UNSC Non-Permanent Members


The United Nations General Assembly elected Japan, Ecuador, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland to the U.N. Security Council for two-years Japan, which will replace India on the Asian seat, received 184 votes in the 193-member Assembly. Ecuador received 190 votes, Malta 185, Mozambique 192 and Switzerland 187. They will replace Mexico, Ireland, Kenya and Norway, whose 2-year terms on the 15-member Council are expiring at the end of this year. To ensure geographical representation, seats are allocated to regional groups. But even if candidates are running unopposed in their group, they still need to win the support of more than two-thirds of the General Assembly. The Security Council is the only U.N. body that can make legally binding decisions like imposing sanctions and authorizing use of force. It has five permanent veto-wielding members: the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia.

The Security Council, the United Nations’ principal crisis-management body, is empowered to impose binding obligations on the 193 UN member states to maintain peace. The council’s five permanent and ten elected members meet regularly to assess threats to international security, including civil wars, natural disasters, arms proliferation, and terrorism.Structurally, the council remains largely unchanged since its founding in 1946, stirring debate among members about the need for reforms. In recent years, members’ competing interests have often stymied the council’s ability to respond to major conflicts and crises, such as Syria’s civil war, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the coronavirus pandemic. The Security Council has five permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—collectively known as the P5. Any one of them can veto a resolution. The council’s ten elected members, which serve two-year, nonconsecutive terms, are not afforded veto power.

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