Following the failed experiment of the League of Nations, which collapsed at the beginning of the second world war, the United Nations (UN) was founded to promote global cooperation and avoid another global conflict.
Founded following the San Francisco conference in 1945 – where the UN Charter was drafted – it was originally comprised of 51 nations, who were in attendance at the first General Assembly meeting in 1946, but has since grown to include almost every country on earth, with 193 out of 195 recognised nations being member states as of 2020. The two recognised nations not to be members are considered non-member observer states: The Holy See (Vatican City) and Palestine.
The UN attempts to bring peace across the globe, through resolutions passed by member states along with an armed force of volunteers provided by member states with their distinctive blue helmets. Making up the UN are various legislative bodies where member states vote on various resolutions to try and keep global stability.
The UN is considered to have six principal organs, which all have various jurisdictions over global development and governance. Click through the tabs below to learn more about the structure of the United Nations.
The Security Council attempts to solve international disputes through peaceful means – but can resort to sanctions or even the use of force if necessary.
According to Article 25 of the UN’s charter, all members must agree to and accept the decisions made by the Security Council and must carry out those decisions. The other bodies of the UN can make decisions and resolutions, but the Security Council alone decides what members states have to implement.
The Security Council is made up of only a select 15 member states; five nations are permanent members of the council, decided by their importance in the aftermath of World War II, with the United Kingdom, United States, China, France and Russia taking these seats. There are 10 other seats which rotate – Germany, Belgium, Dominican Republic and Niger are amongst those to currently holds seats. These are elected to serve on the council by the UN General Assembly.