South Africa's Reform Diplomacy and the Legitimacy of the UN Security Council

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

402 Downloads (Pure)


Using the case study of South Africa, this article examines how influential outsider states perceive the legitimacy of the UN Security Council and whether they can perform a critical role in affecting the legitimacy of the institution. The article demonstrates that South Africa’s reform diplomacy challenges the authority of the existing membership of the Council but not the legitimacy of the original mandate of the Council as the guarantor of international peace and stability. Such a reform agenda allows for promoting South Africa’s own candidacy as a new permanent member of the Council. Despite its activism in promoting such reform, South Africa’s diplomacy is undermined by its incapacity to influence the positions of the permanent five members, the lack of support by other African states, and its own ambivalent foreign policy that oscillates between support for human rights and allegiance to the global South.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-450
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2016


  • South Africa
  • UN Security Council
  • global governance
  • legitimacy


Dive into the research topics of 'South Africa's Reform Diplomacy and the Legitimacy of the UN Security Council'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this