On 21 and 22 March 2013, United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) researchers Vesselin Popovski and Trudy Fraser travelled to the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, for the second meeting of their project on Security Council Resolutions and Global Legal Regimes. The meeting was hosted by the Centre for Global Constitutionalism at the University of St Andrews.
An initial expert advisory meeting for the project was hosted by the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at City University of New York in summer 2012.
The project seeks to examine whether or not the Security Council practice of adopting thematic resolutions (i.e., resolutions that seek to address generic threats such as terrorism, weapons proliferation, targeting of civilians, recruitment of child soldiers, and climate change — as opposed to country-specific resolutions) amounts to legislative practice on the part of the Security Council. If so, do these resolutions add a preventive capacity to the Security Council mandate? Does this legislative role provide a clear set of guidelines, restrictions and monitoring of Member States’ policies? Are such resolutions effective? What are the synergies/tensions with conventional legal regimes?
In his opening remarks, Dr. Popovski described how thematic resolutions by the Security Council have developed over the last 15 years as a new phenomena at the UN, and how these thematic resolutions are indicative of the Council becoming actively engaged in identifying and filling perceived gaps in the protection of international peace and security.
The meeting was attended by a diverse group of academics and policy practitioners from the University of St. Andrews (UK), Griffith University (Australia), University of Leuven (Belgium), the Berlin Social Science Research Center/WZB (Germany), City University New York (USA), University of Pittsburgh (USA), New York-based NGO Global Action to Prevent War and Armed Conflict, and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office — each of whom contributed their specific expertise on the issues of international law and international organization, and the practice and utility of specific Security Council resolutions.
Describing the event, Dr. Anthony Lang, Director of the Centre for Global Constitutionalism at the University of St Andrews, said: “The focus on the Security Council in terms of its law-making and legislative capacities and responsibilities (or lack thereof) provided an excellent opportunity for developing new understandings of the United Nations and global politics more broadly. The participants were from across the world and represented a range of disciplinary and substantive foci…. I look forward to working with UNU in the future on this and related projects.”