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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal ...

United Nations
(UN), charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new
UN members The United Nations member states are the sovereign states that are members of the United Nations (UN) and have equal representation in the UN General Assembly. The UN is the world's largest intergovernmental organization. The criteria for a ...
to the
General Assembly A general assembly or general meeting is a meeting of all the members of an organization or shareholders of a company. Specific examples of general assembly include: Churches * General Assembly (presbyterian church), the highest court of presbyt ...
, and approving any changes to the
UN Charter The Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) is the foundational treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public internation ...
. Its powers include establishing
peacekeeping Peacekeeping comprises activities intended to create conditions that favour lasting peace. Research generally finds that peacekeeping reduces civilian and battlefield deaths, as well as reduces the risk of renewed warfare. Within the United Na ...
operations, enacting
international sanctions International sanctions are political and economic decisions that are part of diplomatic efforts by countries, multilateral or regional organizations against states or organizations either to protect national security interests, or to protect int ...
, and authorizing
military action War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence ...
. The UNSC is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states. Like the UN as a whole, the Security Council was created after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
to address the failings of the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
in maintaining
world peace World peace, or peace on Earth, is the concept of an ideal state of happiness, freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in it ...
. It held its first session on 17 January 1946, and in the ensuing decades was largely paralyzed by the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. Nevertheless, it authorized military interventions in the
Korean War The Korean War (see § Names) was a war fought between North Korea and South Korea from 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and rebellions in So ...

Korean War
and the
Congo Crisis The Congo Crisis (french: Crise congolaise, link=no) was a period of political upheaval A political revolution, in the Trotskyist Trotskyism is the political ideology and branch of Marxism developed by Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. ...
and peacekeeping missions in the
Suez Crisis The Suez Crisis, or the Second Arab–Israeli war, also called the Tripartite Aggression ( ar, العدوان الثلاثي, Al-ʿUdwān aṯ-Ṯulāṯiyy) in the Arab world and the Sinai War in Israel,Also known as the Suez War or 1956 War ...
,
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or politi ...

Cyprus
and
West New Guinea Western New Guinea, also known as West Papua, is the portion of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-largest island, and with an area of ...
. With the
collapse of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal balkanization, ...
,
UN peacekeeping Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peace Operations as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace". It ...
efforts increased dramatically in scale, with the Security Council authorizing major military and peacekeeping missions in
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regi ...
,
Namibia Namibia (, ), officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east a ...
,
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...
,
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...
,
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, ...
,
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...
,
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A ...
and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (frenc ...
. The Security Council consists of fifteen members, of which five are permanent: the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
, the
French Republic France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of severa ...
, the
Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
, the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
, and the
United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States of America
. These were the great powers, or their successor states, that were the victors of World War II. Permanent members can
veto A veto (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...
any substantive resolution, including those on the admission of new member states to the United Nations or nominees for the office of
Secretary-General Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social intera ...
. The remaining ten members are elected on a regional basis to serve a term of two years. The body's
presidency A presidency is an Administration (government), administration or the Executive (government), executive, the collective administrative and governmental entity that exists around an office of President (government title), president of a state or nati ...
rotates monthly among its members. Resolutions of the Security Council are typically enforced by
UN peacekeepers Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peace Operations as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace". It ...
, military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget. , there are thirteen peacekeeping missions with over 81,000 personnel from 121 countries, with a total budget of nearly $6.7 billion.


History


Background and creation

In the century prior to the UN's creation, several international treaty organizations and conferences had been formed to regulate conflicts between nations, such as the
International Committee of the Red Cross The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC; french: Comité international de la Croix-Rouge) is a humanitarian organization An aid agency, also known as development charity, is an organization dedicated to distributing aid. Many profess ...
and the
Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 File:Vredesconferentie Den Haag, Tweede 1907 - Second Peace Conference The Hague 1907.jpg, , The Second Hague Conference in 1907 The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 are a series of international treaty, treaties and declarations negotiated at tw ...
. Following the catastrophic loss of life in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, the Paris Peace Conference established the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
to maintain harmony between the nations. This organization successfully resolved some territorial disputes and created international structures for areas such as postal mail, aviation and opium control, some of which would later be absorbed into the UN. However, the League lacked representation for colonial peoples (then half the world's population) and significant participation from several major powers, including the US, the
USSR The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...

USSR
, Germany and Japan; it failed to act against the 1931
Japanese invasion of Manchuria The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began on 18 September 1931, when the Kwantung Army ''Kantō-gun'' , image=Kwantung Army Headquarters.JPG , image_size=300px , caption=Kwantung Army headquarters in Hsinking, Manchukuo Manchukuo, officiall ...
, the
Second Italo-Ethiopian War The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, also referred to as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, was a war of aggression A war of aggression, sometimes also war of conquest, is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense, usuall ...

Second Italo-Ethiopian War
in 1935, the 1937 Japanese occupation of China, and Nazi expansions under
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
that escalated into
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. On New Year's Day 1942, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister
Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highe ...

Churchill
,
Maxim Litvinov Maxim Maximovich Litvinov (; born Meir Henoch Wallach-Finkelstein; 17 July 1876 – 31 December 1951) was a Russian revolutionary and prominent Soviet politician. A strong advocate of diplomatic agreements leading towards disarmament Disarmame ...
, of the USSR, and
T. V. Soong
T. V. Soong
, of the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...
, signed a short document, based on the
Atlantic Charter The Atlantic Charter was a statement issued on 14 August 1941 that set out American and British goals for the world after the end of World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, ...
and the
London Declaration The London Declaration was a declaration issued by the 1949 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference on the issue of India's continued membership of the Commonwealth of Nations A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political commun ...
, which later came to be known as the United Nations Declaration. The next day the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their signatures." The term United Nations was first officially used when 26 governments signed this Declaration. By 1 March 1945, 21 additional states had signed. " Four Powers" was coined to refer to the four major Allied countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the Republic of China. and became the foundation of an executive branch of the United Nations, the Security Council. Following the 1943 Moscow Conference and
Tehran Conference The Tehran Conference (d Eureka) was a strategy meeting of , , and from 28 November to 1 December 1943, after the . It was held in the 's embassy in , Iran. It was the first of the of the "Big Three" leaders (the , the , and the ). It closely ...

