When was it founded? The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.
The purposes of the UN When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations.UN Charter According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes: to maintain international peace and security to develop friendly relations among nations to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.
So what does the UN do? The UN and its family of organisations work to promote respect for human rights, protect the environment, fight disease and reduce poverty.human rightsenvironmentfight disease reduce poverty Throughout the world, the UN and its agencies assist refugees, set up programmes to clear landmines, help expand food production and lead the fight against AIDS among many other tasks.refugeeslandminesfoodAIDS
The UN is a vast organisation, made up of many different agencies. You might have heard of some of the more well known.
A few UN agencies Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) World Food Programme (WFP) International Labour Organisation (ILO) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) World Health Organisation (WHO) International Monetary Fund (IMF) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) (often known as the World Bank)
UN General Assembly All UN Member States are represented in the General Assembly — a "parliament of nations" which meets regularly and also in special sessions to consider the world's most pressing problems.General Assembly
Each Member State has one vote. The Assembly cannot force action by any State, but its recommendations are an important indication of world opinion and represent the moral authority of the community of nations.
UN Security Council - The most powerful part of the UN. Permanent Members China France Russia UK USA Elected members (for 2 years) Belgium (2008) Italy (2008) Panama (2008) South Africa (2008) Indonesia (2008) Burkino Faso (2009) Costa Rica (2009) Croatia (2009) Libya (2009) Viet Nam (2009) Can you think of one thing these 5 countries have in common?
The United Nations Security Council is the organ of the United Nations charged with maintaining peace and security among nations.peacesecurity The Council may meet at any time, whenever peace is threatened. Decisions of the Council require nine yes votes. A decision cannot be taken if there is a no vote, (veto), by a permanent member. While other organs of the United Nations only make recommendations to member governments, the Security Council has the power to make decisions which member governments must carry out under the United Nations Charter. The decisions of the Council are known as United Nations Security Council Resolutions.United Nations CharterUnited Nations Security Council Resolutions
Veto power One nation's objection, rather than the opinions of a majority of nations, may cripple any possible UN armed or diplomatic response to a crisis. For instance, "Since 1982, the US has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members."
Resolution 660 in 1990: Call on Iraq to withdraw immediately and unconditionally all forces from Kuwait.Resolution 660 Resolution 1441 in 2002: Calls on Iraq to disclose its entire arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and medium and long- range missiles.Resolution 1441
Resolution 1718 on 14 October 2006: authorising sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for its nuclear test of 9 October 2006.Resolution 1718 Resolution 1737 on 23 December 2006: authorising sanctions against Iran for its nuclear enrichment programme.Resolution 1737
The UN and Conflict THE UN Security Council can decide to send in Peacekeeping troops to an area of conflict. Peacekeepers remain members of their respective armed forces, and do not constitute an independent "UN army," as the UN does not have such a force. UN peacekeepers are often referred to as Blue Helmets because of their light blue helmets.
Exam paper questions a) How does the role of the UK at the United Nations differ from most other countries? b) Identify 2 agencies of the United Nations that provide help for those in need. c) Identify 2 ways in which the United Nations attempts to resolve international disputes. d) Name 2 international bodies to which the UK belongs.
What is your opinion? e) Is it fair to have 5 permanent members of the security council or should all positions be rotated? f) Is it right that the permanent members have the ability to veto any security council decision? g) Does the UN have any value if it does not have any real power to enforce its decisions?