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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

INTERVIEW: "Every conflict has an end, and this conflict... has to come to an end after five years" - UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

30 July 2015 The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has been tasked with reinvigorating an inclusive political process towards ending the crisis in the country, based on the aims set out in the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, which was adopted by the first international conference on the issue and has been endorsed by the UN security Council.

Small islands need partnerships to battle climate change, address ‘unique vulnerabilities,’ says Ban

30 July 2015 The global challenges facing the small island developing States (SIDS) are the international community’s collective responsibility, today stated the top United Nations official at the Security Council.

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