- 1 Origins
- 2 Structure
- 3 Secretary General
- 4 Departments and agencies
- 5 Funding
- 6 Major UN roles in history
- 7 References
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization that was founded in 1945 in San Francisco, California in the United States, when 50 nations signed the United Nations Charter. As stated in the charter, the UN's mission is to prevent international war, protect human rights, support social progress and justice, and help with economic progress. Together with then-Secretary General Kofi Annan they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2001 "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world". The United Nations supplanted the failed League of Nations, which had been established in the 1920s.
In 1944 delegates from China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States met in Washington, D.C. to work out proposals for a United Nations Charter. On April 25 1945 the United Nations Conference on International Organization began in San Francisco, attended by representatives of 50 nations who formulated the Charter which they signed on June 26 1945, creating the United Nations. Poland, while unrepresented at the conference, later also signed the Charter, becoming one of the original 51 states that made up the UN.
The term 'United Nations' was created by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first used in the January 1 1942 Declaration by United Nations when 26 Allied countries affirmed their willingness to continue fighting "for victory over Hitlerism".
The United Nations is composed of 6 main bodies:
There are currently 192 member states within the United Nations which together comprise the General Assembly. The head of each member nation's delegation to the United Nations is titled Ambassador, and each state is entitled to one vote.
Economic and Social Council
International Court of Justice
Secretaries General of the UN
- 1945-46: Gladwyn Jebb (acting)
- 1946-52: Trygve Halvdan Lie
- 1953-61: Dag Hammarskjöld
- 1961-71: Sithu U Thant
- 1972-81: Kurt Waldheim
- 1982-91: Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
- 1992-96: Boutros Boutros-Ghali
- 1997-2006: Kofi Atta Annan
- 2007-present: Ban Ki-moon
Departments and agencies
National representatives to these organizations may also have the rank and title of Ambassador.
- World Health Organization
- International Labour Organization
- International Civil Aviation Organization
The main source of funding for the United Nations is in contributions from it's member states, the size of which is determined both by their economic size and ability to pay. However many countries are in arrears - as of November 2007 the UN was owed over 4 billion dollars by member states with it's principal debtor being the United States of America.