United Nations

United Nations

Overview
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization
International organization
An intergovernmental organization, sometimes rendered as an international governmental organization and both abbreviated as IGO, is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states , or of other intergovernmental organizations...

 whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

, international security
International security
International security consists of the measures taken by nations and international organizations, such as the United Nations, to ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures include military action and diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions. International and national security...

, economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

, social progress
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

, human rights, and achievement of world peace
World peace
World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.

There are currently 193 member states, including every internationally recognised
Diplomatic recognition
Diplomatic recognition in international law is a unilateral political act with domestic and international legal consequences, whereby a state acknowledges an act or status of another state or government in control of a state...

 sovereign state in the world but the Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

.
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Timeline

1944   Dumbarton Oaks Conference, prelude to the United Nations, begins.

1945   Fifty nations gather in San Francisco, California to begin the United Nations Conference on International Organizations.

1945   Founding of the United Nations

1945   The official North Korean newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, is first published under the name ''Chongro''. Australia joins the United Nations.

1945   Colombia joins the United Nations.

1945   Venezuela joins the United Nations.

1945   By a vote of 65 to 7, the United States Senate approves United States participation in the United Nations (the UN was established on October 24, 1945).

1946   The first General Assembly of the United Nations opens in London. Fifty-one nations are represented.

1946   The last meeting of the League of Nations, the precursor of the United Nations, is held.

1946   Afghanistan, Iceland and Sweden join the United Nations.

 
Encyclopedia
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization
International organization
An intergovernmental organization, sometimes rendered as an international governmental organization and both abbreviated as IGO, is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states , or of other intergovernmental organizations...

 whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

, international security
International security
International security consists of the measures taken by nations and international organizations, such as the United Nations, to ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures include military action and diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions. International and national security...

, economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

, social progress
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

, human rights, and achievement of world peace
World peace
World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.

There are currently 193 member states, including every internationally recognised
Diplomatic recognition
Diplomatic recognition in international law is a unilateral political act with domestic and international legal consequences, whereby a state acknowledges an act or status of another state or government in control of a state...

 sovereign state in the world but the Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

. From its offices around the world, the UN and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout the year. The organization has six principal organs: the General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 (the main deliberative assembly
Deliberative assembly
A deliberative assembly is an organization comprising members who use parliamentary procedure to make decisions. In a speech to the electorate at Bristol in 1774, Edmund Burke described the English Parliament as a "deliberative assembly," and the expression became the basic term for a body of...

); the Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council
United Nations Economic and Social Council
The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations constitutes one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and it is responsible for the coordination of the economic, social and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies, its functional commissions and five regional commissions...

 (for assisting in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development); the Secretariat
United Nations Secretariat
The United Nations Secretariat is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and it is headed by the United Nations Secretary-General, assisted by a staff of international civil servants worldwide. It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by United Nations bodies for...

 (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council
United Nations Trusteeship Council
The United Nations Trusteeship Council, one of the principal organs of the United Nations, was established to help ensure that trust territories were administered in the best interests of their inhabitants and of international peace and security...

 (which is currently inactive). Other prominent UN System
United Nations System
The United Nations system consists of the United Nations, its subsidiary organs , the specialized agencies, and affiliated organizations...

 agencies include the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO), the World Food Programme
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme is the food aid branch of the United Nations, and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger worldwide. WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children...

 (WFP) and United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Children's Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II...

 (UNICEF). The UN's most visible public figure is the Secretary-General, currently Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he...

 of South Korea, who attained the post in 2007.

The United Nations Headquarters
United Nations headquarters
The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River...

 resides in international territory in New York City, with further main offices at Geneva
United Nations Office at Geneva
The United Nations Office at Geneva is the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations...

, Nairobi
United Nations Office at Nairobi
The United Nations Office at Nairobi is one of the four major UN office sites where several different UN agencies have a joint presence. The office complex is located in Nairobi, Kenya...

, and Vienna
United Nations Office at Vienna
The United Nations Office in Vienna is one of the four major UN office sites where several different UN agencies have a joint presence. The office complex is located in Vienna, the capital of Austria, and is part of the Vienna International Centre, a cluster of several major international...

. The organization is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states, and has six official languages: Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

History




The League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 failed to prevent World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (1939–1945). Because of the widespread recognition that humankind could not afford a third world war, the United Nations was established to replace the flawed League of Nations in 1945 in order to maintain international peace and promote cooperation in solving international economic, social and humanitarian problems. The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization was begun under the aegis of the U.S. State Department in 1939. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 first coined the term 'United Nations' as a term to describe the Allied countries
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

. The term was first officially used on 1 January 1942, when 26 governments signed the Atlantic Charter
Atlantic Charter
The Atlantic Charter was a pivotal policy statement first issued in August 1941 that early in World War II defined the Allied goals for the post-war world. It was drafted by Britain and the United States, and later agreed to by all the Allies...

, pledging to continue the war effort. On 25 April 1945, the UN Conference on International Organization
United Nations Conference on International Organization
The United Nations Conference on International Organization was a convention of delegates from 50 Allied nations that took place from 25 April 1945 to 26 June 1945 in San Francisco, California. At this convention, the delegates reviewed and rewrote the Dumbarton Oaks agreements...

 began in San Francisco, attended by 50 governments and a number of non-governmental organizations involved in drafting the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

. The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945 upon ratification of the Charter by the five permanent members of the Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

—France, the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, the United Kingdom and the United States—and by a majority of the other 46 signatories. The first meetings of the General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

, with 51 nations represented, and the Security Council, took place in Westminster Central Hall
Westminster Central Hall
The Westminster Central Hall or Methodist Central Hall is a Methodist church in the City of Westminster. It occupies the corner of Tothill Street and Storeys Gate just off Victoria Street in London, near the junction with The Sanctuary next to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and facing...

 in London in January 1946.

The organization was based at the Sperry Gyroscope Corporation
Sperry Corporation
Sperry Corporation was a major American equipment and electronics company whose existence spanned more than seven decades of the twentieth century...

's facility in Lake Success, New York
Lake Success, New York
Lake Success is a village in Nassau County, New York in the United States. The population was 2,934 at the 2010 census.Lake Success is in the Town of North Hempstead on northwest Long Island. Lake Success was the temporary home of the United Nations from 1946 to 1951, occupying the headquarters of...

, from 1946–1952, before moving to the United Nations Headquarters
United Nations headquarters
The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River...

 building in Manhattan upon its completion.

Since its creation, there has been controversy and criticism of the United Nations
Criticism of the United Nations
Criticism of the United Nations has been ideologically diverse, although much of it is focused on the UN's purported inability to handle international conflicts, even on a small scale...

. In the United States, an early opponent of the UN was the John Birch Society
John Birch Society
The John Birch Society is an American political advocacy group that supports anti-communism, limited government, a Constitutional Republic and personal freedom. It has been described as radical right-wing....

