The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945. Its main aims are to maintain international peace and security, To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. Additionally, the UN aims to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
The official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. The organization is Headquartered in New York City, and has three other offices in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi. The organization is funded by contributions from its member states with the top 5 being the US (22%), Japan (10%), China (8%), Germany (6%), and France (5%).
The UN administers its functions through 6 main organs. The Secretariat; the administrative organ of the United Nations. It is led by the UN Secretary General who is currently Antonio Guterres. Administrative functions include conference organization, writing reports and studies, preparing the budget etc.
The UN General Assembly is the main legislative organ of the United Nations. It meets every September at the UN HQ in New York. All 193 member states are represented, including observer states and NGOs. Decides on the admission of new members proposed by the Security Council. Adopts the budget. Elects temporary members of the Security Council and ECOSOC. It also Approves the Secretary General (proposed by the Security Council), and the judges of the International Court of Justice. Programs and funds under the UNGA include: UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR etc.
The United Nations is governed by the UN Charter, a document which all UN members have to be signatory to. Apart from this the UN has pioneered other documents and declarations that form the basis of much of international law today. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world.
The security council is an organ of the United Nations with the responsibility to maintain international peace. When peace is threatened the council of 15 members comes together, discusses and comes up with solutions to prevent violence. Five of those members are permanent- UK, USA, China, France, Russian Federation. Other members are elected for a two year period.
Human Rights Council
The UN Human rights council is responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights on the whole globe. 47 member states, elected by the general assembly, are present and discuss thematic human rights issues and violence. They address situations, that require their attention and make recommendations on them.
Economic and social council
The economic and social council in the UN is responsible for advancing the three dimensions of sustainable development, which are economic, social and environmental. Every year ECOSOC structures its work around an annual theme of global importance and sustainable development.
High-level political forum on sustainable development
The High-level political forum on sustainable development is a subsidiary body of the GA (General Assembly) and the UN Economic and Social Council. The forum is responsible for all the UN’s decisions and policies concerning sustainability and sustainable development. It developed out of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in 2013. The forum is responsible for formulating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The International court of justice
The International Court of Justice is the most important judicial organ of the UN. The ICJ mediates between countries if necessary and advises on international legal issues if they are considered as such by the UN. The court is seated in The Hague, Netherlands, and consists of 15 judges that got elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council and are in their position for 9 years.
GA1-Disarmament and International Security
The first committee works with issues such as disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community. They seek to find a solution to challenges in the international security regime. Considering matters with the principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace security, they try to govern disarmament and regulation of armaments, strengthening stability through lower levels of armaments.
Sessions are held in three distinctive stages:
- General debate
- Thematic discussions
- Action on drafts
GA3-Social, Humanitarian and Cultural
This third committee focuses on social, humanitarian affairs and issues which affect the world population. Working closely with the human rights council they examine human right questions such as protection of children, indigenous issues, treatments of refuges, the advancement of women, elimination of racism etc. They work on social development questions concerning youth, family, ageing, disabilities, crime prevention, international drug control and more.
GA4-Special Political and Decolonisation
The special political and decolonization committee also is known as the fourth committee of the general assembly deals with issues related to colonization. It focuses on peacekeeping on earth and in outer space. Additionally, questions about the peaceful use of atomic radiation are discussed. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is one of the main annual programs.