Tehran Conference
, in mid-1944, the delegations from the Allied " Big Four", the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, the UK, the US and the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...
, met for the
Dumbarton Oaks ConferenceThe Dumbarton Oaks Conference or, more formally, the Washington Conversations on International Peace and Security Organization was an international conference at which proposals for the establishment of a "general international organization", which w ...
in Washington, D.C. to negotiate the UN's structure, and the composition of the UN Security Council quickly became the dominant issue. France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the UK and US were selected as permanent members of the Security Council; the US attempted to add
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
as a sixth member but was opposed by the heads of the Soviet and British delegations. The most contentious issue at Dumbarton and in successive talks proved to be the veto rights of permanent members. The Soviet delegation argued that each nation should have an absolute veto that could block matters from even being discussed, while the British argued that nations should not be able to veto resolutions on disputes to which they were a party. At the
Yalta Conference The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code name, codenamed Argonaut, held 4–11 February, 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union to dis ...
of February 1945, the American, British and Russian delegations agreed that each of the "Big Five" could veto any action by the council, but not procedural resolutions, meaning that the permanent members could not prevent debate on a resolution. On 25 April 1945, the UN Conference on International Organization began in San Francisco, attended by 50 governments and a number of non-governmental organizations involved in drafting the
United Nations Charter The Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) is the foundational treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public internation ...

United Nations Charter
. At the conference, H. V. Evatt of the Australian delegation pushed to further restrict the veto power of Security Council permanent members. Due to the fear that rejecting the strong veto would cause the conference's failure, his proposal was defeated twenty votes to ten. The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945 upon ratification of the Charter by the five then-permanent members of the Security Council and by a majority of the other 46 signatories. On 17 January 1946, the Security Council met for the first time at
Church House, Westminster The Church House is the home of the headquarters of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a List of Christian denominations, Christian church which is the established church of England. The archbishop of Canterbury is the m ...
, in London, United Kingdom.


Cold War

The Security Council was largely paralyzed in its early decades by the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
between the US and USSR and their allies and the Council generally was only able to intervene in unrelated conflicts. (A notable exception was the 1950 Security Council resolution authorizing a US-led coalition to repel the , passed in the absence of the USSR.) In 1956, the was established to end the
Suez Crisis The Suez Crisis, or the Second Arab–Israeli war, also called the Tripartite Aggression ( ar, العدوان الثلاثي, Al-ʿUdwān aṯ-Ṯulāṯiyy) in the Arab world and the Sinai War in Israel,Also known as the Suez War or 1956 War ...
; however, the UN was unable to intervene against the USSR's simultaneous invasion of Hungary following that country's revolution. Cold War divisions also paralysed the Security Council's
Military Staff Committee The Military Staff Committee (MSC) is the United Nations Security Council The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organizati ...
, which had been formed by Articles 45–47 of the UN Charter to oversee UN forces and create UN military bases. The committee continued to exist on paper but largely abandoned its work in the mid-1950s. In 1960, the UN deployed the
United Nations Operation in the Congo The United Nations Operation in the Congo (french: Opération des Nations Unies au Congo, abbreviated to ONUC) was a United Nations peacekeeping, peacekeeping force established by the United Nations to maintain order in the Republic of the Con ...
(UNOC), the largest military force of its early decades, to restore order to the breakaway
State of Katanga The State of Katanga (french: État du Katanga; sw, Inchi Ya Katanga), also sometimes denoted as the Republic of Katanga, was a breakaway state that proclaimed its independence from Republic of Congo (Léopoldville), Congo-Léopoldville on 1 ...
, restoring it to the control of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (frenc ...

Democratic Republic of the Congo
by 1964. However, the Security Council found itself bypassed in favour of direct negotiations between the superpowers in some of the decade's larger conflicts, such as the
Cuban Missile Crisis The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962 ( es, Crisis de Octubre), the Caribbean Crisis (), or the Missile Scare, was a 1-month, 4 day (16 October – 20 November 1962) confrontation between the United States and the ...
or the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
. Focusing instead on smaller conflicts without an immediate Cold War connection, the Security Council deployed the
United Nations Temporary Executive Authority The United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) / United Nations Security Force in West New Guinea (UNSF) was established during October 1962 in accord with General Assembly Resolution 1752 as requested in Article two of the New York Ag ...
in
West New Guinea Western New Guinea, also known as West Papua, is the portion of the island of New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-largest island, and with an area of ...
in 1962 and the
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is a UN peacekeepers, United Nations peacekeeping force that was established under United Nations Security Council Resolution 186 in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting following Cypru ...
in 1964, the latter of which would become one of the UN's longest-running peacekeeping missions. On 25 October 1971, over US opposition, but with the support of many
Third World The term "Third World" arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact. The United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Western European nations and their allies represented the "First Wor ...

Third World
nations, along with the
Socialist People's Republic of Albania The People's Socialist Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika Popullore Socialiste e Shqipërisë, links=no) was the that existed in from 1976 to 1992. From 1944 to 1946, the state of Albania was known as the and from 1946 to 1976 it was known ...
, the mainland, communist
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
was given the Chinese seat on the Security Council in place of the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...

