Leveraging diplomatic power and influence on the UN Security Council: the case of Australia

Jeremy Farrall, Jochen Prantl

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    There is scepticism about whether a state like Australia can secure its interests and exercise influence on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). A case study of Australia's experience as a UNSC member in 2013-2014 shows that it directly influenced UNSC decision-making in a number of ways: first, in the response to the MH17 incident; second, pushing forward UNSC practice through the first-ever resolutions on both 'small arms and light weapons' and police in peacekeeping; and third, as chair of three sanctions committees, influencing the decision-making environment towards greater transparency. While Australia did not achieve all its objectives, it made its views well-known. A second case study demonstrates that Australia's opportunities to influence UNSC decision-making are not limited to stints of membership. Australia was able to achieve many of its foreign policy objectives in East Timor in 1999 through strategically engaging with key UNSC players through an informal diplomatic grouping: the Core Group on East Timor. Both case studies show that Australia's diplomatic engagement with the UNSC is desirable, necessary and strategic, whether or not it is a current or prospective member.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)601-612
    JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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