Security Council Instructional Guide
1. The real Security Council in general
The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is so organized as to be able to function continuously, and a representative of each of its members must be present at all times at United Nations Headquarters. On 31 January 1992, the first ever Summit Meeting of the Council was convened at Headquarters, attended by Heads of State and Government of 13 of its 15 members and by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the remaining two. The Council may meet elsewhere than at Headquarters; in 1972, it held a session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the following year in Panama City, Panama.
When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council's first action is usually to recommend to the parties to try to reach agreement by peaceful means. In some cases, the Council itself undertakes investigation and mediation. It may appoint special representatives or request the Secretary-General to do so or to use their good offices. It may set forth principles for a peaceful settlement.
When a dispute leads to fighting, the Council's first concern is to bring it to an end as soon as possible. On many occasions, the Council has issued cease-fire directives which have been instrumental in preventing wider hostilities. It also sends United Nations peace-keeping forces to help reduce tensions in troubled areas, keep opposing forces apart and create conditions of calm in which peaceful settlements may be sought. The Council may decide on enforcement measures, economic sanctions (such as trade embargoes) or collective military action.
A Member State against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. A Member State which has persistently violated the principles of the Charter may be expelled from the United Nations by the Assembly on the Council's recommendation.
A State which is a Member of the United Nations but not of the Security Council may participate, without a vote, in its discussions when the Council considers that that country's interests are affected. Both Members of the United Nations and non-members, if they are parties to a dispute being considered by the Council, are invited to take part, without a vote, in the Council's discussions; the Council sets the conditions for participation by a non-member State.
The Presidency of the Council rotates monthly, according to the English alphabetical listing of its member States.
2. How Security Council delegates should prepare
Security Council delegates should in many ways prepare themselves like ordinary delegates. They should research their issues very well, make sure to familiarize themselves with the United Nations Charter and the 1948 Universal declaration of Human Rights, do research on the country they represent and of course decide what policy they should present towards the various issues on behalf of the country they represent. However, there are a few differences that need some attention.
First of all, the MUN-Security Council does not debate pre-made resolutions. Instead it creates them during the debate. Delegates therefore do not submit resolutions, but rather amendments adding clauses. In this way we can adopt clauses one by one, increasing the chance that we will pass the entire resolution. So, in oppose to ordinary delegates, Security Council delegates do not prepare resolutions at home. They prepare policy statements on each issue the Security Council will discuss and are free to prepare "draft-resolutions". A "draft-resolution" is just a sample of the kind of resolution you'd like to pass, from which you can pick and submit clauses one by one.
Secondly, Security Council delegates need to bear in mind even more so than ordinary delegates that time stops at the official opening of the conference. This means that you should closely follow the latest news events up to the moment the conference start. To make things easier for us, we do not pay attention to events that occur during the conference, that would oblige us to install a television in our Council and watch the BBC all day and at the same time try to have a debate that makes sense. So it might happen that we debate whether or not to take military action against a certain country, whilst at the same time that military action is being taken. Just remember you're playing a role. You are however, seriously expected to be aware of all the oldest and latest developments concerning the Security Council issues as you attend the conference.
Another important difference lies in our capabilities. The Security council can do more than ordinary UN-organs can. It can take military action. It can decide to demand something from a country. It does not need its resolutions to pass in the General Assembly before it considers them "active" and the General Assembly sometimes even needs to have resolutions approved by the Security Council, in case they include anything that lies within the Security Council’s jurisdiction, such as military action. Whilst preparing yourself, you should think of possible solutions to the problems the Security Council addresses, in doing so you should clearly bear in mind that it is capable of taking strong measures.
Finally, you should try to think as a Security Council delegate. You are not going to talk about endangered locusts, a polluted swimming pool or the economical breakdown of a coffee shop; the future and safety of the world will be in your hands for four days, your acting is going to be utterly important.
3. Different rules of procedure
The Security Council also varies from the ordinary forums in its structure. You could say its structure is a bit less formal. Delegates do not stand when speaking, 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 on the floor. Those are some examples that would make perfect sense to an experienced MUN-participant and seem alien to others. Do not worry, at the beginning of the conference, we will go through the rules briefly, allow you to ask any questions you have about them and easily start using them, moving towards a higher level of procedural strictness along the way.
As the Security Council needs a lot of debating, especially when permanent members need to be convinced of not using their veto-power, it is entirely up to the President to decide when to apply the rules strictly and when to have them make room for more active debate.
The Security Council needs a vote of at least 9 members in favour to pass amendments and resolutions. Permanent members can use their veto-power to make an amendment or resolution fail with one single vote. They can however, also vote against without using their veto-power. The permanent members of the Security Council are the United States of America, the Russian Federation, China, the United Kingdom and France.
You should make sure to also know the ordinary rules of procedure, with the exception of the above mentioned differences plus all rules that concern adopting resolutions and amendments.