Definition

United Nations

What is the UN?

The United Nations (UN) is a global organisation that was formed in 1945. The United Nations, which presently has 193 member states, is driven by the purposes and principles outlined in its founding Charter. The United Nations has changed over the years to keep up with a rapidly changing world.

However, just one thing has remained constant; this is the only place on the planet where all the world's nations might come together, talk about common challenges, and seek standard solutions that benefit humanity.

The United Nations' membership has grown from 51 members in 1945 to 193 now. The General Assembly is made up of all UN member states. On the proposal of the Security Council, states were admitted to membership by a decision of the General Assembly.

The UN Secretary-General is the organisation's chief administrative officer, a symbol of the organisation's principles, and an advocate for all people worldwide, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. On the advice of the Security Council, the General Assembly appoints the Secretary-General for a five-year term that could be renewed.

Other key goals include enhancing friendly relations among nations while respecting the principles of equal rights and peoples' self-determination; accomplishing global collaboration to resolve global economic, cultural, social, and humanitarian issues; honouring and promoting human rights; and serves as a focal point for states to coordinate their actions. 

 

Summary
  • The United Nations, which presently has 193 member states, is driven by the purposes and principles outlined in its founding Charter.
  • The UN Secretary-General is the Organisation's chief administrative officer and a symbol of the organisation's principles.
  • The United Nations Security Council oversees maintaining global harmony and security.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the UN's history?

Nations were in chaos as the second world war ended in 1945, and the globe meant tranquillity. From April 25 to June 26, 1945, representatives from 50 nations met in San Francisco, California, for the United Nations Conference on international organisation. After two months, they moved on to write and sign the United Nations Charter, which formed a new global organisation, the United Nations, in the hopes of preventing another world war like the one they had just witnessed.

The United Nations formally began after the four months of the San Francisco Conference concluded, on October 24, 1945, when its Charter was accepted by the United States, China, the Soviet Union, France, the United Kingdom, and most other members.

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The United Nations strives to defend human rights, protect global harmony and stability, provide humanitarian relief to those in need, and maintain international law.

Simultaneously, the UN undertakes new tasks that the founders had not envisaged in 1945. For a better and more sustainable future for everyone, the United Nations has set goals by sustainable development for 2030. The UN member states have also backed action on climate change to mitigate global warming. With a massive list of triumphs under its belt, the United Nations is looking to the future for fresh ones.

What are the main UN bodies?

The main UN bodies are listed below.

The General Assembly

The General Assembly is the United Nations' most significant deliberative body. It comprises all the member nations' delegates, each of whom has one vote. A two-thirds majority is required for decisions on critical aspects such as tranquillity and stability, entry of new members, and fiscal considerations. A simple majority vote decides other questions.

The General Assembly represents all 193 UN Member States, making it the world's only UN body with universal representation. The president of the General Assembly is elected by the assembly every year for a one-year tenure.

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Security Council

The United Nations Security Council oversees maintaining global harmony and security. It is so well-organised that it can operate continuously, and a representative from each of its members should always be present at United Nations headquarters.

The Security Council has 15 members: five permanent members (the United States, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia) and 10 non-permanent members (selected by the General Assembly on a regional basis for the two-years term).

Moreover, the term "veto power" refers to a permanent member's ability to veto (reject) any Security Council resolution. The UN's unconditional veto, wielded by five nations, is widely regarded as the organisation's most undemocratic feature. Critics also claim that veto power is to blame for the international community's reluctance to respond to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Secretary-General

It is responsible for maintaining United Nations principles and a representative for the world's people, notably the impoverished and vulnerable. He is an advocate and a diplomat, a CEO, and a civil servant.

The Secretariat

The Secretariat comprises the Secretary-General and tens of thousands of multinational UN personnel who execute the UN's day-to-day operations as directed by the General Assembly and other leading organisations.

 The Secretary-General is the organisation's chief administrative officer, appointed by the General Assembly on the advice of the Security Council for a five-year term that could be renewed.

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Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

It is a major organisation coordinating the UN's economic and social activity and its operational arms. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs oversees it. The United Nations system seeks to promote social, economic, and sustainable growth.

ECOSOC collaborates closely with several UN entities and programmes. However, all the agencies are self-contained entities with their member nations and budgets.

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

The International Court of Justice is the United Nations' premier judicial body. It was founded in June 1945 under the United Nations Charter and began operations in April 1946.

The Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), formed by the League of Nations in 1920, replaced the ICJ.

The International Court of Justice aims to resolve legal disputes presented before it by states in line with international law and provide legal advice.