The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945. It is currently made up of 193 Member States. The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.
The United Nations can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, governance, food production, and more.
The UN also provides a forum for its members to express their views in the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and other bodies and committees. By enabling dialogue between its members, and by hosting negotiations, the Organization has become a mechanism for governments to find areas of agreement and solve problems together.
2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.
Because of the UN –
- Smallpox has been wiped off the planet.
- Stability has returned to war torn countries.
- The hole in the ozone has healed.
- Millions of children are protected from disease.
- Human rights are enshrined in international law.
Maintain International Peace & Security – The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN does this by working to prevent conflict; helping parties in conflict make peace, peace keeping and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish. These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective. The UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security.
Protect Human Rights – The term “human rights” was mentioned seven times in the UN’s founding Charter, making the promotion and protection of human rights a key purpose and guiding principle of the Organization. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought human rights into the realm of international law. Since then, the Organization has diligently protected human rights through legal instruments and on the ground activities.
Deliver Humanitarian Aid – One of the purposes of the United Nations, as stated in its Charter, is “to achieve international co – operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character.” The UN first did this in the aftermath of the Second World War on the devastated continent of Europe, which it helped to rebuild. The Organization is now relied upon by the international community to coordinate humanitarian relief operations due to natural and man made disasters in areas beyond the relief capacity of national authorities alone.
Promote Sustainable Development – From the start in 1945, one of the main priorities of the United Nations was 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 for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” Improving people’s well being continues to be one of the main focuses of the UN. The global understanding of development has changed over the years, and countries now have agreed that sustainable development that promotes prosperity and economic opportunity, greater social well being, and protection of the environment offers the best path forward for improving the lives of people everywhere.
Uphold International Law – The UN Charter, in its Preamble, set an objective: “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”. Ever since, the development of, and respect for international law has been a key part of the work of the Organization. This work is carried out in many ways – by courts, tribunals, multilateral treaties and by the Security Council, which can approve peace keeping missions, impose sanctions, or authorize the use of force when there is a threat to international peace and security, if it deems this necessary. These powers are given to it by the UN Charter, which is considered an international treaty. As such, it is an instrument of international law, and UN Member States are bound by it.
The United Nations is indispensable to tackling humanity’s greatest challenges and driving global progress. In its over 70 years, the UN has helped reduce conflict and maintain peace around the world, alleviate poverty, advance human rights, and deepen cooperation around shared purpose. As our world grows more connected and threats more complex, the UN remains essential to driving global progress.
United Nations Counter-Terrorism-Strategy – The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy on 8 September 2006. The strategy is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism. 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.