What is the United Nations?
The United Nations (UN) is an international organisation which was founded on 24th October 1945 by 51 countries. Today, there are 193 member countries . These countries work together to help keep the world peaceful and safe and to tackle big issues such as famine, disease and civil war.
The UN is a bit like a World Government.
What does the United Nations do?
The UN has 4 main purposes:
- To keep peace throughout the world.
- To develop friendly relations between different countries.
- To help different countries work together to improve the lives of the very poor people in the world, to help with hunger, disease and illiteracy and to promote respect for others rights and freedoms.
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve the above goals.
Which countries are in the United Nations?
There are currently 193 countries in the UN organisation. See the list of countries at http://www.un.org/en/members/index.shtml
How do the countries in the United Nations work together when there are so many of them?
The United Nations was founded following the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco in June 1945. The UN Charter is a long document which outlines the organisation’s principles, powers and guidelines, including the 6 different ‘Organs’ or decision making groups. The Organs/decision making groups are the General Assembly, Security Council, The Economic and Social Council, The Trusteeship Council, the Court of International Justice and the Secretariat.)
All of the 193 countries have representatives in each of the ‘Organs’. These representatives from each country meet up regularly and discuss and vote on important global issues.
Each country in the UN, no matter how big or small they are, has one vote for each policy proposal or action.
This means that every country can express their opinion on global issues such as climate change or the economy.
Where does the UN get its information from?
The UN has lots of committees, boards and councils who specialise in certain areas (i.e. Human Rights Committee or Trade and Development Board) who all report to the various ‘Organs’ and explain the facts and options available to make things better.
What is United Nations Day?
United Nations Day commemorates the founding of the United Nations in 1945. United Nations Day is held on the 24th October every year.
It is not a public holiday but an international awareness day.
UN headquarters and employees organise debates and sometimes concerts to commemorate the day but it is not ‘celebrated’ in the traditional sense.
For more information visit www.un.org