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Regional Powers at the UN Security Council: More Mainstream than Upstream?


The literature on regional powers and the UN Security Council (UNSC) has focused mainly on Council reform. Little research has been conducted on exploring the influence of regional powers at the Council. Have regional powers been able to extend their influence in ‘upstream’ processes like resolution drafting and narrowing the gap to the P5? Or do they operate like any other elected member? By applying a comprehensive taxonomy to measure influence we compare regional powers with permanent and elected members. A mixed picture emerges. While regional powers are identifiable as a distinct group of actors, their impact on Council operations is limited. We find that membership has an equalising effect, locking countries into existing institutional practices. The consequence of this is that they cannot easily convert their position as regional powers into institutional influence.
Keywords: UN Security Council; regional powers; P5; E10; influence