Key facts about the Security Council

The UNSC is one of the five bodies of the United Nations and consists of 15 member states. Of these, five are permanent members with veto rights (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), while the remaining ten members are elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term.

The ten non-permanent members of the Security Council are elected on a regional basis. Five seats are allocated to African and Asian states, two seats to Latin American and Caribbean states, one seat to Eastern European states and two seats to Western European and other states.

The presidency of the Security Council rotates among its members on a monthly basis, following the English alphabetical order of their country names.

The Security Council is charged with maintaining international peace and security. It has the power to investigate and resolve disputes, impose sanctions, authorize the use of force, establish peacekeeping missions and make recommendations to member states.

The Security Council meets regularly at United Nations headquarters in New York. It can convene at any time, especially in response to emergencies and crises, and its decisions are binding for all UN member states.

Security Council decisions require the affirmative votes of at least nine of the fifteen members. However, any of the five permanent members can exercise the right of veto, thus blocking important resolutions. This is why, the functioning and effectiveness of the Body is sometimes put to question.

To overcome such difficulties, there are ongoing consultations between the UN member states on the issue of reforming the Security Council in order to make it more representative, more transparent and more able to respond to the difficult and multifaceted challenges of modern era.

The Security Council has subsidiary bodies, such as committees, working groups and sanctions committees, which assist in its functions. These bodies focus on specific issues, such as counter-terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation or peacekeeping operations.