The United Nations



  The UN's Formation:

    The UN's charter came out of an agreement between Roosevelt and Churchill declared in 1941 as the Atlantic Charter. The US and Britain agreed to:

no territorial gain
respect for autonomy and popular government
freedom from fear and want for everyone
abandonment of the use of force
the establishment of a "system of general security" for the nations

In 1942, the allied nations met in Washington and pledged support for the Atlantic Charter and decided on the name of the United Nations. 

In February 1945, at the Yalta Conference, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agreed on the voting procedures of the Security council and decided to call a second conference two months later in San Francisco to determine the final charter.

The San Francisco Charter (April-June 1945) the final charter was decided by the 50 attending states. The US was the first to ratify its membership and provided its headquarters in New York City.

The UN's Purpose:

    1.) Maintain international peace and security

    2.) Remove threats to peace and suppress aggression

    3.) Develop friendly relations among nations

    4.) Promote respect for human rights without distinctions

    5.) Encourage international cooperation

The General Assembly:

    The assembly consists of about 185 nations, each having one vote. A 2/3 majority is needed to pass decisions.


discuss international problems completely and freely.
to make recommendations to the member nations and its member councils
elect members to the Councils, Commissions, and Agencies
suspend or expel nations that violate UN principles (with the Security Council's recommendation) and admit peaceful nations.
approve the UN budget
propose UN charter amendments

    The General Assembly meets in regular sessions for three months every year, but may be called in for special sessions.

The Security Council:

    The Security Council has five permanent members: the US, Great Britain, France, Russia, and China (1971). There are ten more non-permanent members elected to the council by the General Assembly for a two year term. To pass any resolution the council needs a positive vote from nine countries. A negative vote from any of the five permanent nations will veto the decision. A permanent power may abstain from the vote without vetoing the decision. 

    The Security Council does not have set sessions because it must continuously deal with matters of international security. 


Investigate threats to world peace
Make recommendations for settlement procedures
Call upon the UN member nations to take economic or military action against an aggressive nation. 

The Security Council controls two commissions. 

    The Military Staff Commission -- to advise on the use of military force to maintain peace.

    The Disarmament Commission -- to determine procedures for the regulation and reduction of conventional and biological chemical and nuclear weapons.

The International Court of Justice: 

    The Court has fifteen justices to decide cases to settle legal battles between nations and to offer legal advice to the UN. The cases are decided by a majority vote and nations bringing disputes before the International Court must agree before-hand to accept the decision of the Court. 

The Secretariat:

    Consists of the Secretary General and staff. The Secretary General is typically appointed for a five year term by the General Assembly from the recommendation of the Security Council. The Secretary General may appoint the staff to do the clerical and administrative work of the United Nations. Kofi Annan is the current Secretary General.


bring forward threats to international peace to the Security Council.
fulfill any tasks entrusted to him by any of the other UN councils 

            determining if a nation has fulfilled the requirements to lift sanctions.

            directing diplomatic missions

            directing emergency military forces.

The Trusteeship Council:

    Members are the permanent members of the Security Council: the US, Great Britain, France, Russia, and China. The Trusteeship Council oversees trusteeships, or territories that were once colonies. The council was initially formed to protect colonial people. 


review reports by the administering nation
review petitions from the people in the trusteeship
send an investigative committee to the trusteeship (with the permission of the administering country)
report to the General Assembly


The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC):

    Consists of 54 members elected by the General Council for a three year term. The council attempts to improve the economic, social, educational and health conditions internationally, to prevent the underlying causes of war.

    The council created the Commission on Human Rights, as well as other commissions to deal with narcotics and crime. The council also receives reports from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UN Development Program. 

Specialized Agencies:

    1.) The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). International exchange of information to fight ignorance and prejudice. "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed" (from the UNESCO Charter)

    2.) The International Labor Organization (ILO). Fights to improve work conditions and helps countries develop labor laws. 

    3.) The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Attempts to raise food and nutrition levels and provides information on food growth and distribution techniques.

    4.) The World Health Organization (WHO). To improve health standards, the means of public health service, and to fight epidemics.

    5.) The International Monetary Fund. To promote world trade through stable currencies. 

    6.) the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank). Provides loans for large scale products to promote economic progress.


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