“There is no alternative to the United Nations. It is still the last best hope for humanity.” -Kofi Annan. Introduction to the United Nations. What’s this?. A Brief History. Idea came from “Declaration by United Nations” 1 January 1942 Charter signed 26 June 1945
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“There is no alternative to the United Nations. It is still the last best hope for humanity.” -Kofi Annan Introduction to the United Nations
A Brief History Idea came from “Declaration by United Nations” 1 January 1942 Charter signed 26 June 1945 50 countries met in San Francisco 1945 (August – October) 24 October 1945 charter ratified by China, France, Soviet Union, US, and Great Britain
Today 192 member nations Preserve peace through cooperation and collective security Does not make laws Works to resolve international conflicts and influence policies Each member has a voice and vote Official languages – Arabic, Chinese, Russian, English, French, and Spanish
Charter Agreement signed by original 51 members and adopted by all new members Outlines purposes/structure: Maintain international peace & security Develop friendly relations among nations Cooperate in solving international problems and promoting respect for human rights Act as a center for harmonizing the actions of nations
Structure • Headquarters in NYC • 6 main organs: • General Assembly • Security Council • Economic & Social Council • Trusteeship Council • Secretariat • International Court of Justice
General Assembly (GA) Representatives from each member nation Similar to parliament in structure Major issues require 2/3 majority Minor issues require simple majority Cannot force action by a state Meets from September to December
Security Council (SC) Maintains international peace All member states must adhere to their decisions 15 members 5 permanent with veto power 10 elected by GA every 2 years Requires 9 “yes” votes; no go if veto Has power to enforce decisions
Secretariat Led by Secretary-General Administrative responsibilities UN Peacekeeping
International Court of Justice Often referred to as the World Court HQ in The Hague, Netherlands 15 judges elected by GA and SC Decides disputes between nations Participation is voluntary If a nation participates, they must obey ruling
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Coordinates economic and social work of UN Governed by General Assembly Fosters cooperation for development Works with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) 54 members elected for 3 years by GA
Trusteeship Council Provides supervision for TrustTerritories (not yet members), getting them ready for membership At this time there are no trust territories Will reconvene if necessary (5 permanent members of SC)
UN Human Rights Council 47 Members elected to 3 year terms by the GA The main UN Forum for issues concerning Human Rights Makes recommendations to the GA on potential international laws that should be created pertaining to the field of Human Rights
UN High Commission on Refugees Established on December 14, 1950 by GA Responsible for leading and coordinating international action to respond/solve refugee problems Protecting the right for a person to seek asylum Safeguarding the rights and wellbeing of refugees It is estimated that the Agency has helped 50 million people restart their lives in the past 5 decades.