United Nations

by Rachel Cook

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What are the United Nations?

The United Nations is a family of organizations that work to keep international peace, planned at the Yalta Conference. It is currently made up of 193 member states. The family is made up of many programs, funds, and specialized agencies, each with their own memberships, leaderships, and budgets. The United Nations works in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East. A charter of the United Nations was signed in San Francisco on June 26th, 1945, which defined the six main organs of the United Nations that each have specific tasks and functions to guide the mission and work of the United Nations. These main organs are: The General Assembly, The Security Council, The Economic and Social Council, The Trusteeship Council, The International Court of Justice, and The Secretariat. Two of the most important organs are: The General Assembly (central body of UN that discusses and makes recommendations on any subject within the charter, approves the UN's budget, determines part of the composition of other main organs, and has representatives from all member states), and The Security Council (responsible for maintaining international peace and security, acts on behalf of all member states and decides a course of action in times of crisis, and is made up of a 15 member body elected every 2 years by General Assembly with 5 permanent state members of China, France, the United Kingdom, Russian Federation, and the United States).
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in 1945 after WWII, nations were in ruins and world wanted peace

Causes of the United Nations

  • created in 1945 after the devastation of WWII, with a central mission to maintain international peace and security
  • to become a way to maintain alliances after 1945 between the powers in WWII/ to become an agreement that pledged that none of the allied governments would make separate peace with the Axis Powers
  • to become an improvement organization to the structure of the League of Nations
  • U.S. was a key force behind establishing the UN because President Roosevelt viewed it as a way to create international order and so that U.S. could benefit economically

Effects of the United Nations

  • peace operations have made positive contributions to peace-building, help different parties implement peace agreements, and contribute to the quality of peace
  • countries have developed institutions and policies that keep peace sustaining through economic growth, although some peace-building lacks this

Lasting Impact of United Nations

  • Maintains International Peace and Security: works to prevent conflict, helps parties in conflict to create peace, peacekeeping, creates conditions to allow peace to be maintained
  • Promotes Sustainable Development: solving international problems, encouraging respect for human rights, and improving people's well-being by promoting economic opportunity, greater social well-being, and protection of the environment
  • Protects Human Rights: mentioned several times so is a key purpose of UN organization, Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought human rights into international law
  • Supports International Law: UN Charter in its Preamble set an objective that development and respect for international law is key part of UN-carried out through courts, tribunals, multilateral treaties, and Security Council; UN Charter is considered an international treaty
  • Delivers Humanitarian Aid: international community coordinates humanitarian relief operations due to natural and man-made disasters in poor areas

Significance of United Nations

Through international peace&security and humanitarian aid...

  • reduces number of military conflicts around world
  • assists refugees and those in poverty around the world
  • sends food and medical aid to people in disaster zones
  • assists in finding cures for diseases
  • fights for human rights and rights of children around world

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cartoon of the United Nations promoting peace instead of war at end of WWII