Republic of China
; the vote was widely seen as a sign of waning US influence in the organization. With an increasing Third World presence and the failure of UN mediation in conflicts in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...
,
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...
and
Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale ...
, the UN increasingly shifted its attention to its ostensibly secondary goals of economic development and cultural exchange. By the 1970s, the UN budget for social and economic development was far greater than its budget for peacekeeping.


Post-Cold War

After the Cold War, the UN saw a radical expansion in its peacekeeping duties, taking on more missions in ten years than it had in its previous four decades. Between 1988 and 2000, the number of adopted Security Council resolutions more than doubled, and the peacekeeping budget increased more than tenfold. The UN negotiated an end to the
Salvadoran Civil War The Salvadoran Civil War was a civil war in El Salvador which was fought between the military-led junta government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) (a coalition or "umbrella organization" of left-wing grou ...
, launched a successful peacekeeping mission in Namibia, and oversaw democratic elections in post-
apartheid Apartheid (: ; , segregation; lit. "aparthood") was a system of institutionalised that existed in and (now ) from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on ' (or ), wh ...
South Africa and post-
Khmer Rouge The Khmer Rouge (; ; km, ខ្មែរក្រហម, ; "Red Red is the color at the long wavelength end of the visible spectrum of light, next to orange and opposite violet. It has a dominant wavelength Image:dominant wavelength ...
Cambodia. In 1991, the Security Council demonstrated its renewed vigor by condemning the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was an operation conducted by Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق ' ...
on the same day of the attack and later authorizing a US-led coalition that successfully repulsed the Iraqis. Undersecretary-General later described the hopes raised by these successes as a "false renaissance" for the organization, given the more troubled missions that followed. Though the UN Charter had been written primarily to prevent aggression by one nation against another, in the early 1990s, the UN faced a number of simultaneous, serious crises within nations such as Haiti, Mozambique and the former Yugoslavia. The UN mission to Bosnia faced "worldwide ridicule" for its indecisive and confused mission in the face of ethnic cleansing. In 1994, the
United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) was established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 872 on 5 October 1993. It was intended to assist in the implementation of the Arusha Accords (Rwanda), Arusha Accords, sign ...
failed to intervene in the
Rwandan genocide The Rwandan genocide occurred between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the . During this period of around 100 days, members of the minority ethnic group, as well as some moderate and , were slaughtered by armed militias. The most widely acce ...
in the face of Security Council indecision. In the late 1990s, UN-authorized international interventions took a wider variety of forms. The UN mission in the 1991–2002
Sierra Leone Civil War The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002) was a civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country A country is a distinct territory, territo ...
was supplemented by British
Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is an amphibious Amphibious means able to use either land or water. In particular it may refer to: * ''Amphibious'' (film), a 2010 film * Amphibious aircraft An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an airc ...
and the UN-authorized 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was overseen by
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental military alliance between 27 European ...
. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq despite failing to pass a UN Security Council resolution for authorization, prompting a new round of questioning of the organization's effectiveness. In the same decade, the Security Council intervened with peacekeepers in crises including the
War in Darfur The War in Darfur, also nicknamed the Land Cruiser War, is a major armed conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan that began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Mo ...
in Sudan and the
Kivu conflict The Kivu conflict began in 2004 in the eastern Congo as an armed conflict between the military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and the Hutu Power group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the Democratic Repub ...
in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2013, an internal review of UN actions in the final battles of the
Sri Lankan Civil War The Sri Lankan Civil War ( si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ සිවිල් යුද්ධය; ta, இலங்கை உள்நாட்டுப் போர், Ilaṅkai uḷnāṭṭup pōr) was a civil war A civ ...
in 2009 concluded that the organization had suffered "systemic failure". In November/December 2014,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
presented a motion proposing an expansion of the NPT (
non-Proliferation Treaty The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usu ...
), to include
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
and
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
; this proposal was due to increasing hostilities and destruction in the Middle-East connected to the Syrian Conflict as well as others. All members of the Security Council are signatory to the NPT, and all permanent members are
nuclear weapons states Eight sovereign states have publicly announced successful detonation of nuclear weapons. United Nations Security Council#Permanent members, Five are considered to be nuclear-weapon states (NWS) under the terms of the Treaty on the Non-Prolife ...

nuclear weapons states
.


Role

The UN's role in international
collective security Collective security can be understood as a security treaty, arrangement, political, regional, or global, in which each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and therefore commits to a collective response to ...
is defined by the UN Charter, which authorizes the Security Council to investigate any situation threatening international peace; recommend procedures for peaceful resolution of a dispute; call upon other member nations to completely or partially interrupt economic relations as well as sea, air, postal and radio communications, or to sever diplomatic relations; and enforce its decisions militarily, or by any means necessary. The Security Council also recommends the new Secretary-General to the General Assembly and recommends new states for admission as
member states of the United Nations Member may refer to: * Military juryA United States military "jury" (or "Members", in military parlance) serves a function similar to an American civilian jury, but with several notable differences. Only a Courts-martial in the United States, Gene ...

member states of the United Nations
. The Security Council has traditionally interpreted its mandate as covering only military security, though US Ambassador
Richard Holbrooke Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (April 24, 1941 – December 13, 2010) was an People of the United States, American diplomat and author. He was the only person to have held the position of United States Assistant Secretary of State, Assistant Secr ...

