Friday, 03 January 2014 19:25

5 things you need to know about Lithuania and the UN Security Council

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After 23 years of regaining its independence, on 1 January 2014 Lithuania began its two-year membership of the UN Security Council. Having worked so tirelessly to gain the international recognition and secure the UN Security Council seat, Lithuania now has a rare opportunity to play a key role in addressing the great security challenges of our time.

Find out how Lithuania can make a real difference on the Security Council.

Here are 5 things you need to know:

1. What does the UN Security Council actually do?

The Security Council is the most powerful body in the UN system, responsible for maintaining international peace and security. It has the power to address any dispute or source of international friction, working with states to uphold their responsibilities under International Law, taking measures ranging from recommending peaceful solutions and supporting conflict mediation efforts, to international sanctions and peacekeeping operations or authorising other forms of military action.

2. Who sits on the Security Council?

The council is made up of five permanent members – USA, Russia, China, France and the UK – that each has the power to veto Security Council Resolutions, except on matters relating to rules of procedure. There are also 10 non-permanent members who are elected for two-year terms. An election is held every year for five of the 10 non-permanent positions. These seats rotate among five regional blocs to ensure broad geographic representation on the council. Lithuania has a seat on the Council from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2015.

3. Why is this important to Lithuania?

A seat on the Security Council is an historic opportunity for Lithuania to consolidate its presence on the political world map and to contribute to the world security as well as the international rule of law, including within Lithuania’s region of interest.
This will strongly benefit Lithuania’s national security and foreign policy interests by strengthening the effectiveness of the UN system, in turn promoting trust, cooperation and collective global security. It can also enhance Lithuania’s reputation as a good international citizen, with the benefits of increased respect and influence in world affairs if Lithuania does the job well.

4. How much influence will Lithuania actually have on UNSC decisions?

Lithuania has the power to vote on all Security Council decisions. The permanent members have the veto, but they cannot pass a resolution without the majority of non-permanent members. That means every time a non-permanent member casts a vote it is directly influencing on Council decisions.

5. How can Lithuania make a difference on the Council?

Lithuania will be able to make real difference if it will lead by example, by consistently sticking to principles and respecting international legal obligations in its decisions.


Read more:

For the first time in history Lithuania elected to UN Security Council


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