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Understanding Compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions Addressing Civil Wars

IPI is undertaking a multiyear research project to improve understanding of the role of the UN Security Council in the area of work where it has been most active since the end of the Cold War: the resolution of civil wars.

In order to determine correlates of compliance, values for more than fifty variables have already been gathered in a database with more than 1,000,000 data points, including variables relating to:

•  characteristics of the civil war addressed by the demand;
•  contextual activities of the United Nations related to the conflict;
•  circumstances of the drafting and adoption of the resolution containing the demand;
•  substance of the resolution and of the demand;
•  characteristics of the demand addressees; and
•  follow-up, monitoring, and enforcement mechanisms.

For each demand issued in a Security Council resolution, recognized experts will assess the level of compliance and the depth of the demand on two scales on the basis of a rigorous methodology, and will document and justify their coding decision.

Searchable database
A database of all demands made in Security Council resolutions addressing civil wars between 1989 and 2003, providing detailed justifications and source references for all codes based on the coders’ assessment.

Download database (October 2012)
Download coding manual that contains methodology and coding notes
Download the "Guidelines for Assessing Compliance with Security Council Resolutions”

Data maps and graphs These interfaces show various trends and characteristics of compliance with Security Council resolutions in civil wars from 1989 to 2003.

**Please note that many of the graphs presented here double as filters, so feel free to navigate to whatever subset of data you’re interested in. If you find yourself lost and need to reset the page, you can find a reset button at the bottom of the page that looks like this: .

  The Compliance Map gives the user a geographic navigation interface. The heat map can also be used to filter specific country cases and mousing over a country gives specific details of compliance and the Council’s activities. Additional filters control the time frame on view as well as limiting to specific resolutions.
  The Trends in Compliance shows trends in compliance over time. The main chart gives the average compliance score per resolution as well as a trend line that appears as a dashed red line. The pie charts show the aggregate breakdown of compliance and depth of demand scores as well as the percentage of demands that request parties to engage in behavior agreed to in prior peace agreements (our proxy for resolutions that reinforce existing peace processes). Finally, at the lower right, there is a breakdown of conflict intensity leading up to the demand.
  The Carrots and Sticks shows the breakdown of demands that include sanctions, incentives, and threats on the right side of the page. On the left side of the page, we map out the breakdown of monitoring mechanism used by the Security Council to gauge compliance.
    The Field Presence shows the number of demands that are adopted in the presence of various types of field presence. Additionally, we show the correlation to peacekeeping force sized (both UN and non-UN) and compliance. At the bottom right, we show a breakdown of the types of thematic requests contained in Security Council demands.


Civil War: A civil war consists of one or several simultaneous disputes over generally incompatible positions that (1) concern government and/or territory in a state; (2) are causally linked to the use of armed force, resulting in at least 500 battle-related deaths during any given year during the conflict; and (3) involve two or more parties, of which the primary warring parties are the government of the state where armed force is used, and one or several nonstate opposition organizations.
Demand: This is the main unit of observation of our dataset and designates any behavioral prescription contained in an operative paragraph of a Security Council resolution.
Depth of Demand: This three-point scale refers to the hazard to addressees associated with compliance with Security Council demands.
Compliance: This four-point scale refers to all conduct (acts and omissions) by an actor that conforms to the requirements of the behavioral prescriptions addressed to them. Conversely, noncompliance is conduct that fails to conform to such requirements. The concept of compliance only deals with the degree of conformity between a norm and the norm addressee’s conduct. It is agnostic as to the reasons why this conformity does, or does not, occur.

Program Staff

Chris Perry
Senior Policy Analyst