Richard Holbrooke
controversially persuaded the body to pass a resolution on
HIV/AIDS in Africa HIV/AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, ...
in 2000. Under Chapter VI of the Charter, "Pacific Settlement of Disputes", the Security Council "may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute". The Council may "recommend appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment" if it determines that the situation might endanger international peace and security. These recommendations are generally considered to not be binding, as they lack an enforcement mechanism. A minority of scholars, such as Stephen Zunes, have argued that resolutions made under Chapter VI are "still directives by the Security Council and differ only in that they do not have the same stringent enforcement options, such as the use of military force". Under Chapter VII, the council has broader power to decide what measures are to be taken in situations involving "threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression." In such situations, the council is not limited to recommendations but may take action, including the use of armed force "to maintain or restore international peace and security." This was the legal basis for UN armed action in Korea in 1950 during the Korean War and the use of coalition forces in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991 and Libya in 2011. Decisions taken under Chapter VII, such as
economic sanctions Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties applied by one or more countries against a targeted self-governing state, group, or individual. Economic sanctions are not necessarily imposed because of economic circumstances—they ma ...
, are binding on UN members; the Security Council is the only UN body with authority to issue binding resolutions. The
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute) is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was adopted at a diplomatic confe ...
recognizes that the Security Council has authority to refer cases to the Court in which the Court could not otherwise exercise jurisdiction. The Council exercised this power for the first time in March 2005, when it referred to the Court "the situation prevailing in
Darfur Darfur ( ; ar, دار فور, Dār Fūr, lit=Realm of the Fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The hu ...

Darfur
since 1 July 2002"; since Sudan is not a party to the Rome Statute, the Court could not otherwise have exercised jurisdiction. The Security Council made its second such referral in February 2011 when it asked the ICC to investigate the Libyan government's violent response to the
Libyan Civil War Libyans (ليبيون) and their population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībīyā), officially the State of Lib ...

Libyan Civil War
. Security Council Resolution 1674, adopted on 28 April 2006, "reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005
World Summit Outcome Document 250px, U. N. headquarters in New York City The 2005 World Summit, held between 14 and 16 September 2005, was a follow-up summit meeting A summit meeting (or just summit) is an international meeting of Head of state, heads of state or Head of gov ...
regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity". The Security Council reaffirmed this
responsibility to protect The Responsibility to Protect (R2P or RtoP) is a global political commitment which was endorsed by all member states of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace ...
in Resolution 1706 on 31 August of that year. These resolutions commit the Security Council to protect civilians in an armed conflict, including taking action against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.


Members


Permanent members

The Security Council's five permanent members, below, have the power to
veto A veto (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...
any substantive resolution; this allows a permanent member to block adoption of a resolution, but not to prevent or end debate. At the UN's founding in 1945, the five permanent members of the Security Council were the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...
, the
Provisional Government of the French Republic The Provisional Government of the French Republic (PGFR) (french: Gouvernement provisoire de la République française (''GPRF'') is a name for an interim government of Free France between 3 June 1944 and 27 October 1946 following the liberation ...
, the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, the United Kingdom and the United States. There have been two major seat changes since then. China's seat was originally held by
Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Romanization of Chinese, romanized via Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin as Chiang Chieh-shih and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese Kuomintang, Nationalist politician, ...

Chiang Kai-shek
's Nationalist Government, the Republic of China. However, the Nationalists were forced to retreat to the
island of Taiwan Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The m ...
in 1949, during the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
. The
Chinese Communist Party The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), officially the Communist Party of China (CPC), is the founding and One-party state, sole ruling party of the China, People's Republic of China (PRC). The CCP leads List of political parties in China, eight other ...
assumed control of
mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

mainland China
, thenceforth known as the People's Republic of China. In 1971, General Assembly Resolution 2758 recognized the People's Republic as the rightful representative of China in the UN and gave it the seat on the Security Council that had been held by the Republic of China, which was expelled from the UN altogether with no opportunity for membership as a separate nation. After the
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, ...
in 1991, the Russian Federation was recognized as the legal successor state of the Soviet Union and maintained the latter's position on the Security Council. Additionally, France eventually reformed its government into the
French Fifth Republic The Fifth Republic (french: Cinquième République) is France's current republic, republican system of government. It was established 4 October 1958 by Charles de Gaulle under the Constitution of France, Constitution of the Fifth Republic.. The ...
in 1958, under the leadership of
Charles de Gaulle Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (; ; 22 November 18909 November 1970) was a French army officer and statesman who led against in and chaired the from 1944 to 1946 in order to reestablish democracy in . In 1958, he came out of retire ...
. France maintained its seat as there was no change in its international status or recognition, although many of its overseas possessions eventually became independent. The five permanent members of the Security Council were the victorious powers in World War II and have maintained the world's most powerful military forces ever since. They annually topped the list of countries with the highest military expenditures. In 2013, they spent over US$1 trillion combined on defence, accounting for over 55% of global military expenditures (the US alone accounting for over 35%). They are also among the world's largest arms exporters and are the only nations officially recognized as "
nuclear-weapon states Eight sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defi ...
" under the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law Intern ...
(NPT), though there are other states known or believed to be in possession of nuclear weapons. The block of Western democratic and generally aligned permanent members (France, the UK and the US) is styled as the "P3".


