Five New Non-Permanent Security Council Members for 2013-2014

2012 Security Council Elections

Overview: On October 18 of this year, the UN General Assembly will hold elections for seats on the Security Council, the United Nations body primarily responsible for preserving international peace and security. Of the ten non-permanent Council seats currently in existence, five are to be filled on this date for the coming 2013-2014 term according to the following geographic allotment: 


  • One seat shall go to a member of the African Group
  • One seat shall go to a member of the Group of Asia and the Pacific Small Island Developing States (the Asia-Pacific Group)
  • One seat shall go to a member of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC)
  • Two seats shall go to members of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Voting: To obtain a seat on the Council, a country must receive votes from two-thirds of the member states present and voting at the General Assembly, regardless of whether the seat in question is disputed. Should a country not obtain the requisite number of votes during the first round of voting, the next round is limited to those countries that garnered the most votes. In this “restricted ballot,” the number of countries to be considered for another round of voting shall not exceed twice the number of vacant seats. Such an arrangement can proceed for up to three rounds of voting. If after such time no country has obtained the minimum number of votes required for election, unrestricted voting will be reopened for no more than three rounds. This alternation between restricted and unrestricted voting may continue until a country garners the requisite two-thirds of votes.

Note: A member state may be excluded from the voting process should it fail to fulfill its financial obligations, as stated in article 19 of the UN Charter.




WEOG Candidates: three candidates are currently in competition for two seats


            1) Australia – A UN member since 1945, Australia has served on the Council four times. In substantiating its candidacy, Australia points to its commitment to a number of UN principles, including preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, disarmament and non-proliferation. Additionally, it has sought to highlight its contribution to UN activities. To date, Australia has imparted 65,000 personnel to over 50 UN and other operations around the world. Moreover, it played a pivotal role in diplomatic efforts to restore peace in Cambodia, and is currently the twelfth largest contributor to both regular and peacekeeping UN budgets. Australia is also a party to significant disarmament treaties and proved a key player in the negotiation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In addition to pursuing improvements in the Council’s working methods, Australia also touts its interest in the relation of children to armed conflict, as well as climate change.


            2) Finland: A UN member since 1955, Finland has been elected to the Council twice. The nation stresses the need for an efficacious collective security structure, and believes that, as a smaller state, it is uniquely qualified to demonstrate independent judgment concerning the issues currently under the Council’s consideration. In accordance with its view that mediation and conflict management are essential to achieving a more peaceful world, it co-chairs the Group of Friends of Mediation and sponsored the first-ever General Assembly resolution on mediation. And while it has contributed over 50,000 peacekeepers to UN operations since 1956, it touts a history free of colonization, which it believes should lend it credibility as it attempts to attend to problems experienced by developing countries. If elected, Finland promises to push for accountability and inclusiveness in Council discussions.


            3) Luxembourg: A UN member since 1945, Luxembourg has never served on the Security Council. In advocating for its election, Luxembourg has stressed its affinity for central tenets of UN philosophy, including a commitment to security, development and human rights. Additionally, it has actively contributed to UN activities, both by deploying peacekeepers for UN and UN sanctioned missions in the former Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Afghanistan and by participating in EU missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, the Gaza Strip and off the Somali coast in an effort to combat local piracy. Currently, 1.05 percent of its gross national income goes towards assisting developing countries. In addition to its expressed interest in organized crime, drug trafficking and other threats to international security, Luxembourg also stresses issues related to women and gender equality.


Group of Asia and the Pacific Small Island Developing States candidates: three countries are currently in contest for one seat.


            1) Bhutan: A UN member since 1971, Bhutan has never been elected to serve on the Council. It is a strong proponent of a more equitable rotation system for UN organs regardless of the respective size or power of states. As a developing country, Bhutan feels that it possesses a special appreciation for the problems facing nations on the Council’s agenda. Moreover, it highlights its success in promoting General Assembly resolution 65/309, which attempts to include indexes of happiness and wellbeing in the development agenda. Bhutan is one of several states currently pushing for greater inclusivity and accountability for the Council.


            2) Cambodia: A UN member since 1955, Cambodia has never been elected to the Council, although it is currently the endorsed Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) candidate. Since April of 2006, Cambodia has begun to provide UN peacekeeping operations in such nations as Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad and Lebanon with personnel. Additionally, having experienced large-scale war and genocide in recent decades, the nation highlights its commitment to conflict prevention and resolution. Furthermore, Cambodia stresses that its foreign policy is derived from the ideals of neutrality, cooperation, and coexistence with other countries, and is especially concerned about climate change, particularly as it affects low-income states.


            3) Republic of Korea: A UN member since 1991, the ROK has served on the Council only once, despite the fact that it is currently the tenth largest financier of UN peacekeeping efforts, contributes personnel to nine of the UN’s present missions, and has already partaken in 19 other UN operations in its short tenure as a member state. Having once been the beneficiary of Western and other aid, the ROK is now a donor state, and consequently envisions itself as a bridge between the developed and developing world. Additionally, it has hosted many international conferences, including the G20 Summit in Seoul and the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul. A major proponent of nuclear non-proliferation, the ROK also strives to achieve more transparent and realistic mandates for peacekeeping missions.


African Seat: uncontested


            Rwanda: A UN member since 1962, Rwanda has served on the Council only once (interestingly, its tenure coincided with the country’s 1994 genocide). It emphasizes not only the important relationship between governance and socioeconomic development in post-conflict countries but also the need for a range of activities to be engaged in by the UN in order to secure a more peaceful world, including conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and long-term development. Rwanda is the sixth largest troop and police contributor to UN peacekeeping and stresses its commitment to effectively transitioning post-conflict countries from peacekeeping to state-building stages. Additionally, it has demonstrated its dedication to combating sex and gender-based violence, as well as to empowering women more broadly. A key proponent of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, Rwanda has pledged to assist the Council in its efforts to develop more timely and helpful responses to crimes against humanity where these are anticipated or are underway.


GRULAC Seat: uncontested


            Argentina: A UN member since 1945, Argentina has been elected to the Council eight times. Currently, its major initiatives at the UN level are to promote greater accountability and inclusion for UN organs. Indeed, the country has been a key proponent of reform for Council working methods for a number of years; in 1994, for example, Argentina served as one of several states to push for greater communication between troop contributors and Council members. Additionally, since 1958, it has lent roughly 50,000 personnel to UN peacekeeping operations. Argentina’s global interests are varied: at once a proponent of the peaceful settlement of disputes and the responsibility to protect, it also seeks to universalize human rights and ensure that the rule of law is upheld in troubled states.


(Taken from the Security Council Report’s Special Research Report “Security Council Elections 2012”)


Results: As anticipated, Argentina and Rwanda – whose candidacies went uncontested – were elected to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2013. Both nations were chosen by the 193-member General Assembly in its first round of balloting. Also elected in this round was Australia, which obtained one of two available non-permanent seats on the Council designated for states classified as “Western European and Others.” The second such seat was given to Luxembourg, chosen by the Assembly in its second round of voting. Finally, the Republic of Korea secured a place on the Council as a representative of the Asia-Pacific Group, also during a second round. These countries will replace Colombia, South Africa, Germany, Portugal and India, respectively, and will join permanent members China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – as well as non-permanent members Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo (whose terms continue through the end of 2013) – to comprise the newest United Nations Security Council.


(Taken from the UN News Centre's article "Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea and Rwanda obtain non-permanent seats on UN Security Council")