, which began a "get US out of the UN" campaign in 1959, charging that the UN's aim was to establish a "One World Government." After the Second World War, the French Committee of National Liberation
French Committee of National Liberation
The French Committee of National Liberation was a body formed by the French leaders Gens. Henri Giraud and Charles de Gaulle to provide united leadership, organize and coordinate the campaign to liberate France from Nazi Germany during World War II. The committee was formed on June 3, 1943 and...

 was late to be recognized by the US as the government of France, and so the country was initially excluded from the conferences that aimed at creating the new organization. Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 criticized the UN, famously calling it le machin ("the thing"), and was not convinced that a global security alliance would help maintain world peace, preferring direct defence treaties between countries.

Legal basis of establishment


Shortly after its establishment the UN sought recognition as an international legal person due to the case of Reparations for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations with the advisory opinion delivered by the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 (ICJ). The question arose whether the United Nations, as an organisation, had "the capacity to bring an international claim against a government regarding injuries that the organisation alleged had been caused by that state."

The Court stated: the Organization was intended to exercise and enjoy, and is in fact exercising and enjoying functions and rights, which can only be explained on the basis of the possession of a large measure of international personality and the capacity to operate upon an international plane ... Accordingly, the Court has come to the conclusion that the Organization is an international person. That is not the same thing as saying that it is a State, which it certainly is not, or that its legal personality and rights and duties are the same as those of a State ... What it
does mean is that it is a subject of international law and capable of possessing international rights and duties, and that it has capacity to maintain its rights by bringing international claims.

Organization



The United Nations' system is based on five principal organs (formerly six – the Trusteeship Council
United Nations Trusteeship Council
The United Nations Trusteeship Council, one of the principal organs of the United Nations, was established to help ensure that trust territories were administered in the best interests of their inhabitants and of international peace and security...

 suspended operations in 1994, upon the independence of Palau
Palau
Palau , officially the Republic of Palau , is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Tokyo. In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a...

, the last remaining UN trustee territory); the General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

, the Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

, the Economic and Social Council
United Nations Economic and Social Council
The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations constitutes one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and it is responsible for the coordination of the economic, social and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies, its functional commissions and five regional commissions...

 (ECOSOC), the Secretariat
United Nations Secretariat
The United Nations Secretariat is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and it is headed by the United Nations Secretary-General, assisted by a staff of international civil servants worldwide. It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by United Nations bodies for...

, and the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

.

Four of the five principal organs are located at the main United Nations Headquarters
United Nations headquarters
The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River...

 located on international territory in New York City. The International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 is located in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, while other major agencies are based in the UN offices at Geneva
United Nations Office at Geneva
The United Nations Office at Geneva is the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations...

, Vienna
United Nations Office at Vienna
The United Nations Office in Vienna is one of the four major UN office sites where several different UN agencies have a joint presence. The office complex is located in Vienna, the capital of Austria, and is part of the Vienna International Centre, a cluster of several major international...

, and Nairobi
United Nations Office at Nairobi
The United Nations Office at Nairobi is one of the four major UN office sites where several different UN agencies have a joint presence. The office complex is located in Nairobi, Kenya...

. Other UN institutions are located throughout the world.

The six official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

s of the United Nations, used in intergovernmental meetings and documents, are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The Secretariat uses two working languages, English and French. Four of the official languages are the national languages of the permanent members of the Security Council (the United Kingdom and the United States share English as a de facto official language); Spanish and Arabic are the languages of the two largest blocs of official languages outside of the permanent members (Spanish being official in 20 countries, Arabic in 26). Five of the official languages were chosen when the UN was founded; Arabic was added later in 1973. The United Nations Editorial Manual states that the standard for English language documents is British usage
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

 and Oxford spelling
Oxford spelling
Oxford spelling is the spelling used by Oxford University Press . It can be recognized for its use, as in American English, of the suffix -ize instead of -ise. For instance, organization, privatize and recognizable are used instead of organisation, privatise and recognisable...

, the Chinese writing standard is Simplified Chinese. This replaced Traditional Chinese in 1971 when the UN representation of China was changed from the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 to the People's Republic of China (see China and the United Nations
China and the United Nations
China's seat in the United Nations and membership of the United Nations Security Council was originally occupied by the Republic of China since October 24, 1945. During the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party of China repelled the government of the ROC from Mainland China to the island of...

 for details).

General Assembly




The General Assembly is the main deliberative assembly
Deliberative assembly
A deliberative assembly is an organization comprising members who use parliamentary procedure to make decisions. In a speech to the electorate at Bristol in 1774, Edmund Burke described the English Parliament as a "deliberative assembly," and the expression became the basic term for a body of...

 of the United Nations. Composed of all United Nations member states, the assembly meets in regular yearly sessions under a president
President of the United Nations General Assembly
The President of the United Nations General Assembly is a position voted for by representatives in the United Nations General Assembly on a yearly basis.- Election :...

 elected from among the member states. Over a two-week period at the start of each session, all members have the opportunity to address the assembly. Traditionally, the Secretary-General makes the first statement, followed by the president of the assembly. The first session was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Westminster Central Hall
Westminster Central Hall
The Westminster Central Hall or Methodist Central Hall is a Methodist church in the City of Westminster. It occupies the corner of Tothill Street and Storeys Gate just off Victoria Street in London, near the junction with The Sanctuary next to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and facing...

 in London and included representatives of 51 nations.

When the General Assembly votes on important questions, a two-thirds majority of those present and voting is required. Examples of important questions include: recommendations on peace and security; election of members to organs; admission, suspension, and expulsion of members; and, budgetary matters. All other questions are decided by majority vote. Each member country has one vote. Apart from approval of budgetary matters, resolutions are not binding on the members. The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN, except matters of peace and security that are under Security Council consideration.

Conceivably, the one state, one vote
Representation (politics)
In politics, representation describes how some individuals stand in for others or a group of others, for a certain time period. Representation usually refers to representative democracies, where elected officials nominally speak for their constituents in the legislature...

 power structure could enable states comprising just eight percent of the world population to pass a resolution by a two-thirds vote (see List of countries by population). However, as no more than recommendations, it is difficult to imagine a situation in which a recommendation by member states constituting just eight percent of the world's population, would be adhered to by the remaining ninety-two percent of the population, should they object.

Security Council




The Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 is charged with maintaining peace and security among countries. While other organs of the United Nations can only make 'recommendations' to member governments, the Security Council has the power to make binding decisions that member governments have agreed to carry out, under the terms of Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 Article 25. The decisions of the Council are known as United Nations Security Council resolution
United Nations Security Council Resolution
A United Nations Security Council resolution is a UN resolution adopted by the fifteen members of the Security Council; the UN body charged with "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security"....

s.

The Security Council is made up of 15 member states, consisting of 5 permanent members–China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States–and 10 non-permanent members, currently Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

. The five permanent members hold veto power
United Nations Security Council veto power
The United Nations Security Council "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council , enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support...

 over substantive but not procedural resolutions allowing a permanent member to block adoption but not to block the debate of a resolution unacceptable to it. The ten temporary seats are held for two-year terms with member states voted in by the General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 on a regional basis. The presidency of the Security Council is rotated alphabetically each month.

Secretariat




The United Nations Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General, assisted by a staff of international civil servants worldwide. It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by United Nations bodies for their meetings. It also carries out tasks as directed by the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Economic and Social Council, and other UN bodies. The United Nations Charter provides that the staff be chosen by application of the "highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity," with due regard for the importance of recruiting on a wide geographical basis.

