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Peace and Security

Maintenance of international peace and security has always been a fundamental task for the UN. This is evident from the UN Charter where Member States vow “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. To ensure that the UN did not, like its predecessor, the League of Nations, stand idly by while a new world war broke out, it needed an effective body with a mandate to intervene in conflicts.

The UN Security Council was the result. The Council, on which 15 UN Member States serve, has a unique mandate and is entrusted with the authority to make legally binding decisions on behalf of all Member States.

The Security Council consists of five permanent and ten non-permanent members. The permanent members are USA, Russia, China, Great Britain and France. The non-permanent members are elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms.

To address threats to international peace and security, the Security Council has a number of tools at its disposal. Normally the initial goal will be to promote dialogue between the parties with a view to mediation and a peaceful political solution. The Security Council can also impose sanctions on the parties, which all member states must comply with. In the last resort, the Security Council can authorize military measures, including through peacekeeping operations. This is possible even without the ‘host country’s’ consent as in the case of Libya in 2011. Furthermore, the Security Council can authorize military intervention led by a single nation or a coalition of states.

Right now, some of the most important issues on the agenda of the Security Council agenda are conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. In addition, the Security Council increasingly considers cross-cutting, conflict-related issues, such as terrorism/violent extremism, protection of civilians, women’s role in conflict resolution and sexual violence in conflict zones.

Denmark is a strong supporter of the UN’s work in the field of conflict prevention and peace operations. Denmark has a long-standing tradition of contributing to UN peacekeeping operations. Denmark was a member of the Security Council in 2005-2006.