Basics of UNSC

About the Committee

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorisation of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

Council Members

The Security Council consists of fifteen members. The great powers that were the victors of World War II—the Russia federation, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General. The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.


Per the UN charter, the Security Council was granted special permissions and powers to execute a global responsibility for peace. If we were to consider the UN as a national Government; the General Assembly would be the legislative power and the Security Council the executive. Sometimes delegates are not aware that the Security Council as a committee has the right to send peace forces, impose economic embargoes or even authorise NATO military intervention. Therefore when dealing with an international crisis or a military situation keep this in mind to amp up your solutions or proposals.


As the main mandate of the committee is concerned with international peace and security, Security Council topics will usually focus on armed conflicts. While in recent times, Model UN conferences have focused on the rise of terrorist organisations, and the ongoing civil war in Syria, it is important to note that the Council is preoccupied with a large variety of conflicts worldwide as the only UN Committee that can authorise the use of force. This means that anywhere that there is a peacekeeping operation will require Security Council approval, resulting in a large range of topics. Maybe the most important part of a simulation is to have fun, yet fun isn’t necessarily the delegate party afterwards. There are many ways to have fun within session especially in the highly controversial committee of the UNSC. Act as if you WERE the actual delegate in the council, get into it. Take up your role and believe that the decisions you make in that council as the representative of a nation will shape the world tomorrow. Act as if the crisis presented where completely real, and be creative, never hold back on an idea that might sound unreachable. That’s what the UN does, it works miracles.

1 – Get to know your country

Start with your country profile and do some further research. Think about:
• Your country’s views and concerns
• Whether your country is involved in internal or external conflicts
• How your country views the other 14 states that will be represented
• The latest news from your country (e.g. is there an election looming?) as this might influence your views.

2 – Refresh your knowledge

Revisit worksheets 5.1 and 5.2 to refresh your knowledge of the Olympic Truce and the UN Security Council. Make sure you know about the different powers of permanent and non- permanent Security Council members.

3 – Think about what your resolution should say

Here are some ideas:
• Would your country support a ceasefire or negotiations to end ongoing armed conflicts?
• Does your country believe that internal conflicts should be included in the resolution?
• Does your country believe that extra support for UN peacekeeping, human rights or poverty relief would help achieve the

Truce’s aims? Remember to approach the resolution as a country ambassador and not as yourself. If your country is involved in an armed conflict, for example, it may not want a ceasefire. If your country is having financial troubles, it may not want to give extra money to UN peacekeeping.

4 – Get in Character

You will be taking on the role a country ambassador. Get in character and respect the following rules:
• Do not say ‘I believe’ or ‘in my opinion’. You should say ‘Brazil believes’ or ‘Brazil’s view is’.
• Only one ambassador can speak at a time. To request permission to speak from the Chair (your teacher), you should raise your country placard, which you will receive on the day, and wait to be recognised by the Chair.
• UN resolutions are forged through compromise. You should represent your country’s view but be prepared to negotiate so that you come up with a resolution that is acceptable to all countries. Remember that the entire Council will vote for the resolutions and that permanent members have vetoes.

— Aakanksha Panjwani (TYBBA G001)

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