Veto power

Under Article 27 of the UN Charter, Security Council decisions on all substantive matters require the affirmative votes of three-fifths (i.e. nine) of the members. A negative vote or "veto" by a permanent member prevents adoption of a proposal, even if it has received the required votes. Abstention is not regarded as a veto in most cases, though all five permanent members must actively concur to amend the UN Charter or to recommend the admission of a new UN member state. Procedural matters are not subject to a veto, so the veto cannot be used to avoid discussion of an issue. The same holds for certain decisions that directly regard permanent members. A majority of vetoes are used not in critical international security situations, but for purposes such as blocking a candidate for Secretary-General or the admission of a member state. In the negotiations building up to the creation of the UN, the veto power was resented by many small countries, and in fact was forced on them by the veto nations—United States, United Kingdom, China, France and Soviet Union—through a threat that without the veto there will be no UN. Here is a description by Francis O. Wilcox, an adviser to US delegation to the 1945 conference: As of 2012, 269 vetoes had been cast since the Security Council's inception. In this period, China used the veto 9 times, France 18, the Soviet Union or Russia 128, the United Kingdom 32, and the United States 89. Roughly two-thirds of Soviet and Russian combined vetoes were in the first ten years of the Security Council's existence. Between 1996 and 2012, the United States vetoed 13 resolutions, Russia 7, and China 5, while France and the United Kingdom did not use the veto. An early veto by Soviet Commissar Andrei Vishinsky blocked a resolution on the withdrawal of French forces from the then-colonies of Syria and Lebanon in February 1946; this veto established the precedent that permanent members could use the veto on matters outside of immediate concerns of war and peace. The Soviet Union went on to veto matters including the admission of Austria, Cambodia, Ceylon, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Laos, Libya, Portugal, South Vietnam and Transjordan as UN member states, delaying their joining by several years. The United Kingdom and France used the veto to avoid Security Council condemnation of their actions in the 1956 Suez Crisis. The first veto by the United States came in 1970, blocking General Assembly action in
Southern Rhodesia The Colony of Southern Rhodesia was a landlocked self-governing colony, self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa, established in 1923 and consisting of British South Africa Company (BSAC) territories lying south of the Zambezi R ...
. From 1985 to 1990, the US vetoed 27 resolutions, primarily to block resolutions perceived as anti-Israel but also to protect its interests in Panama and Korea. The Soviet Union, the United States and China have all vetoed candidates for Secretary-General, with the US using the veto to block the re-election of
Boutros Boutros-Ghali Boutros Boutros-Ghali (; , ar, بطرس بطرس غالي ', ; 14 November 1922 – 16 February 2016) was an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the List of Secretaries-General of the United Nations, sixth Secretary-General of the United ...
in 1996.


Non-permanent members

Along with the five permanent members, the Security Council of the United Nations has temporary members that hold their seats on a rotating basis by geographic region. Non-permanent members may be involved in global security briefings. In its first two decades, the Security Council had six non-permanent members, the first of which were Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, the Netherlands and Poland. In 1965, the number of non-permanent members was expanded to ten. These ten non-permanent members are elected by the
United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), serving as the main deliberative, policymaking, and representative organ of the UN. Its ...
for two-year terms starting on 1 January, with five replaced each year. To be approved, a candidate must receive at least two-thirds of all votes cast for that seat, which can result in deadlock if there are two roughly evenly matched candidates. In 1979, a standoff between Cuba and Colombia only ended after three months and a record 154 rounds of voting; both eventually withdrew in favour of Mexico as a compromise candidate. A retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election. The African Group is represented by three members; the
Latin America and the Caribbean The term Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is an English-language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World ...
, Asia-Pacific, and Western European and Others groups by two apiece; and the
Eastern European Group The Group of Eastern European States (EEG) is one of the five United Nations regional groupsThe United Nations Regional Groups are the geopolitical regional groups of Member states of the United Nations, member states of the United Nations. Origi ...
by one. Traditionally, one of the seats assigned to either the Asia-Pacific Group or the African Group is filled by a nation from the
Arab world The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, consists of the 22 Member states of the Arab League, Arab countries which are members of ...

Arab world
, alternating between the groups. Currently, elections for terms beginning in even-numbered years select two African members, and one each within Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean; the traditional "Arab seat" is elected for this term. Terms beginning in odd-numbered years consist of two Western European and Other members, and one each from Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. During the 2016 United Nations Security Council election, neither Italy nor the Netherlands met the required two-thirds majority for election. They subsequently agreed to split the term of the Western European and Others Group. It was the first time in over five decades that two members agreed to do so. Usually, intractable deadlocks are resolved by the candidate countries withdrawing in favour of a third member state. The current elected members, with the regions they were elected to represent, are as follows:


President

The role of president of the Security Council involves setting the agenda, presiding at its meetings and overseeing any crisis. The president is authorized to issue both
Presidential StatementA Presidential Statement is often created when the United Nations Security Council The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental org ...
s (subject to consensus among Council members) and notes, which are used to make declarations of intent that the full Security Council can then pursue. The presidency of the council is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the member states' names. The list of nations that will hold the Presidency in 2021 is as follows:


Meeting locations

Unlike the General Assembly, the Security Council meets year-round. Each Security Council member must have a representative available at UN Headquarters at all times in case an emergency meeting becomes necessary. The Security Council generally meets in a designated chamber in the
United Nations Conference Building zh, 联合国总部大楼french: Siège des Nations uniesrussian: Штаб-квартира Организации Объединённых Наций es, Sede de las Naciones Unidas , image = UN HQ 2724390955 bfc562c6a9 (cropped).jpg , image_ ...
in New York City. The chamber was designed by the Norwegian architect
Arnstein Arneberg 250px, Interior of the UN Security Council Arnstein Rynning Arneberg (6 July 1882 – 9 June 1961) was a Norway, Norwegian architect. He was active professionally for 50 years and is often considered the leading architect in Norway of his ...

Arnstein Arneberg
and was a gift from Norway. The
United Nations Security Council mural The United Nations Security Council mural is an oil painting by Norwegian artist Per Krohg exhibited at the United Nations in New York City since August 22, 1952. The mural, a 16' x 26' foot long canvas located on the United Nations Security Council ...
by Norwegian artist
Per Krohg Per Lasson Krohg (18 June 1889 – 3 March 1965) was a Norway, Norwegian artist. He is most frequently associated with the mural he created for the United Nations Security Council Chamber, located in the United Nations building in New York City. ...
(1952) depicts a phoenix rising from its ashes, symbolic of the world's rebirth after World War II. The Security Council has also held meetings in cities including
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the and the largest city of . The name comes from the phrase ''Enkare Nairobi'', which translates to "cool water", a reference to the which flows through the city. The had a population of 4,397,073 in the 2019 census, while ...

