As the prime mediator and sole executive organ of the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council was founded “in order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations...for the maintenance of international peace and security.”In this capacity, the Security Council takes legally enforceable executive action on pressing global security issues. This responsibility is managed by the 15 members of the Council, who are subdivided into two groups, one of five nations with permanent membership on the Council, and another composed of 10 nations who are elected staggeredly to either one, or two-year terms. The five permanent member states (France, China, Russia, UK and USA) henceforth referred to as the P5, all possess a “veto power” that enables them to singlehandedly prevent the passing of any motion, action, or piece of legislation that comes through the Council. These permanent five members of the Council are often considered the most important and influential, mainly due to their possession of the veto power.
A frequent subject of debate regarding the Council has been the reform of the Council itself, with advocates for change contending that it has an archaic structure that fails to represent today’s realities (the P5 is composed solely of World War II victors). Daniel Trachsler of the Zurich Center for Security Studies opines that the Security Council (most notably the P5) “is a reflection of the constellation of powers at the end of World War II, which diminishes its legitimacy.”In the same piece, Mr. Trachsler goes on to assert that there is a “proven need for reform,” claiming that non-western states are notoriously underrepresented in the council. Mr. Trachsler is not the only one, however, who argues that the Council is need of significant reform. Kofi Annan also insisted that the Security Council was in dire need of reform in his campaign and tenure as the Secretary General of the United Nations, making Security Council reform a key priority of his administration. Mr. Annan authored a widely cited work entitled “In a Larger Freedom,” that detailed his plan and vision for UNSC reform, where he argued that an expansion of the P5 was necessary for it to reflect new power structures and stay true to the UN’s mission of inclusivity and equality.
Both Mr. Trachsler’s and Secretary-General Annan’s writings aptly sum up much of the international perspective on P5 reform. The general consensus is that the P5 is outdated and does not represent today’s realities, both from an economic perspective and from the perspective of global security. Most importantly, the unifying theme here is that Security Council and P5 reform is crucial. The debate in how this reform should be achieved seems to have found a dominating theory in that the current P5 should be expanded beyond the current scope of World War II victors. With that being said, certain members of the P5 hold strong counter-positions against the expansion of the council. Citing national/domestic concerns and unsavoury partnerships, these P5 states vehemently oppose measures to expand the Council. Regardless of the opposition to such expansion, there are select group of states, most notably the G4 group, who are particularly well-known for their bids for UNSC permanent membership. Their mutual support for each others’ bids makes them prime candidates for ascension to permanence. Member states should keep in mind these bids when debating potential UNSC expansion. Delegates should keep in mind the concreteness of their state positions on expansion, as well as potential alliances/backed bids that are publically known.
Clauses on this topic should focus on the implementation and regulations surrounding expansion, and should recommend specific nations (especially those who currently hold temporary membership in the Council) for permanent membership. The unique nature of this topic mandates full P5 approval when voting on a proposal that is to become law. Delegates should come prepared with solid foundational research and comprehensive knowledge of potential bids for membership.
The ASDMUN Security Council anticipates eager and fruitful debate on this topic.
What are the different perspectives surrounding expansion of the Council?
What current plans have been discussed in the Council regarding expansion?
What international bids are currently in progress for permanent membership?
How could a potential expansion of the Council affect global geopolitics?
How could the credibility and reach of the Council change if permanent membership were to be expanded?
Which countries’ bids have gained the most traction amongst P5 members for expansion of the Council?
What is the exact mechanism/process through which the Council can be expanded, and how can expansion of Council be set in motion?
How can the Council be expanded address changing global power centres?
Should expansion of permanent membership on the Council occur?
What are the benefits/drawbacks of Council expansion?