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Abstract

Politically, the world has changed dramatically since 1945. But the most important international organisation, the United Nations (UN) is still shaped by the post-second World War settlement. In particular, and increasingly since the end of the Cold War, it has been suggested that the composition of the UN''s most powerful body, the Security Council, is outdated. This case study examines arguments for and against reform of the Security Council, putting these in the context of the existing structure of the organisation as set out in its founding Charter. In looking at the role of the Security Council, the case includes explanation of many aspects of how the UN works. Appended to the case are edited extracts from submissions made by member states in response to a request from the UN Secretary General for member states views on ''The question of equitable representation on and enlargement of the Security Council''. These might be used to provide briefings for setting up a simulated General Assembly debate in which individual students could represent selected states. These extracts have been chosen to emphasise points made in the text. Therefore, a simulated debate would help students to get more out of the case materials, but is not essential. The text will stand alone and will provide enough material for a two-hour seminar session in courses in international relations, international organisation, international law and many other courses concerned with key issues in contemporary world politics.

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Abstract

Politically, the world has changed dramatically since 1945. But the most important international organisation, the United Nations (UN) is still shaped by the post-second World War settlement. In particular, and increasingly since the end of the Cold War, it has been suggested that the composition of the UN''s most powerful body, the Security Council, is outdated. This case study examines arguments for and against reform of the Security Council, putting these in the context of the existing structure of the organisation as set out in its founding Charter. In looking at the role of the Security Council, the case includes explanation of many aspects of how the UN works. Appended to the case are edited extracts from submissions made by member states in response to a request from the UN Secretary General for member states views on ''The question of equitable representation on and enlargement of the Security Council''. These might be used to provide briefings for setting up a simulated General Assembly debate in which individual students could represent selected states. These extracts have been chosen to emphasise points made in the text. Therefore, a simulated debate would help students to get more out of the case materials, but is not essential. The text will stand alone and will provide enough material for a two-hour seminar session in courses in international relations, international organisation, international law and many other courses concerned with key issues in contemporary world politics.

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