United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal
organs of the United Nations, charged with the maintenance of
international peace and security as well as accepting new members
to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United
Nations Charter. Its powers include the establishment of
peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions,
and the authorization of military action through Security Council
resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue
binding resolutions to member states. The Security Council held its
first session on
17 January 1946.
Like the UN as a whole, the Security Council was created following
War II to address the failings of a previous international
organization, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace. In
its early decades, the Security Council was largely paralyzed by the
War division between the US and USSR and their respective allies,
though it authorized interventions in the Korean
War and the Congo
Crisis and peacekeeping missions in the Suez Crisis, Cyprus, and West
New Guinea. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, UN peacekeeping
efforts increased dramatically in scale, and the Security Council
authorized major military and peacekeeping missions in Kuwait,
Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
The Security Council consists of fifteen members. The great powers
that were the victors of World
Soviet Union (now
represented by the Russian Federation), the United Kingdom, France,
the Republic of
China (now represented by the People's Republic of
China), and the United States—serve as the body's five permanent
members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security
Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member
states or candidates for Secretary-General. The Security Council also
has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve
two-year terms. The body's presidency rotates monthly among its
Security Council resolutions are typically enforced by UN
peacekeepers, military forces voluntarily provided by member states
and funded independently of the main UN budget. As of 2016[update],
103,510 peacekeepers and 16,471 civilians were deployed on sixteen
peacekeeping operations and one special political mission.
1.1 Background and creation
1.2 Cold War
1.3 Post-Cold War
3.1 Permanent members
3.1.1 Veto power
3.2 Non-permanent members
4 Meeting locations
4.1 Consultation room
5 Subsidiary organs/bodies
United Nations peacekeepers
7 Criticism and evaluations
8 Membership reform
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
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 and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. Following the
catastrophic loss of life in World
War I, the Paris Peace Conference
League of Nations
League of Nations 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, USSR,
Germany, and Japan; it failed to act against the 1931 Japanese
invasion of Manchuria, the Second Italo-Ethiopian
War in 1935, the
1937 Japanese occupation of China, and Nazi expansions under Adolf
Hitler that escalated into World
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin D.
Roosevelt, and Soviet General Secretary
Joseph Stalin at the Yalta
Conference, February 1945
The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization began under
the aegis of the US State Department in 1939. Roosevelt first
coined the term
United Nations to describe the Allied countries."On
New Year’s Day 1942, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill,
Maxim Litvinov, of the USSR, and T. V. Soong, of China, signed a short
document which later came to be known as the United Nations
Declaration and 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 Policemen" was
coined to refer to the four major Allied countries: the United States,
the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China, which was emerged in
Declaration by United Nations and became the foundation of an
executive branch of the United Nations, the Security Council.
In mid-1944, the delegations from the Allied "Big Four", the Soviet
Union, the UK, the US and China, met for the Dumbarton Oaks Conference
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 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
Yalta Conference 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. At the conference,
H. V. Evatt
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, in London, United Kingdom.
Church House in
London where the first Security Council Meeting took
17 January 1946
The Security Council was largely paralysed in its early decades by the
War 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 North Korean invasion of South Korea,
passed in the absence of the USSR.) In 1956, the first UN
peacekeeping force was established to end the Suez Crisis;
however, the UN was unable to intervene against the USSR's
simultaneous invasion of Hungary following that country's
War divisions also paralysed the Security
Council's Military Staff Committee, 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
(UNOC), the largest military force of its early decades, to restore
order to the breakaway State of Katanga, restoring it to the control
Democratic Republic of the Congo
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
Cuban missile crisis or the Vietnam War.
Focusing instead on smaller conflicts without an immediate Cold War
connection, the Security Council deployed the
United Nations Temporary
Executive Authority in
West New Guinea
West New Guinea in 1962 and the United Nations
Peacekeeping Force in
Cyprus 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 nations, the mainland, communist People's Republic of
China was given the Chinese seat on the Security Council in place of
Taiwan; 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, Vietnam, and
Kashmir, 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.
US Secretary of State
US Secretary of State
Colin Powell holds a model vial of anthrax while
giving a presentation to the Security Council in February 2003.
