Thematic Topics

The Security Council addresses peace and security issues on specific thematic areas annually or as needed.


Find information by thematic item on Security Council debates, resolutions and reports below.

  • Women, Peace and Security

    The Women, Peace and Security Agenda includes eight resolutions: 1325 (2000)1820 (2008)1888 (2009)1889 (2009)1960 (2010)2106 (2013)2122 (2013)2242 (2015). The agenda guides work to promote gendered peace and security as well as strengthen women’s participation, protection, and rights in conflict prevention and peacemaking through post-conflict reconstruction contexts. Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) is a historic political framework that recognises how incorporating the perspective of women and applying a gendered lens are essential to planning refugee camps and peacekeeping operations, negotiating peace agreements, and reconstructing war-torn societies. Implementation of the Agenda is reviewed annually during Open Debates on Women, Peace and Security. There are two Open Debates that take place each year- one is held around April each year to discuss sexual violence and the other is held in October to discuss the broader Women, Peace and Security Agenda. The Security Council must internalise the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in its daily work on country-specific and thematic issues. When it mandates a peacekeeping mission, it must include binding language on women’s participation, women’s protection and other aspects of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. There has been some progress toward achieving this goal but implementation remains inconsistent.

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  • Protection of Civilians

    Protection of Civilians (PoC) is a thematic agenda item of the Security Council including Resolutions 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1502 (2003), 1674 (2006), 1738 (2006), 1894 (2010), 2175 (2014), 2222 (2015), and 2286 (2016). PoC deals primarily with the specific threats civilians face in conflict-affected situations and sets out operational obligations that draw on the Geneva Conventions of 1949. There have been a number of efforts to systematise the Council’s work on PoC including an Aide-Memoire, developed to provide the Council with good practice language across the range of protection of civilians language in Council resolutions. Another measure has been the formation of informal protection of civilians groups in early 2009, in which UN experts provide specific information on protection concerns to Security Council members in advance of mandate renewals. There are numerous direct and indirect links between the PoC and Women, Peace and Security. There are important converging goals of these agendas. They are part of a mutually reinforcing system of protection which can be synergetic when viewed holistically. Member State interventions, including those by Security Council members, should detail concrete steps to ensure accountability for these obligations, through support of: women’s civil society organisations; women’s participation in all levels of decision-making regarding protection strategies and conflict resolution processes; and access to justice, particularly when international humanitarian and human rights laws are abrogated.

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  • Children and Armed Conflict

    Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) is a thematic agenda item of the Security Council since 1999. CAAC includes over ten resolutions and presidential statements, each with “progressively more concrete provisions to protect children.” The Security Council adopted Resolution 1612 (2005) which set up the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and was groundbreaking in its establishment of a monitoring and reporting mechanism focused on the six grave violations against children (read more here). This mechanism was expanded in Resolution 1882 (2009) to include killing, maiming and/or rape and other sexual violence as criteria for listing parties as violators in Secretary-General reports. There is an office of Special Representative of Secretary-General who reports regularly to the Council. This normative framework within the Security Council is supported by a range of international legal instruments, including customary humanitarian law and human rights law. There are numerous direct and indirect links between the CAAC and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda items. Although there are important converging goals of these agendas, it is important to note that "women" and "children" must not be considered one vulnerable group or synonymous, and there are numerous differing aspects. CAAC and women, peace and security are part of a mutually reinforcing system of prevention and protection which can be synergetic when viewed holistically.

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  • Peacekeeping

    Peacekeeping is used by the Security Council to assist countries in the transition from conflict to peace, and maintain international peace and security. The multidimensional nature of conflicts has seen an expansion in the mandate of peacekeeping operations, which include: the facilitation of political processes and organisation of elections; protection of civilians; the protection and promotion of human rights; restoration of the rule of law; and assisting in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process of former combatants. The Department of Peacekeeping (DPKO), established in 1992, is tasked with providing political and executive direction to peacekeeping operations and works closely with the Security Council, troop and financial contributors, and parties to the conflict in the implementation of Security Council mandates. The Security Council commits to including a gender component in UN field operations, and requests that the reports of the Secretary-General include information on the progress of gender mainstreaming within each operation. The Council should ensure that all country reports and mandate renewals evaluate the level of protection and promotion of women’s human rights, as per SCRs 1325, 1820 (OP 9), 1888 (OP 11), 1889 (OP 5), 1960 (OPs 6, 13), 2106 (OPs 5, 6), 2122 (OP 2(d)), 2242 (OPs 7, 9). Member States should inquire about any lack of such reporting. Without a gender perspective, it is almost impossible to adequately create an inclusive security, which forms the basis of promoting sustainable and durable peace.

