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Marina Lebedeva, Marina Ustinova

The Humanitarian and Social Agenda of the UN Security Council

2020. Vol. 15. No. 1. P. 135–154 [issue contents]

By the end of XX–the beginning of XXI century the importance of humanitarian and social issues in the world has sharply increased. Humanitarian and social means began to be intensively included in military and economic actions and play a significant independent role. As a result, there was an increase in the importance of “soft security” aspects, and an expansion of this field.

This has affected the UN Security Council, which began to pay more attention to humanitarian and social issues, which was demonstrated with the statistical method.

The range of humanitarian issues discussed by the Security Council and the list of actors sponsoring resolutions on humanitarian issues has expanded. In the late 1990s–early 2000s the Council begins to consider large amount of humanitarian issues: security issues of individuals in armed conflicts (civilians, children, women, UN and humanitarian personnel); civilian aspects of conflict management and peacebuilding; and separate issues of “soft security” (humanitarian assistance and such “soft threats” to security as HIV/AIDS epidemics, food crises and climate change). In addition, the Council also addresses human rights violations.

The promotion of humanitarian issues in the Council on separate occasions was facilitated by high-ranking officials who put a premium on humanitarian issues; various UN bodies and organizations, mainly with humanitarian mandates; some non-permanent members of the Security Council who wanted to leave their mark in the Council’s history; various NGOs. In turn, some countries opposed the adoption of measures that they consider to be within the internal competence of their states.

At the same time, the expansion of humanitarian and social problems in the world poses a dilemma for the Security Council: whether to include the entire range of these issues on the agenda, or it is beyond the scope of the Council’s mandate. There is no definite answer here. On the one hand, the world is moving along the path of strengthening humanitarian problems and its ever-greater involvement in security issues. On the other hand, an expanded interpretation of security can impede the work of the Council.
Citation: Lebedeva М., Ustinova М. (2020) Humanitarian and social agenda of the UN Security Council. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 15, no 1, pp. 135–154 (in English).
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