The Security Council Takes On Ambitious Agenda for BruinMUN 2015

The Security Council is the most important body of the UN, and this year’s BruinMUN, as previous years, will feature a Security Council crisis committee. Delegates representing the permanent five members (also simply called P5) and the ten temporary members of the Security Council will clash over the topic of violence in Africa, the dispute over the South China sea and nuclear arms proliferation. Will the Security Council be able to efficiently address these issues given the diverging interests of the permanent members holding veto power? The International Press attempts to analyse the probability of any agreement on the agenda topics:

In The Security Council the permanent members have veto power. The Statistic above show which powers have used the veto powers since the inception of UN. For a complete record check: http://research.un.org/en/docs/sc/quick (image source: wikipedia)

In The Security Council the permanent members have veto power. The Statistic above show which powers have used the veto powers since the inception of UN. For a complete record check: http://research.un.org/en/docs/sc/quick (image source: wikipedia)

Five seemingly disparate conflicts define the first topic of the agenda: conflict in Darfur, civil war in South Sudan, Libyan civil war, sectarian violence and conflict in CAR, and religious violence related to the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria. Support from two veto-possessing powers for different sides in the Darfur conflict (Russia and the US, who both possess veto) presents a major stumbling block for the Council in passing any resolution on that matter. Similarly, China and the US both diverge in their approach to the Civil War in South Sudan. The US has proposed sanctions against the regime for their violent repression of minorities, but China, with huge investments in the South Sudanese oil industry, has opposed such actions. Russia’s accusation that they were duped into supporting the western coalition, who imposed the no-fly zone on Libya, further undermine Security Council consensus on this topic. The two latter conflicts generate less controversy among the Council members, and solutions for these are less likely to get shot down by vetoes.

The South China Sea is a hugely contentious area (image source: npr.org)

The South China Sea is a hugely contentious area (image source: npr.org)

The South China Sea dispute remains one of the most controversial border disagreements in the world to date. Several islands in the sea are claimed by the various nations in the area, including China, who is a permanent member and thus holds a veto. The US remains involved through heavy military and strategic support to Taiwan and Philippines. With China and the US on different sides in this matter, the Security Council has not addressed the dispute previously. Unless the smaller claimants are willing to concede significant parts of their claims, any agreement that China will not veto seems elusive.

The final topic of nuclear proliferation seems more likely to generate consensus and action. With the recently concluded agreement between Iran and the permanent members of the Security Council and Germany (P5+1), one of the major potential proliferation controversies seems more or less resolved. Members of the council can thus direct their attention towards increasing security with regards to nuclear armaments falling into wrong hands and other related issues. The prospect of nuclear arms being employed in attacks against civilians by non-state actors remains to this a major security issue for all citizens of the world.