What is UN Resolution?


In 1945, The United Nations was incorporated with the objective to maintain world peace and security, and reliability and to foster global cooperation. So the question now arises is how are these UN resolutions formulated?

The United Nation body adopted a formal text known as the United Nations resolution. Resolutions are formal expressions of the opinion or will of UN organs, it is an official decision made by the UN (United Nation), which its members voted for and are expected to obey. Usually, anybody of the United Nation can issue resolutions, but practically mostly are issued by the Security Council or the General Assembly.

UN does several things to maintain peace and it can generally be broken down into three categories.

Firstly, the UN does what is called peacekeeping. In instances like this, it sends armed forces under its control (contributed by member nations) to separate the two sides in a conflict. The UN troops are there to prevent the sides from attacking one another while peace is negotiated.

Secondly, the UN can provide or threaten collective security. In certain cases, the UN would impose military action or economic sanctions on some countries. The sole purpose of the UN is to reframe countries from any action that can disturb international peace. 

Finally, the UN does many less direct things to keep the peace. It has many agencies that are meant to promote economic and social development to eradicate poverty and other causes of conflict. A forum is given by the United Nations for countries to interact with one another hoping that the constant contact will help in encouraging the countries to solve their differences in harmony. 


United Nations Resolution is framed in a standard form, which consists of three parts the heading, the preambular clause, and the operative clause. Each clause has its own specifications, the Heading contains the name of the body issuing the resolution i.e. Security Council or General Assembly as the case may be, the preambular clause indicates the framework through which the problem is viewed, and the operative clause consists of a course of action the issuing body will take. Each operative clause calls for a specific action


United Nation resolutions can be both substantive resolutions and procedural resolutions. Substantive resolution comprises the what and why of the matter and procedural resolution comprises how of the matter.

  • Substantive Resolution means those decisions which are of considerable importance like matters of legal principle and rules of rights, laws which define rights and duties, crimes and punishments
  • Procedural resolution comprises of methods and means by which substantive items are made and administered, that is those matters of rights and duties are enforced. 

In addition, resolutions can be classified by the organ in which they originate i.e. United Nation General Assembly Resolution and United Nation Security Council resolutions.

A United Nations General Assembly Resolution is a declaration or decision voted on by every member state of the United Nations in the General Assembly. General Assembly resolution usually requires a simple majority i.e. more than 50% vote to pass. However, if the General Assembly determines that the issue is an important question, then a two-thirds majority is required "important questions" are those that deal significantly with the maintenance of international peace and security, admission of new members to the United Nations, suspension of the rights and privileges of membership, the expulsion of members, operation of the trusteeship system, or budgetary questions.

A United Nations Security Council resolution is a United Nations resolution adopted by the fifteen members of the Security Council (UNSC). The UN Charter specifies (in Article 27) that on non-procedural matters a draft resolution is enacted. Draft resolutions on "procedural matters" can be adopted on the basis of an affirmative vote by any nine Council members The five permanent members are the People's of ChinaFranceRussia, the United Kingdom, and the United StatesIf we take into account till now as of 29 December 2020, 2560 resolutions have been passed by the Security Council.


 As we discussed earlier that there are two types of resolutions:-

  •  the United Nations General Assembly Resolution and 
  • The Second United Nations Security Council resolutions. 

The term resolution in a generic sense includes both recommendations and decisions. The Court, on the other hand, reserves the expression ‘decision’ for binding resolutions and ‘recommendation’ for non-binding ones. A resolution is ‘binding’ when it is capable of creating obligations on its addressee


In general parlances, the General Assembly resolutions are considered to be non-binding. Articles 10 and 14 of the UN Charter refer to General Assembly resolutions as "recommendations"; the recommendatory nature of General Assembly resolutions has repeatedly been stressed by the INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE (ICJ). However, some General Assembly resolutions dealing with matters internal to the United Nations, such as budgetary decisions or instructions to lower-ranking organs, are clearly binding on their addressees. The Division of the General Assembly by membership in the five United Nations Regional Groups.

  1. The African Group
  2. The Asia-Pacific Group
  3. The Middle and Eastern European Group
  4. The Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC)
  5. The Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

General Assembly decisions are obviously binding on their valid addressees. They may also bind the UN at large, and consequently all Member States, e.g., through their regular contributions to the budget. This generalized effect includes those that voted against the decision, such as the trustee state in questions pertaining to its trusteeship. So the binding scope of General Assembly decisions covers the entire internal United Nations sphere.


However, the resolutions passed by the security council are because of the power of international law. The UN Security Council has some powers and responsibilities that are set out in the UN Charter. The Security Council may investigate any dispute or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. The Security Council consists of fifteen members, out of which five major countries are permanent:-

  1. China
  2. Russia
  3. The US
  4. The UK
  5. France

The other ten are elected on a two-year term basis