The United Nations (UN),

The United Nations (UN), 1945

  • It is the largest intergovernmental organization of the world.
  • It was established after World War II with the aim of preventing future wars, succeeding the ineffective League of Nations.
  • Major Aims of UN:
    • To maintain international peace and security, international cooperation.
    • To develop friendly relations among nations.
    • To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.
    • To protect human rights, delivering humanitarian aid.
    • To promote sustainable development, upholding international law.
  • Headquarter: New York City.
  • Other main offices: Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna, Hague.
  • Members: 193 (Recent is South Sudan, 2011).
  • Founding members: 51.
  • Official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish.
  • Structure of UN: There are 6 principal organs of UN.

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

  • It is the main policy making, representative organ of UN.
  • It is the only UN organ where all members have equal representation, each country has one vote.
  • Its powers, composition, functions, procedures are set out in Chapter IV of UN Charter.
  • Major Functions and Objectives of UNGA:
    • It decides on the admission of new members, following proposal by the UNSC.
    • To adopts the budget.
    • To elect the non-permanent members of the UNSC; all members of ECOSOC, UN Secretary General, 15 judges of ICJ.
    • To receive reports from other parts of the UN system.
    • To make recommendations through resolutions.
  • Voting process in General Assembly:
    • 2/3rd majority of present and voting is required:
      • Recommendations on peace and security, budget, election, admission, suspension of members.
    • Other questions are decided by a simple majority.
  • The resolutions passed by UNGA are not binding, besides budgetary measures.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

  • It is the only UN body to issue binding resolutions on member states.
  • Major Aims and Functions:
    • To ensuring international peace and security.
    • To recommend the admission of new members to the UNGA.
    • To approve changes to UN Charter.
    • To enact international sanctions, to authorize military action.
  • Members: 15.
    • Permanent members: 5 (China, France, Russia, UK, USA).
    • Permanent members can veto any resolution.
    • Non-Permanent members: 10 (Elected on a regional basis with term of 2 years term).

United Nations Secretariat

  • It is an executive arm of UN.
  • It is the main source of economic and political analysis for UNGA and UNSC.
  • It sets agenda for decision-making bodies of the UN (the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and Security Council), and implements decision of these bodies.
  • UN Department of Political Affairs and department of Peace operations is a part of the secretariat.
  • Secretary-General: Head of the secretariat (Appointed by UNGA).
  • Functions and Objectives of Secretariat:
    • To resolve international disputes, to organize international conferences.
    • To administer operations initiated by UN organs and operates political missions.
    • To prepare assessments that precede peacekeeping operations.
    • To appoint the heads of peacekeeping operations.
    • To conducts surveys and research, to publish treaties and international agreements.

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

  • It is the central forum to discuss international economic and social issues and to formulate policy recommendations to members.
  • It Co-ordinates between UN’s numerous specialized agencies.
  • Members: 54 (Elected by UNGA for 3 years term).

International Court of Justice (ICJ) (World Court), 1946

  • It settles disputes between states in accordance with international law and gives advisory opinions on international legal issues.
  • It is the only international court that adjudicates general disputes between countries.
  • The ICJ is the successor of the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), which was established in 1920 by the League of Nations.
  • ICJ decision in a controversial or debatable case is binding upon the parties.
  • If a State fails to comply with the judgment, the issue may be taken to the UNSC, with the authority to review, recommend, and decide upon enforcement.
  • Member: All UN members.
  • Headquarter: Hague, Netherlads.
  • Official Working Languages: English, French.
  • ICJ Panel: 15 judges elected by General Assembly and UNSC for 9 years terms.
  • Subject Matter: Sovereignty, boundary disputes, maritime disputes, trade, natural resources, human rights, treaty violations, treaty interpretation etc.

The Trusteeship Council

  • It was originally designed to manage colonial possessions that were former League of Nations mandates.
  • It has been inactive since 1994, when Palau attained independence.