Security Council Reform
(Photo)Security Council Reform
Why Must the Security Council be Reformed?

October 2011

The reform of the United Nations Security Council is high on the agenda for global governance. Despite profound changes in global realities, the basic structure of the Security Council has not changed significantly from its original form of 1945. Many States have strongly advocated the formation of a more legitimate, representative, effective and efficient Council, including an increase in both the permanent and non-permanent seats.

The discussion on reform has continued for nearly 20 years. If this continues any further without taking actions, the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council are put to question. It is essential to act now towards achieving concrete results on reform, while the momentum for it is rising. It is up to the Member States to realize Security Council reform.

Need to Ensure the Effectiveness of the Security Council

As the roles of the Security Council become diversified, including non-proliferation and peacebuilding, it has become essential and urgent that the Council is transformed into a body which can ensure the universal implementation of its decisions.

Increase in the Number of Member States

  • When the UN was established in 1945, there were 51 Member States. Now, there are 193 Member States, nearly four times the original number.
  • In comparison, the size of the Security Council membership was increased once in 1965, from 11 to 15 members, through an increase in the number of non-permanent seats.

(Photo)Number of UN Member States

Changes in the Regional Composition of United Nations Membership

  • Asia holds 53 Member States in the UN, with more than half of the world’s population. Despite its considerable growth, Asia is currently represented in the Council by a number equivalent to only one-fifth of the Member States (China and two non-permanent members).
  • Africa also accounts for more than one-fourth of the Member States. However, there is no permanent seat for Africa and only three non-permanent seats.

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