Created after the catastrophic events of World War II, the ultimate goal of the United Nations is to achieve something its predecessor, the League of Nations, failed to accomplish: Maintaining world peace. Prior to the establishment of the UN, the lack of legal-binding international agreements, as well as a coordinated reaction from the international community in the face of growing fascism and militarism precipitated the second global war. Learning from this lesson, leaders around the world established the United Nations Security Council or UNSC as an international institution with necessary powers to intervene and protect world peace.
Unlike other UN bodies, whose resolutions are often recommendations without an implementing method, the UNSC’s resolutions are legal-binding and the council has a distinct enforcing mechanism. The UNSC consists of 15 members, 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent. Permanent members (P5), the USA, UK, France, USSR (later Russia) and China are all international political powerhouses, having significant influence over world security. The UN Charter determines that without the consensus among the permanent members, resolutions by proposed in the UNSC will not be passed. Specifically, each of the P5 countries possesses veto power that enables them to prevent the adoption of certain resolutions.
While this rule prohibits the UN from taking any action directly against its principal founding members, is also often criticized as the embodiment of great power politics, enabling these “giants” to determine or sabotage international agendas, contravening the UN’s principle of “every country is equal”. Therefore, several proposals have been raised to change the status quo regarding the veto power and membership, each with its own pros and cons, advocate and opposition. Nonetheless, they all signify that “a new world order” might be underway.
Committee: UN General Assembly
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. It consists of all Member States and will convene in New York once annually. The voting procedure of the General Assembly is “one country, one vote”. The General Assembly can adopt resolutions based on the recommendations of its subsidiary organs and can pass resolutions on any topics within the scope of the United Nations, aside from security issues. The UN General Assembly’s resolutions would become recommendations for the Member States, and with the exception of budget-related documents, are non-binding.
All resolutions regarding recommendations on peace and security, budgetary concerns, and the election, admission, suspension or expulsion of members required a two-thirds majority among the member states. Every other resolution is adopted with a simple majority. Regarding the issue of reforming the UNSC, resolution by the UNGA will be passed with a two-thirds majority and the P5 must also agree.
Issues to consider
Being an international institution in charge of maintaining world peace, has the UNSC been an effective body? With the potential and apparent abuse of veto powers by powerful countries, should the veto power be abolished? Should there be reforms to the current membership of the UNSC to ensure equal representation regarding geographical location, religion, and economic development status
This list is subjected to change