The Charter provides that the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any authority other than the UN. Each UN member country is enjoined to respect the international character of the Secretariat and not seek to influence its staff. The Secretary-General alone is responsible for staff selection.

The Secretary-General's duties include helping resolve international disputes, administering peacekeeping operations, organizing international conferences, gathering information on the implementation of Security Council decisions, and consulting with member governments regarding various initiatives. Key Secretariat offices in this area include the Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter that, in his or her opinion, may threaten international peace and security.

Secretary-General


The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General, who acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN. The current Secretary-General is Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he...

, who took over from Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

 in 2007 and has been elected for a second term to conclude at the end of 2016.

Envisioned by Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 as a "world moderator", the position is defined in the UN Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 as the organization's "chief administrative officer", but the Charter also states that the Secretary-General can bring to the Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

's attention "any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace
World peace
World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

 and security", giving the position greater scope for action on the world stage. The position has evolved into a dual role of an administrator of the UN organization, and a diplomat and mediator
Mediation
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution , a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement...

 addressing disputes between member states and finding consensus to global issues.

The Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

, after being recommended by the Security Council, where the permanent members have veto power
United Nations Security Council veto power
The United Nations Security Council "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council , enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support...

. The General Assembly can theoretically override the Security Council's recommendation if a majority vote is not achieved, although this has not happened so far. There are no specific criteria for the post, but over the years, it has become accepted that the post shall be held for one or two terms of five years, that the post shall be appointed on the basis of geographical rotation, and that the Secretary-General shall not originate from one of the five permanent Security Council member states.
style="padding-top:1em;" |Secretaries-General of the United Nations
No. Name Country of origin Took office Left office Note
1 Trygve Lie
Trygve Lie
Trygve Halvdan Lie was a Norwegian politician, labour leader, government official and author. He served as Norwegian Foreign minister during the critical years of the Norwegian government in exile in London from 1940 to 1945. From 1946 to 1952 he was the first Secretary-General of the United...

 Norway 2 February 1946 10 November 1952 Resigned
2 Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. An early Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. Hammarskjöld...

 Sweden 10 April 1953 18 September 1961 Died while in office
3 U Thant
U Thant
U Thant was a Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971. He was chosen for the post when his predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in September 1961....

 Myanmar 30 November 1961 31 December 1971 First Secretary-General from Asia
4 Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Josef Waldheim was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992...

 Austria 1 January 1972 31 December 1981
5 Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar y de la Guerra is a Peruvian diplomat who served as the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1991. He studied in Colegio San Agustín of Lima, and then at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. In 1995, he ran unsuccessfully...

 Peru 1 January 1982 31 December 1991 First Secretary-General from the Americas
6 Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1992 to December 1996...

 Egypt 1 January 1992 31 December 1996 First Secretary-General from Africa
7 Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

 Ghana 1 January 1997 31 December 2006
8 Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he...

 South Korea 1 January 2007 Incumbent

International Court of Justice




The International Court of Justice (ICJ), located in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands, is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. Established in 1945 by the United Nations Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice
Permanent Court of International Justice
The Permanent Court of International Justice, often called the World Court, was an international court attached to the League of Nations. Created in 1922 , the Court was initially met with a good reaction from states and academics alike, with many cases submitted to it for its first decade of...

. The Statute of the International Court of Justice, similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the Court.

It is based in the Peace Palace
Peace Palace
The Peace Palace is a building situated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is often called the seat of international law because it houses the International Court of Justice , the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the extensive Peace Palace Library.In addition...

 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands, sharing the building with the Hague Academy of International Law
Hague Academy of International Law
The Hague Academy of International Law is a center for high-level education in both public and private international law housed in the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands...

, a private centre for the study of international law. Several of the Court's current judges are either alumni or former faculty members of the Academy. Its purpose is to adjudicate disputes among states. The court has heard cases related to war crimes, illegal state interference and ethnic cleansing, among others, and continues to hear cases.

International Criminal Court



The International Criminal Court (ICC), it came into being on 1 July 2002 with the entering into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court . It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on 17 July 1998 and it entered into force on 1 July 2002. As of 13 October 2011, 119 states are party to the statute...

 which was adopted on 17 July 1998. It is the first permanent international court charged with trying those who commit the most serious crimes under international law, including war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression (although it cannot exercise jurisdiction over this crime prior to 2017). The ICC is functionally independent of the UN in terms of personnel and financing, but some meetings of the ICC governing body, the Assembly of the States Parties to the Rome Statute, are held at the United Nations. There is a "relationship agreement" between the ICC and the UN that governs how the two institutions regard each other legally.

Economic and Social Council




The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development. ECOSOC has 54 members, all of which are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term. The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen amongst the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC. ECOSOC meets once a year in July for a four-week session. Since 1998, it has held another meeting each April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank
World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is a family of five international organizations that makes leveraged loans, generally to poor countries.The Bank came into formal existence on 27 December 1945 following international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations Monetary...

 and the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF). Viewed separate from the specialized bodies it coordinates, ECOSOC's functions include information gathering, advising member nations, and making recommendations. In addition, ECOSOC is well-positioned to provide policy coherence and coordinate the overlapping functions of the UN’s subsidiary bodies and it is in these roles that it is most active.

Specialized institutions



Many UN organizations and agencies exist to work on particular issues. Some of the most well-known agencies are the International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

, the Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

, UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Bank
World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is a family of five international organizations that makes leveraged loans, generally to poor countries.The Bank came into formal existence on 27 December 1945 following international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations Monetary...

 and the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

.

It is through these agencies that the UN performs most of its humanitarian work. Examples include mass vaccination programmes (through the WHO), the avoidance of famine and malnutrition (through the work of the WFP) and the protection of vulnerable and displaced people (for example, by the UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , also known as The UN Refugee Agency is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to...

).

The United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 stipulates that each primary organ of the UN can establish various specialized agencies to fulfil its duties.
style="padding-top:1em;" |Organizations and specialized agencies of the United Nations
No. Acronyms Logo Agency Headquarters Head Established in
1 FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

  Rome, Italy  Senegal Jacques Diouf
Jacques Diouf
Jacques Diouf is a Senegalese diplomat with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He has been serving as Director-General of FAO since January 1994...

 
1945
2 IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

  Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Austria
 Japan Yukiya Amano
Yukiya Amano
is the current Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency , having been elected to the position in July 2009. Amano previously served as a Japanese diplomat and international civil servant for the United Nations and its subdivisions....

 
1957
3 ICAO
International Civil Aviation Organization
International Civil Aviation Organization
The International Civil Aviation Organization , pronounced , , is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth...

  Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Canada
 France Raymond Benjamin
Raymond Benjamin
Raymond Benjamin was an American attorney and political leader.-Biography:He was born on December 14, 1872 in Vallejo, California to E.M. Benjamin, who was also an attorney. Benjamin was admitted to the bar in 1893. He started off his career in law by working for a local law firm in Vallejo.In...

 
1947
4 IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
International Fund for Agricultural Development
The International Fund for Agricultural Development , a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries...

  Rome, Italy  Nigeria Kanayo F. Nwanze 1977
5 ILO
International Labour Organization
International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

  Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland
 Chile Juan Somavía
Juan Somavía
Juan Somavía is the current Director-General of the International Labour Organization .He was elected to serve as the ninth Director-General of the ILO by the Governing Body on 23 March 1998.-Term as Director-General:...

