<> on September 30, 2015 in New York City.

What is the Security Council?

Under the Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.

What is the main aim of Security Council?

The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Maintaining Peace and Security

When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council’s first action is usually to recommend that the parties try to reach agreement by peaceful means. The Council may:

  • set forth principles for such an agreement;
  • undertake investigation and mediation, in some cases;
  • dispatch a mission;
  • appoint special envoys; or
  • request the Secretary-General to use his good offices to achieve a pacific settlement of the dispute.

When a dispute leads to hostilities, the Council’s primary concern is to bring them to an end as soon as possible. In that case, the Council may:

  • issue ceasefire directives that can help prevent an escalation of the conflict;
  • dispatch military observers or a peacekeeping force to help reduce tensions, separate opposing forces and establish a calm in which peaceful settlements may be sought.

Beyond this, the Council may opt for enforcement measures, including:

  • economic sanctions, arms embargoes, financial penalties and restrictions, and travel bans;
  • severance of diplomatic relations;
  • blockade;
  • or even collective military action.

A chief concern is to focus action on those responsible for the policies or practices condemned by the international community, while minimizing the impact of the measures taken on other parts of the population and economy.

 

When a dispute leads to hostilities, the Council’s primary concern is to bring them to an end as soon as possible. In that case, the Council may:

  • issue ceasefire directives that can help prevent an escalation of the conflict;
  • dispatch military observers or a peacekeeping force to help reduce tensions, separate opposing forces and establish a calm in which peaceful settlements may be sought.
Beyond this, the Council may opt for enforcement measures, including:
  • economic sanctions, arms embargoes, financial penalties and restrictions, and travel bans;
  • severance of diplomatic relations;
  •  blockade;
  •  or even collective military action.
A chief concern is to focus action on those responsible for the policies or practices condemned by the international community, while minimizing the impact of the measures taken on other parts of the population and economy.

Members:

The Council is composed of 15 Members:Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States,

And ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term date):

  • Bolivia (2018)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (2019)
  • Equatorial Guinea (2019)
  • Ethiopia (2018)
  • Kazakhstan (2018)
  • Kuwait (2019)
  • Netherlands (2018)
  • Peru (2019)
  • Poland (2019)
  • Sweden (2018)

What is the “veto power”?

“Veto power” refers to the power of the permanent members (China, France, Russian Federation, the UK, the USA) of the United Nations Security Council to veto any “substantive” resolution. A permanent member’s abstention or absence does not prevent a draft resolution from being adopted. However, the veto power does not apply to “procedural” votes, as determined by the permanent members themselves.