Emergence of Informal Groups of States

Jochen Prantl

in The UN Security Council and Informal Groups of States

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199287680
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603723 | DOI:
Emergence of Informal Groups of States

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This chapter examines the question of what triggered the emergence of informal groups of states in the form of the advisory committees in the 1950s, and argues that their establishment has to be seen against the background of great power tensions in the Security Council. The early stages of UN peacekeeping saw a shift of governance from the Security Council to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly, which fostered the emergence of informal ad hoc groupings of states. The formation of advisory committees reflected the desire of the Secretary-General to strengthen his voice vis-á-vis the Security Council. When the lack of unanimity of the permanent members prevented the Council from assuming its responsibilities, the General Assembly took charge by recommending collective measures. However, when the Security Council was able to act, its resolutions and mandates entrusted to the Secretary-General often reflected a political compromise based on the lowest common denominator among its members. The workings of the two advisory committees established in the context of crises at the Suez Canal (1956-67) and in the Congo (1960-4) illustrate these points further.

Keywords: advisory committees; Atoms for Peace Conference; General Assembly; peacekeeping; Secretary-General; great powers; Uniting-for-Peace resolution; UN emergency force

Chapter.  10474 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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