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  • Post-conflict Peacebuilding

    Peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict has been considered by the Council since February 2001 when the Security Council discussed comprehensive approaches to peacebuilding and was followed by a presidential statement in which the Council stressed the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective in peace agreements and peacebuilding strategies (S/PRST/2001/5). In resolution 1645 (2005), the Council mandated the Peacebuilding Commission, an intergovernmental advisory body, to draw together political and financial resources for countries emerging from conflict, and to advise on good practice strategies. The Security Council has highlighted the importance of increasing women’s participation in preventing, resolving and recovering from conflict, as well as the necessity to address the impact of conflict on women. The important role that women play in economic recovery, social cohesion and political legitimacy of war-torn societies has also been the focus of the Secretary-General 2010 report on “Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding”, requested in Resolution 1889 (2009). The report defined a Seven-Point Action Plan on Gender- Responsive Peacebuilding, outlining commitments in 7 areas, to ensure that women’s priorities are addressed, their participation is guaranteed and a gender perspective is applied to all aspects of peacebuilding. Under the areas on financing, the Secretary- General committed the UN system to allocate at least 15% of UN-managed funds in support of peacebuilding to projects that “address women’s specific needs and advance gender equality. However, there is a distinctive gap between policy commitments and the operational reality of implementing gender-responsive peacebuilding. In light of this, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda needs to be thoroughly and consistently implemented.

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  • Maintenance of International Peace and Security

    In an effort to address an increasingly complex international security landscape, in 1992 the Security Council held a high-level summit on how it could better discharge its international peace and security mandate, an outcome of which was the incorporation of “peacebuilding” in the work of the UN. Although the Council has recognised gender as central to maintenance of international peace and security, it has not systematically included a gender lens across this area of work. The Security Council should make it a priority to further reinforce the link between Women, Peace and Security and the maintenance of international peace and security, specifically that as, “key issues such as peacekeeping, and early warning and preventive diplomacy, are discussed, Council members should ensure the women, peace and security elements of these issues are substantively addressed, as they are fundamental to the Council successfully adapting to the changing international security landscape” (NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security’s MAP Report 2009-2010). By setting out concrete actions that the Council can take on Women, Peace and Security and by creating a report system that better indicates the correlation between women and security, the Council will better fulfill its mandate to maintain international peace and security.

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  • Cooperation with Regional and Subregional Organisations

    On an ongoing basis, the Security Council discusses the continuing involvement of regional and subregional organisations in the peaceful settlement of disputes, including through conflict prevention, confidence building, and mediation. These discussions are important for further utilisation of the existing and potential integrated capabilities. In the context of the UN-AU partnerships, the Council often stresses the need for those organisations to work to ensure that women and gender perspectives were fully integrated into all peace and security efforts, and encouraged the continued mainstreaming of child protection into advocacy, policies, programmes and mission planning. WILPF monitors this agenda item when possible, as it has important elements with regards to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

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  • Counterrorism (and Countering Violent Extremism) [CT/CVE]

    Counterterrorism is an agenda item of the Security Council since the 1990s. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in 2001, the Security Council began to focus on the issue with renewed urgency. There are three main bodies charged with enforcing counter-terrorism measures and related sanctions: Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) pursuant to Resolution 1373 (2001), Al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions committee, pursuant to Resolution 1267 (1999), and the committee on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, established pursuant to Resolution 1540 (2004). The CTC is assisted in its work by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), through which analysis and technical support is provided. At present, the Council is primarily focused on how to increase these bodies’ collective effectiveness through enhancing transparency and the working methods. Security Council discussions on counterterrorism is gender blind with a lack of linkages to the Women, Peace and security agenda. As suggested in the resolution 2242 (2015), the Council should consider gender perspective and analysis and highlight the contribution of women to prevent and counter terrorism, although they regularly fail to do so. The Council should also support the work that local, women-led civil society groups are doing to combat violent extremism. Combating extremism requires addressing pre-existing threats to women and girls, embedded in laws and social norms and engaging women and women's civil society in security sector reform and in efforts to strengthen the rule of law.