1946 (1919)
6 IMO
International Maritime Organization
International Maritime Organization
The International Maritime Organization , formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization , was established in Geneva in 1948, and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959...

  London, United Kingdom  Greece Efthimios E. Mitropoulos 1948
7 IMF International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

  Washington, D.C., USA  France Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde
Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde is a French lawyer and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund since July 5, 2011...

1945 (1944)
8 ITU
International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies...

  Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland
 Mali Hamadoun Touré
Hamadoun Touré
Dr. Hamadoun Touré of Mali has been Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union , the specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to information and communication technologies , since 2007. He was re-elected for a second four-year term in 2010...

 
1947 (1865)
9 UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization   Paris, France  Bulgaria Irina Bokova
Irina Bokova
Irina Georgieva Bokova is a Bulgarian politician, incumbent Directors-General of UNESCO. She was member of the Bulgarian Parliament from the Bulgarian Socialist Party for two terms, minister and deputy minister of foreign affairs in the socialist cabinet of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, and was...

 
1946
10 UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization , French/Spanish acronym ONUDI, is a specialized agency in the United Nations system, headquartered in Vienna, Austria...

  Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Austria
 Sierra Leone Kandeh Yumkella
Kandeh Yumkella
Kandeh K. Yumkella is the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization .-Education:* 1991 - Ph.D. Agricultural Economics, University of Illinois...

 
1967
11 UPU
Universal Postal Union
Universal Postal Union
The Universal Postal Union is an international organization that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system. The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration , the Postal Operations Council and the...

  Bern, Switzerland  France Edouard Dayan  1947 (1874)
12 WB World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

  Washington, D.C., USA  United States Robert B. Zoellick 1945 (1944)
13 WFP World Food Programme
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme is the food aid branch of the United Nations, and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger worldwide. WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children...

  Rome, Italy  United States Josette Sheeran  1963
14 WHO
World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

  Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland
 Hong Kong Margaret Chan
Margaret Chan
Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, OBE JP is the Director-General of the World Health Organization . Chan was elected by the Executive Board of the WHO on 8 November 2006, and was endorsed in a special meeting of the World Health Assembly on the following day...

1948
15 WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization
World Intellectual Property Organization
The World Intellectual Property Organization is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO was created in 1967 "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world"....

  Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland
 Australia Francis Gurry
Francis Gurry
Francis Gurry is an Australian national and the fourth and current Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization . He is also Secretary-General of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants...

 
1974
16 WMO
World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 189 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization , which was founded in 1873...

  Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland
 Russia Alexander Bedritsky
Alexander Bedritsky
Alexander Ivanovich Bedritsky is the current president of the World Meteorological Organization, a position he has held since 2003...

 
1950 (1873)
17 UNWTO World Tourism Organization
World Tourism Organization
The World Tourism Organization , based in Madrid, Spain, is a United Nations agency dealing with questions relating to tourism. It compiles the World Tourism rankings. The World Tourism Organization is a significant global body, concerned with the collection and collation of statistical information...

  Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Spain
 Jordan Taleb Rifai
Taleb Rifai
Taleb Rifai is the current Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, the first Arab to run the 154 member body. He is based in Madrid, Spain, where the UNWTO agency is based. Rifai was born in Jordan in 1949. He is married and has 5 children...

 
1974

Membership



With the addition of South Sudan
South Sudan
South Sudan , officially the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country located in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa. It is also part of the North Africa UN sub-region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city; the capital city is planned to be moved to the more...

 on 14 July 2011, there are currently 193 United Nations member states, including all fully recognized independent states apart from Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 (the Holy See
Activities of the Holy See within the United Nations system
The activities of the Holy See within the United Nations system officially began on April 6, 1964, when the Holy See was granted the status of permanent observer state...

, which holds sovereignty over the state of Vatican City, is a permanent observer
United Nations General Assembly observers
In addition to the current 193 member states, the United Nations welcomes many international organizations, entities, and non-member states as observers. Observer status is granted by a United Nations General Assembly resolution...

).

The United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 outlines the rules for membership:


Group of 77


The Group of 77
Group of 77
The Group of 77 at the United Nations is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but the organization has...

 at the UN is a loose coalition of developing nations
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

, designed to promote its members' collective economic
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but the organization has since expanded to 130 member countries. The group was founded on 15 June 1964 by the "Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries" issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body. It is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues....

 (UNCTAD). The first major meeting was in Algiers
Algiers
' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

 in 1967, where the Charter of Algiers was adopted and the basis for permanent institutional structures was begun.

Peacekeeping and security


The UN, after approval by the Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

, sends peacekeepers
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 to regions where armed conflict has recently ceased or paused to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage combatants from resuming hostilities. Since the UN does not maintain its own military, peacekeeping forces are voluntarily provided by member states of the UN. The forces, also called the "Blue Helmets", who enforce UN accords, are awarded United Nations Medal
United Nations Medal
The term United Nations Medal refers to one of several international decorations which are issued by the United Nations to the various militaries of the world for participation in joint international military and police operations such as peacekeeping, humanitarian efforts, and disaster relief...

s, which are considered international decoration
International decoration
An international decoration is a military award which is not bestowed by a particular country, but rather by an international organization such as the United Nations or NATO...

s instead of military decoration
Military decoration
A military decoration is a decoration given to military personnel or units for heroism in battle or distinguished service. They are designed to be worn on military uniform....

s. The peacekeeping force as a whole received the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 in 1988.

The founders of the UN had envisaged that the organization would act to prevent conflicts between nations and make future wars impossible, however the outbreak of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 made peacekeeping agreements extremely difficult because of the division of the world into hostile camps. Following the end of the Cold War, there were renewed calls for the UN to become the agency for achieving world peace, as several dozen ongoing conflicts continue to rage around the globe.

A 2005 RAND Corp study found the UN to be successful in two out of three peacekeeping efforts. It compared UN nation-building efforts to those of the United States, and found that seven out of eight UN cases are at peace, as compared with four out of eight US cases at peace. Also in 2005, the Human Security Report
Human Security Report 2005
The Human Security Report 2005 is a report outlining declining world trends of global violence from the early 1990s to 2003. The study reported major worldwide declines in the number of armed conflicts, genocides, military coups and international crises, as well as in the number of battle-related...

 documented a decline in the number of wars, genocides and human rights abuses since the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, and presented evidence, albeit circumstantial, that international activism—mostly spearheaded by the UN—has been the main cause of the decline in armed conflict since the end of the Cold War. Situations where the UN has not only acted to keep the peace but also occasionally intervened include the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 (1950–1953), and the authorization of intervention in Iraq after the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 in 1990.

The UN has also drawn criticism for perceived failures. In many cases, member states have shown reluctance to achieve or enforce Security Council resolutions, an issue that stems from the UN's intergovernmental nature—seen by some as simply an association of 193 member states who must reach consensus, not an independent organization. Disagreements in the Security Council about military action and intervention are seen as having failed to prevent the 1994 Rwandan Genocide
Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate...

