Issue Brief: Impact of Emerging Powers on the Council

A view of the Security Council on March 17, 2011 as 10 members vote in favor of resolution 1973. (UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras)

The current configuration of the Security Council has produced widespread speculation regarding the impact the new non-permanent members–some with aspirations for permanent seats–will have on the tone and substance of the Council’s work this year. In recent weeks, the Council has been in the spotlight over its handling of the situation in Libya, adopting two significant resolutions.

While this issue brief looks at the implications of the new configuration for all members, the main emphasis will be on the five new members: India, Germany, South Africa, Colombia, and Portugal.

  • First, this brief addresses how a strong elected membership might challenge some of the traditional advantages of the permanent members.
  • Second, it explores the interests and perspectives of some of the new members on key issues on the Council’s agenda.
  • Third, it analyzes emerging issues of interest to the elected membership.
    And fourth, it investigates what a Council with such a strong elected membership might mean for the prospect of Security Council reform.