Small States: Power in Numbers

The United Nations Security Council is generally thought of as the battleground of major global players – vetoes to hand. But this year states from the opposite end of the power spectrum have a unique opportunity to influence events.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Ken Ross

Was a member of the Commonwealth advisory group on small states

Since January five of the diplomatically most progressive and able small states have been seated at the United Nations Security Council table. This monumental asymmetry – five Davids alongside the permanent five Goliaths – offers interesting possibilities for an organisation in which most members are impatient for reform. So what are the prospects for the quintet of Ireland, Jamaica, Mauritius, Norway and Singapore to make their mark?

Nearly half of the United Nations’ member states – 84 of 189 – have populations below five million. Their numbers have increased during the last decade – of the thirty-two newcomers twenty-four were small states, fifteen from Europe and seven from the South Pacific.

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