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United Nations
الأمم المتحدة
Organisation des Nations Unies
Организация Объединённых Наций
Organización de las Naciones Unidas
Motto: It's your world![1]
Map showing the Member states of the United NationsThis map does not represent the view of its members or the UN concerning the legal status of any country,[2] nor does it accurately reflect which areas' governments have UN representation.
Map showing the Member states of the United Nations
This map does not represent the view of its members or the UN concerning the legal status of any country,[2] nor does it accurately reflect which areas' governments have UN representation.
HeadquartersInternational territory,
New York City
Official languages Arabic
Membership 193 member states
2 observer states
 -  Secretary-General South Korea Ban Ki-moon
 -  Deputy Secretary-General Sweden Jan Eliasson
 -  General Assembly President Uganda Sam Kutesa
 -  Security Council President Chad
 -  United Nations Charter signed 26 June 1945 (1945-06-26) 
 -  Entry into force of Charter 24 October 1945 (1945-10-24) 

The United Nations (U.N.) is an intergovernmental organisation established on 24 October 1945 to promote international cooperation. It replaced the League of Nations and the organisation was created following World War II to prevent another conflict. At the time it was founded, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. Most nations are members of the U.N. and send people to the headquarters to hold meetings and pass resolutions (make decisions) about global issues.

The United Nations headquarters building in New York

The goals of the United Nations are:

  • to keep world peace
  • to help countries get along
  • to improve living conditions for people all over the world
  • and to make the world a better place.[3]


After World War I, the nations of the world formed the League of Nations. This organization was a place where nations could talk through their differences calmly. However, some countries like Germany, Italy and Japan ignored the League and tried to solve their problems through war. Because members of the League of Nations did not want to go to war to protect other members, the League failed and the Second World War began.

During World War II, the Allied Powers often called themselves "the United Nations" (united against the Axis Powers). After the War, the winners formed a new organization for world peace. On 25th April 1945 in San Francisco, they decided on the name 'United Nations'. The U.N. was created on 24th October 1945 and its first meeting was held in January 1946. Since 1947 the 24th of October has been called 'United Nations Day'.


The headquarters of the United Nations has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of the borough of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River.


The main building for the United Nations is in New York City in the United States of America, but the U.N. also has important offices in Geneva (Switzerland), Nairobi (Kenya) and Vienna (Austria). The U.N. tries to be peaceful, but sometimes when talks do not work the U.N., unlike the League of Nations, will fight too. In the 1950s the UN helped South Korea in a war against North Korea, and in the 1990's the U.N. helped to force Iraqi soldiers out of Kuwait. At other times, the U.N. has formed 'peacekeeping' forces. UN peacekeepers travel to troubled places in the world and try - sometimes successfully, sometimes not - to keep the peace. Today there are U.N. peacekeepers working in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Haiti, Liberia and several other countries. Through a series of goals, resolutions and declarations adopted by member nations of the United Nations, the world has a set of commitments, actions and goals to stop and reverse the spread of H.I.V. and scale up towards universal access to H.I.V. prevention, treatment, care and support services.


The United Nations has set up six "principal organs":

Principal organs of the United Nations [4]
UN General Assembly
- Deliberative assembly of all U.N. member states (each country has one vote) -
UN Secretariat
- Administrative organ of the U.N. - its chairman is the UN Secretary General -
International Court of Justice
- Universal court for international law (based in The Hague) -
UN General Assembly hall
Headquarters of the UN in New York City
International Court of Justice
  • may resolve non-compulsory recommendations to states, or suggestions to the U.N.S.C. (not a Parliament)
  • decides on the admission of new members, on proposal of the U.N.S.C.
  • adopts the budget
  • elects the non-permanent members of the U.N.S.C., all members of Economic and Social Council, on the proposal of the U.N.S.C. the U.N. Secretary General, and the 15 judges of the I.C.J.
  • supports the other U.N. bodies administratively, e.g. in the organization of conferences, writing reports and studies, and the preparation of the budget-plan
  • its chairman - the U.N. Secretary General - is elected by the U.N. General Assembly for a five-year mandate and is the most important representative of the U.N.
  • beside its headquarters in New York City it has three main offices in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna
  • decides disputes between states that recognize its jurisdiction and creates legal opinions
  • the 15 judges are elected by the U.N. General Assembly for nine years. It renders judgement with relative majority
  • parties on the I.C.J. can only be countries, however no international organizations and other subjects of international law (not to be confused with the I.C.C.)
U.N. Security Council
- For international security issues -
U.N. Economic and Social Council
- For global economical and social affairs -
U.N. Trusteeship Council
- Was administering trust territories (currently not active) -
UN security council
UN Economic and Social Council
UN Trusteeship Council
  • responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security
  • the most powerful organ of the U.N., as it may adopt compulsory resolutions
  • its decisions include peacekeeping- and peace enforcement-missions, as well as non-military pressure mediums, such as trade embargos
  • has 15 members: five permanent members with veto power (China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States), and ten elected members
  • responsible for cooperation between states on economic and social fields (raising the general standard of living, solve economic, social and health problems, promotion of human rights, culture and education, as well as humanitarian aid)
  • therefore it has established numerous functional and regional commissions
  • also coordinates the cooperation with the numerous specialized agencies of the United Nations
  • has 54 members, who are elected by the U.N. General Assembly to serve staggered three-year mandates
  • was originally designed to manage colonial possessions that were earlier League of Nations mandates
  • is inactive since 1994, with the last trust territory (Namibia) attaining independence in 1990

Additionally there are some so-called "special agencies of the United Nations" (this is only a selection):


  1. Welcome to the United Nations: It's Your World. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  2. "The World Today" (PDF). Retrieved 18 June 2009. "The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country"
  3. "Introduction to the United Nations". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  4. Charter of the United Nations - Chapter III (Organs)

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