UN Security Council Resolutions

CSIS

Launch Project

WE MADE an interactive data visualization to reveal complex patterns and relationships in the voting results of the UN Security Council resolutions dating back to 1946. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) provided us with a custom dataset containing the voting decisions for the five permanent members since its creation.

THE GOAL was to create an interactive data visualization that could create a snapshot of 73 years worth of decisions based on a country’s choice to vote in favor, against or abstain from a resolution. Additionally, CSIS wanted the visualization to be interactive so users could explore specific data patterns by clicking filters to compare two countries over the years. The U.N. votes on dozens of decisions each year and it can be difficult to track and quantify what these decisions mean. CSIS spent months manually collecting and categorizing this data with the plan to create a comprehensive resource to do that. Each column represents a single year with each resolution represented by a circle. By choosing options from the drop-down menus, the user can change the view, exploring the voting patterns of an individual country, or comparing the similarities and differences between two countries.

In creating the interactive, we effectively summarized every vote ever cast into a powerful and beautiful portrait of over 70 years worth of voting data since United Nations’ inception after World War II.

WE DESIGNED and coded a custom built interactive from scratch using the powerful D3 visualization library. The interactive needed to contain a huge amount of information in a very small space and we knew more push-button visualization tools wouldn’t cut it. Based on this criteria, we decided to build a completely original design, leveraging the flexibility and power of D3, JavaScript and CSS. The backend data is based on a simple spreadsheet export, so even an intern could update it with new years and resolutions!

CSIS UN Resolutions Interactive
View each resolution individually to see how countries voted
CSIS UN Resolutions Interactive
Country comparison allows users to see when a country entered the U.N. and when their voting patterns changed

THE PROJECT focuses on CSIS’s work around China’s rise in global economic and political influence. The project is part of their China Power series. We were even able to create a fully-functional mobile version that can be used on a tiny screen.