After the Cold War, the UN saw a radical expansion in its peacekeeping
duties, taking on more missions in ten years' time 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, launched a successful peacekeeping
mission in Namibia, and oversaw democratic elections in post-apartheid
South Africa and post-
Khmer Rouge Cambodia. In 1991, the Security
Council demonstrated its renewed vigor by condemning the Iraqi
Kuwait on the same day of the attack, and later
authorizing a US-led coalition that successfully repulsed the
Brian Urquhart 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 failed to intervene in the Rwandan
Genocide in the face of Security Council indecision.
In the late 1990s, UN-authorised international interventions took a
wider variety of forms. The UN mission in the 1991–2002 Sierra Leone
War was supplemented by British Royal Marines, and the
UN-authorised 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was overseen by NATO.
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
Darfur in Sudan and the
Kivu conflict in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2013, an internal review of UN
actions in the final battles of the Sri Lankan Civil
War in 2009
concluded that the organization had suffered "systemic failure".
In November/December 2014,
Egypt presented a motion proposing an
expansion of the NPT (non-Proliferation Treaty), to include
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.
UN Security Council Resolutions
UN Security Council · UNBISnet · Wikisource
1 to 100 (1946–1953)
101 to 200 (1953–1965)
201 to 300 (1965–1971)
301 to 400 (1971–1976)
401 to 500 (1976–1982)
501 to 600 (1982–1987)
601 to 700 (1987–1991)
701 to 800 (1991–1993)
801 to 900 (1993–1994)
901 to 1000 (1994–1995)
1001 to 1100 (1995–1997)
1101 to 1200 (1997–1998)
1201 to 1300 (1998–2000)
1301 to 1400 (2000–2002)
1401 to 1500 (2002–2003)
1501 to 1600 (2003–2005)
1601 to 1700 (2005–2006)
1701 to 1800 (2006–2008)
1801 to 1900 (2008–2009)
1901 to 2000 (2009–2011)
2001 to 2100 (2011–2013)
2101 to 2200 (2013–2015)
2201 to 2300 (2015–2016)
2301 to 2400 (2016–2018)
2401 to 2500 (2018–present)
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
United Nations Security Council Resolutions
The UN's role in international collective security 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. The
Security Council has traditionally interpreted its mandate as covering
only military security, though US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke
controversially persuaded the body to pass a resolution on HIV/AIDS in
Africa 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, are
binding on UN members; the Security Council is the only UN body with
the authority to issue binding resolutions.
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 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 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.
Security Council Resolution 1674, adopted on 28 April 2006, "reaffirms
the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit
Outcome Document regarding the responsibility to protect populations
from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against
humanity". The Security Council reaffirmed this responsibility to
protect in Resolution 1706 on 31 August of that year. These
resolutions commit the Security Council to take action to protect
civilians in an armed conflict, including taking action against
genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against
Main article: Permanent members of the
United Nations Security Council
China and the United Nations,
France and the United Nations,
Russia and the United Nations,
Soviet Union and the United Nations,
United Kingdom and the United Nations, and
United States and the
The Security Council's five permanent members, below, have the power
to veto any substantive resolution; this allows a permanent member to
block adoption of a resolution, but not to prevent or end debate.
Current state representation
Former state representation
People's Republic of
China (since 1971)
China (1946–1949) (on the Mainland and
China (1949–1971) (on
French Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic (since 1958)
Provisional Government of the French Republic
Provisional Government of the French Republic (1945–1946)
French Fourth Republic
French Fourth Republic (1946–1958)
Russian Federation (since 1992)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1946–1991)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (since
United States of America (since 1946)
At the UN's founding in 1945, the five permanent members of the
Security Council were the Republic of China, the French Republic, the
Soviet Union, 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's Nationalist Government, the Republic of
China. However, the Nationalists were forced to retreat to the island
Taiwan in 1949, during the Chinese Civil War. The Communist
government assumed control of 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 of membership as a separate nation.
After the dissolution of the
Soviet Union 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
France reformed its government into the
French Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic in 1958, under the leadership of Charles de
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" under the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), though there
are other states known or believed to be in possession of nuclear
Number of resolutions vetoed by each of the five permanent members of
the Security Council between
1946 and 2017
United Nations Security Council veto power
Under Article 27 of the UN Charter, Security Council decisions on all
substantive matters require the affirmative votes of nine 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
Current permanent and other members of UNSC
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 – US, UK, China,
France and the 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: "At San Francisco, the issue was
made crystal clear by the leaders of the Big Five: it was either the
Charter with the veto or no Charter at all. Senator Connally [from the
US delegation] dramatically tore up a copy of the Charter during one
of his speeches and reminded the small states that they would be
guilty of that same act if they opposed the unanimity principle. 'You
may, if you wish,' he said, 'go home from this Conference and say that
you have defeated the veto. But what will be your answer when you are
asked: "Where is the Charter"?'"
