April 2024 (21st Century Debate Research):

Abolishing UNSC P5 Status

Every few months (seasonally) the 21st Century Debate Institution releases a series of debate topics for students to debate at our online (and eventually in-person) events. 

This topic is for both “Public Forum” & “Skills” debate.

For more information about upcoming contests, and how you might participate, please use the “events calendar” from the above menu. Or you can click here: Upcoming Events.

When a UNSC Permanent Member (P5) votes "no," it's called a "veto".

[April 2024 (NSDA)]
Public Forum Debate Topic

Resolved: The United Nations should abolish permanent membership on its Security Council.


The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries have special powers, like the ability to say no to decisions they don’t like (this is called a veto). Some people think this system is old and unfair because it doesn’t represent all the countries in the world. They want to change the rules so that no country has these special powers. Others believe that the permanent members help keep things stable and provide important resources. They think that if these special powers are taken away, the council might not work as well.
Additional resources (not evidence): [T-Chart], [Debate Essay 01], & [Debate Essay 02].

Abolishing P5 Status (PRO)

1. Increased Fairness
Abolishing permanent member status could lead to a more equitable representation of countries in the UNSC. This change could reduce the dominance of the current permanent members and allow for a rotation of countries, providing a fairer opportunity for all member states to influence global decisions.
2. Enhanced Legitimacy
Removing permanent member status could enhance the legitimacy of the UNSC by making it more representative of the global community. A council that reflects the diversity of its members is likely to gain greater acceptance and support for its resolutions.
3. Reduced Deadlock
Eliminating the veto power of permanent members could reduce instances of deadlock within the UNSC. Without the ability to unilaterally block resolutions, the council might be able to act more swiftly and decisively in response to global crises.

Abolishing P5 Status (CON)

1. Loss of Stability
The permanent members provide stability and continuity to the UNSC. Removing permanent member status could lead to frequent changes in the council’s composition, potentially undermining its stability. Permanent members may choose to leave the council and form rival organizations.
2. Decreased Effectiveness
The permanent members often have the resources and influence necessary to implement UNSC decisions. Without the backing of these powerful countries, the council might struggle to enforce its resolutions effectively resulting in less support.
3. Reduced Global Reach
The permanent members represent key regions and powers in the world. Abolishing their status could diminish the UNSC’s global reach and its ability to address issues in various parts of the world. The P5 members may become less inclined to help the UN.


We ask that you watch all of the videos and read all of the articles and take light notes about the topic that you are researching. When everyone in class has watched/read the materials, it makes the learning better. We encourage students to do their own research in addition to the research provided (assuming you have time).

Required Research (Videos):

[VideoWhat the UN’s Role in Global Peace?  | The UN Explained,
United Nations (Explained), September 17, 2022 [5 min]

[VideoCan War be Stopped Before it Begins? | The UN Explained,
United Nations (Explained), Aug 1, 2022 [3 min]
Note: Please read the short/brief article too.

[VideoCalls to reform UN Security Council after US vetoes Gaza ceasefire,
Al Jazeera, December 10, 2023 [2 min]

[VideoUN Security Council: To the Rescue! – International Relations Series,
Academy for Social Change, January 27, 2021 [4 min]
Note: Good information, yet the narrator is speaking really fast!

Required Research (Articles):

[Article/PDF] The United Nations At 75: It Has Never Been More Needed Nor Under Greater Threat, TIME Magazine, September 22, 2020

[Article/PDF] Decolonizing the United Nations Means Abolishing the Permanent Five, Foreign Policy Magazine, September 17, 2020

[PDF] Pros and Cons of Security Council Reform,
Global Policy Forum, January 19, 2010


[VideoA More Inclusive UN: Secretary-General Guterres on the Future of Multilateralism,
GZERO Media, September 26, 2020 [4 min]

[VideoApril 2024 PF Topic Analysis – Permanent Membership on the UNSC,
[A Debate Website = Not a Source!] Proteus Debate Academy, March 10, 2024 [22 min]

[VideoShould veto power of permanent members of the UNSC be revoked?,
Inside Story (Al Jazeera News), December 12, 2023 [28 min]

[VideoThe Permanent 5 DOMINATE the UN Security Council – should they be stopped?
[A Debate Website = Not a Source!] Debate Track, March 10, 2024 [57 min]

[VideoUN Security Council: Undemocratic, Non-Representative and in Need of Reform | Samir Saran,
Observer Research Foundation, June 5, 2023 [101 min]

[ArticleMember States Call for Removing Veto Power, Expanding Security Council to Include New Permanent Seats, as General Assembly Debates Reform Plans for 15-Member Organ, United Nations, November 20, 2018

[Article/PDF] There should be no permanent members of the UN Security Council,
Debatewise.org, August 15, 2011
Note: This is a legitimate website but it’s going to make us sound bad because it has “debate” in the name.

[ArticleThe United Nations should abolish permanent membership on its Security Council,
[A Debate Website = Not a Source!] DebateUS, March 2024

[VideoVideo: April 2024 Public Forum Topic Analysis,
[A Debate Website = Not a Source!] Champion Briefs, April 2024 [17 min]

Contact Information

Bill Eddy,
Email: BillEddy@21stCenturyDebate.org
Phone: 714.655.8135 (I prefer text)

Note: When contacting me, please include your name and class information (day/time). Thanks

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