Nairobi
, Kenya;
Addis Ababa Addis Ababa ( am, አዲስ አበባ ' , "new flower"), also known as Finfinne ( om, Finfinne "natural spring") and Sheger ( ', ), is the and largest city of . According to the 2007 census, the city has a population of 2,739,551 inhabitants. ...

Addis Ababa
, Ethiopia;
Panama City Panama City ( es, Ciudad de Panamá, links=no; ), also simply known as Panama (or Panamá in Spanish), is the capital and largest city of Panama Panama ( , ; es, link=no, Panamá ), officially the Republic of Panama ( es, República ...

Panama City
, Panama; and
Geneva Geneva ( ; french: Genève ; frp, Genèva ; german: link=no, Genf ; it, Ginevra ; rm, Genevra) is the List of cities in Switzerland, second-most populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich) and the most populous city of Romandy, the French-spea ...

Geneva
, Switzerland. In March 2010, the Security Council moved into a temporary facility in the General Assembly Building as its chamber underwent renovations as part of the UN Capital Master Plan. The renovations were funded by Norway, the chamber's original donor, for a total cost of 5 million. The chamber reopened on 16 April 2013.


Consultation room

Because meetings in the Security Council Chamber are covered by the international press, proceedings are highly theatrical in nature. Delegates deliver speeches to justify their positions and attack their opponents, playing to the cameras and the audience at home. Delegations also stage walkouts to express their disagreement with actions of the Security Council. Due to the public scrutiny of the Security Council Chamber, all of the real work of the Security Council is conducted behind closed doors in "informal consultations". In 1978, West Germany funded the construction of a conference room next to the Security Council Chamber. The room was used for "informal consultations", which soon became the primary meeting format for the Security Council. In 1994, the French ambassador complained to the Secretary-General that "informal consultations have become the Council's characteristic working method, while public meetings, originally the norm, are increasingly rare and increasingly devoid of content: everyone knows that when the Council goes into public meeting everything has been decided in advance". When Russia funded the renovation of the consultation room in 2013, the Russian ambassador called it "quite simply, the most fascinating place in the entire diplomatic universe". Only members of the Security Council are permitted in the conference room for consultations. The press is not admitted, and other members of the United Nations cannot be invited into the consultations. No formal record is kept of the informal consultations. As a result, the delegations can negotiate with each other in secret, striking deals and compromises without having their every word transcribed into the permanent record. The privacy of the conference room also makes it possible for the delegates to deal with each other in a friendly manner. In one early consultation, a new delegate from a Communist nation began a propaganda attack on the United States, only to be told by the Soviet delegate, "We don't talk that way in here." A permanent member can cast a "pocket veto" during the informal consultation by declaring its opposition to a measure. Since a veto would prevent the resolution from being passed, the sponsor will usually refrain from putting the resolution to a vote. Resolutions are vetoed only if the sponsor feels so strongly about a measure that it wishes to force the permanent member to cast a formal veto. By the time a resolution reaches the Security Council Chamber, it has already been discussed, debated and amended in the consultations. The open meeting of the Security Council is merely a public ratification of a decision that has already been reached in private. For example, Resolution 1373 was adopted without public debate in a meeting that lasted just five minutes. The Security Council holds far more consultations than public meetings. In 2012, the Security Council held 160 consultations, 16 private meetings and 9 public meetings. In times of crisis, the Security Council still meets primarily in consultations, but it also holds more public meetings. After the outbreak of the
Ukraine crisis The Ukrainian Crisis is the collective name for the 2013–14 Euromaidan Euromaidan (; uk, Євромайдан, or , literally 'Euro Square') was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, ...
in 2013, the Security Council returned to the patterns of the Cold War, as Russia and the Western countries engaged in verbal duels in front of the television cameras. In 2016, the Security Council held 150 consultations, 19 private meetings and 68 public meetings.


Subsidiary organs/bodies

Article 29 of the Charter provides that the Security Council can establish subsidiary bodies in order to perform its functions. This authority is also reflected in Rule 28 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure. The subsidiary bodies established by the Security Council are extremely heterogenous. On the one hand, they include bodies such as the Security Council Committee on Admission of New Members. On the other hand, both the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was a body of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, secu ...
and the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between nations". International may also refer to: Music Albums * International (Kevin Michael album), ''International'' (Kevin Michael album), 2011 * International (New Order album), '' ...
were also created as subsidiary bodies of the Security Council. The by now numerous Sanctions Committees established in order to oversee implementation of the various sanctions regimes are also subsidiary bodies of the council.


