, the Security Council paid tribute to the memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001.

High level meeting of the Security Council: combating terrorism

Under this agenda item, introduced in January 2003, the Security Council discussed how to effectively address the threat of terrorism and the status of the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) by Member States.

Threats to international peace and security

Threats to international peace and security

In 2005, the Security Council considered various issues related to threats of international peace and security, focusing on conflict prevention in Africa and on the efforts to enhance a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.


Women and peace and security

Women and peace and security

In 2000, the Council started regular consideration of this agenda item under which it discussed issues related to women, gender and sexual violence in armed conflict among other issues.

Others

Question of an appeal to States to accede to and ratify the Geneva Protocol of 1925

During the consideration of this agenda item in 1952, the Council rejected a draft resolution submitted by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics calling on all States to accede to the Geneva Protocol of 17 June 1925.

Question of a request for investigation of alleged bacterial warfare

Following accusations of use of bacterial warfare by United Nations Force Command in Korea in June 1952, the United States presented a resolution to the Security Council requesting the International Committee of the Red Cross to investigate these charges, and a second one to reject the accusations against the United Nations forces. None of the draft resolutions were adopted.

Statement by the President of the Security Council [fortieth anniversary of the first meeting of the Security Council and the inauguration on 1 January 1986 of the International Year of Peace]

At the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the first meeting of the Security Council and the inauguration on 1 January 1986 of the International Year of Peace, the members of the Council renewed their commitment to the Charter of the United Nations which conferred on the Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Commemoration of the end of the Second World War in Europe

In May 1995, the Security Council commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. 

Commemoration of the end of the Second World War in the Asia-Pacific region

In August 1995, the Security Council commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in the Asia-Pacific region.

Briefings

Items relating to briefings

The Repertoire has grouped together briefings by different speakers that were not held under any other agenda item. These include briefings by Chairmen of Security Council subsidiary bodies, including sanctions and other committees and working groups, heads of United Nations agencies (such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and others.


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