The United Nations Security Council is more active today than at any time in its history, facing an ever more complex and varied array of challenges to international peace and security. The Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), through its Security Council Affairs Division (SCAD), provides substantive and secretariat support to the 15-member Security Council in carrying out its critical responsibilities in maintaining international peace and security through three branches: the Security Council Secretariat Branch, the Security Council Subsidiary Organs Branch, and the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch.
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 Division coordinates the monthly and daily programme of work of the Council, provides procedural advice and logistical support to the meetings, and plans and organizes field missions undertaken with increasing frequency 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, ad liaison with Member states and regional and non-governmental organizations.
Research and Guidance
The 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 procedural and historical matters relating to the work and methods of the Council. The Practices and Charter Research Branch maintains the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council, covering, which provides comprehensive coverage of the Security Council’s interpretation and application of the United Nations Charter and its own Provisional Rules of Procedure since 1946. The Repertoire serves as the basis for the Practices and Charter Research Branch to respond to requests by Member States on how the Council has responded to incidents or applied rules of procedure in the past.
SCAD is responsible for producing a number of recurrent publications on the work and practice of the Security Council, including the Annual Report of the Security Council to the General Assembly, Resolutions and Decisions of the Security Council, and monthly and annual Highlights of Security Council Practice.
In addition to the five permanent members of the Council, the General Assembly elects ten non-permanent members (five every year), for two year terms. SCAD conducts induction sessions to familiarize incoming Security Council members with the practices and working methods of the Council and to outline SCAD’s role in assisting the Council and its subsidiary organs. In addition, to enable permanent and outgoing members to share their experience with incoming Council members, SCAD assists the Finnish Government in conducting an annual workshop on the evolving practice, procedure and working methods of the Council and its subsidiary organs entitled “Hitting the Ground Running”.