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Security CSS Blog

Composition of the UN Security Council

This graphic provides an overview of the composition of the UN Security Council. A common criticism is that this composition and the existence of permanent veto powers reflect the situation at the end of World War II. This is considered outdated by many UN member states, including Switzerland, which has been campaigning for reforms since 2005.

This year, Switzerland applied for the first time to take a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Being a member would undeniably entail many opportunities, but also some risks. For insights on the Swiss candidacy for the Security Council, see Fabien Merz’s CSS Analyses in Security Policy here.

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Nuclear

The P5 Must Reaffirm that Nuclear War Can’t Be Won and Mustn’t Be Fought

Image courtesy of US Department of State/Flickr.

This article was originally published in the ASPI’s The Strategist on 15 October 2019.

There are three sets of reasons for a palpable rise in nuclear anxieties around the world: growing nuclear arsenals and expanding roles for nuclear weapons, a crumbling arms-control architecture, and irresponsible statements from the leaders of some nuclear-armed states.

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Environment

Advancing United Nations Responses to Climate-Related Security Risks

Image courtesy of MrsBrown/Pixabay

This article was originally published by the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI) in September 2019.

Summary

The security implications of climate change have increasingly been debated in the United Nations Security Council. Yet, there is a growing concern by many UN member states about the lack of adequate responses to the risks that climate change poses to peace and security. In recent years, some modest but notable changes at the UN have taken place, of which the creation of the Climate Security Mechanism is the primary example.

Categories
Environment Peace

How Can the Security Council Engage on Climate Change, Peace, and Security?

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr.

This article was originally published by the IPI Global Observatory on 20 June 2019.

There are no shortages of statistics and data on the increasing rapidity with which our climate is changing, or on its effects. While rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers, and extremes in temperature are well-chronicled, the cascading impacts that a transformed climate will have on global peace and security are less clearly understood. This is all the more important since the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provide frameworks for addressing climate change for the international community, yet stop short of including peace and security. In light of its mandate, the extent to which the United Nations Security Council can or should take steps on climate-related peace and security issues is an increasingly urgent question.

Categories
International Relations

Is the UN Security Council Losing Legitimacy?

Image courtesy of JD Lasica/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 7 June 2018.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) is at a precipice. The Trump administration’s recent announcement that the US would no longer abide by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the multilateral agreement to restrict Iran’s ability to acquire and develop nuclear weapons – breaks both a UNSC agreement and UNSC procedure. Breaking the JCPOA has the potential to undermine the UNSC’s legitimacy and the important functions it serves; the value the permanent five members of the UNSC (P5) place on the UNSC as a deliberative, policy-producing body in international politics is unlikely to persist amidst repeated, major violations of UNSC agreements and procedures by the P5, with downstream consequences for a broad swathe of international peace and security outcomes.