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UN Peacekeeping Documentation

Security Council & Peacekeeping

The Security Council discusses the political aspects of peacekeeping operations.

Many types of documents are issued by the Security Council in its work on peacekeeping.


Security Council adopts resolutions to:

  • establish peacekeeping operations
  • determine mandates,
    • assign tasks, such as:
      • maintain peace and security
      • facilitate the political process
      • protect civilians
      • assist in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants
      • support the organization of elections
      • protect and promote human rights
      • assist in restoring the rule of law
    • establish time frame
      • most operations' mandates are reviewed every 6 months or year
  • authorize the deployment of troops, as well as any increase or reduction in troop strength as the situation demands
  • example: Security Council resolution 1509 (2003) established the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)

Presidential Statements

The Security Council President, on behalf of the Council, may make statements to:

  • call upon the parties involved in a conflict to work towards a peaceful settlement of the dispute
  • express the concern of the Council for the deterioration of the security situation within a region
  • reaffirm the importance of negotiated agreements and stress the obligation of the parties to ensure their implementation
  • example: S/PRST/2015/10

Meeting Records

Resolutions and presidential statements are adopted or presented at formal meetings of the Security Council.

Preparatory work for formal meetings is conducted in closed informal consultations for which no public records are issued.

Reports of the Secretary-General

Reports of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on peacekeeping issues:

  • are called for by Security Council resolutions
  • provide a factual account of the activities of a mission within a given time period
  • present the Secretary-General's observations and recommendations for further action
  • form the basis for the Council's deliberations

Exchange of Letters

The issues dealt with by an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council typically include:

  • appointment of:
    • Special Representative/Chief of Mission
    • Force Commander/Chief Military Observer 
  • composition of a peacekeeping operation.

Issuance of exchange of letters:

  • the Secretary-General's letter containing the proposal is not published until the Security Council has reviewed the matter
  • both proposal and response are then published at the same time with document symbols in sequential order
  • a press release with biographical information about the appointee is usually also issued
    • Press release series symbol may be:
      • SG/A/- (Secretary-General's appointments)
      • BIO/- (Biographical materials)
      • Both, with a double symbol


  • Appointment of a Special Representative/Chief of Mission:
    • In S/2007/622 the Secretary-General states his intention to appoint Ellen Margrethe Løj as his Special Representative for Liberia
    • S/2007/623 contains the response of the Security Council
    • Press release SG/A/1101-AFR/1600-BIO/3943 presents biographical data on the appointee
  • Appointment of a Force Commander/Chief Military Observer:
    • In S/2007/24 the Secretary-General states his intention to appoint Major General Wolfgang Jilke to the post of Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
    • S/2007/25 contains the response of the Security Council
    • Press release SG/A/1032-BIO/3831 presents biographical data on the appointee