A conflict-prone UN Security Council? How small states can navigate the UNSC in the new era of great power rivalry
Against the backdrop of intensified US-China great power competition and the deepening isolation of Russia by the West, the UN Security Council (UNSC) risks becoming increasingly paralyzed given the veto power prerogatives held by the five permanent council members. Indeed, we might see a return to the Cold War era when the UNSC was systematically prevented from pursuing its authorized mandate of maintaining international peace and security. While this seems to bode ill, especially for small states relying on the effectiveness of multilateral institutions such as the UNSC, it may also open up new opportunities for small states if they understand how to navigate, mediate or even bypass a conflict-prone UNSC.
Ahead of Denmark’s prospective UNSC membership (2025-26), this DIIS seminar offers a small states perspective on the UN Security Council, drawing on recent experiences and insights from Norway’s membership of the council during 2021-22. Specifically, it asks what kind of instruments/objectives small states can successfully employ/pursue in the UNSC, and what we can learn from Norway’s current membership agenda?