United Nations

United Nations
  • Arabic:منظمة الأمم المتحدة
    Chinese:联合国/聯合國
    French:Organisation des Nations unies
    Russian:Организация Объединённых Наций
    Spanish:Organización de las Naciones Unidas
Members of the United Nations
Members of the United Nations
Headquarters760 United Nations Plaza
New York City (international territory)
Official languages
TypeIntergovernmental organization
Membership193 member states
2 observer states
Leaders
António Guterres
Amina J. Mohammed
Abdulla Shahid
Collen Vixen Kelapile
Kenya
Establishment
• UN Charter signed
26 June 1945 (76 years ago) (1945-06-26)
• Charter entered into force
24 October 1945 (75 years ago) (1945-10-24)
Preceded by
League of Nations
The United Nations Office at Geneva (Switzerland) is the second biggest UN centre, after the United Nations Headquarters (New York City).

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.[2] It is the world's largest and most familiar international organization.[3] The UN is headquartered on international territory in New York City and has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna, and The Hague.

The UN was established after World War II with the aim of preventing future wars, succeeding the ineffective League of Nations.[4] On 25 April 1945, 50 governments met in San Francisco for a conference and started drafting the UN Charter, which was adopted on 25 June 1945 and took effect on 24 October 1945, when the UN began operations. Pursuant to the Charter, the organization's objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law.[5] At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; with the addition of South Sudan in 2011, membership is now 193, representing almost all of the world's sovereign states.[6]

The organization's mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades by the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union and their respective allies. Its missions have consisted primarily of unarmed military observers and lightly armed troops with primarily monitoring, reporting and confidence-building roles.[7] UN membership grew significantly following widespread decolonization beginning in the 1960s. Since then, 80 former colonies have gained independence, including 11 trust territories that had been monitored by the Trusteeship Council.[8] By the 1970s, the UN's budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the end of the Cold War, the UN shifted and expanded its field operations, undertaking a wide variety of complex tasks.[9]

The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly; the Security Council; the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); the Trusteeship Council; the International Court of Justice; and the UN Secretariat. The UN System includes a multitude of specialized agencies, funds and programmes such as the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, and UNICEF. Additionally, non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work.

The UN's chief administrative officer is the Secretary-General, currently Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres, who began his first five year-term on 1 January 2017 and was re-elected on 8 June 2021. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states.

The UN, its officers, and its agencies have won many Nobel Peace Prizes, though other evaluations of its effectiveness have been mixed. Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called it ineffective, biased, or corrupt.

  1. ^ Official Languages Archived 12 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine, www.un.org. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Charter of UN Chapter I". www.un.org. 17 June 2015. Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  3. ^ "International Organization". National Geographic Society. 23 December 2012. Archived from the original on 16 November 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Nat Geo UN". www.nationalgeographic.org. 23 December 2012. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  5. ^ "UN Objectives". www.un.org. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference UN_SouthSudan_193rd_state was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ "UN Early years of the Cold War". peacekeeping.un.org. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  8. ^ "UN Decolonization". www.un.org. 10 February 2016. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Post Cold War UN". peacekeeping.un.org. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.

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