[Answered] Critically examine the challenges faced by the United Nations Security Council in maintaining global peace and security. How does the lack of unity among its members affect its authority and effectiveness?

Introduction: Give a brief context to the question

Body: Highlight challenges faced by the UN and how lack of unity affects its authority.

Conclusion: Way forward

At the 55th regular session of the Human Rights Council, the Secretary-General of the UN remarked that the ‘lack of unity’ amongst UNSC members had ‘perhaps fatally undermined its authority citing concern about the future of the UN.

Challenges faced by UNSC

  • Veto Power: The veto privilege held by the P5 members—China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US—disrupts swift action, often prioritizing national interests over collective security.
  • Geopolitical Rivalry: Major power disagreements within the UNSC hinder effective responses to global issues and may lead to misuse of veto power.
  • Resource Limitations: Dependency on member state contributions limits the UNSC’s ability to respond adequately to crises.
  • Evolving Threats: Emerging challenges like cyberwarfare and climate change require the UNSC to adapt its approaches to address new security risks effectively.

Impact of Lack of Unity

  • Erosion of Legitimacy: Internal divisions within the council diminish public confidence, rendering it ineffective in tackling global security concerns and casting doubt on the legitimacy of the UN system as a whole.
  • Delayed and Ineffective Response: Internal disagreements hamper the council’s capacity to act promptly and decisively, exacerbating conflicts and exacerbating humanitarian emergencies.
  • Double Standards and Partiality: The uneven application of veto power and the sway of national interests may foster perceptions of bias and double standards in the council’s decisions, weakening its credibility and influence.
  • Lack of Cooperation on Global Issues: Lack of unity was witnessed during COVID-19 when borders were shut down, for people, goods, for vaccines, thereby undermining the promise of a shared global prosperity based on ever-greater cooperation. Wars between Russia- Ukraine & Israel- Hmas further exposed the hypocrisy of Western Nations & exposed the fault lines between the developed and developing worlds.


The UNSC grapples with a major challenge in maintaining global peace and security due to member disunity. Factors such as P5 veto power, geopolitical rivalries, limited resources, and evolving threats contribute to this issue. This lack of unity undermines the council’s authority and effectiveness, leading to delayed action, legitimacy erosion, and perceived bias. Addressing these hurdles necessitates UNSC reforms and stronger member commitment to collective security.

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