UN Security Council


UN Security Council



The United Nations Security Council stands in need of reforms as it has
to maintain and safeguard international peace and security in view of the
changes in the international system which have occurred over the last 10 years.

The Security Council, is the United Nation\'s central
organ for maintaining peace. The Council\'s principal functions consist of
making recommendations for the peaceful settlement of disputes and taking
enforcement action to deal with threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and
acts of aggression. Article 24(1) of the Charter provides: "In order to
ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its members confer on
the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international
peace and security , and agree that in carrying out its duties under this
responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf."


The Security Council

The Council has 15 members, of whom five-China, France,
Great Britain, Russia, and the United States. The other ten members of the
Council are non-permanent, elected for two years by the General Assembly. The
number of non-permanent members was increased from six to ten on January 1st,
1966 as a result of an amendment to the Charter; as the membership of the
United Nations increased, it was considered that the membership of the Council
should also be increased to give more states an opportunity to sit.[1]

Under the Charter, the Security Council is primarily responsible for
matters of peace and security, with the General Assembly retaining only
residual authority. Articles 33--38 of the Charter authorize the Security
Council to encourage disputing nations to settle their differences through
peaceful means, including negotiations, inquiry, mediation, conciliation,
arbitration, and judicial settlement. In carrying out this responsibility, the
Council may delegate representatives or set up special committees to
investigate disputes and recommend means of settlement.

When the Council determines that a dispute threatens peace, it may,

Articles 39--51, enforce its recommendations, either by non-military
means, such as economic or diplomatic sanctions, or by the use of military
force. This is the only place where the Charter authorizes enforcement action.
Such action is however subject to the concurring votes of the five permanent
Council members, and thus emphasizes the significance of the great-power veto
on importantissues. Military action is also subject to the availability of
armed forces, a condition that has been difficult to fulfill.

Under Article 26, the Security Council is responsible for formulating
plans "for the establishment of a system for the regulation of
armaments." The United Nations Charter places less emphasis on arms
control and disarmament as means of achieving peace than did the League of
Nations Covenant. Because of events between the two world wars, many world
leaders concluded that peace could be achieved only through the cooperation of
the major powers acting, as Roosevelt put it, as the world\'s
"policemen." This idea is incorporated in the requirement for
great-power unanimity; it also explains why the Charter has been called a
system of "limited" collective security, as enforcement action cannot
be taken against the will of any country that holds a permanent seat on the

Article 25 of the Charter provides that "The members of the United
Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in
accordance with the present Charter." The Council thus has a power to make
binding decisions, which Member States are legally obliged to obey, i.e., they
are required by international law to honour their treaty obligations.



The United Nations is under increasing attack. At the
heart of the organization\'s mounting problems is an almost total lack of
accountability, which gives rise to suspicions of whole- sale corruption.
Existing evidence indicates that corruption and mismanagement go beyond the
routine fraud, waste, and abuse of resources that mark all public-sector
enterprises. UN budgets are shrouded in secrecy, there is no reliable way to
determine whether the various and often competing specialized agencies (at
least two dozen UN agencies are involved in food and agricultural policy) are
doing their jobs, and many UN activities, even if they are of some value, can
be carried out better and more efficiently by other groups. Other activities
should not be undertaken at all.

The United Nations is in dire need of reform, starting with a
comprehensive, independent audit. Even if a complete audit were performed,
however, there is no guarantee anything would be done about the problems
identified. And radical change may not be possible, no matter how obvious the
need. Given all the earlier, failed attempts to put things right, even on a
limited basis, optimism about meaningful reform may  be an