, failed to provide humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian crises including natural disaster and man-made disaster. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity...

 and intervene in the Second Congo War
Second Congo War
The Second Congo War, also known as Coltan War and the Great War of Africa, began in August 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power; however, hostilities continue to this...

, failed to intervene in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre
Srebrenica massacre
The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide, refers to the July 1995 killing, during the Bosnian War, of more than 8,000 Bosniaks , mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by units of the Army of Republika Srpska under the command of...

 and protect a refugee haven by authorizing peacekeepers to use force, failure to deliver food to starving people in Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, failure to implement provisions of Security Council resolutions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

, and continuing failure to prevent genocide or provide assistance in Darfur
Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

. UN peacekeepers have also been accused of child rape, sexual abuse or soliciting prostitutes during various peacekeeping missions, starting in 2003, in the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

, Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

, Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 and what is now South Sudan
South Sudan
South Sudan , officially the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country located in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa. It is also part of the North Africa UN sub-region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city; the capital city is planned to be moved to the more...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

 and Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

. In 2004, former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dore Gold
Dore Gold
Dore Gold is an Israeli statesman who has served in various diplomatic positions under several Israeli governments. He is the current President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs...

 criticized what it called the organization's moral relativism
Moral relativism
Moral relativism may be any of several descriptive, meta-ethical, or normative positions. Each of them is concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures:...

 in the face of (and occasional support of) genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 and terrorism that occurred between the moral clarity of its founding period and the present day. Gold specifically mentions Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

's 1988 invitation to address the General Assembly as a low point in the UN's history.
In addition to peacekeeping, the UN is also active in encouraging disarmament
Disarmament
Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons. Disarmament generally refers to a country's military or specific type of weaponry. Disarmament is often taken to mean total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms...

. Regulation of armaments was included in the writing of the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 in 1945 and was envisioned as a way of limiting the use of human and economic resources for the creation of them. However, the advent of nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s came only weeks after the signing of the charter and immediately halted concepts of arms limitation and disarmament
Disarmament
Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons. Disarmament generally refers to a country's military or specific type of weaponry. Disarmament is often taken to mean total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms...

, resulting in the first resolution
United Nations General Assembly Resolution
A United Nations General Assembly Resolution is voted on by all member states of the United Nations in the General Assembly.General Assembly resolutions usually require a simple majority to pass...

 of the first ever General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 meeting calling for specific proposals for "the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction". The principal forums for disarmament issues are the General Assembly First Committee
General Assembly First Committee
The First Committee is one of six main committees at the General Assembly of the United Nations which deals with matters concerning world peace. The First Committee handles all matters on Disarmament and International Security ....

, the UN Disarmament Commission, and the Conference on Disarmament
Conference on Disarmament
Conference on Disarmament is a forum established by the international community to negotiate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements...

, and considerations have been made of the merits of a ban on testing nuclear weapons, outer space arms control
Outer Space Treaty
The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law...

, the banning of chemical weapons
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

 and land mines
Ottawa Treaty
The Ottawa Treaty or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, officially known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, aims at eliminating anti-personnel landmines around the world. , there were 158...

, nuclear and conventional disarmament, nuclear-weapon-free zone
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone
A nuclear-weapons-free zone, or NWFZ is defined by the United Nations as an agreement which a group of states has freely established by treaty or convention, that bans the use, development, or deployment of nuclear weapons in a given area, that has mechanisms of verification and control to enforce...

s, the reduction of military budgets, and measures to strengthen international security
International security
International security consists of the measures taken by nations and international organizations, such as the United Nations, to ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures include military action and diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions. International and national security...

.

The UN is one of the official supporters of the World Security Forum, a major international conference on the effects of global catastrophes and disasters, which took place in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 in October 2008.

On 5 November 2010 Ivor Ichikowitz
Ivor Ichikowitz
Ivor Ichikowitz, born 1966, is a South African industrialist of Lithuanian descent. He is founder and Executive Chairman of the Paramount Group, and Executive Chairman of TransAfrica Capital...

, founder and executive chairman of Paramount Group
Paramount Group
The Paramount Group is a group of internationally based companies offering programs and manufacturing products with a focus on defense, internal security and correctional services. The Executive Chairman of the Group is Ivor Ichikowitz, a South African industrialist of Lithuanian...

, supported UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he...

’s call for greater support, equipment and training for African peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 forces. Ichikowitz
Ivor Ichikowitz
Ivor Ichikowitz, born 1966, is a South African industrialist of Lithuanian descent. He is founder and Executive Chairman of the Paramount Group, and Executive Chairman of TransAfrica Capital...

 stated that African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 troops should receive the same support as UN personnel.

Human rights and humanitarian assistance



The pursuit of human rights was a central reason for creating the UN. World War II atrocities and genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 led to a ready consensus that the new organization must work to prevent any similar tragedies in the future. An early objective was creating a legal framework for considering and acting on complaints about human rights violations. The UN Charter obliges all member nations to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights" and to take "joint and separate action" to that end. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...

, though not legally binding, was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all. The Assembly regularly takes up human rights issues.

The UN and its agencies are central in upholding and implementing the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A case in point is support by the UN for countries in transition to democracy. Technical assistance in providing free and fair elections, improving judicial structures, drafting constitutions, training human rights officials, and transforming armed movements into political parties have contributed significantly to democratization worldwide. The UN has helped run elections in countries with little or no democratic history, including recently in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and East Timor. The UN is also a forum to support the right of women to participate fully in the political, economic, and social life of their countries. The UN contributes to raising consciousness of the concept of human rights through its covenants and its attention to specific abuses through its General Assembly, Security Council resolutions, or International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 rulings.

The purpose of the United Nations Human Rights Council
United Nations Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations System. The UNHRC is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights , and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly...

, established in 2006, is to address human rights violations. The Council is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations from 1946 until it was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2006...

, which was often criticized for the high-profile positions it gave to member states that did not guarantee the human rights of their own citizens. The council has 47 members distributed by region, which each serve three-year terms, and may not serve three consecutive terms. A candidate to the body must be approved by a majority of the General Assembly. In addition, the council has strict rules for membership, including a universal human rights review. While some members with questionable human rights records have been elected, it is fewer than before with the increased focus on each member state's human rights record.

The rights of some 370 million indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 around the world are also a focus for the UN, with a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007....

 being approved by the General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 in 2007. The declaration outlines the individual and collective rights to culture, language, education, identity, employment and health, thereby addressing post-colonial issues that had confronted indigenous peoples for centuries. The declaration aims to maintain, strengthen and encourage the growth of indigenous institutions, cultures and traditions. It also prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their active participation in matters that concern their past, present and future. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is the UN's central coordinating body for matters relating to the concerns and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. "Indigenous person" means native, original, first people and aboriginal. There are more than 370 million indigenous...

 is the UN's central coordinating body for matters relating to the concerns and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. The forum is an advisory body within the framework of the United Nations System that reports to the UN's Economic and Social Council.

In conjunction with other organizations such as the Red Cross
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human...

, the UN provides food, drinking water, shelter and other humanitarian services to populaces suffering from famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

, displaced by war, or afflicted by other disasters. Major humanitarian branches of the UN are the World Food Programme
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme is the food aid branch of the United Nations, and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger worldwide. WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children...

