Most Famous United Nations Security Council Resolutions

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has passed numerous resolutions throughout its history. Some of these resolutions have gained particular fame or notoriety due to their significance in addressing global conflicts, crises, and issues.

United Nations Security Council on the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Image: Non-Violence sculpture in front of UN headquarters, New York, U.S.

World History Edu presents the 12 most famous United Nations Security Council resolutions:

UNSC Resolution 242 (1967)

This resolution was adopted in the aftermath of the Six-Day War between Israel and several Arab states. It calls for Israel to withdraw from territories occupied during the war and for a just and lasting peace in the region. It remains a key reference point for negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

UNSC Resolution 338 (1973)

Adopted during the Yom Kippur War, this resolution called for an immediate ceasefire and negotiations aimed at achieving a just and durable peace in the Middle East. It reiterated the principles of Resolution 242.

UNSC Resolution 687 (1991)

This resolution marked the end of the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) and established conditions for the ceasefire. It demanded that Iraq eliminate its weapons of mass destruction and allow UN weapons inspections.

UNSC Resolution 1441 (2002)

In the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq War, this resolution demanded that Iraq cooperate fully with UN weapons inspectors and comply with disarmament obligations. It became a central point of contention in the debate over the war’s legality.

UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011)

This resolution authorized military intervention in Libya to protect civilians during the Libyan Civil War. It established a no-fly zone and called for an immediate ceasefire.

UNSC Resolution 1559 (2004)

This resolution called for the disarmament of all militias and the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon, aiming to promote stability and sovereignty in the country.

UNSC Resolution 1325 (2000)

This landmark resolution addressed the role of women in peace and security efforts, emphasizing the importance of their participation in conflict prevention, resolution, and recovery.

UNSC Resolution 660 (1990)

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 660, adopted on August 2, 1990, was a crucial response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. This resolution played a pivotal role in setting the stage for the Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm.

UNSC Resolution 1267 (1999)

This resolution established sanctions against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and al-Qaeda in the wake of the 1998 United States embassy bombings in East Africa. It also created the “1267 Committee” to oversee sanctions implementation.

UNSC Resolution 687 (1991)

After the end of the Bosnian War, this resolution established the international framework for peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It led to the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces and the Dayton Agreement.

UNSC Resolution 2118 (2013)

This resolution addressed the Syrian Civil War by requiring the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and providing a framework for a political solution to the conflict.

US President Barack Obama chairs a UN Security Council meeting

UNSC Resolution 2421 (2018)

This resolution authorized the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria without the need for government approval, facilitating assistance to conflict-affected populations.


These are just a few examples, and the UN Security Council has passed many more resolutions addressing a wide range of global issues. The impact and effectiveness of these resolutions can vary, and their implementation often depends on the willingness of member states to comply with them.

Interesting facts about the UNSC

United Nations Security Council on the United Nations Headquarters

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) holds a central position within the United Nations (UN) and bears the primary responsibility for maintaining global peace and security. Below, we provide an overview of the core functions and authorities vested in the UNSC as defined in the United Nations Charter:

  1. Preserving International Peace and Security: The UNSC’s foremost duty is the preservation of international peace and security. It fulfills this mandate by addressing threats to peace, acts of aggression, and disputes among nations. The UNSC endeavors to forestall the eruption of armed conflicts and actively seeks resolutions for ongoing disputes.
  2. Facilitating New UN Member States: The UNSC possesses the authority to recommend the admission of fresh member states to the United Nations, a process that the UN General Assembly, the principal deliberative body, ultimately authorizes. This role is integral to the pathway through which nations gain UN membership.
  3. Involvement in Charter Amendments: The UNSC plays a part in the modification of the UN Charter, which stands as the foundational document of the United Nations. Proposed changes to the Charter necessitate the approval of a two-thirds majority among UNSC members before they can be brought to the attention of the General Assembly.
  4. Spearheading Peacekeeping Operations: The UNSC is vested with the power to institute and endorse UN peacekeeping operations. These missions involve the deployment of UN troops and personnel to areas of conflict, where they work towards the maintenance of ceasefires, oversight of compliance with agreements, and facilitation of the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
  5. Imposition of Global Sanctions: The UNSC possesses the capability to impose diverse sanctions on member states at an international level. These sanctions, which may encompass trade restrictions, travel bans, and asset freezes, serve as instruments to pressure countries into abiding by UNSC resolutions or to address threats to worldwide peace and security.
  6. Authorization of Military Action: Among its most pivotal functions, the UNSC has the authority to sanction the use of military force as a means to counter threats to international peace and security. This authorization typically takes the form of UNSC resolutions that delineate the scope, goals, and boundaries of military actions.
  7. Issuance of Binding Resolutions: The UNSC stands as the singular UN entity endowed with the ability to promulgate binding resolutions on member states. This signifies that nations are legally obligated to adhere to UNSC resolutions, including those addressing ceasefires, sanctions, and military interventions.

Permanent and Non-Permanent Members of the UNSC

The UNSC comprises 15 member states, with five of these holding permanent status and the power to exercise veto authority. The five permanent members of the UNSC are: the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom. The remaining ten members are elected to non-permanent positions, serving two-year terms. The existence of permanent members with veto privileges can at times engender disputes and challenges in achieving consensus on consequential matters.

Emblem of the United Nations


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