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Updated on 15 July 2020

Chapter 3:  THE PEOPLE

Section 4:  Regional and other groups


Three members of Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group will sit on the Council in 2021 (with Table)


Of the countries serving terms on the Security Council in 2021, three will be members of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group (ACT):  Estonia, Ireland and Norway.  The last time three ACT members sat on the Council was in 2015.  In 2014, a high of four Council members belonged to the Group. 


On 2 May 2013, all but one (Singapore) of the former “Small Five” States (“S5”) – Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore, and Switzerland – which had been active proponents of Security Council reform in the General Assembly, joined with 17 other States to launch ACT.  Today the Group has 25 members. 


The ACT platform has consistently stated that the Group’s initiatives are independent of the intergovernmental negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform in the General Assembly.  That is, whereas the IGN process “addresses the issue of the broad reform of the Council, including its enlargement and composition, ACT’s initiative intends to improve the working methods of the Council in its current composition.”


While ACT is engaged across a broad range of issues, its principal priorities at present are the following:


  • Enabling the Council’s elected members to be fully involved in all Council business, e.g. in drafting and decision-making procedures;

  • Due process with regards to targeted sanctions;

  • The relationship of the Security Council with the wider UN membership and other organs;

  • Improving the substance as well as the analytical quality of the Security Council’s Annual Report to the General Assembly; and

  • Advocating for the voluntary suspension of the use of the veto in cases of atrocity crimes.[1]


In furtherance of this latter priority, ACT has launched a Code of Conduct which urges the Security Council’s permanent members voluntarily to agree to refrain from using their veto in situations involving genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  At present, 120 UN Member States are signatories.


Since its founding, ACT has addressed a number of letters to the Security Council President on specific working method issues.  Most recently, on 30 March 2020, ACT wrote to request that the Council fully webcast the Open VTCs held as an alternative to regular meetings during COVID-19.[2]  Moreover, a statement on behalf of all ACT members is made at each of the Council’s annual open debates on working methods. 

The ACT members serving on the Security Council since the Group’s founding in 2013 are as follows:


2021 (3):  Estonia, Ireland, Norway 

2020 (1):  Estonia

2019 (1):  Peru

2018 (2):  Peru, Sweden                                                                                             

2017 (2):  Sweden, Uruguay

2016 (2):  New Zealand, Uruguay

2015 (3):  Chile, Jordan, New Zealand

2014 (4):  Chile, Jordan, Luxembourg, Rwanda

2013 (2):  Luxembourg, Rwanda


(This update supplements page 677 of the book.)


[1] ACT May 2019 backgrounder

[2] The Security Council members reached agreement on 17 April 2020 to do so (see related article on this website).  

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