As the featured speaker at the 79th GRIPS Forum (Tokyo, 10 June 2013), UNU Rector David Malone discussed the nature of the UN Security Council today, with a particular emphasis on the Security Council’s decision-making capacity.
The GRIPS Forums are periodic lectures organized by the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
In his presentation, “The UN Security Council: Boom or Bust?”, Dr. Malone made three key points regarding the characteristics of the Security Council. He touched upon the substantively new developments in the Security Council since the end of the cold war, the driving considerations that produce decisions which would not have occurred during the cold war, and the institutional factors that are new in the life of the Security Council.
• Listen to the full recording of UNU Rector Malone’s GRIPS Forum lecture.
Dr. Malone noted that since the media tends to focus on conflicts between members of the Security Council — particularly between the permanent five — this has led to a perception that the Security Council is unable to act effectively. While instances of conflict have been significant, he emphasized that there has been increased cooperation in the Security Council since the end of the cold war.
The Security Council seems to have issues regarding its working methods and composition, and the veto power of the permanent members, Dr. Malone said, but the sweeping powers of this UN organ are unique in international law. He also stressed that the Security Council’s demonstrated capacity for cooperation should not be ignored, as it provides the UN and its Member States with effective political negotiation on important global issues.