The United Nations Security Council (UNSC)is one of the UN’s 6 main organs. The other 5 organs are; the General Assembly, the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat. It is aimed at maintaining international peace and security. It held its first session on 17 January 1946 in Westminster, London.
Headquarters: New York, United States
Members Countries: The UNSC has 15 members consisting of permanent and non-permanent members.
- 5 members — US, UK, Russia, China, and France — are permanent members. These permanent members have veto rights.
- The other 10 elected or non-permanent members have a tenure of two years. At present, the non-permanent members are Estonia, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Norway, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Tunisia, and Vietnam.
- Initially, the strength of non-permanent members was six which was extended to ten in 1965.
- All permanent members have veto power whereas all the members have one vote. To decide on any matter in the UNSC, 9 votes out of 15 are required. However, if any of the 5 permanent members votes against or veto the matter or resolution, it cannot be passed.
- Veto powers of P5 countries have been used most frequently by Russia, blocking more than 100 resolutions since the council’s founding.
- A UN member, which is not a member of UNSC can participate in the UNSC discussion without any voting power. However, it is only possible if the matter in discussion will affect the interest of the country.
Presidency: The Presidency of the UNSC rotates alphabetically among 15 members every month.
Powers: Among all the United Nations Organisations, only UNSC has the power to make binding decisions on member states.
- Maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
- Investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
- Recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
- Formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
- Determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
- Call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
- Recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General. The UNSC along with the Assembly it elects the Judges of the International Court of Justice(ICJ).
Reforms and associated organisations:
- G4 Nations – Established in 2005 it is a group of 4 countries bidding for permanent seats in the UNSC. They are Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan.
- Uniting for Consensus (Coffee Club) – This is the group of countries opposing the expansion of permanent seats in the UNSC under the leadership of Italy. It was established in 1995 and includes – Italy, Spain, Malta, San Marino, Pakistan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia & Turkey.
Recently, India began its two-year non-permanent period at the UNSC along with Norway, Mexico, Ireland, and Kenya. But it is almost certain that India is not getting permanent membership of UNSC anytime soon. Thus, this opportunity should be viewed as a once-in-a-decade opportunity to pursue the national interests of the country.
Previously, India was elected for the years 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992, and most recently in 2011-2012. Thus, It is the 8th time that India is sitting on this chair.