Back to top
Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

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

Libya crisis ‘festering,’ UN envoy warns, urging decisive action to build national unity

04 March 2015 The overall situation in Libya is “deteriorating rapidly” amid a growing terrorist threat and continuing violence, the United Nations envoy to the country warned the Security Council today, as he urged national stakeholders to move firmly in defining the country’s future.

South Sudan: UN chief urges all sides to ‘show leadership’ in quest for peace

04 March 2015 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged South Sudanese political rivals President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to resolve their differences and move towards a lasting peace ahead of an impending mediation deadline.

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)