The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization established on 24 October 1945 to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states committed to maintain international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights; there are now 193.
The first meetings of the General Assembly, with 51 nations represented, and the Security Council took place in Methodist Central Hall Westminster in London beginning 6 January 1946. The General Assembly selected New York City as the site for United Nations Headquarters, and the facility was completed in 1952.
Read Also: United Nations (UN) and its Principal Organs
The UN Headquarters is situated in Manhattan, New York City and enjoys extraterritoriality. The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, was elected as the first UN Secretary-General. The UN’s most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by South Korean Ban Ki-moon since 2007.
Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.
Principal organs of the United Nations.
The UN has six Principal Organs:
- The General Assembly – the main deliberative assembly
- The Security Council – for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security
- The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – for promoting international economic and social co-operation and development
- The Secretariat – for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN
- The International Court of Justice – the primary judicial organ
- The United Nations Trusteeship Council – inactive since 1994
The UN has 4 main purposes:
- To keep peace throughout the world;
- To develop friendly relations among nations;
- To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.
UN System agencies include:
- The World Bank Group,
- The World Health Organization,
- The World Food Programme,
- United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), located in The Hague, in the Netherlands, is the primary judicial organ of the UN. Established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice.
The ICJ is composed of 15 judges who serve 9-year terms and are appointed by the General Assembly; every sitting judge must be from a different nation. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, sharing the building with the Hague Academy of International Law, a private centre for the study of international law.