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The United Nations

The United Nations (UN) 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.¹

The work the UN does finds its way into every part of the world, although they are best known globally for their peacekeeping, conflicting prevention and humanitarian assistance. They also work on fundamental issues such as sustainable development, environment, disaster relief, non-proliferation, and refugee protection. The UN outlines their four main purposes on their website:¹

  1. To keep peace throughout the world
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations
  3. To help nations world 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
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve those goals

The UN has six main bodies. The General Assembly is the main organ of the UN is is composed of the representatives of all 193 Member States. The Security Council maintains international peace and security and is comprised of 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) coordinates economic, social and related work of the UN and specialized agencies and is comprised of 54 members.¹ The International Court of Justice settles legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions to the UN¹

The Secretariat carries out the day-to-day work of the Organization, servicing the councils and carrying out a large variety of tasks. The Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs is a legal publication containing studies of the decisions of the principal parts of the UN.¹




1. UN at a Glance. Retrieved from

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons and Wikimedia Commons.