The United Nations or UN, also called the United Nations Organization (UNO), is the largest and most important international organization on the planet. Most of the world’s recognized nations ascribe to it.
The UN has a complex and diverse organization, which allows it to focus the discussion on specific issues and aspects of international interest. It has the representation of the interested countries and the concert of nations, who may well offer themselves as impartial mediators or arbitrators.
Member countries turn to it to discuss and resolve various dilemmas that affect humanity as a whole. Through free voting systems, the need to take actions of any kind to solve any specific problem can be decided at the UN.
Its resolutions can range from issuing international requests whose compliance is more or less mandatory, to intervening through an international coalition (the “blue helmets” or Peace Forces) in some region of the world, and so on.
When was the United Nations created?
The United Nations was initially created in the United States in 1945 . It was created through the “Charter of the United Nations” to which its 51 founding countries subscribed. Its objective was to advance in the construction of a model of world order that would prevent new military atrocities.
This international decision was a response to the massacres that occurred during the recently ended World War II . To this end, the United Nationsreplaced the League of Nations, which had been founded in 1919 for the same purpose, but which was considered totally unsuccessful.
Founding Countries of the United Nations (UN)
The 51 countries present at the founding of the UN were:
Since its inception, the United Nations has reformed its operations numerous times, as the global political landscape varies in complexity and needs. In this way, it keeps growing in acceptance, importance and organizations.
The United Nations has also been the object of eventual criticism and accusations of partiality or impotence before the world powers that be. This has meant the creation of numerous internal organizations in charge of different aspects considered vital.
As a consequence, important international declarations have been made, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) or the Rights of the Child and the Adolescent (1959), among others.
Since 1991, the United Nations (UN) has led numerous peace missions, with military, civil, social and humanitarian purposes, among which the Ivory Coast (2002), Liberia (2003) and Lebanon (2006) stand out, to put an end to civilwars.
Principal Organs of the United Nations
General Assembly: The main organ of the organization, allows debate among member countries, under the direction of an assembly president elected for each session. They address issues of global importance such as the recognition of new countries, ecological problems or the economy.
Security Council: Made up of five permanent members with veto power (which are China, Russia, the United States, France and the United Kingdom), and another ten non-permanent members, admitted for two years and elected in the General Assembly. This body must ensure world peace and decide when international intervention is justified.
Economic and social Council: With 54 member countries, together with representatives of the academic and business sectors and more than 3,000 NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), this council is in charge of discussing international episodes related to mass migrations, famines, health crises, etc.
Trusteeship Council: Body that ensures the correct management of the territories under the tutelage of the United Nations, promoting their development towards their own and independent government. It is made up only of the permanent members of the Security Council.
International Court of Justice: Based in The Hague, it is the judicial body of the United Nations, where legal disputes between States are dealt with and cases of crimes against humanity, too heinous to be the jurisdiction of ordinary national courts, are evaluated. It is made up of 15 magistrates, elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council for nine-year terms.
Secretary: Administrative body of the organization, which provides bureaucratic services to the other councils and manages around 41,000 officials worldwide. It is directed by the General Secretary of the organization, elected in the General Assembly for five-year terms.
The main objective of the United Nations is to prevent wars and mediate conflicts between nations politically and diplomatically. The other members of the world scene collaborate through opinions, suggestions, offers of aid or demands and organized multilateral pressure.
In addition, the United Nations is a world reference in the fight for Human Rights, through various educational, social, humanitarian and military initiatives. It also has judicial courts for crimes against humanity or war crimes.
United Nations Specialized Bodies
The United Nations has a variety of specialized bodies, depending on both the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the General Secretariat or the Security Council. They attend to specific, determined topics and situations. Some of them are:
World Food Program (WFP), dependent on the General Assembly.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), dependent on the GeneralAssembly.
United Nations Compensation Commission, Missions and Peacekeeping Operations (UNCC), dependent on the Security Council.
Which Countries are part of the United Nations?
The United Nations is currently made up of 193 full member states, which are:
The presence of the United Nations offers the international scene the possibility of transparent and frontal mediation. This can be vital in preventing wars or resolving disputes institutionally, without allowing them to escalate to disaster.
The same occurs in the case of tragedies of natural origin, in which the United Nations can intervene to provide funds, provide aid or organize rescue assistance efforts. Finally, the United Nations provides funds to those most in need through educational scholarship plans, mobility support, etc.
Criticism of the United Nations
The United Nations has also been the object of much criticism, especially among its members who cannot agree on the role they want this institution to occupy. Some want it to constitute a true world government, while others prefer that it deal only with humanitarian affairs.
The rules of the game are not always equally clear to everyone. This has caused it to be perceived at the mercy of the most powerful of the member countries, especially those that make up the Security Council, to the detriment of the interests of the poor or those who are not even part of the organization.
The fact that the powerful countries have a permanent veto, for example, hinders any cause to go against their own interests. There is also no lack of accusations of ineffectiveness, waste and corruption.