We will officially launch the Corpus of Resolutions: UN Security Council (CR-UNSC) at an online event on Monday, 20 May 2024, organized by the European Society of International Law (ESIL) Interest Group on International Organisations (IG-IO).

During the event we will give an overview of the dataset, provide background on its construction and offer practical advice on its various uses and limitations, both for traditional and quantitative scholars/practitioners.

You will also have the opportunity to ask the authors any and all questions related to the dataset!

The event will be chaired by Professor Christiane Ahlborn (Trinity College Dublin).

Overview Link to heading

A new dataset is online! And what a dataset it is!

This is joint work with my colleagues Lorenzo Gasbarri (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) and Niccolò Ridi (King’s College London) and together we proudly present:

The Corpus of Resolutions: UN Security Council (CR-UNSC)

This is by an order of magnitude the most ambitious and complex legal data science project I’ve ever built and I am very excited for it to finally see the light of day!

The Corpus of Resolutions: UN Security Council (CR-UNSC) collects and presents for the first time in human and machine-readable form all resolutions, drafts, and meeting records of the UN Security Council, including detailed metadata, as published by the UN Digital Library and revised by ourselves.

The current version collects resolutions 1 (1946) through 2722 (2024) in all six official UN languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian), with drafts and meeting records in English and a massive number of features. See the list of features below for specifics!

We have also included an extensive Codebook that includes a detailed explanation of the dataset and instructions on how to make use of it. Please have a look before using the dataset.

Oh, and do scroll down this post until you see the workflow diagram. It’s worth it, I promise.

Features Link to heading

  • 82 Variables
  • Resolution texts in all six official UN languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian)
  • Draft texts of resolutions in English
  • Meeting record texts in English
  • URLs to draft texts in all other languages (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian)
  • URLs to meeting record texts in all other languages (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian)
  • Citation data as GraphML (UNSC-to-UNSC resolutions and UNSC-to-UNGA resolutions)
  • Bibliographic database in BibTeX/OSCOLA format for e.g. Zotero, Endnote and Jabref
  • Extensive Codebook to explain the uses of the dataset
  • Compilation Report and Quality Assurance Report explain construction and validation of the data set
  • Publication quality diagrams for teaching, research and all other purposes (PDF for printing, PNG for web)
  • Open and platform independent file formats (CSV, PDF, TXT, GraphML)
  • Software version controlled with Docker
  • Publication of full data set (Open Data)
  • Data published under Public Domain waiver (CC Zero 1.0)
  • Publication of full source code (Open Source)
  • Free Software published under the GNU General Public License Version 3 (GNU GPL v3)
  • Secure cryptographic signatures for all files in version of record (SHA2-256 and SHA3-512)

Workflow Diagram Link to heading

About the UN Security Council Link to heading

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the most influential of the principal UN organs. Composed of five permanent and ten non-permanent members, its functioning is constrained by the political context in which it operates. During the Cold War, the complex political relationships between the permanent members and their veto powers significantly affected the capacity of the UNSC to address violations of international peace and security, with only 646 resolutions passed from 1946 to 1989. Since the 1990s, the activity of the UN Security Council has increased dramatically and produced 2721 resolutions up to the end of 2023. The length, complexity and thematic breadth of the resolutions has also increased, prompting calls to redefine it as a quasi-legislative body.

Under Articles 24 and 25 of the UN Charter, member states have conferred upon the UNSC the “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security” and have agreed “to accept and carry out” its decisions. The discharge of this function is carried out through the powers bestowed upon it under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, “Pacific Settlement of Disputes”, Chapter VII, “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression”, Chapter VIII, “Regional Arrangements”, and Chapter XII, “International Trusteeship System”.

Under the peace and security mandate, its areas of activity cover disarmament, pacific settlement of disputes, enforcement, and, until 1994, strategic areas in a trusteeship agreement. Its functions also pertain to the correct working of the United Nations, covering issues of membership, the appointment of the Secretary General, the elections of judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the calling of special and emergency sessions of the General Assembly, the amendment of the Charter and of the ICJ Statute.

Updates Link to heading

The CR-UNSC will be updated at least once per year.

In case of serious errors an update will be provided at the earliest opportunity and a highlighted advisory issued on the Zenodo page of the current version. Minor errors will be documented in the GitHub issue tracker and fixed with the next scheduled release.

The CR-UNSC is versioned according to the day of the last run of the data pipeline, in the ISO format YYYY-MM-DD. Its initial release version is 2024-05-03.

Notifications regarding new and updated data sets will be published on my academic website at www.seanfobbe.com or on the Fediverse at @seanfobbe@fediscience.org

Compilation Report and Quality Assurance Report Link to heading

With every compilation of the full data set, an extensive Compilation Report and detailed Quality Assurance Report are created and published in PDF format.

The Compilation Report includes the source code for the pipeline architecture, comments and explanations of design decisions, relevant computational results, exact timestamps and a table of contents with clickable internal hyperlinks to each section.

The Quality Assurance Report contains a count of all hard tests and expectations, additional visualizations and documented test results for all soft tests that require further interpretation

The Compilation Report, Quality Assurance Report and Source Code are published under the following DOI: https://zenodo.org/doi/10.5281/zenodo.7319783

Attribution and Copyright Link to heading

This data is derived from the United Nations Digital Library at https://digitallibrary.un.org. Records were accessed and downloaded on 13 and 26 March 2024, with additional work on revisions and corrections up to and including 3 May 2024.

Pursuant to UN Administrative Instruction ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.2 of 17 September 1987 all official records and United Nations Documents (including resolutions, compilations of resolutions, drafts and meeting records) are in the public domain. We wish to honor the letter and spirit of this UN policy. To ensure the widest possible distribution of official UN documents and to promote the international rule of law we waive any copyright that might have accrued by creating the dataset under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication.

Contact Link to heading

Did you discover any errors? Do you have suggestions on how to improve the data set? You can either post these to the Issue Tracker on GitHub or contact me via https://seanfobbe.com/contact/