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The United Nations (UN) was founded in 1945.

It is an international organization composed of 193 member states.

The UN addresses issues of humanity, including climate change, human rights, gender equality, peace and security, etc.

The UN provides a forum for different member states to express their views concerning such issues, and enables dialogue between different member states.

The official languages of the UN are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

An important committee of the UN is the Security Council.

The UN Security Council

Role of the UN Security Council

The primary responsibility of the Security Council is to maintain international peace and security.

The security council determines the deployment of UN peace-keeping operations, and monitors their work.

How to respond to crises around the world are decided on a case-by-base basis, with many factors taken into account. The security council may consider things like:

  • If a ceasefire exists and conflicting parties are committed to reaching a settlement

  • If clear political goals exist

  • If it is possible to create a precise mandate for a peace-keeping operation

  • If the safety of UN personnel can be reasonably ensured

All UN members are obligated to abide by decisions made by the Security Council.

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Members of the Security Council

The Security Council is composed of 15 Members.

There are five permanent members & ten non-permanent members.

Non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly.

These are the five permanent members:

China

Flaticon IconFrance

Flaticon IconRussian Federation

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The United Kingdom

Flaticon IconThe United States

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The five permanent members have veto power.

This means that regardless of the level of international support, any of the five permanent members can prevent the adoption of a Council resolution.

Summary

The UN Security Council plays a vital role in international safety & security.

The decisions they make can have serious consequences, both good & bad.

Think about the difficulty of reaching an agreement, especially between people coming from different cultural backgrounds. Who are the actors making global decisions? Do you agree or disagree that these are the people who should be making decisions?

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This Byte has been authored by

TT

Tressa Thompson

Graduate Student in International Education at New York University