5 permanent members with veto power and 10 non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term.


In terms of the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.


The world is changing, but not the UNSC. Established by 51 countries 70 years ago, the UN now has 193 member states in a very different world from 1945. Member states have not been able to agree on reform. It is time for a different approach!


There will never be a perfect moment. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be.

greater complexity

Already 3 times more people than in 1945 and almost 4 times more states.


Shifts in relative power and influence from the West to the East and empowerment of citizens and civil society.


Greater multipolarity and other shifts in power are potentially disruptive.


Terrorism and cybercrime are straining national capacities and globally armed conflict has been rising for several years.


Yet we are stuck with a global peace and security governance architecture from 1945


Our goal is to consult on the details of a reformed UNSC and then to establish a broad based global partnership of countries, business, think tanks and civil society organizations that will work with states to an enabling resolution by two thirds of the members of the UNGA, including the P5 members, to reform UNSC in line with the global norm of elected representation.

UNSC size and duration

26 members instead of 15, consisting of 8 members elected for 3 years (renewable) and 16 members elected for 3 years (non-renewable) and global powers or groups that meet three criteria.

voting regions

The current regions that elect the non-permanent members of the UNSC, namely the Eastern European Group, the Latin American and Caribbean Group, the Western European and Others Group, the Africa Group and the Asia-Pacific Group.


Global powers or groups of countries that choose to serve as one seat meeting the following minimum:

  • 3% of global population; and

  • 6% of of global economy (MER); and

  • 5% of the UN budget;

will automatically qualify for seat with enhanced voting rights.

Regional leaders will be elected on a 3-year renewable ticket. A 3-year category of membership will allow for flexibility and representativeness. The criteria for elected countries will be as follows:

  • Experience (i.e. deployment) and capacity (i.e. actual engagement) in conflict resolution, peace support operations, humanitarian support and post-conflict resolution;

  • In financial good standing with the UN and its agencies;

  • Willlingness to shoulder additional financial contributions to UN efforts on international peace and security as determined by the UN General Assembly

  • Respect for open, inclusive and accountable governance, the rule of law and international human rights standards;

  • A retiring member that was elected for 5 years will be eligible for immediate re-election.

During an 18-year transistion

  • The P5 will remain members of the UNSC.

  • The Council will have 26 members.

  • The P5 will have augmented voting rights.

About us

  • Concept

    In 2014 the Institute for Security Studies examined the changing dynamics and began the process of consultation on strategic interventions. Global security governance is crucial for Africa and the UNSC is at the heart of this.

  • development

    The incubation and development of 'Elect the Council' began with internal meetings and discussions by the African Futures and Innovation team at the ISS. This is now being followed up by a series of regional consultations across continents and virtually.

  • next steps

    Finalise the concept by December 2017, mobilise support and start the campaign in 2018.

  • Opportunity

    In principle, everyone and all countries are in favor of UNSC reform. But no one agrees on the specifics. Elect the Council proposes very specific changes and will mobilise for that.

  • comment on the concept

    Elect the Council invites government individuals and global civil society to download the concept note and comment on:


    • Global powers category
    • The principle of elected members to the UNSC?
    • The number of countries per member on the UNSC?
    • Size of the Council?
    • Criteria for membership?
    • The duration of elected terms?
    • Interim/transitionary arrangements?
    • Rules of procedure?
    • Voting?
    • Organizing the campaign?
    • Dealing with the concerns of the P5?
    • The process?
    • Or any other aspect...

    Contact Us

    +27 12 346 9500


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