 (which helps feed more than 100 million people a year in 80 countries), the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , also known as The UN Refugee Agency is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to...

 with projects in over 116 countries, as well as peacekeeping projects in over 24 countries.

Social and economic development


Millennium Development Goals
  1. eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
    Malnutrition
    Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

    ;
  2. achieve universal primary education;
  3. promote gender equality
    Gender equality
    Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...

     and empower women;
  4. reduce child mortality
    Child mortality
    Child mortality, also known as under-5 mortality, refers to the death of infants and children under the age of five. In 2010, 7.6 million children under five died , down from 8.1 million in 2009, 8.8 million in 2008, and 12.4 million in 1990. About half of child deaths occur in Africa....

    ;
  5. improve maternal health
    Maternal health
    Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. It encompasses the health care dimensions of family planning, preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care in order to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.Preconception care can include...

    ;
  6. combat HIV/AIDS, malaria
    Malaria
    Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

    , and other diseases;
  7. ensure environmental sustainability
    Sustainability
    Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

    ; and
  8. develop a global partnership for development
    International development
    International development or global development is a concept that lacks a universally accepted definition, but it is most used in a holistic and multi-disciplinary context of human development — the development of greater quality of life for humans...

    .

The UN is involved in supporting development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

, e.g. by the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

. The UN Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

 (UNDP) is the largest multilateral source of grant technical assistance in the world. Organizations like the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO), UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, or UNAIDS, is the main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the HIV epidemic....

, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an international financing organization that aims to "[a]ttract and disburse additional resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria." A public–private partnership, the organization has its secretariat in Geneva,...

 are leading institutions in the battle against diseases around the world, especially in poor countries. The UN Population Fund is a major provider of reproductive services. 32 UN agencies performing tasks on development are coordinating their efforts through the United Nations Development Group or UNDG.

The UN also promotes human development through some related agencies, particularly the UNDP. The World Bank Group
World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is a family of five international organizations that makes leveraged loans, generally to poor countries.The Bank came into formal existence on 27 December 1945 following international ratification of the Bretton Woods agreements, which emerged from the United Nations Monetary...

 and International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF), for example, are independent, specialized agencies and observers within the UN framework, according to a 1947 agreement. They were initially formed as separate from the UN through the Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods system
The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states in the mid 20th century...

 Agreement in 1944.

The UNDP annually publishes the Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 (HDI), a comparative measure ranking countries by poverty, literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

, education, life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

, and other factors.

The Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

 (declared in the United Nations Millennium Declaration
United Nations Millennium Declaration
On 8 September 2000, following a three day Millennium Summit of world leaders at the headquarters of the United Nations, the General Assemblyadopted the Millennium Declaration....

, signed in September 2000)
are eight goals that all of the then 192 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015.

Mandates



From time to time, the different bodies of the United Nations pass resolutions that contain operating paragraphs that begin with the words "requests", "calls upon", or "encourages", which the Secretary-General interprets as a mandate to set up a temporary organization or do something. These mandates can be as little as researching and publishing a written report, or mounting a full-scale peacekeeping operation (usually the exclusive domain of the Security Council).

Although the specialized institutions, such as the WHO
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

, were originally set up by this means, they are not the same as mandates because they are permanent organizations that exist independently of the UN with their own membership structure. One could say that original mandate was simply to cover the process of setting up the institution, and has therefore long expired. Most mandates expire after a limited period and require renewal from the body, which set them up.

One of the outcomes of the 2005 World Summit
2005 World Summit
The 2005 World Summit, 14–16 September 2005, was a follow-up summit meeting to the United Nations' 2000 Millennium Summit, which led to the Millennium Declaration of the Millennium Development Goals...

 was a mandate (labelled id 17171) for the Secretary-General to "review all mandates older than five years originating from resolutions of the General Assembly and other organs". To facilitate this review and to finally bring coherence to the organization, the Secretariat has produced an on-line registry of mandates to draw together the reports relating to each one and create an overall picture.

Greening the Blue


In 2007, On 5 June World Environment Day 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made public his ambition to make the United Nations more efficient in its operations: “I would like to see our renovated Headquarters complex eventually become a globally acclaimed model of efficient use of energy and resources. Beyond New York, the initiative should include the other United Nations headquarters and offices around the globe.” The UN's progress towards achieving this goal is communicated through the initiative Greening the Blue (see external links below).

Other


Over the lifetime of the UN, over 80 colonies have attained independence. The General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples
Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples
The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples was a milestone in the process of decolonization. Also known as the United Nations Resolution 1514, it was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 14, 1960....

 in 1960 with no votes against but abstentions from all major colonial powers. Through the UN Committee on Decolonization
Special Committee on Decolonization
The Special Committee on Decolonization was created in 1961 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with the purpose of monitoring implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples...

, created in 1962, the UN has focused considerable attention on decolonization
Decolonization
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

. It has also supported the new states that have arisen as a result of self-determination initiatives. The committee has overseen the decolonization of every country larger than 20,000 km² and removed them from the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories is a list of countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated by the General Assembly on recommendation...

, besides Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

, a country larger than the UK only relinquished by Spain in 1975.

The UN declares and coordinates international observance
International observance
International observance denotes a period of time to observe some issue of international interest or concern. This is used to commemorate, promote and mobilize for action. Many of these periods have been established by the United Nations General Assembly, Economic and Social Council or by UNESCO...

s, periods of time to observe some issue of international interest or concern. Using the symbolism of the UN, a specially designed logo for the year, and the infrastructure of the United Nations System
United Nations System
The United Nations system consists of the United Nations, its subsidiary organs , the specialized agencies, and affiliated organizations...

, various days and years have become catalysts to advancing key issues of concern on a global scale. For example, World Tuberculosis Day
World Tuberculosis Day
World Tuberculosis Day, falling on March 24 each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease...

, Earth Day
Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the...

 and International Year of Deserts and Desertification
International Year of Deserts and Desertification
The year 2006 was declared the International Year of Deserts and Desertification by the United Nations General Assembly.-Objectives:The Year's Objective is to spread awareness about the desert areas of the world and especially the problem of desertification....

.

Funding

Top 10 donators to the UN budget, 2011
Member state
United Nations member states
There are 193 United Nations member states, and each of them is a member of the United Nations General Assembly.The criteria for admission of new members are set out in the United Nations Charter, Chapter II, Article 4, as follows:...

Contribution
(%
Percentage
In mathematics, a percentage is a way of expressing a number as a fraction of 100 . It is often denoted using the percent sign, “%”, or the abbreviation “pct”. For example, 45% is equal to 45/100, or 0.45.Percentages are used to express how large/small one quantity is, relative to another quantity...

 of UN budget)
 United States 22.000%
 Japan 12.530%
 Germany 8.018%
 United Kingdom 6.604%
 Early Modern France 6.123%
 Italy 4.999%
 Canada 3.207%
 Mainland China 3.189%
 Spain 3.177%
 Mexico 2.356%
Other member states 27.797%

The UN is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from member states. The General Assembly approves the regular budget and determines the assessment for each member. This is broadly based on the relative capacity of each country to pay, as measured by their gross national income
Gross National Income
The GNI consists of: the personal consumption expenditures, the gross private investment, the government consumption expenditures, the net income from assets abroad , and the gross exports of goods and services, after deducting two components: the gross imports of goods and services, and the...

