The United Nations Security Council: A Quick Overview

At the dawn of a new world, after the terrible Second World War, the global leaders joined hands to ensure prevention of another war and to commit to global peace. In 1946, upon establishing the UN, its six organs were also established. The UN Security Council is one of the organs specifically committed to maintaining peace and order.

Major functions of the Security Council 
  • The Security Council aims to solve and decide upon international disputes.
  • Recruiting force, if necessary.
  • Safeguarding the supremacy of the International Court of Justice. 
  • Ensuring peace. 
Structure of the Security Council 
The security council of the United Nations has 15 member states and usually holds it's meetings in the headquarters at New York City. Of the 15 members, 5 are permanent members. They are the U.S., U.K., France, China, and Russia. The other 10 members are elected for a two-year term by the general assembly upon completion of the term by a member. This implies that every year five members are replaced by the General Assembly.  The current 10 non-permanent members are as listed with their term dates as follows:
  • Belgium (2020)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (2019)
  • Dominican Republic (2020)
  • Equatorial Guinea (2019)
  • Germany (2020)
  • Indonesia (2020)
  • Kuwait (2019)
  • Peru (2019)
  • Poland (2019)
  • South Africa (2020)
Every month the Security Council is headed by a president who is one among the member states. In the month of May 2019, it was Indonesia and in June, it will be Kuwait.

UN Security Council Resolution: The Decision-making process 
For any decision or resolution to be passed by the security council of the United Nations, at least 9 out of the 15 members should approve it. In addition to that, the five permanent members are entitled to use the Veto, to mark their disapproval. A resolution will be officially approved only if 9 members approve it and there is no veto from the permanent members. 

More than 60 member countries can take part in the council and will be summoned and heard especially when a particular case is of their interest. However, apart from the members of the Security Council, no other country would have a vote in the decision-making process of the Security Council. 

  • The permanent members are the five nations that were on the winning side after the 2nd world war. The time when this was formed has significantly changed and the Security Council has not been able to accommodate the changes along with the temporal shift.
  • The neglect of other significant members and discrepancies in representation is another criticism faced by the Security Council. For instance, India, a country with significant socio-political and economic potentials and the second largest population is not a permanent member.
  • The silence from the side of the Security Council in recent issues like the Syrian crisis is questioning the credibility of the council.

Reforms and Challenges 

The structure, composition and its delayed responses to pressing crises of the world have earned the Security Council, a reputation for being lethargic and unbalanced.  In the aftermath of the many civil wars, refugee crises, and political tensions, there's a united call to revitalise the Security Council.
 Some proposals call for expanding permanent membership to emerging powers like India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan. Some other proposals urge to increase the number of member states to 20 or 24. However, none of these proposals has been considered so far. The Veto power of the current permanent members and the necessity of approval for the above-mentioned proposals by the current Security Council are two major challenges to the reformation of the UN Security Council. 

- Ananda Krishnan

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The United Nations Security Council: A Quick Overview The United Nations Security Council: A Quick Overview Reviewed by EMN on May 30, 2019 Rating: 5

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