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    So The U.S. Is President Of The UN Security Council Right Now…

    Here's what that means and why it matters.

    1. What is the UN Security Council?


    The UN Security Council is the world’s leading body in charge of maintaining international peace and security. It has 15 members, 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent, who serve two year terms. It is headquartered in NYC, and works on everything from applying economic pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear program to sending peacekeepers to the Central African Republic.

    2. Cool, so why should I care?


    The UN Security Council is where countries of the world go to debate and try to resolve the world’s thorniest issues – that’s a pretty huge responsibility. Because it is the only UN body whose decisions are binding under the UN Charter, when the Council is united, it can be a real geopolitical problem solver.

    3. OK but, seriously, what can it actually do?

    Via Facebook: unpeacekeeping

    A lot!

    From standing up against North Korea’s invasion of South Korea in 1950 to more recently authorizing an intervention brigade to help defeat armed groups committing atrocities in the Congo, the UN Security Council has some major accomplishments under its belt.

    Some recent highlights:

    •International pressure on Iran to address global fears about its nuclear program

    •International sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear tests and missile launches

    •Ensuring the democratically elected president of Cote D’Ivoire was able to take office

    •Helped the push for peace in Mali

    •Mandated destruction of Syrian regime’s declared chemical weapons stockpile

    4. OK, but the UNSC doesn’t always do such a great job, right? #Syria


    You’re right. All 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council have to agree for the Council to live up to its responsibilities. Most notably, 4 resolutions aimed at helping to bring peace and security to Syria have been vetoed by Russia in the last few years, and there is no doubt that history will judge the Council harshly for that inaction.

    5. The U.S. is the Security Council President for September!

    6. Hold on, the Security Council has a President? Does that mean they are, like, president of the world?


    No. Though we don’t get Thor’s hammer Mjolnir or an upgraded parking space, the U.S. will be responsible for setting the agenda for the month, organizing meetings, managing the distribution of information to Council members, issuing statements, and communicating the Council’s thoughts to the public. As UN Security Council President, we can turn the Council spotlight on the world’s most urgent threats to international peace and security, from terrorists like ISIL travelling around the world to wage war, to the violence in Sudan and South Sudan, to the crisis in Ukraine.

    7. Isn’t the UN just a bunch of diplomats in conference rooms arguing over word placement?

    I mean, yes, there's that. But diplomacy matters. Negotiation may seem boring at first glance, but it can also be a very intense form of dispute resolution. It's how we figure out how to tackle the world's biggest issues, like getting more aid to people in need, sending in peacekeepers to prevent violence, eradicating extreme poverty, and reducing child mortality.

    8. Wait, isn’t September that time of year when every hotel in NYC is booked and no one can get a cab in midtown?


    Yes! This is a big year because the UN General Assembly will kick-off during the U.S. UNSC Presidency. Each year, President Obama and other world leaders gather in NYC the third week of September, negotiating, giving speeches, and – yes – clogging traffic.

    9. Alright, so what can I do to follow along?

    Via Twitter: @WhiteHouse

    If you’re not a President or Prime Minister, don’t fear! You can still catch all the action and follow every tweet, selfie, and Snapchat the world leaders send. Remember when President Obama and Iranian President Rouhani took to Twitter to announce their historic phone call last year? That all happened during the UN General Assembly!

    Follow Ambassador Samantha Power on Twitter and Facebook!

    And follow the U.S. Mission to the UN on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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