A Necessary Voice: Small States, International Law, and the UN Security Council

  • On April 16, the International Peace Institute, in partnership with the Government of Estonia, published a report titled “A Necessary Voice: Small States, International Law, and the UN Security Council.” This report examines small States’ commitment to international law and discusses the obstacles and opportunities for small States on the Security Council. 

  • The report argues that small States, notwithstanding significant structural challenges, can serve as effective champions of international law on a Security Council dominated by larger, powerful States. These structural challenges include the lack of veto power or permanent status; smaller diplomatic corps with fewer resources; and economic and military dependence on larger States. 

  • Nonetheless, small States can prove effective in several ways. They can maneuver policy debates without the constraints of large bureaucracies; strategically focus on particular areas to cultivate recognized expertise; and enhance the institutional legitimacy of the Security Council by contributing the perspective of the broader UN membership to discussions on international peace and security. 

  • IILA can work with small States to overcome structural limitations and strategically use pressure points in the Security Council and international legal system to reinforce and develop international law.

For more information, see IPI’s Policy Forum Event

Anika Havaldar