The United Nations Security Council Needs To Be Reformed – OpEd


The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) holds significant importance in the realm of international peace and security; yet, its efficacy has been a subject of contention and scholarly discourse. President Joe Biden has put out a proposition to enhance the efficacy of the organization by advocating for the permanent membership of nations such as Brazil, India, and Indonesia. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is a crucial institution in the field of international peace and security. However, its effectiveness has been a topic of debate and scholarly discussion.

President Joe Biden has proposed a measure aimed at improving the effectiveness of the organization by pressing for the inclusion of states such as Brazil, India, and Indonesia as permanent members (Piccone). The objective of this essay is to analyze the current state of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including the challenges it encounters, the perspectives of the five permanent member nations (P5), and the involvement of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. This study aims to explore different ideas for changing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and provide a thoughtful analysis of potential prospects.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encounters notable obstacles as a result of its unequal power allocation, particularly among its permanent members, known as the P5 (Niezen and Sapignoli). These individuals possess the power to exercise a veto, so impeding the resolution of matters such as the Syrian civil war and the Israel-Palestine conflict. The existing makeup of the council fails to adequately represent global dynamics, as it omits emerging nations such as Brazil, India, and Indonesia. The absence of adequate representation poses a significant challenge to the council’s legitimacy and diminishes its overall credibility. The decision-making process is characterized by a closed-door approach, resulting in a dearth of openness and fostering a sense of distrust among the member nations. The absence of transparency poses a hindrance to cooperation and collaboration, hence worsening the efficacy-related challenges faced by the council.

The topic of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform has elicited a range of perspectives among the member nations. Proponents underscore the necessity of aligning the council with the present global context and addressing the deficiencies of the veto mechanism, as the G4 nations (Brazil, India, and Indonesia) advocate for permanent seats to augment representation and accommodate contemporary power dynamics (Alkali). On the other hand, certain countries, including a few members of the P5, voice doubts over the enlargement of permanent membership. They raise worries about the potential weakening of P5 influence, the possibility of impeding decision-making processes, and the criteria for selecting new permanent members (Perry and Smith). The presence of contrasting perspectives has at times hindered advancements in the discourse surrounding change.

The discourse surrounding the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is shaped by a multitude of variables. The United States demonstrates a favorable stance toward reform, particularly on the issue of veto power, but China maintains a more cautious approach (Li). France and the United Kingdom have shown their willingness to consider the possibility of extending permanent membership within the relevant international organization. However, Russia has shown resistance towards such reforms, particularly if they entail any reduction in its veto power. Ongoing disputes between the United States and China exist about the incorporation of more countries, which can be attributed to their divergent objectives.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encounters pressing issues and necessitates the implementation of several reforms to enhance its efficacy. The imperative of ensuring equitable representation necessitates the inclusion of states such as Brazil, India, and Indonesia in permanent membership (Venter). Additional measures should be implemented to reform the veto mechanism, such as imposing limitations on its utilization solely in cases of mass crimes or requiring a supermajority vote among permanent members. The inclusion of open debates, enhanced reporting to the General Assembly, and substantive engagements with non-permanent members and regional organizations are vital as well (Nick Pay and Postolski). The objective of these reforms is to strengthen the United Nations Security Council’s dedication to the maintenance of international peace and security. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is advocating for UNSC reform, urging member states to engage in discussions. He proposes solutions like suspending veto power in mass atrocities cases to balance P5 influence with collective action in addressing severe human rights violations (Ponzio and Bluman Schroeder).

In conclusion, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) finds itself at a critical juncture, requiring substantial and forward-thinking initiatives for reform. Despite the existence of various opinions and ongoing issues, it is imperative to acknowledge the pressing necessity of adapting to a swiftly changing global context. The establishment of a reformed United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which exhibits a more inclusive power structure, a veto mechanism that is reinvented, and a higher level of transparency, is not only a very desirable consequence but also a moral obligation to uphold the fundamental ideals upon which the United Nations was founded. Such reforms are necessary to guarantee a safer and more equitable global order that benefits all nations.

Reference List

  • Alkali, Abubakar. “An Appraisal of Africa’s Aspirations for Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council: A Case Study of Nigeria’s Prospects and Challenges.” Orca., 1 Dec. 2021, orca. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  • Li, Mingjiang. “Rising from Within: China’s Search for a Multilateral World and Its Implications for Sino-US Relations.” Global Governance, vol. 17, 2011, p. 331, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  • Nick Pay, Vahid, and Przemysław Postolski. “Power and Diplomacy in the United Nations Security Council: The Influence of Elected Members.” The International Spectator, vol. 57, no. 2, 1 Sept. 2021, pp. 1–17,
  • Niezen, Ronald, and Maria Sapignoli. Palaces of Hope: The Anthropology of Global Organizations. Google Books, Cambridge University Press, 26 Jan. 2017, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  • Perry, Chris, and Adam Smith. “Trends in Uniformed Contributions to UN Peacekeeping: A New Dataset, 1991-2012.” Social Science Research Network, 13 June 2013, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  • Piccone, Ted. Five Rising Democracies: And the Fate of the International Liberal Order. Google Books, Brookings Institution Press, 23 Feb. 2016, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  • Ponzio, Richard, and Michael Bluman Schroeder. “A Fool’s Errand? The next Secretary‐General and United Nations Reform.” Global Policy, vol. 8, no. 2, May 2017, pp. 263–269,
  • Venter, Albert. “Reform of the United Nations Security Council: A Comment on the South African Position.” International Journal on World Peace, vol. 20, no. 4, 2003, pp. 29–47, Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.

Simon Hutagalung

Simon Hutagalung is a retired diplomat from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and received his master's degree in political science and comparative politics from the City University of New York. The opinions expressed in his articles are his own.

One thought on “The United Nations Security Council Needs To Be Reformed – OpEd

  • January 31, 2024 at 2:17 pm

    Ukraine and Gaza wars have witnessed the total failure of the UN as it is unable to take any decisions because of the single veto power. US-NATO do not appear to be keen on ending these wars early! UN Security Council need an urgent total overhaul by:
    Increasing the membership of the existing five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US). Need to have minimum 9 permanent members and resolutions to be passed or blocked with minimum 6-member support.
    Need to change rules on Veto powers as they are ruining the charter of the Security Council and have totally paralysed it. Veto power could be removed or limited. Presently a single Veto is adequate to block a resolution. This step may strengthen the international law.
    A “Code of Conduct need to be put in place regarding action against genocide, crimes against humanity, terrorism and war crimes”.


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