Background information: UN Security Council members


The Security Council is composed of 15 UN member states, of which five – China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom – are permanent members.

Election of non‑permanent members

The remaining ten members are elected as non‑permanent members for two‑year terms, with five being elected each year. Until 1965 there were only six non‑permanent members. The terms of office of the non‑permanent members therefore overlap. The non‑permanent seats are allocated to the regional groups on a proportional basis. The Group of Western European and other States (WEOG) has two seats, the Eastern European Group has one, the Latin‑American and Asia‑Pacific Groups each have two and the African Group has three.

Sometimes the groups are able to agree on “their” candidate, but more often than not the elections are contested, with candidacies then involving long and arduous election campaigns. Elections for the non‑permanent members are held by the General Assembly (193 members) each year in October. A majority of two‑thirds of the members present and voting is required for the elections to be successful.

New members

On 28 and 30 June 2016 the United Nations General Assembly elected five new members.

In 2017 the following states are non‑permanent members of the Security Council:

Bolivia (also 2018), Egypt, Ethiopia (also 2018), Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan (also 2018), Senegal, Sweden (also 2018), Ukraine and Uruguay.

The Chair of the Security Council rotates each month alphabetically according to the English names of the countries. The order for 2017 is therefore as follows: January – Sweden, February – Ukraine, March – United Kingdom, April – USA, May – Uruguay, June – Bolivia, July – China, August – Egypt, September – Ethiopia, October – France, November – Italy and December – Japan.

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