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  • Non-Proliferation

    In 1945, when the United Nations was founded, the issue of disarmament and arms regulation was given a very prominent place in post-World War II security arrangements. It was recognised in the UN Charter that the proliferation of arms of all kinds presented an ongoing risk to international security and constituted a huge opportunity cost, in terms of economic and social development, if resources were diverted towards arms. Lately, the Council began to be more active in the area of weapons of mass destruction. It has dealt variously in the WMD field with the use of chemical weapons by Iraq; with Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) withdrawal from the NPT and subsequent nuclear activities; nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan; and security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states. However, these discussions are completely gender-blind. The Security Council must support the participation of women in the activities associated with all phases of disarmament. 

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  • Rule of Law

    Rule of Law is considered by the Security Council as a key part of the mandates it designates for the maintenance of international peace and security. Women, Peace and Security and the Rule of Law are connected in numerous ways including: women as victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence; gender consideration and women’s participation in justice and rule of law systems; legal discrimination against women. The Security Council must strengthen gendered approach to Rule of Law actions including by ensuring: gendered comprehensive strategies to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law to ensure justice, truth and reparation for victims; enacting of national legislation; adoption of legal frameworks and repeal of discriminatory laws and effective victim and witness protection systems. Vetting of national authorities, including the armed forces, should be carried out to suspend from their positions or not recruit those reasonably suspected of crimes under international law. The Council should recognise the important role of the ICC in ending impunity, particularly in relation to crimes of sexual and gender-based violence. There has been some progress in the area of Women, Peace and Security concerns, but it has been inconsistent.

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  • Small Arms

    Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) is considered by the Security Council and in September 2013, the Security Council adopted the first-ever resolution (SCR 2117). It recognises the most frequently used weapons in the majority of recent conflicts.  Secretary General Reports on Small Arms and Light Weapons were issued in 2008 (S/2008/258), 2011 (S/2011/255), 2013 (S/2013/253), and 2015 (S/2015/289). The prevalence of small arms violence differently affects women and girls globally, and further integration of women into efforts to combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms is needed. The Council should ensure the mainstreaming gender considerations include ensuring integration of specific provisions regarding gender into sanctions regime components, embargoes, criteria for monitoring, and expert groups. The Council should ensure full and robust implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty provision on preventing gender-based violence when considering arms transfer requests and in ensuring that disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes incorporate an effective gender perspective. There is a crucial role for women in disarmament and conflict prevention. The Women, Peace and Security agenda needs to be thoroughly and consistently implemented in the area of small arms and disarmament.

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  • Working Methods

    The discussions about the working methods of the Council are discussed not very often. On Tuesday July 19, 2016, under the Japanese presidency, the Security Council held an open debate on the Security Council Working Methods. This debate marked the tenth anniversary of the culmination of its first working methods initiative in 2006. WILPF monitors this agenda item when possible, as it has important elements with regards to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

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  • Peace and Security in Africa

    Since its establishment, the Council attempts to address comprehensively the challenges facing all the nations of Africa, helping secure peace within and among African States and through that effort help them achieve sustainable economic and social development. It collaborates frequently with regional and subregional organisations in efforts to resolve conflicts. WILPF monitors this agenda item when possible, as it has important elements with regards to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

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  • International Tribunals

    The Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1993, following massive violations of humanitarian law during the fighting in the former Yugoslavia. It was the first war-crimes court created by the United Nations and the first international war-crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals at the end of the Second World War. The Tribunal tries those individuals most responsible for appalling acts, such as murder, torture, rape, enslavement, destruction of property and other violent crimes. It aims to render justice to thousands of victims and their families, thus contributing to a lasting peace in the area. As of the end of 2011, the Tribunal had indicted 161 people. Later, the Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 1994 to prosecute those responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda between 1 January and 31 December 1994. In 1998 the Rwanda Tribunal handed down the first-ever verdict by an international court on the crime of genocide, as well as the first-ever sentence for that crime. WILPF monitors this agenda item when possible, as it has important elements with regards to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

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