 (GNI), with adjustments for external debt and low per capita income.

The Assembly has established the principle that the UN should not be overly dependent on any one member to finance its operations. Thus, there is a 'ceiling' rate, setting the maximum amount any member is assessed for the regular budget. In December 2000, the Assembly revised the scale of assessments to reflect current global circumstances. As part of that revision, the regular budget ceiling was reduced from 25% to 22%. For the least developed countries (LDCs), a ceiling rate of 0.01% is applied. In addition to the ceiling rates, the minimum amount assessed to any member nation (or 'floor' rate) is set at 0.001% of the UN budget. Refer to the table for major contributors.

A large share of UN expenditures addresses the core UN mission of peace and security. The peacekeeping budget for the 2005–2006 fiscal year was approximately US$5 billion, €2.5 billion (compared to approximately US$1.5 billion, €995 million for the UN core budget over the same period), with some 70,000 troops deployed in 17 missions around the world. UN peace operations are funded by assessments, using a formula derived from the regular funding scale, but including a weighted surcharge for the five permanent Security Council members, who must approve all peacekeeping operations. This surcharge serves to offset discounted peacekeeping assessment rates for less developed countries. As of 1 January 2011, the top 10 providers of assessed financial contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations were: the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, China, Canada, Spain and the Republic of Korea.

Special UN programmes not included in the regular budget (such as UNICEF, the WFP
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme is the food aid branch of the United Nations, and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger worldwide. WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children...

 and UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

) are financed by voluntary contributions from other member governments. Most of this is financial contributions, but some is in the form of agricultural commodities
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 donated for afflicted populations. Since their funding is voluntary, many of these agencies suffer severe shortages during economic recessions. In July 2009, the World Food Programme reported that it has been forced to cut services because of insufficient funding. It has received barely a quarter of the total it needed for the 09/10 financial year.

Personnel policy


The UN and its agencies are immune to the laws of the countries where they operate, safeguarding UN's impartiality with regard to the host and member countries.

Despite their independence in matters of human resources policy, the UN and its agencies voluntarily apply the laws of member states regarding same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

s, allowing decisions about the status of employees in a same-sex partnership to be based on nationality. The UN and its agencies recognize same-sex marriages only if the employees are citizens of countries that recognize the marriage. This practice is not specific to the recognition of same-sex marriage but reflects a common practice of the UN for a number of human resources matters. It has to be noted though that some agencies provide limited benefits to domestic partners
Domestic partnership
A domestic partnership is a legal or personal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but are neither joined by marriage nor a civil union...

 of their staff and that some agencies do not recognise same-sex marriage or domestic partnership of their staff.

Reform




Since its founding, there have been many calls for reform of the United Nations, although little consensus on how to do so. Some want the UN to play a greater or more effective role in world affairs, while others want its role reduced to humanitarian work. There have also been numerous calls for the UN Security Council's membership to be increased
Reform of the United Nations Security Council
Reform of the United Nations Security Council encompasses five key issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship...

, for different ways of electing the UN's Secretary-General, and for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is a proposed addition to the United Nations System that would allow for participation of member nations' legislators and, eventually, direct election of United Nations parliament members by citizens worldwide...

.

The UN has also been accused of bureaucratic inefficiency and waste. During the 1990s, the United States withheld dues citing inefficiency, and only started repayment on the condition that a major reforms initiative was introduced. In 1994, the Office of Internal Oversight Services
United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services
The United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services is a United Nations organ whose primary purpose is to perform world-wide audit, investigation, inspection, programme monitoring, evaluation and consulting services to the United Nations Secretariat and the rest of the United Nations...

 (OIOS) was established by the General Assembly to serve as an efficiency watchdog.

An official reform programme was begun by Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

 in 1997. Reforms mentioned include changing the permanent membership of the Security Council
Reform of the United Nations Security Council
Reform of the United Nations Security Council encompasses five key issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship...

 (which currently reflects the power relations of 1945), making the bureaucracy more transparent, accountable and efficient, making the UN more democratic, and imposing an international tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

 on arms manufacturers worldwide.

In September 2005, the UN convened a World Summit that brought together the heads of most member states, calling the summit "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations." Kofi Annan had proposed that the summit agree on a global "grand bargain" to reform the UN, renewing the organization's focus on peace, security, human rights and development, and to make it better equipped at facing 21st century issues. The World Summit Outcome Document delineated the conclusions of the meeting, including: the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission
Peacebuilding Commission
The Peacebuilding Commission was established in December 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council acting concurrently...

, to help countries emerging from conflict; a Human Rights Council
United Nations Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations System. The UNHRC is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights , and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly...

 and a democracy fund; a clear and unambiguous condemnation of terrorism "in all its forms and manifestations"; agreements to devote more resources to the Office of Internal Oversight Services; agreements to spend billions more on achieving the Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

; the dissolution of the Trusteeship Council
United Nations Trusteeship Council
The United Nations Trusteeship Council, one of the principal organs of the United Nations, was established to help ensure that trust territories were administered in the best interests of their inhabitants and of international peace and security...

, because of the completion of its mission; and, the agreement that individual states, with the assistance of the international community, have the "responsibility to protect
Responsibility to protect
The responsibility to protect is a norm or set of principles based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility. RtoP focuses on preventing and halting four crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing, which it places under the generic...

" populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity- with the understanding that the international community is prepared to act "collectively" in a “timely and decisive manner” to protect vulnerable civilians should a state "manifestly fail" in fulfilling its responsibility.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services is being restructured to better define its scope and mandate, and will receive more resources. In addition, to improve the oversight and auditing capabilities of the General Assembly, an Independent Audit Advisory Committee (IAAC) is being created. In June 2007, the Fifth Committee created a draft resolution for the terms of reference
Terms of reference
Terms of reference describe the purpose and structure of a project, committee, meeting, negotiation, or any similar collection of people who have agreed to work together to accomplish a shared goal. The terms of reference of a project are often referred to as the project charter.- Terms of...

 of this committee. An ethics office was established in 2006, responsible for administering new financial disclosure and whistleblower
Whistleblower
A whistleblower is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company...

 protection policies. Working with the OIOS, the ethics office also plans to implement a policy to avoid fraud and corruption. The Secretariat is in the process of reviewing all UN mandates that are more than five years old. The review is intended to determine which duplicative or unnecessary programmes should be eliminated. Not all member states agree on which of the over 7000 mandates should be reviewed. The dispute centres on whether mandates that have been renewed should be examined. Indeed, the obstacles identified – in particular, the lack of information on the resource implications of each mandate – constituted sufficient justification for the General Assembly to discontinue the mandate review in September 2008. In the meantime, the General Assembly launched a number of new loosely related reform initiatives in April 2007, covering international environmental governance, ‘Delivering as One’ at the country level to enhance the consolidation of UN programme activities and a unified gender organization. Whereas little was achieved on the first two issues, the General Assembly approved in September 2010 the establishment of ‘UN Women’ as the new UN organization for gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women was established by unifying the resources and mandates of four small entities for greater impact and its first head is Ms. Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

.

