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 generations. 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 independence. 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.