Back to top

United Nations Security Council

The Security Council

In Brief...

  • 15 members: five permanent members with veto power and ten non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term.
  • Meetings are called at any given time when the need arises.
  • Rotating presidency: Members take turn at holding the presidency of the Security Council for one month.

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.

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.

The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations. And, together with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice.

Latest News

Security Council approves one year renewal of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq for one year

29 July 2015 The Security Council today extended for another year the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and expressed its intention to review the operation’s mandate in twelve months or sooner, if requested by the Iraqi Government.

At Security Council, Ban and UN special envoy outline ‘way forward’ on political solution for war-torn Syria

29 July 2015 Describing the more than four years of “slaughter” in Syria as a “shameful symbol of the international community’s divisions and failure,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to the Security Council to endorse his Special Envoy’s recommendations on reaching the political solution that “all parties claim to support.”

UN Web Services Section, Department of Public Information, © United Nations
and maintained by the Web Services Section (DPI) and the Security Council Affairs Division (DPA)