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Research Guides

UN Voting

Research on Drafts that Fail to be Adopted

Finding information about draft decisions or resolutions not adopted can be challenging.

Drafts may not be adopted for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Voted on and failed to pass
  • Not put to a vote
  • Withdrawn by sponsor(s)
  • Replaced by a revision
  • Order of precedence of proposals (another draft on the topic may be considered first and adopted)

In the Security Council a draft does not pass:

In the General Assembly, Article 18 of the UN Charter states (in part):

  • "Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting.... Decisions on other questions... shall be made by a majority of the members present and voting"
  • Because membership has changed over the years, the number of Yes votes needed has also changed over time
  • It is generally best to start this research with the agenda item of the draft resolution, if known
  • The Annotated Agenda and the Reports of the General Committee may be of use in researching agenda items of interest. See the Agenda page of the General Assembly research guide

Research Recommendations

If the topic, date and body is known, this will help narrow the search. The meeting record of the meeting at which the vote was held will have the vote, even if the draft was not adopted. If the body does not have meeting records, check its report to its parent organ.

Secondary sources, the UN Yearbook, the Repertory of Practice, the Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council and the Index to Proceedings may also be of help.

Information for adopted resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council may be found in the Voting Data in the UN Digital Library and for the Human Rights Council in the OHCHR Library Voting Data.