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What Is: The United Nations

What Is: The United Nations

The United Nations was founded following the end of World War two in 1945 and was originally comprised of 51 nations in attendance at the first General Assembly meeting. Since then, the size of the UN has grown to include almost every country on earth, with 193 member states whose work is guided by the UN's founding charter

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. Chief among these is the Security Council, which is made up of 15 member states: Five permanent members China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and 10 non-permanent members elected every two years Bolivia, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Poland and Sweden.

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 agree to 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. 

While the Security Council is made up of only a select 15 member states, the General Assembly is where all the member states gather to vote on resolutions and pass declarations. Every September, the main body of the UN meet in New York to vote and different questions about security and peace that require a two-thirds vote to pass. The General Assembly also elect a GA president to serve a one-year term who presides over that years UN session.

An off shoot of the General Assembly is the Economic and Social Council, a group of 54 members elected for three year terms that deal with policy surrounding different economic, environmental and social issues. This body is integral towards the UN realizing different sustainable development goals. 

The International Court of Justice is located in the Peace Palace in the Hague whose job it is to settle legal disputes that are brought to it by various states, as well as give advisory opinions to various UN groups and specialized agencies. The court is made up of 15 different judges who are elected by the Security Council and General Assembly.

The last main body of the UN is the Secretariat, who deal with the day to day tasks of the UN. The Secretariat employs tens of thousands of UN workers to provide information on peacekeeping missions across the world and many of the more mundane tasks designated by various other bodies of the UN.

 

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