65th Session of UNGA

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UN at a glance

 

The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. Due to its unique international character, and the powers vested in its founding Charter, the Organization can take action on a wide range of issues, and provide a forum for its 192 Member States to express their views, through the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and other bodies and committees.

The work of the United Nations reaches every corner of the globe. Although best known for peacekeeping, peace building, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, there are many other ways the United Nations and its System (specialized agencies, funds and programmes) affect our lives and make the world a better place. The Organization works on a broad range of fundamental issues, from sustainable development, environment and refugees protection, disaster relief, counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, to promoting democracy, human rights, gender equality and the advancement of women, governance, economic and social development and international health, clearing landmines, expanding food production, and more, in order to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for this and future generations.

Main Bodies

Quick Facts

General Assembly: 192 member states
Security Council: 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent
Economic and Social Council: 54 members
International Court of Justice: 15 judges

General Assembly

The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the UN and is composed of representatives of all Member States. The work of the United Nations year-round derives largely from the mandates given by the General Assembly. A revitalization of the Assembly is under way to enhance its role, authority, effectiveness and efficiency.

Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established by the UN Charter, is the principal organ to coordinate the economic, social and related work of the United Nations and the specialized agencies and institutions. Voting in the Council is by simple majority; each member has one vote.

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice, located at the Hague in the Netherlands, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It settles legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions to the UN and its specialized agencies. Its Statute is an integral part of the United Nations Charter.

Security Council

The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. A reform of the Security Council, including its membership is under consideration.

Trusteeship Council

The Trusteeship Council was established in 1945 by the UN Charter to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories placed under the administration of 7 Member States, and 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. Its work completed, the Council has amended its rules of procedure to meet as and where occasion may require.

Secretariat

The Secretariat carries out the day-to-day work of the Organization. It services the other principal organs and carries out tasks as varied as the issues dealt with by the UN: administering peacekeeping operations, surveying economic and social trends, preparing studies on human rights, among others.

Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs

The Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs is a legal publication containing analytical studies of the decisions of the principal organs of the United Nations. It is a comprehensive summary of the decisions of United Nations Organs and serves to throw light on questions of application and interpretation of the UN Charter in practice.
 


 
   
   
   
   

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Last modified: September 28, 2010.

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