Reform of the United Nations Security Council

Session of the UN Security Council

Session of the UN Security Council, © picture alliance / dpa


Something finally needs to be done about reforming the United Nations Security Council!

If it is not adapted to the geopolitical realities of the 21st century, that is, if it does not ensure in particular adequate representation of the global South and major contributors to the UN system, the Security Council’s legitimacy and authority are at risk.

The debate on Security Council reform started in earnest in the early 90s following the end of the Cold War. In 2005 an agreement that appeared almost within grasp came to nothing. Since then there has been stalemate.

Since February 2009 the negotiations on Security Council reform have been conducted in an informal plenary of the UN General Assembly (IGN - Intergovernmental Negotiations). An overwhelming majority of UN members favours a reform that would enlarge both categories of Security Council membership (permanent and non-permanent). But there is no consensus as yet on specifics. On 14 September 2015, despite resistance from the opponents of reform, a first “framework document” outlining all positions on reform was unanimously adopted for consideration by the 70th session of the General Assembly (69/560): Draft Decision adopted on 14 September 2015. Although the document is very long, it could provide an initial starting-point for negotiations on a concrete text.

As the fourth-largest contributor, leading provider of development aid and also major player in many areas of the UN’s work (e.g. human rights, climate, disarmament), it is only natural that Germany should aspire to a permanent seat on the Security Council, particularly since our international partners and the German public constantly urge us to bring our influence to bear there. We can only do so if Germany is a member of this body.

Therefore, together with its G4 partners, Germany continues to actively advocate a reform of the UN Security Council. More than seventy years after the founding of the United Nations and ten years on from the last important reform summit, it is high time for concrete steps to be taken.

Find out more:

The United Nations Security Council

Background information: Reform of the United Nations Security Council – questions and answers

Previous draft resolutions on Security Council reform:

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