Decision-making process, resolutions and sanctions
The members of the Security Council meet almost every day of the working week. Each member holds the presidency for one month. For decisions to be taken by the Security Council a majority of nine out of all 15 members is necessary. However, each of the five permanent members has the right to veto and to hold any decision taken by the majority. Abstention is not regarded as a veto. Decisions are mainly passed as resolutions. If a decision cannot be agreed on at an executive level, the members can still formulate a presidential statement, which is equal to a formal decision and indicates that the Security Council is paying close attention to a political issue. Both resolutions and statements are drafted by the member which has “the lead” on the issue. Non-members who are parties to a dispute being discussed by the Security Council are routinely invited to meetings.
The Security Council can pass resolutions under either chapter six, seven or eight of the United Nations Charter. Resolutions passed under chapter six, "Pacific Settlement of Disputes", are recommendations and not binding on UN members. The Security Council "may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute" and "recommend appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment”. Resolutions passed under chapter seven of the UN Charter are binding to UN members. They include economic sanctions or other measures taken in situations involving "threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression", such as armed force. Chapter eight refers to the authorization which must be given by the Security Council for any action conducted by regional organizations.
Sanctions (economic and trade sanctions, or more targeted measures such as arms embargoes, travel bans, financial or diplomatic restrictions) are imposed by the Security Council as resolutions. The same resolution also creates a Sanctions Committee of the Security Council, which receives the mandate to carry out the concrete enforcement of sanctions defined in the resolution. The use of mandatory sanctions is intended to apply pressure on a State or entity to comply with the objectives set by the Security Council without using force. In recent years, a number of states and humanitarian organizations have criticized the imposing of sanctions, arguing that they would often affect the most vulnerable segments of the population and can be fatal to the economy of third countries. In response to these concerns, the Security Council has referred to measures targeted at specific actors, as well as humanitarian exceptions embodied in Security Council resolutions.