There is widespread discontent among the now 192 member states of the United Nations with its Security Council – the most powerful of the UN’s six principal organs as it is entrusted with the ‘primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security’. Of the Security Council’s 15 members, fi ve are privileged since they occupy their seats permanently, not having to stand for election or re-election, and are entitled to block any action of the Council if they so wish. This double privilege bestowed on a few countries is resented as much as the composition of the Council as a whole, large parts of the world community feeling they have little or no say on major decisions.
Since 1979, and with fresh impetus since the early 1990s, a lively debate about reforms of the Council has been going on. This volume takes stock of the debate and off ers perspectives that go beyond the issue of extension, investigating central questions of democratisation and representativeness. The contributions concur on central issues: their approach is anti-hegemonic, and they favour the phasing-out of veto power. Moreover, they have an imperative common denominator: the case for viable regional representation.