The main responsibility of the Security Council under the UNited Nations Charter is to maintain international peace and security. Each of the member states of the Security Council must have a representative present at all times at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

When an objection concerning a threat to peace is brought beforethe Security Council, the first response is usually to recommend to the parties to try to reach agreement through negotiation by peaceful means. In some cases, the Council itself undertakes a role in mediating between the parties by appointing special representatives or asking the Secretary-General to make a positive intervention.

When a problem escalates into conflict, the Security Council's first concern is to end the conflict as quickly as possible. On many occasions, the Security Council has issued cease-fire directives in an attempt to prevent wider hostilities. The Security Council also sends United Nations peace-keeping forces to troubled areas. Their role is usually to keep the conflicting parties apart and to create conditions in which a peaceful settlement can happen. The Security Council has the power to enforce measures through collective military action and the power to issue economic sanctions such as trade embargoes.

Security Council delegates should prepare themselves like ordinary delegates. Research your country and fill in the basic research template. Write policy documents for all issues on the agenda. There are however significant differences between how the Security Council operates when compared to the General Assembly. 

Firstly, the Security Council does not debate prepared resolutions, creating them instead. Delegates submit clauses and add amendments rather than submit resolutions. Clauses are adapted one by one, which has the effect of making the resolution more likely to pass ultimately since unpopular clauses will be defeated and popular ones passed as the resolution grows. Therefore, Security Council delegates do not prepare resolutions before the conference. 

Secondly, the Security Council can do more than the General Assembly. It can take military action or decide to demand something from a country. Resolutions become active immediately upon being passed and do not have to be debated back in the General Assembly. 

Thirdly, think as a Security Council delegate. You are talking about the future and safety of the world.

More information about the Security Council:

  • The Security Council is less formal. Delegates do not stand when they speak They do not address the house every time they give a speech. They can yield the floor more than once in a row depending on the President and there can be a dialogue from the floor;
  • The Security Council needs a lot of debating because permanent members need to be convinced not to use their veto-power. It is entirely up to the President to decide when to apply the rules strictly and when to make room for more active debate;
  • The Security Council needs a vote of at least 9 members in favour to pass amendments and resolutions. The permanent members of the Security Council who can veto any resolution they want are the United States of America, the Russian Federation, China, the United Kingdom and France.