The United Nations was founded in 1945, after the Second World War, when fifty one (51) countries signed the UN Charter. It is an international organization established to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations. The UN is comprised of one hundred ninety three (193) member states which make up the General Assembly.The UN’s headquarters is in New York City, but it has offices and programs in many other cities around the world.
The United Nations (UN) has six main organs, as established by the UN Charter, each with its own specific responsibilities and functions. They are:
1. The General Assembly:
This is the main deliberative, policy making organ of the UN, providing a forum for Member States to discuss and consider a wide array of multilateral issues within the scope of the UN Charter. The Assembly also considers reports from the other organs of the UN. The Assembly meets annually in September at the UN Headquarters in New York, unless a change in location is agreed.
Read more about the General Assembly here.
2. Security Council:
This body is responsible for maintaining international peace and security. It has 15 members, 5 of which are permanent (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 of which are elected for two-year terms.
Read more about the Security Council here.
3. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC):
This body coordinates the economic, social, and environmental activities of the UN and its specialized agencies and is made up of 54 member states, which are elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms.
ECOSOC plays an important role in shaping the UN’s development agenda, and it is responsible for promoting international economic and social cooperation and development.
In June 2021, Belize was elected to ECOSOC, securing one of three seats assigned to the Latin America and Caribbean region for the term 2022 to 2024. Belize assumed its seat in January 2022.
4. The International Court of Justice (ICJ):
This is the main judicial body of the UN, and it settles legal disputes between states. The Court is located in The Hague, Netherlands.
5. The Secretariat:
This body is responsible for the administration and management of the UN and carries out the day-to-day work of the organization. The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.
Read more about the Secretariat here.
6. The Trusteeship Council:
This body oversaw the administration of trust territories, areas that were placed under UN administration in order to ensure their inhabitants were prepared for self-government. It was established in 1945 as one of the six main organs of the UN, but since the last trust territory was dissolved in 1994, the Council has suspended its operations and meets only occasionally, upon the request of its members, to discuss issues related to its past responsibilities.
Read more about the Trusteeship Council here.
The UN’s goals are to maintain international peace and security, promote human rights, foster social and economic development, protect the environment, and provide humanitarian aid to those in need. It carries out these goals through a variety of programs, agencies and funds, such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).