United Nations

United Nations

United Nations

What is the UN?

  • The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 and has a current membership of 193 Member States.
  • UN remains the one place on Earth where all the world’s nations can gather together, discuss common problems, and find shared solutions that benefit all of humanity.
  • The UN is headquartered on international territory in New York City, and has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna, and The Hague.

History of UN

  • UN succeeded the ineffective League of Nations on 24 October 1945 with the aim of preventing future world wars.
  • Representatives of 50 countries gathered at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California from 25 April to 26 June 1945.
  • For the next two months, they proceeded to draft and then sign the UN Charter, which guides the UN in its works to this day.
  • The United Nations officially began, on 24 October 1945, when it came into existence after its Charter had been ratified by Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories.

Principal Organs of UN

General Assembly

  • The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.
  • All 193 Member States of the UN are represented in the General Assembly, making it the only UN body with universal representation.
  • Each year, in September, the full UN membership meets in the General Assembly Hall in New York for the annual General Assembly session.
  • The General Assembly, each year, elects a GA President to serve a one-year term of office.

Security Council

  • The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • It has 15 Members out of which 5 are permanent and 10 are non-permanent members.
  • China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the permanent members of UN.
  • Permanent members can veto (block) any substantive Security Council resolution.
  • Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action.
  • Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.

Economic and Social Council

  • The Economic and Social Council is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as implementation of internationally agreed development goals.
  • It serves as the central mechanism for activities of the UN system and its specialized agencies in the economic, social and environmental fields, supervising subsidiary and expert bodies.
  • It has 54 Members, elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.
  • It is the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.

Trusteeship Council

  • The Trusteeship Council was established in 1945 by the UN Charter to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories which were under the administration of seven Member States.
  • It also had the responsibility to ensure that adequate steps were taken to prepare the Territories for self-government and independence.
  • By 1994, all Trust Territories had attained self-government or independence.
  • The Trusteeship Council suspended operation on 1 November 1994.
  • It is the only principal organ of the United Nations which has succeeded in completing its objective.

International Court of Justice

  • The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.
  • Its seat is at the Peace Palace in the Hague (Netherlands). It is the only one of the six principal organs of the United Nations not located in New York (United States of America).
  • The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.


  • The Secretariat comprises the Secretary-General and tens of thousands of international UN staff members who carry out the day-to-day work of the UN as mandated by the General Assembly and the Organization’s other principal bodies.
  • The Secretary-General is Chief Administrative Officer of the Organization, appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a five-year, renewable term.