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Leaving the UN Security Council: Norway steps down

After to intense years, Norway is now stepping down from its role as an elected member of the UN Security Council. In this article we have gathered what NUPI has researched and published during this period.

Norge har vært valgt medlem i Sikkerhetsrådet i to år. Men nå er perioden over, og vi blir igjen tilskuere av hva som skjer rundt hesteskobordet. 

Foto: Niels Nagelhus Schia

Norway stepped down from the UN Security Council the 31st of December 2022. It will be around 20 years until the next opportunity. 

It has been two busy, eventful and exciting years of research, and it is not over yet. More articles and publications are currently being drafted.

What were the goals, how has Norway been working, what have we achieved, and what has been the key aspects of the work?

Here you will find an overview of what NUPI has published and produced of articles, reports, policy briefs, podcasts and op-eds.

Power play

Great powers interests and power struggles characterizes the relationship between the veto countries, but the elected member states also have influence – even on issues such as Ukraine, senior researchers Kristin Haugevik and Niels Nagelhus Schia write in the policy brief «Power play in the UN Security Council» (only in Norwegian). 

This policy brief laid the foundation for the article “Fear and loathing in the UN Security Council” (only in Norwegian) that Hagevik and Nagelhus Schia wrote for the Norwegian newspaper Bistandsaktuelt.


Niels Nagelhus Schia and Kristin Haugevik are both senior researchers at NUPI and have focused on Norway’s role on the Security Council.

Foto: Niels Nagelhus Schia


The invation 

In February 2022, Russia, a veto power, invaded its neighbouring country Ukraine. NUPI has produced several podcasts and op-eds on how this has affected the work of the Security Council. Here are some of them:

One may get the impression that Russia has paralyzed the Security Council, but is this true? Our podcast series, Utenrikshospitalet, travelled with Nagelhus Schia to the UN to speak with key people in the Norwegian delegation, as well as delegates from other countries and also UN experts following the day-to-day work of the Security Council. In the podcast episode we tell the story about the drama that unfolded when Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine at the same time as there was an ongoing meeting in the Security Council.

(The episode is only in Norwegian)


Here you can listen to the episode on Spotify

Here you can listen to the episode on Apple


Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Serhij Kyslytsia, explains in our English-speaking podcast, The World Stage, the significance that the Security Council has had for Ukraine over the past year. 


Here you can listen to the episode on Spotify

Here you can listen to the episode on Apple


Nagelhus Schia has also written an op-ed about how the Security Council has worked around Russia’s veto (this was first published at NRK Ytring). 


NUPI´s podcast series "Utenrikshospitalet", represented by Therese Leine (in the middle), has interviewed several key people at the Norwegian delegation to the Security Council for the episode "Does Putin have the Security Council in checkmate?" (only in Norwegian). 

Foto: Niels Nagelhus Schia


Comparing Norway and Estonia

Kristin Haugevik and Niels Nagelhus Schia have written a report that looks at different countries’ different ambitions, goals, approaches and working methods in the Security Council. In the report, they compare Norway and Estonia, who sat together at the table in 2021.

Based on the report, Haugevik and Nagelhus Schia wrote the op-ed "Small States at the Top of the Global Diplomacy: Different Tactics of Estonia and Norway on the UN Security Council", for ICDS Diplomaatia magazine, together with Estonian research colleagues.  

Under The International Studies Association Conference i Montreal in March 2023, Haugevik will present "Small States, different approaches: Estonia and Norway on the UN Security Council", while Nagelhus Schia will present "Pathways to impact: Theorizing the differentiated practices of elected states in the UNSC". Both will be participating at the panel "Power dynamics and diplomatic practices at the UN Security Council". 


Internasjonal Politics

And in this special issue of NUPI’s journal, Internasjonal politikk (International Politics), the Security Council’s role in the pandemic management and health security is discussed (only in Norwegian). With contributions from Henrik Urdal, former State Secretary Audun Halvorsen, Jan Arne Røttingen and Kristine H. Onarheim. The editorial is written by Niels Nagelhus Schia, Louise Olsson (PRIO) and Ida Rødningen (PRIO).


Innovative dialogue

Throughout Norway’s tenure, NUPI director Ulf Sverdrup and Niels Nagelhus Schia worked together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and PRIO to facilitate dialogue between Norwegian research communities and the MFA. The purpose of this dialogue forum was to strengthen a knowledge based foreign policy in the Security Council.

The Dialogue Forum on Norway’s role in the Security Council has arranged several roundtable meetings between diplomats from the MFA and scholars. The following topics have been addressed and discussed over the past two years:

-  Global health and international peace and security – implications for the Security Council (2021)

-  Climate-related threats to international peace and security (2021)

-  Afghanistan, the Taliban and the UN Security Council – room for maneuvering, horizons and hope (2021)

-  United Nations peace operations, complex conflicts and Security Council dynamics (2021)

-  Geopolitical tensions and implications for the UN Security Council (2022)

-  Ceasefire and peace process in Yemen – room to maneuver for the UN Security Council? (2022)

-  How to promote women's participation through the UN Security Council (2022)

-  Geopolitics and African security policy – Norwegian room for maneuvering and tensions in the Security Council (2022)

- Norway after the Security Council membership: What are the key lessons for foreign policy main priorities and Norwegian multilateral engagement and UN policy going forward? (2023)


The presidency 

Norway held the presidency of the Security Council in January 2022. Why it was so important? Read this "Hvor hender det?”- article, which is written for students at High School (only in Norwegian).

NUPI has also made an episode on the "Hvor hender det” podcast on the same topic. Take a few minutes to learn more about the basics of how the Security Council works (only in Norwegian).



Here you can listen to the podkast on Spotify

Here you can listen to the podkast on Apple


Fact sheets

NUPI and SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) are collaborating on the project “Climate-related Peace and Security Risks (CPSR)”, which is led by Research Professor at NUPI, Cedric de Coning. This is a climate-related peace and security project that has added to Norway's work in the Security Council. Among other things, several fact sheets have been produced about countries that are on the agenda of the Security Council. All the fact sheets can be found on the project page here.


Summary on NRK

But for now, Norway is finished in the UN Security Council. At the Norwegian Broadcaster Coorporation’s NRK P2, Niels Nagelhus Schia sums up ambitions, campaign promises, results and challenges. You can listen to the interview here (only in Norwegian).