Radio Sputnik studio at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2017. - Sputnik International, 1920
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UN Security Council: How Its Rotating Presidency Works and Who Wants to Reform It

© AP Photo / Bebeto MatthewsThe United Nations Security Council meets concerning North Korea's test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile, Friday March 25, 2022 at U.N. headquarters.
The United Nations Security Council meets concerning North Korea's test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile, Friday March 25, 2022 at U.N. headquarters. - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.03.2023
Moscow has repeatedly signaled its readiness to support UN Security Council reforms aimed at expanding the international body.
Russia is due to take over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council on April 1, in what comes amid ongoing speculation about the need to implement a reform of the UNSC. What are the basics of the UNSC’s rotating presidency and who is pushing for the UN body’s review? Sputnik explores.

What is the UN Security Council?

The UNSC consists of 15 members, including five permanent ones: Russia, China, the US, the UK, and France. The other ten are elected by the UN General Assembly for two-year terms starting on January 1, with five replaced each year. Currently, the non-permanent members in the council are Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
According to information published on the UN’s website, the Security Council “has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The body “takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression”, and under the UN Charter, all UNSC member states “are obligated to comply with Council decisions.”

How is the UNSC's Rotating Presidency Fulfilled?

The presidency rotates monthly among the fifteen members of the Security Council. The rotation takes place in alphabetical order of the member states' official names in English.
The presidency has been rotating since the body's establishment in 1946, and the UNSC president is considered to be the spokesperson of the UNSC.
The presiding nation serves to coordinate the actions of the Security Council, forms an agenda and decides policy disputes, sometimes acting as a diplomat or intermediary between conflicting groups. The UNSC president is authorized to appeal to conflicting parties to "exercise restraint."

What is UNSC Reform All About?

Reform of the Security Council encompasses at least five key issues:
categories of membership
the question of restricting the veto held by the five permanent members
regional representation
the size of an enlarged UNSC and its working methods
the Security Council-General Assembly relationship
It’s worth noting that any such reform would require the agreement of at least two-thirds of UN member states in a vote in the General Assembly and must be ratified by two-thirds of member states. All of the permanent members of the UNSC (which have veto rights) must also agree to it.

What is Russia's Stance on the US Call to Expand the UNSC?

During his speech at the UN General Assembly last year, US President Joe Biden confirmed Washington's support for increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent representatives on the UNSC.
In particular, POTUS called for accepting countries from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, in addition to "those nations [the United States has] long supported", including Germany, Brazil, India, and Japan.
Biden insisted that the UNSC should become "a more inclusive structure" that could address modern-day challenges.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted by calling Biden's proposals "commendable" and recalled that Moscow "has long been in favor of expanding the UNSC."
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov underscored at the time that Moscow believes "there are candidates who are quite worthy of becoming UNSC permanent members."
He was echoed by former UN Deputy Secretary General Sergei Ordzhonikidze, who has told Sputnik that as far as the UNSC's expansion is concerned, Moscow proceeds from the assumption that "the world has changed."

"But the world has changed, from our point of view, to the extent that should be reflected in reality", Ordzhonikidze stressed.

According to him, Russia "doesn't want the world to be Western-centric, something that should be mirrored in the composition of the Security Council."

What are Russia's Concerns Over Resctricting UNSC Veto?

French President Emmanuel Macron claimed last year that the Security Council should become "a more representative body", and the veto of permanent members should be limited "in relation to mass crimes."
Ordzhonikidze recalled in this regard that the veto is “the cornerstone of the activities of both the Security Council and the entire US, a process that aims to support international security measures.”
Commenting on the West floating the idea of restricting the UNSC veto, the ex-UN deputy secretary general pointed out that "they want to make the Security Council an obedient instrument of NATO, a body that would legitimize the decisions that are first of all taken by Washington and NATO structures."
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