UN in General

Wide view of the General Assembly - UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

71 st Session of the General Assembly

The 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on 13 September 2016 to discuss a wide range of issues from sustainable development and climate change to peace and security and human rights. 

Selection and Appointment of the next United Nations Secretary-General

As the second term of the eighth Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon comes to an end on 31 December 2016, so the process is under way to select and appoint his successor. Find out more ...

*****

The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

The UN has 4 main purposes

  • To keep peace throughout the world;
  • To develop friendly relations among nations;
  • To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other's rights and freedoms;
  • To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.

The UN Charter established six principal organs of the United Nations: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat. The United Nations family, however, is much larger, encompassing 15 agencies and several programmes and bodies.

General Assembly: 193 Member States

Security Council: 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent

Economic and Social Council: 54 members

The work of the United Nations reaches every corner of the globe. Although best known for peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, there are many other ways the United Nations and its System (specialized agencies, funds and programmes) affect our lives and make the world a better place. The Organization works on a broad range of fundamental issues, from sustainable development, environment and refugees protection, disaster relief, counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, to promoting democracy, human rights, gender equality and the advancement of women, governance, economic and social development and international health, clearing landmines, expanding food production, and more, in order to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for this and future generations.

The Secretariat - an international staff working in duty stations around the world - carries out the diverse day-to-day work of the Organization. It services the other principal organs of the United Nations and administers the programmes and policies laid down by them. At its head is the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a five-year, renewable term. Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1 January 2007.