The United Nations Security Council
After the two World Wars, in June 1945, Chapter V of the United Nations Charter established the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as the primary and permanent authority of the United Nations (UN) system charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. The UNSC, which is composed by fifteen members, five permanent members (the People’s Republic of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America) – the five victorious powers of World War II, that are granted with a veto power – and ten non-permanent (temporary) members, elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (GA), encourages international peace and security. The main purpose is to prevent war by settling disputes between nations. Whenever peace is threatened, the Security Council meets. The Charta of the United Nations commits that all member states are obligated to comply with council decisions.
The Security Council’s powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. But along with this power comes a high responsibility. Therefore, the Security Council is the most powerful body in the United Nations.
At the MainMUN conference, delegates of the SC should be aware that debates are often intensely political in nature. It is therefore important to balance the need for a resolution with the heated rhetoric of international politics.
Stabilizing Regions Threatened by the Resurgence of Non-State Actors
August 2021: footage coming out of Afghanistan spread rapidly to the shock of not only citizens around the world but also of their governments, who days before ‘the fall of Kabul’ had predicted the Taliban’s advances would take months or at least weeks. Shortly after international troops left, the Taliban formed a government. For many Afghans it is said to have taken them back 20 years, erasing all they had worked for. Additionally, Afghans see themselves faced with an increasing lack of access to resources and disruptions to basic services, thus threatening their livelihoods, wellbeing, and the stability and future of their country.
While the current developments in Afghanistan represent a conflict with causes rooted in the country’s unique history, it also deals with actors and structures with similarities found in conflicts in other parts of the world. The cases to be discussed depict situations with a strong international presence aiming to stabilize and re-build states threatened by non-state actors. In the sense of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, strategies are often based on short-term limited military responses. Consequently, new governance is often based on military capabilities which can provide fertile ground for ongoing armed conflict and instable government. The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, along with the alarming expansion of the Islamic State extremist groups not only in Syria and Iraq but also through affiliate groups in Africa, as expressed by Secretary-General Guterres, calls for a rethinking of peacebuilding strategies and sustainable peacekeeping.
The Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
In 2019, Felix Tshisekedi was elected the new president of the DRC. His presidency marks the first peaceful transition of power in the history of the country and was viewed as a positive sign for the Congolese democracy. At the same time, the aftermaths from the 1997-2003 Civil War, into which multiple neighbouring states had been involved are still present: Many rebel groups are still operating, causing harm and spreading terror especially in the Eastern provinces of the country, where the actual control of the central government remains low. A lack of perspectives has been bringing many people back into rebel groups even after they’ve left them long ago.
According to the United Nations, this has caused about 800,000 refugees to leave the country and 4.5 million internally displaced persons to give up their homes. The Human Development Index of the DRC ranks among the lowest 10% of the world and the country has been faced by repeated Ebola outbreaks. While the country is rich of natural resources, their exploitation often happens under inhumane conditions for the workers and is used as a source of financing for terrorism.
The situation in the DRC is therefore problematic in many spheres. Delegates will not only have to develop answers to the security threats posed by repeated attacks and insurgencies, but will also have to find answers on how to improve the humanitarian situation and strengthen the central government in order to create long-lasting peace.