See also



  • Collective security
    Collective security
    Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement, regional or global, in which each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and agrees to join in a collective response to threats to, and breaches of, the peace...

  • High-level Panel on United Nations Systemwide Coherence
    High-level Panel on United Nations Systemwide Coherence
    On 16 February 2006, the Secretary-General announced the formation of a new, high-level panel to explore how the United Nations system could work more coherently and effectively across the world in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment....

  • International relations
    International relations
    International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

  • List of current Permanent Representatives to the United Nations
  • Model United Nations
    Model United Nations
    Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda....

  • Official statistics
    Official statistics
    Official statistics are statistics published by government agencies or other public bodies such as international organizations. They provide quantitative or qualitative information on all major areas of citizens' lives, such as economic and social development, living conditions, health, education,...

  • UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
    UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
    UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors are celebrity advocates of UNESCO who use their talent or fame to spread the UNESCO ideals, especially attracting media attention...

  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador
  • Official languages of the United Nations
    Official languages of the United Nations
    The official languages of the United Nations are the six languages that are used in UN meetings, and in which all official UN documents are written...

  • United Nations Association
    United Nations Association
    The United Nations Associations are non-governmental organizations that exist in various countries to enhance the relationship between the people of a member state and the United Nations, raise public awareness of the UN and its work, promote the general goals of the UN and act as an advisory body...

  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
    United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
    The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea , also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea , which took place from 1973 through 1982...


  • United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names
    United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names
    The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names was set up by the Secretary General of the United Nations on April 23, 1959....

     (UNGEGN)
  • United Nations in popular culture
    United Nations in popular culture
    Popular culture references to the United Nations have been made in several media, including film, books, video games, and others. In many instances, the United Nations will figure in a storyline...

  • United Nations International School
    United Nations International School
    The United Nations International School is a private international school in New York City. It was founded in 1947 by families who worked for or were associated with the United Nations. The school was founded to provide an international education, while preserving its students' diverse cultural...

  • United Nations Peace Messenger Cities
    United Nations Peace Messenger Cities
    United Nations Peace Messenger Cities are cities around the world that have volunteered for an initiative sponsored by the United Nations to promote peace and understanding between nations....

  • United Nations Postal Administration
    United Nations Postal Administration
    The United Nations Postal Administration is the postal agency of the United Nations. It issues postage stamps and postal stationery, denominated in United States dollars for the United Nations offices in New York, in Swiss francs for the offices in Geneva and in euros for the offices in Vienna...

  • United Nations Security Council
    United Nations Security Council
    The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

  • United Nations University
    United Nations University
    The United Nations University is an academic arm of the United Nations established in 1973, which serves purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The UNU undertakes research into the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of...

  • University for Peace
    University for Peace
    The University for Peace was established in Costa Rica in 1980 "to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace and with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence."At present, the UPEACE Costa...

  • World Heritage Site
    World Heritage Site
    A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

  • Yearbook of the United Nations
    Yearbook of the United Nations
    With its comprehensive coverage of UN engagement in political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters, the Yearbook of the United Nations stands as the most authoritative reference work available...


Relations between specific states and the United Nations



  • Australia and the United Nations
    Australia and the United Nations
    Australia was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and has been actively engaged in the organisation since its formation...

  • Brazil and the United Nations
    Brazil and the United Nations
    Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations and participates in all of its specialized agencies. Brazil is among the twenty top contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and has participated in peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East, the former Belgian Congo, Cyprus,...

  • Canada and the United Nations
    Canada and the United Nations
    Canada has been a member of the United Nations Organization since the body's creation and has served for 12 years on the Security Council, one of the most of any non-permanent member...

  • China and the United Nations
    China and the United Nations
    China's seat in the United Nations and membership of the United Nations Security Council was originally occupied by the Republic of China since October 24, 1945. During the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party of China repelled the government of the ROC from Mainland China to the island of...

  • Fiji and the United Nations
    Fiji and the United Nations
    The Republic of Fiji established its Permanent Mission to the United Nations on 13 October 1970, three days after obtaining its independence from the United Kingdom. Since then, Fiji's participation in the United Nations has been notable primarily for its active role in UN peacekeeping operations,...

  • France and the United Nations
    France and the United Nations
    The French Republic is a charter member of the United Nations and one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council.-Veto power in the UN Security Council:...

  • Activities of the Holy See within the United Nations system
    Activities of the Holy See within the United Nations system
    The activities of the Holy See within the United Nations system officially began on April 6, 1964, when the Holy See was granted the status of permanent observer state...

  • India and the United Nations
    India and the United Nations
    India is a charter member of the United Nations and participates in all of its specialized agencies. It has contributed troops to United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Korea, Egypt and the Congo in earlier years and in Somalia, Angola and Rwanda in recent years, and more recently Haiti...

  • Israel, Palestine, and the United Nations
  • Japan and the United Nations
    Japan and the United Nations
    Japan holds many international cooperations within the United Nations as a basic principle of its foreign policy. When Japan joined the UN in 1956, it did so with great enthusiasm and broad public support, for the international organization was seen to embody the pacified country's hopes for a...


  • Marshall Islands and the United Nations
    Marshall Islands and the United Nations
    The Marshall Islands joined the United Nations on September 17, 1991. Although the Marshall Islands is sovereign, it is bound by a Compact of Free Association with the United States. The Marshall Islands shows overwhelming support for the United States. On 13 key issues in 2008, the Marshall...

  • Micronesia and the United Nations
    Micronesia and the United Nations
    The Federated States of Micronesia joined the United Nations on September 17, 1991, five years after obtaining its independence from the United States of America. its ambassador to the United Nations is Masao Nakayama. Although de jure sovereign, the F.S...

  • New Zealand and the United Nations
    New Zealand and the United Nations
    New Zealand is a founding member of the United Nations, having taken part in 1945 in the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco.Since its formation, New Zealand has been actively engaged in the organisation...

  • Pakistan and the United Nations
    Pakistan and the United Nations
    Pakistan officially came to join the United Nations on September 30, 1947 just over a month after its independence. Today, it is a charter member and participates in all of the UN's specialised agencies....

  • Russia and the United Nations
  • Soviet Union and the United Nations
    Soviet Union and the United Nations
    The Soviet Union took an active role in the United Nations and other major international and regional organizations. At the behest of the United States, the Soviet Union took a role in the establishment of the UN in 1945...

  • United Kingdom and the United Nations
    United Kingdom and the United Nations
    The United Kingdom is a charter member of the United Nations and one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council.-United Kingdom's role in establishing the UN:...

  • United States and the United Nations
    United States and the United Nations
    The United States is a charter member of the United Nations and one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council.- U.S. role in establishing the UN :...

  • Vanuatu and the United Nations
    Vanuatu and the United Nations
    The Republic of Vanuatu has been a member of the United Nations since the year of its independence in 1980. The country was a particularly active member in the 1980s, when, governed by Prime Minister Father Walter Lini and represented by Ambassador Robert Van Lierop, it was a consistent advocate...



Further reading


  • Gold, Dore
    Dore Gold
    Dore Gold is an Israeli statesman who has served in various diplomatic positions under several Israeli governments. He is the current President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs...

    . Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004.

External links



Official websites

Other