"Having a seat at the Security Council does not mean benefiting from a privilege in the name of history. It does not mean either achieving an ambition linked to economic power. Having a seat on the Security Council means making a commitment to take action to promote peace across the world."
François Hollande, President of the French Republic,
Opening debate of the 67th session of the General Assembly, 25 September 2012
France and the Security Council
The Security Council is in charge of international peacekeeping and security. Under the Charter, its decisions are legally binding and Member States are obliged to implement them.
The Council is composed of five permanent members — China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States — and ten non-permament members.
Non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly by secret ballot for a two-year term not immediately renewable. Under the Charter, to be elected, a country must receive the required two-thirds majority of States present and voting.
The current elected members are:
- Argentina (2013-2014)
- Australia (2013-2014)
- Azerbaijan (2012-2013)
- Guatemala (2012-2013)
- Luxembourg (2013-2014)
- Morocco (2012-2013)
- Pakistan (2012-2013)
- Republic of Korea (2013-2014)
- Rwanda (2013-2014)
- Togo (2012-2013)
On 6 December 2013, Jordan was elected as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council by the UN General Assembly following the decision of Saudi Arabia to give up its seat.
On 17 October 2013, the General Assembly elected Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to join at the Security Council as non-permanent members for the 2014-2015 biennium and take over from Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.
On 18 October 2012, the General Assembly elected Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea and Rwanda to replace Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa for the 2013-2014 biennium.
On 21 and 24 October 2011, the United Nations General Assembly elected Morocco, Pakistan, Guatemala, Azerbaijan and Togo to serve at the Security Council in place of Gabon, Lebanon, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nigeria for the 2012-2013 biennium.
In 2013, three members states of the European Union sit at the Security Council.
The Security Council/ UN Photo E.Debebe
The Presidency of the Security Council is held in turn
by the members of the Security Council in the English alphabetical order of their names. Each President holds office for one calendar month. France presided the UN Security Council in August 2012. In 2013, the Security Council will be chaired successively by Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Rwanda, Togo, the United Kingdom, and the United States (July 2013). France will preside the Council in December 2013.
Each Council member has one vote. Decisions on substantive matters require a minimum of nine votes in favour. When a decision obtains the required support of nine member states, permanent members can still veto the decision. Member states can also abstain: the abstention of seven members in a vote can thus prevent the adoption of a decision. Decisions on procedural matters are made by an affirmative vote of at least nine of the 15 members, without possibility of veto by permanent members.
Under the Charter, all Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to Governments, the Council has the power to take decisions which Member States are obligated under the Charter to carry out.
France advocates for a reform of the Security Council
, which should better reflect the realities of the 21st century while remaining capable of taking the necessary measures to confront today’s security challenges. France supports the demand for expansion put forward by Germany, Japan, India and Brazil. She also supports a greater African presence, including among the permanent members.
France is in favour of an expanded number of permanent and non-permanent seats in the Security Council, taking into account the emergence of new powers that are willing and ready to assume significant responsibilities.
Find all the topics dealt with by the Security Council in our geographic and thematic files.
Read also our file on the reform of the Security Council
The Security Council website
Monthly Programme of Work of the Security Council
Resolutions of the Security Council
Subsidiary Bodies of the Security Council on the UN website