Written by Inaaya Kaul, a grade 11 student.
What is the security council?
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held its first session in London in 1946 when the world was left in pieces after World War II and the UN had been recently formed to replace the failed mission of The League of Nations. Since then, the Security Council has permanently resided in the UN headquarters in New York.
The UNSC is a critical part of the UN that defines rules that member states are obliged to follow and implement. It maintains peace and security and helps solve disputes. It achieves this in different ways; some interventions start peacefully but may require stronger action such as economic sanctions that could escalate to military force.
What is the UN?
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization that was created after the Second World War (in 1945) in order to maintain international peace and security.
Member and non-member states?
The UNSC is composed of 15 members. China, France, the Russian Federation, the United States, and the United Kingdom are all permanent members. The other 10 are non-permanent and are elected for two terms by the general assembly (who deal with financing and peacekeeping). These 10 seats are split geographically to ensure that different parts of the world are equally represented. Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia, and South Africa are the current non-permanent members whose terms end this year. India begins its term at the beginning of 2021 and will hold the position until the end of 2022.
How are they selected?
The selection process is one of the most debated aspects of the UN. There are 10 non-permanent seats so 5 non-permanent members are elected every year and a retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election. Each member of the security council has a vote and members are elected on a two-third majority, mainly based on equitable geographical representation.
What is their role?
The role of these members is to maintain international peace and security, as suggested in the UN charter. This council tackles global crises and can impose legally binding measures if necessary, including forceful means. The council is also responsible for many political and peacekeeping missions and overseeing the dangerous work of the UN.
Due to the Security Council’s crucial role in maintaining national peace and security, and its powerful position in the United Nations, member states strive to become a non-permanent members of the UNSC. India is trying to become a permanent member to help expand its geo-political and geo-economic influence globally.