United Nations Security Council—The Ten Lessons Learned

United Nations Security Council—The Ten Lessons Learned

TEXT: Mr. Boniface Lézona


The United Nations Security Council is the organ of the United Nations which has the main responsability of maintaining international peace and security. It is also one of the six main organs of the United Nations along with the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.

Few books in print cover the practical workings of the United Nations Security Council, especially the pragmatic conditions that govern its inner workings, and this was the principal impetus behind the book by Boniface Lezona.

Through 10 lessons he learned during his modest experience on the Security Council, the author attempts to contribute to the understanding of the workings of the UN Security Council from theoretical and pragmatic viewpoints.

Lesson One covers the activities and authority of the Security Council and highlights the roles and mission fulfilled by the Security Council member states. Lesson Two touches on the Security Council member states and describes five permanent members and ten non-permanent members that make up the 15-member council. Each of the permanent members has veto power and is considered one of the “landlords” of the Security Council, while non-permanent members are considered “tenants.” Nevertheless, these member states must live together while constrained by the ultimate goal of the world’s peace.

The main topic of Lesson Three is the occupational profiles of the ambassadors representing the member states. A comparative study shows that 86.66%, or 13 of the 15 member states’ ambassadors during this time, are career diplomats. This indicates the level of trust political leaders place in international relations specialists. Lesson Four focuses on the arena or framework of the Security Council. The Security Council Chamber which is specifically reserved for the public meetings and the Consultation Room are the main venues where debates take place, with the concerned players explaining their activities and deliberating world peace, stability, and justice.

Lesson Five, on the presidency of the Security Council, covers the many emotions ranging from honor to distress that the author experienced while presiding as Security Council president. Lesson Six is on political coordination, in other words the delegates network of the Security Council Members which role is to work closely with the secretariat of the Security Council in order to increase transparency and efficacy of this UN body. Political coordinators are considered as focal points of their respective delegation. Lesson Seven covers the organization of the work of the Security Council and how to deal with other aspects or issues, while in Lesson Eight the author touches on the election that takes place when the United Nations Secretary-General’s term of office expires. The theme of Lesson Nine is the evils that are aggravating conditions on the African continent such as war, military conflict, poverty, disease, and supranational organized crime. The final Lesson Ten explores the threat of nuclear weapons and proposes ways and means to achieve the process of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

In conclusion, there is a bold appeal to the Security Council to address the new and unprecedented international circumstances that are prone to rapid and multifarious change.

This work of 117 pages was published by Kojin Shoten (Tokyo) and would be a welcome addition to the libraries of United Nations member states as well as researchers and students of international relations and political science.


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