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What is the UN (United Nations)?

By Garry Crystal
Updated May 23, 2024
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The United Nations (UN) was formed on 24 October 1945. Fifty-one countries came together with the sole purpose of promoting peace throughout the world through mutual cooperation. Today, almost every nation in the world is a member of the organization, with a total of 191 members.

The UN charter details the guidelines that every member must abide by. It is a treaty that sets out the rules and obligations of member nations. The UN charter delineates four main purposes: to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly co-operation between countries, to solve international problems and respect all human rights, and to serve as a focal point for all peaceful national activities.

Although the United Nations cannot make laws and is not a governing power, it provides guidelines in order to prevent conflict between nations. It also develops rules in order to help achieve peaceful conclusions to problems affecting the world.

The campaigns of this organization are concerned with all aspects of world peace and international harmony. They help fight against drug trafficking and terrorist attacks. They have led campaigns to assist refugees and to provide vital food production and humanitarian aid to third world countries. Campaigns for the fight against AIDS and world-wide disarmament are two of their highest priorities.

The United Nations holds regular meetings to discuss the world's most urgent problems. Each member of the UN has a vote on each topic. At the meetings, they decide and vote on subjects such as the world's international peace.

Members of the UN also debate major security problems throughout the world. Other topics may include deciding on new members to be admitted to the United Nations. Although voting is the main form of decision, the UN prefers all agreements to be made by consensus.

There are six main divisions of the United Nations: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trustee Council, and the Secretariat. The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the main legal branch of the UN. It makes decisions and judgments on conflicts between countries.

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Discussion Comments

By anon143358 — On Jan 15, 2011

i have question: what is the single most important global event in the 21st century? why?

what is the major problem in the world today? why? what would be your suggestion to solve the problem?

By anon74566 — On Apr 02, 2010

I also have one question: Why don't any of you realize that the UN is a world order society and takes it cue from the Rhodes/Milner group, The Round Table and The Fabian Society.

I suggest doing some research before asking questions that don't need to be asked.

Thank you.

By anon45855 — On Sep 21, 2009

For the first paragraph, it's actually 192 members now. Hopefully later it'll be more. Also, it'd be good if this site said more about the charter; it is quite important. By the way, September 21 is the International Day of Peace! Which is actually the day I posted this anyway... Happy International Day of Peace. One more thing - in 2010, the UN turns 65 - the retirement age (for humans). Let's hope it keeps on helping everyone, then. See ya!

By anon27105 — On Feb 24, 2009

what is the primordial objective of a foreign policy?

By anon20757 — On Nov 05, 2008

What does the UN think about america's racial policies? and why should they reverse them?

By anon12792 — On May 13, 2008

I have one question... What does the U.N think about what china is doing to Tibet?

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