United Nations peacekeepers

After approval by the Security Council, the UN may send peacekeepers to regions where armed conflict has recently ceased or paused to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage combatants from resuming hostilities. Since the UN does not maintain its own military, peacekeeping forces are voluntarily provided by member states. These soldiers are sometimes nicknamed "Blue Helmets" for their distinctive gear. The peacekeeping force as a whole received the
Nobel Peace Prize The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prize The Nobel Prizes ( ; sv, Nobelpriset ; no, Nobelprisen ) are five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel's Will and testament, will of 1895, are awarded to "those who, during t ...
in 1988. In September 2013, the UN had 116,837 peacekeeping soldiers and other personnel deployed on 15 missions. The largest was the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (
MONUSCO The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or MONUSCO, an acronym based on its French name (), is a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) which was esta ...
), which included 20,688 uniformed personnel. The smallest, United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (
UNMOGIP The United Nations has played an important role in maintaining peace and order in the Kashmir region soon after the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, when a dispute erupted between the two States on the question of Jammu and Kashmir (prin ...
), included 42 uniformed personnel responsible for monitoring the ceasefire in
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks of the river Tawi River ...
. Peacekeepers with the
United Nations Truce Supervision Organization The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) is an organization founded on 29 May 1948 UN Security Council Resolution 73 for peacekeeping in the Middle East. Established amidst the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, its primary task was init ...
(UNTSO) have been stationed in the Middle East since 1948, the longest-running active peacekeeping mission. UN peacekeepers have also drawn criticism in several postings. Peacekeepers have been accused of child rape, soliciting prostitutes, or sexual abuse during various peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Sudan and what is now South Sudan, Burundi and Ivory Coast. Scientists cited UN peacekeepers from Nepal as the likely source of the 2010–2013 Haiti cholera outbreak, which killed more than 8,000 Haitians following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The budget for peacekeeping is assessed separately from the main UN organisational budget; in the 2013–2014 fiscal year, peacekeeping expenditures totalled $7.54 billion. UN peace operations are funded by assessments, using a formula derived from the regular funding scale, but including a weighted surcharge for the five permanent Security Council members. This surcharge serves to offset discounted peacekeeping assessment rates for less developed countries. In 2020, the top 10 providers of assessed financial contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations were the US (27.89%), China (15.21%), Japan (8.56%), Germany (6.09%), the United Kingdom (5.79%), France (5.61%), Italy (3.30%), Russian Federation (3.04%), Canada (2.73%) and South Korea (2.26%).


Criticism and evaluations

In examining the first sixty years of the Security Council's existence, British historian
Paul Kennedy Paul Michael Kennedy (born 17 June 1945) is a British historian specialising in the history of international relations, economic power and grand strategy. He has published prominent books on the history of British foreign policy and Great Power ...
concludes that "glaring failures had not only accompanied the UN's many achievements, they overshadowed them", identifying the lack of will to prevent ethnic massacres in Bosnia and Rwanda as particular failures. Kennedy attributes the failures to the UN's lack of reliable military resources, writing that "above all, one can conclude that the practice of announcing (through a Security Council resolution) a new peacekeeping mission without ensuring that sufficient armed forces will be available has usually proven to be a recipe for humiliation and disaster". A 2005 RAND Corporation study found the UN to be successful in two out of three peacekeeping efforts. It compared UN nation-building efforts to those of the United States, and found that seven out of eight UN cases are at peace. Also in 2005, the Human Security Report documented a decline in the number of wars, genocides and human rights abuses since the end of the Cold War, and presented evidence, albeit circumstantial, that international activism—mostly spearheaded by the UN—has been the main cause of the decline in armed conflict since the end of the Cold War. Scholar Sudhir Chella Rajan argued in 2006 that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, who are all nuclear powers, have created an exclusive nuclear club that predominantly addresses the strategic interests and political motives of the permanent members—for example, protecting the oil-rich Kuwaitis in 1991 but poorly protecting resource-poor Rwandans in 1994. Since three of the five permanent members are also European, and four are predominantly white Western nations, the Security Council has been described as a pillar of global apartheid by Titus Alexander, former Chair of Westminster United Nations Association. The Security Council's effectiveness and relevance is questioned by some because, in most high-profile cases, there are essentially no consequences for violating a Security Council resolution. During the
Darfur crisis The War in Darfur, also nicknamed the Land Cruiser War, is a major armed conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan that began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Mo ...
,
Janjaweed The Janjaweed ( ar, جنجويد, Janjawīd; also transliterated ''Janjawid'') (English: ''mounted gunman'') are a militia A militia () is generally an army or some other Military organization, fighting organization of non-professional soldiers ...
militias, allowed by elements of the Sudanese government, committed violence against an indigenous population, killing thousands of civilians. In the Srebrenica massacre, Serbian troops committed genocide against
Bosniaks The Bosniaks or Bosniacs ( bs, Bošnjaci, ; , ) are a and native to the an of , which is today part of . A native minority of Bosniaks live in other countries in the ; especially in the region of and (where Bosniaks form a regional ...
, although
Srebrenica Srebrenica ( sr-cyrl, Сребреница, ) is a town and municipality located in the easternmost part of Republika Srpska, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a small mountain town, with its main industry being Salt mine, salt mining an ...

Srebrenica
had been declared a UN safe area, protected by 400 armed Dutch peacekeepers. In his 2009 speech,
Muammar Gaddafi Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, Modern Standard . Due to the lack of standardization of transcribing written and regionally pronounced Arabic, Gaddafi's name has been romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Ling ...
criticized the Security Council's veto powers and the wars permanent members of the Security Council engaged in. The
UN Charter The Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) is the foundational treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public internation ...
gives all three powers of the
legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure ...
, executive and
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
branches to the Security Council. In his inaugural speech at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in August 2012,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei ( fa, سید علی حسینی خامنه‌ای, ; born 19 April 1939) is a Twelver Shia ''Marja and the second and current supreme leader of Iran, in office since 1989. He was previously President of Iran from ...

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
criticized the United Nations Security Council as having an "illogical, unjust and completely undemocratic structure and mechanism" and called for a complete reform of the body."Supreme Leader’s Inaugural Speech at 16th NAM Summit"
Non-Aligned Movement News Agency. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
The Security Council has been criticized for failure in resolving many conflicts, including Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Syria, Kosovo and the
Israeli–Palestinian conflict The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is one of the world's most enduring conflicts, with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching years of conflict. Various attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of th ...
, reflecting the wider short-comings of the UN. For example; at the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, New Zealand Prime Minister
John Key Sir John Phillip Key (born 9 August 1961) is a New Zealand retired politician who served as the 38th prime minister of New Zealand from 2008 to 2016 and as Leader of the New Zealand National Party from 2006 to 2016. After resigning from both ...
heavily criticized the UN's inaction on
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, more than two years after the
Syrian civil war#REDIRECT Syrian civil war The Syrian civil war ( ar, الْحَرْبُ الْأَهْلِيَّةُ السُّورِيَّةُ, ''al-ḥarb al-ʾahlīyah as-sūrīyah'') is an ongoing multi-sided civil war in Syria fought between the Syrian Ara ...

