United Nations Fact Sheet

Overview of the United Nations
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.
The UN has 4 main purposes
 To
 To
 To
keep peace throughout the world;
develop friendly relations among nations;
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.
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
193 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, peacebuilding, 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
Organizational Structure
The United Nations is made up of six main bodies, under which multiple subsidiary
organizations operate:
General Assembly: This is the deliberative body of the UN, in which all member states
have one vote. Issues on which the General Assembly deliberates and makes
recommendations include matters of peace and security, budgetary matters, and nearly
anything else within the scope of the UN Charter. Major questions require a two-thirds
majority, and minor questions are resolved by a simple majority.
Security Council: This department is charged with maintaining international peace and
security. Its main functions include hearing complaints, recommending peaceful
solutions, and working to end conflict in areas where hostilities have already erupted
through such means as cease-fire directives and UN peacekeeping forces.
Economic and Social Council: This body discusses international economic and social
issues, identifies issues hindering the standard of living in various regions of the world,
and makes policy recommendations to alleviate those issues.
Trusteeship Council: This council oversees the United States trust territories. It has
been inactive since November 1, 1994 when the last remaining trust territory gained
International Court of Justice: Located in The Hague, the ICJ is the judicial body of
the UN. It includes 15 elected judges and settles cases according to International Law.
Secretariat: This body is the administrative branch of the UN and is charged with
administering the policies and programs of the other bodies. The Secretary General is
the top official in the Secretariat.