Fifty-one states ratify the Charter of the United Nations, formally establishing the United Nations. The UN Charter had been drafted during the two month-long United Nations Conference on International Organization based on the proposals from representatives of the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (USA) at Dumbarton Oaks from August to October 1944. The Charter provides for a veto power to five countries in the hope that it would ensure their participation in the UN and its Security Council.
(Source: UN Audiovisual Library)
The UN Charter sets forth in Chapter V the composition and functions and powers of the UN Security Council (UNSC), in addition to its voting and procedures details.
- The Security Council shall consist of eleven Members of the United Nations. The Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America shall be permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly shall elect six other Members of the United Nations to be non-permanent members of the Security Council, due regard being specially paid, in the first instance to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical distribution.
- The non-permanent members of the Security Council shall be elected for a term of two years. In the first election of the non-permanent members, however, three shall be chosen for a term of one year. A retiring member shall not be eligible for immediate re-election.
- Each member of the Security Council shall have one representative.
FUNCTIONS and POWERS
- In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.
- In discharging these duties the Security Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The specific powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of these duties are laid down in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII.
- The Security Council shall submit annual and, when necessary, special reports to the General Assembly for its consideration.
The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.
In order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating, with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee referred to in Article 47, plans to be submitted to the Members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments.
The UN Charter in Chapter XVIII sets forth the rules for amending the Charter:
- A General Conference of the Members of the United Nations for the purpose of reviewing the present Charter may be held at a date and place to be fixed by a two-thirds vote of the members of the General Assembly and by a vote of any seven members of the Security Council. Each Member of the United Nations shall have one vote in the conference.
- Any alteration of the present Charter recommended by a two-thirds vote of the conference shall take effect when ratified in accordance with their respective constitutional processes by two-thirds of the Members of the United Nations including all the permanent members of the Security Council.
- If such a conference has not been held before the tenth annual session of the General Assembly following the coming into force of the present Charter, the proposal to call such a conference shall be placed on the agenda of that session of the General Assembly, and the conference shall be held if so decided by a majority vote of the members of the General Assembly and by a vote of any seven members of the Security Council.”
The UNSC submits an annual report to the General Assembly under Article 24, paragraph 3, of the Charter and the Assembly considers the report in accordance with Article 15, paragraph 1. The Council’s report is included in the provisional agenda of the Assembly pursuant to rule 13 (b) of the rules of procedure.