COVID-19 and the Scope of the UN Security Council’s Mandate to Address Non-Traditional Threats to International Peace and Security
Forthcoming, ZaöRV / HJIL, Volume 81 (2021), Issue 1, pp. 117-146
24 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2020 Last revised: 27 Sep 2021
Date Written: November 5, 2020
In Resolution 2532 (2020), the UN Security Council characterised the COVID-19 pandemic as an endangerment to international peace and security and, for the first time, demanded a general ceasefire and humanitarian pause in armed conflicts across the globe. This article analyses the resolution and its broader implications. In particular, it examines the significance of the Council’s characterisation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the binding powers of the Security Council for addressing threats to international peace and security which are not ‘threats to the peace’, and the implications for the Council’s mandate and the collective security framework. This article argues that the concept of ‘international peace and security’ under article 24(1) of the UN Charter – rather than article 39 ‘threats to the peace’ – is fundamental to the delimitation of the Security Council’s mandate and powers for addressing non-traditional threats to international peace and security such as pandemics and the climate crisis.
Keywords: Resolution 2532, Security Council, threat to international peace and security, threat to the peace, article 24 UN Charter, COVID-19
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