Background information: UN Security Council members

21.02.2020 - Article

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.

UN Security Council: new members and Presidency

On 8 June 2018, the United Nations General Assembly elected Germany, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and South Africa to the Security Council for the 2019-2020 period.

The following countries are thus non-permanent members of the Security Council in 2020: South Africa, Belgium, the Niger, Germany, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Estonia and South Africa.

The Presidency of the Security Council rotates each month alphabetically according to the English names of the countries. The order for 2020 is thus as follows: January – Viet Nam; February – Belgium; March – China; April – the Dominican Republic; May – Estonia; June – France; July – Germany; August – Indonesia; September – the Niger; October – Russia; November – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and December – South Africa.

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