As of 2012, 269 vetoes had been cast since the Security Council's
inception.[a] In this period,
China (ROC/PRC) used the veto 9 times,
France 18, USSR/
Russia 128, the UK 32, and the US 89. Roughly
two-thirds of Soviet/Russian vetoes were in the first ten years of the
Security Council's existence. Between 1996 and 2012,
China vetoed 5
Russia 7, and the US 13, while
France and the UK 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
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 USSR 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. Britain and
France used the veto to avoid Security Council
condemnation of their actions in the 1956 Suez Crisis. The first veto
by the US came in 1970, blocking General Assembly action in Southern
Rhodesia. From 1985–90, the US vetoed 27 resolutions, primarily to
block resolutions it perceived as anti-
Israel but also to protect its
interests in Panama and Korea. The USSR, US, and
China have all vetoed
candidates for Secretary-General, with the US using the veto to block
the re-election of
Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1996.
A chart representing the Security Council seats held by each of the
United Nations Regional Groups. The United States, a WEOG observer, is
treated as if it were a full member. This is not how the seats are
arranged in actual meetings of the Council.
Eastern European Group
Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC)
Western European and Others Group
Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
See also: List of members of the
United Nations Security Council;
United Nations Security Council election, 2017; and United Nations
Security Council election, 2018
Along with the five permanent members, the Security Council 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 General Assembly
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
The African Group is represented by three members; the Latin America
and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, and Western European and Others
groups by two apiece; and the
Eastern European Group
Eastern European Group 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. 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. 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
The current elected members, with the regions they were elected to
represent, are as follows:
Italy  
The 2017–18 term will be the first time in over five decades that
two members have agreed to split a term;[vague] otherwise intractable
deadlocks have instead usually been resolved by the candidate
countries withdrawing in favour of a third member state.
Main article: President of the
United Nations Security Council
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 statements (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 2018 is as
Security Council Presidency in 2018
Barack Obama chairs a
United Nations Security Council
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
The Security Council generally meets in a designated chamber in the
United Nations Conference Building in New York City, U.S. The chamber
was designed by the Norwegian architect
Arnstein Arneberg and was a
gift from Norway. The mural painted by the Norwegian artist Per Krohg
depicts a phoenix rising from its ashes, symbolic of the world's
rebirth after World
The Security Council has also held meetings in cities including
Nairobi, Kenya; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Panama City, Panama; and
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 US$5 million. The chamber
reopened on 16 April 2013.
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
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
Only members of the Security Council are permitted in the conference
room for consultations. The press is not admitted, and other members
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
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
only vetoed 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
in 2013, the Security Council returned to the patterns of the Cold
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.
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 and the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda were
also created as subsidiary bodies of the Security Council. The by now
numerous Sanctions Committees (see Category:
United Nations Security
Council sanctions regimes) established in order to oversee
implementation of the various sanctions regimes are also subsidiary
bodies of the Council.
United Nations peacekeepers
United Nations peacekeeping and List of United Nations
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
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.
Bolivian "Blue Helmet" at an exercise in Chile
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), which included 20,688 uniformed personnel. The
United Nations Military Observer Group in
India and Pakistan
(UNMOGIP), included 42 uniformed personnel responsible for monitoring
the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir. Peacekeepers with the United
Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) have been stationed in
the Middle East since 1948, the longest-running active peacekeeping
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 2013, the top 10 providers of assessed financial contributions to
United Nations peacekeeping operations were the US (28.38%), Japan
France (7.22%), Germany (7.14%), the
United Kingdom (6.68%),
Italy (4.45%), Russian Federation (3.15%), Canada
(2.98%), and Spain (2.97%).
Criticism and evaluations
Main article: Criticism of the United Nations
In examining the first sixty years of the Security Council's
existence, British historian
Paul Kennedy 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
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 predominately
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 three or
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
Janjaweed 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, although
been declared a UN safe area, protected by 400 armed Dutch
The UN Charter gives all three powers of the legislative, executive,
and judiciary branches to the Security Council.
