United Nations Security Council

Committee Description

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the organ of the United Nations responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Arguably the most publicized and most powerful UN body, it has been active since 1946 when members first convened in London, England. Its headquarters have since been moved to the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

The UNSC is made up of 15 member states, with five permanent members and ten non-permanent members. The permanent members, known as the P5, are the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom. Each of the P5 possesses the power to veto any substantive UNSC resolutions. Non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly. Following the October 2014 election, the current members are Chad, Nigeria, Angola, Jordan, Malaysia, Chile, Venezuela, New Zealand, Spain, and Lithuania.

The UNSC is unique in the UN as it is the only body with the power to make decisions that other members are obligated to follow. Under the UN Charter, all member states agree to accept and carry out decisions made by the UNSC. In situations where conflict cannot be ended by peaceful negotiations, the UNSC may choose a variety of courses of action, such as dispatching peacekeepers, enforcing economic sanctions, severing diplomatic relations, or even pursuing collective military action; however, while military action is possible, one of the UNSC’s chief concerns is to ensure minimal impact on the civilian population and economy. This, along with the prospect of veto power, makes the Security Council a true diplomatic, political and military challenge.

UNSC is an advanced committee. Prior experience in MUN and debate is highly recommended; however, anyone with interest or strong delegating skills may participate if they wish to.

To view the country matrix, please click here.

Topics | Backgrounders

Topic A: Cold War in the Middle East

Topic B: Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Backgrounders will be available in the near future. Please check again later.