The United Nations Security Council today faces increasingly complex challenges to international peace and security. The Security Council Affairs Division (SCAD) of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) provides substantive and secretariat support to the 15-member Security Council in carrying out its critical responsibilities in maintaining international peace and security through its three branches: the Security Council Secretariat Branch, the Security Council Subsidiary Organs Branch, and the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch. Each of the branches functions as the secretariat of the Council's thematic and ad-hoc working groups:
- Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa
- Informal Working Group on International Tribunals
- Working Group established pursuant to resolution 1566 (2004)
- Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict
- Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions
The Division also serves as the secretariat to the Military Staff Committee.
General Substantive and Logistical Support
The Security Council Secretariat Branch directly supports the daily work of the Council, especially its rotating monthly presidency, to help plan and manage the schedule of formal and informal meetings and other activities. Among other functions in this area, the Branch is responsible for the preparation of key planning documents including the Monthly Forecast, the monthly Provisional Programme of Work, the Daily Programme and Agenda, and the Reporting/Mandate cycles. The Branch also contributes to the drafting of key official documents including the Security Council’s Annual Report to the General Assembly, the Volumes of Resolutions and Decisions and the list of matters of which the Council is seized. In addition, the Branch arranges the publication of official Security Council documents, including letters received and sent by the Council President and reports of the Secretary-General. The Branch ensures that draft decisions (e.g. resolutions and presidential statements) are ready for adoption in all official languages, and their subsequent publication and dissemination following adoption. The Branch also supports field missions by Council members to countries and regions of concern.
Support to the Subsidiary Organs
The Security Council Subsidiary Organs Branch provides logistical and administrative support as well as substantive advice and guidance to the subsidiary organs of the Security Council, including sanctions and other committees and thematic working groups. The Subsidiary Organs Branch assists Committee Chairpersons in developing a strategic programme of work, planning effective meetings, preparing documentation, drafting corresponding, committee guidelines and periodic reports, and liaising with Member states and regional and non-governmental organizations.
Advisory Support and Research
TThe Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch is the advisory and research arm of the Security Council Affairs Division and provides guidance to Member States and the Secretariat on the substantive and procedural practice of the Security Council. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 686 (VII) of 5 December 1952, the Charter Research Branch is responsible for the preparation of the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council, a publication which provides an authoritative overview of the Council’s interpretation and application of the United Nations Charter and its Provisional Rules of Procedure since 1946. Using new technologies, the Branch also develops and maintains a series of visual and analytical online research tools on select aspects of the practice of the Council.
In addition to the five permanent members of the Council, the Security Council is composed of ten non-permanent members of the Council, five of which are elected every year by the General Assembly for two-year terms. The Security Council Affairs Division organizes the following workshops and information sessions to familiarize the incoming members with the work of the Council and to outline the Division’s role in assisting the Council and its subsidiary organs:
- SCAD annual induction workshop
- annual joint SCAD-Security Council Report workshop on sanctions
- sanctions regime/committee-specific information sessions
In addition, to enable permanent and outgoing non-permanent members to share their experience with incoming Council members, SCAD assists the Government of Finland in conducting an annual workshop on the practices, procedures, working methods and political dynamics of the Council and its subsidiary organs entitled “Hitting the Ground Running”. The Division is also responsible for maintaining a register of available training opportunities for incoming members.
Military Staff Committee Secretariat
The Military Staff Committee was established by Security Council resolution. 1 (1946) under article 47 of the UN Charter and consists of the Chiefs of Staff of the Permanent Members of the Security Council or their representatives. Its function is to advise and assist the Security Council on all questions relating to the Security Council's military requirements for the maintenance of international peace and security. Since 2010, the Committee has routinely invited military representatives of the elected members of the Security Council to participate in its informal sessions, and since January 2017, to its formal meetings. The Committee also regularly invites representatives from various departments and offices of the UN Secretariat and UN Missions to its meetings to hold briefings and discuss current issues. The Security Council Affairs Division’s Military Staff Committee Secretariat acts as the liaison between the Committee, the Security Council and all UN entities. It supports the Committee by providing them with the most relevant information on the activities of UN military components, and organizes the Committee’s meetings and field trips.