Syrian civil war
began. There is evidence of
bribery Bribery is defined by ''Black's Law Dictionary ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most widely used law dictionary Image:Legal Dictionaries.jpg, 300px, Several English and Russian legal dictionaries A law dictionary (also known as legal dictionary) ...

bribery
on the UNSC. Countries that are elected to the Security Council see a large increase in foreign aid from the US, averaging 59%. They also see an 8% increase in aid from the United Nations, mainly from
UNICEF UNICEF, also known as the United Nations Children's Fund, is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly ...

UNICEF
. The increase most strongly correlates to years in which the Security Council addresses issues relevant to the US. There is also evidence of increased foreign aid to elected countries from Japan and Germany. Membership on the UNSC results in reduced economic growth for a given country as compared to non-member countries (3.5% over four years compared to 8.7% for non-members). Elected members also experience a reduction in democracy and
freedom of the press Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being w ...
.


Membership reform

Proposals to reform the Security Council began with the conference that wrote the UN Charter and have continued to the present day. As British historian Paul Kennedy writes, "Everyone agrees that the present structure is flawed. But consensus on how to fix it remains out of reach." There has been discussion of increasing the number of permanent members. The countries which have made the strongest demands for permanent seats are Brazil, Germany, India and Japan. Japan and Germany, the main defeated powers in WWII, had been the UN's second- and third-largest funders, respectively, before China took over as the second largest funder in recent years, while Brazil and India are two of the largest contributors of troops to UN-mandated peace-keeping missions. Italy, another main defeated power in WWII and now the UN's sixth-largest funder, leads a movement known as the
Uniting for Consensus Uniting for Consensus (UfC) is a movement, nicknamed the Coffee Club, that developed in the 1990s in opposition to the possible expansion of permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) i ...
in opposition to the possible expansion of permanent seats. Core members of the group include Canada, South Korea, Spain, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, Argentina and Colombia. Their proposal is to create a new category of seats, still non-permanent, but elected for an extended duration (semi-permanent seats). As far as traditional categories of seats are concerned, the UfC proposal does not imply any change, but only the introduction of small and medium size states among groups eligible for regular seats. This proposal includes even the question of veto, giving a range of options that goes from abolition to limitation of the application of the veto only to Chapter VII matters. Former UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan Kofi Atta Annan (; 8 April 193818 August 2018) was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations The secretary-general of the United Nations (UNSG or SG) is the chief administrative officer of the Uni ...

Kofi Annan
asked a team of advisers to come up with recommendations for reforming the United Nations by the end of 2004. One proposed measure is to increase the number of permanent members by five, which, in most proposals, would include Brazil, Germany, India and Japan (known as the
G4 nations The G4 nations comprising Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million ...

G4 nations
), one seat from Africa (most likely between Egypt, Nigeria or South Africa), and/or one seat from the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, '), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Africa and Western Asia. The Arab L ...

Arab League
. On 21 September 2004, the G4 nations issued a joint statement mutually backing each other's claim to permanent status, together with two African countries. Currently the proposal has to be accepted by two-thirds of the General Assembly (128 votes). The permanent members, each holding the right of veto, announced their positions on Security Council reform reluctantly. The United States has unequivocally supported the permanent membership of Japan and lent its support to India and a small number of additional non-permanent members. The United Kingdom and France essentially supported the G4 position, with the expansion of permanent and non-permanent members and the accession of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan to permanent member status, as well as an increase in the presence by African countries on the council. China has supported the stronger representation of developing countries and firmly opposed Japan's membership. In 2017, it was reported that the G4 nations were willing temporarily to forgo
veto power A veto (Latin for "I forbid") is the Power (social and political), power (used by an official, officer of the state, for example) to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for i ...
if granted permanent UNSC seats. In September 2017, US Representatives
Ami Bera Amerish Babulal "Ami" Bera (; born March 2, 1965) is an American physician and politician serving as the United States House of Representatives, U.S. Representative for since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Par ...
and
Frank Pallone Frank Joseph Pallone Jr. (; born October 30, 1951) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the United States House of Representatives, U.S. representative for , serving since 1988. He is a member of the Democratic Party (United States), De ...

Frank Pallone
introduced a resolution (H.Res.535) in the
US House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the United States Senate, Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national Bicameralism, bicameral legislature of the United S ...
( 115th United States Congress), seeking support for
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.


See also

*
Reform of the United Nations Since the late 1990s there have been many calls for reforms of the United Nations (UN). However, there is little clarity or consensus about what reform might mean in practice. Both those who want the UN to play a greater role in world affairs and t ...
* Small Five Group, a group formed to improve the working methods of the Security Council *
United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs The United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) is a department of the United Nations Secretariat, Secretariat of the United Nations (UN) with responsibility for monitoring and assessing global political developments a ...
, provides secretarial support to the Security Council *
United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee The Counter-Terrorism Committee is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Security Council. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, the United Nations Security Council unanimously a ...
, a standing committee of the Security Council


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

*
UN Security Council Research Guide



Security Council Report
nbsp;– information and analysis on the council's activities *
What's In Blue
– a series of insights on evolving Security Council actions
Center for UN Reform Education – information on current reform issues at the United Nations

UN Democracy: hyperlinked transcripts of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council
{{Authority control United Nations organs International security Organizations established in 1946