In his inaugural speech at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
in August 2012,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
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.
The Security Council has been criticized for failure in resolving many
conflicts, including Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Syria, Kosovo and the
Israeli–Palestinian conflict, 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 heavily criticized the UN's
inaction on Syria, more than two years after the Syrian civil war
Main article: Reform of the
United Nations Security Council
The G4 nations: Brazil, Germany, India, Japan.
Uniting for Consensus
Uniting for Consensus core members
Proposals to reform the Security Council began with the conference
that wrote the UN Charter and have continued to the present day. As
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 who have made the strongest demands for
permanent seats are Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan.
Germany, the main defeated powers in WWII, are now the UN's second-
and third-largest funders respectively, while
India are two
of the largest contributors of troops to UN-mandated peace-keeping
Italy, the third main defeated power in WWII and now the UN's
sixth-largest funder, leads a movement known as the Uniting for
Consensus 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 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), one seat
from Africa (most likely between Egypt, Nigeria or South Africa),
and/or one seat from the 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
United Kingdom and
France essentially supported the G4
position, with the expansion of permanent and non-permanent members
and the accession of Germany, Brazil,
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
In 2017, it was reported that the
G4 nations were willing to
temporarily forgo veto power if granted permanent UNSC seats. In
September 2017, U.S. Representatives
Ami Bera and Frank Pallone
introduced a resolution (H.Res.535) in the US House of Representatives
United States Congress), seeking support for
India for a
permanent membership of the
United Nations Security Council.
United Nations portal
Reform of the United Nations
United Nations Department of Political Affairs, provides secretarial
support to the Security Council
United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, a
standing committee of the Security Council
^ This figure and the figures that follow exclude vetoes cast to block
candidates for Secretary-General, as these occur in closed session; 43
such vetoes have occurred.
^ "Article 7 (1) of Charter of the United Nations".
^ "Article 24 (1) of Charter of the United Nations".
^ "Article 4 (2) of Charter of the United Nations".
^ "Article 108 of Charter of the United Nations".
^ "Article 23 (1) of Charter of the United Nations".
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^ Kennedy 2006, p. 5.
^ Kennedy 2006, p. 8.
^ Kennedy 2006, p. 10.
^ Kennedy 2006, p. 13–24.
^ Hoopes & Brinkley 2000, pp. 1–55.
^ "Declaration by United Nations". United Nations. Retrieved 1 July
^ Osmańczyk 2004, p. 2445.
^ Urquhart, Brian. Looking for the Sheriff. New York Review of Books,
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^ Gaddis 2000.
^ Video: Allies Study Post-
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^ Meisler 1995, p. 9.
^ Meisler 1995, pp. 10–13.
^ a b c d "Milestones in
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^ Schlesinger 2003, p. 196.
^ Meisler 1995, pp. 18–19.
^ "What is the Security Council?". United Nations. Retrieved 24
^ Meisler 1995, p. 35.
^ Meisler 1995, pp. 58–59.
^ Meisler 1995, p. 114.
^ Kennedy 2006, pp. 38, 55–56.
^ a b c "Charter of the United Nations: Chapter VII: Action with
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^ Meisler 1995, pp. 115–134.
^ Kennedy 2006, pp. 61–62.
^ Meisler 1995, pp. 156–157.
^ Kennedy 2006, p. 59.
^ a b Meisler 1995, pp. 195–197.
^ Meisler 1995, pp. 167–168, 224–225.
^ Meisler 1995, p. 286.
^ Fasulo 2004, p. 43; Meisler 1995, p. 334.
^ Meisler 1995, pp. 252–256.
^ Meisler 1995, pp. 264–277.
^ Meisler 1995, p. 334.
^ Kennedy 2006, pp. 66–67.
^ For quotation "worldwide ridicule", see Meisler 1995, p. 293;
for description of UN missions in Bosnia, see Meisler 1995,
^ Kennedy 2006, p. 104.
^ Kennedy 2006, pp. 110–111.
^ Kennedy 2006, p. 111.
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2001, p. 21; Matthews 1993, p. 130; Neuhold 2001,
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^ Zunes 2004, p. 291.
^ Kennedy 2006, pp. 56–57.
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