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Security Council

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 his 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.

NATO: North Atlantic Council

The North Atlantic Council is the most important decision-making body within NATO. It brings together high-level representatives of each member country to discuss policy or operational questions requiring collective decisions. In sum, it provides a forum for wide-ranging consultation between members on all issues affecting their security.

All members have an equal right to express their views and share in the consensus on which decisions are based. Decisions are agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. This means that policies decided upon by the North Atlantic Council (NAC) are supported by and are the expression of the collective will of all the sovereign states that are members of the Alliance and are accepted by all of them.

The NAC has effective political authority and powers of decision. It is the only body that was established by the North Atlantic Treaty, under Article 9, invested with the authority to set up "such subsidiary bodies as may be necessary" for the purposes of implementing the Treaty. It is the principal decision-making body and oversees the political and military process relating to security issues affecting the whole Alliance. The Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group have comparable authority for matters within their specific areas of competence.
A detailed explanation about the work of the North Atlantic Council can be found here.

General Assembly

The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations. It is composed of representatives of all member states, each of which has one vote. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority.
Under the Charter, the functions and powers of the General Assembly include:
  • to consider and make recommendations on the principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security, including the principles governing disarmament and arms regulation;
  • to discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is being discussed by the Security Council, to make recommendations on it;
  • to discuss and, with the same exception, make recommendations on any question within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations;
  • to initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation, the development and codification of international law, the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and international collaboration in economic, social, cultural, educational and health fields;
  • to make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation, regardless of origin, which might impair friendly relations among nations;
  • to receive and consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations organs;
  • to consider and approve the United Nations budget and to apportion the contributions among members.

Economic and Social Council

The Charter established the Economic and Social Council as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, 10 functional commissions and five regional commissions. The Council also receives reports from 11 UN funds and programmes.

The Council serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system. It is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress; identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems; facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It has the power to make or initiate studies and reports on these issues. It also has the power to assist the preparations and organization of major international conferences in the economic and social and related fields and to facilitate a coordinated follow-up to these conferences. With its broad mandate the Council's purview extends to over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system.

Special Conference

In the Special Conference issues related to the main theme of the conference will be discussed. Further information on this theme can be found under "2016 Conference" > "Theme".
The Special Conference will have informal lobbying time, without sub-forums, and will after that move into formal debate, where a treaty instead of a resolution will be written.
A detailed explanation about the work of the Special Conference can be found here.
An example of a treaty can be found here.