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The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization to promote international cooperation.

A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on
24 October 1945 after World War II in order to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN
had 51member states; there are now 193. The headquarters of the United Nations is
in Manhattan, New York City, and experiences extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated
in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary
contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and
security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the
environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.
The United Nations Charter was drafted at a conference in AprilJune 1945; this charter took effect
24 October 1945, and the UN began operation. The UN's mission to preserve world peace was
complicated in its early decades by the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union and their
respective allies. The organization participated in major actions in Korea and the Congo, as well as
approving the creation of the state of Israel in 1947. The organization's membership grew
significantly following widespread decolonization in the 1960s, and by the 1970s its budget for
economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After
the end of the Cold War, the UN took on major military and peacekeeping missions across the world
with varying degrees of success.
The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly);
the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and
Social Council (ECOSOC) (for promoting international economic and social co-operation and
development); theSecretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN);
the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and theUnited Nations Trusteeship
Council (inactive since 1994). UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health
Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, and UNICEF. The UN's most prominent officer
is theSecretary-General, an office held by South Korean Ban Ki-moon since 2007. Nongovernmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies
to participate in the UN's work.
The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and a number of its officers and agencies
have also been awarded the prize. Other evaluations of the UN's effectiveness have been mixed.
Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human
development, while others have called the organization ineffective, corrupt, or biased.
Contents
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1History

1.1Background

1.21942 "Declaration of United Nations" by the Allies of World War II

1.3Founding the UN 1945

1.4Cold War era

1.5Post-Cold War

2Structure
o

2.1General Assembly

2.2Security Council

2.3Secretariat

2.4International Court of Justice

2.5Economic and Social Council

2.6Specialized agencies

3Membership
3.1Group of 77

4Objectives
o

4.1Peacekeeping and security

4.2Human rights

4.3Economic development and humanitarian assistance

4.4Other

5Funding

6Evaluations, awards, and criticism

7See also

8Notes

9References

9.1Citations

9.2Bibliography

10Further reading

11External links

History
Main article: History of the United Nations

1943 sketch by Franklin Roosevelt of the United Nations' original three branches: The Four Policemen, an
executive branch, and an international assembly of forty UN member states.

Background
In the century prior to the UN's creation, several international treaty organizations and conferences
had been formed to regulate conflicts between nations, such as the International Committee of the
Red Cross and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.[3] Following the catastrophic loss of life in
the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference established the League of Nations to maintain
harmony between countries.[4] This organization resolved some territorial disputes and created
international structures for areas such as postal mail, aviation, and opium control, some of which
would later be absorbed into the UN.[5] However, the League lacked representation for colonial
peoples (then half the world's population) and significant participation from several major powers,
including the US, USSR, Germany, and Japan; it failed to act against the Japanese invasion of
Manchuria in 1931, theSecond Italo-Ethiopian War in 1935, the Japanese invasion of China in 1937,
and German expansions under Adolf Hitler that culminated in the Second World War.[6]

1942 "Declaration of United Nations" by the Allies of World War II


Main article: Declaration by United Nations

The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization began under the aegis of the US State
Department in 1939.[7] The text of the "Declaration by United Nations" was drafted by President
Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins,
while meeting at the White House, 29 December 1941. It incorporated Soviet suggestions, but left no
role for France. "Four Policemen" was coined to refer four major Allied countries, United States,
United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and China, which was emerged in Declaration by United Nations.
[8]

Roosevelt first coined the term United Nations to describe the Allied countries.[b] "On New Year's

Day 1942, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, Maxim Litvinov, of the USSR, and T. V.
Soong, of China, signed a short document which later came to be known as the United Nations
Declaration and the next day the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their
signatures."[9] The term United Nations was first officially used when 26 governments signed this
Declaration. One major change from the Atlantic Charter was the addition of a provision for religious
freedom, which Stalin approved after Roosevelt insisted. [10][11] By 1 March 1945, 21 additional states
had signed.[12]
A JOINT DECLARATION BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE UNITED KINGDOM OF
GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS,
CHINA, AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, CANADA, COSTA RICA, CUBA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA,
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, GREECE, GUATEMALA, HAITI, HONDURAS, INDIA,
LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NORWAY, PANAMA, POLAND,
SOUTH AFRICA, YUGOSLAVIA
The Governments signatory hereto,
Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint
Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Great Britain
dated August 14, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter,
Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty,
independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as
well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and
brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world,
DECLARE:
(1) Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those
members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents with which such government is at war.
(2) Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to
make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies.
The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering
material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism. [13]
During the war, the United Nations became the official term for the Allies. To join countries had to
sign the Declaration and declare war on the Axis.[14]

Founding the UN 1945

The UN in 1945. In light blue, the founding members. In dark blue, protectorates and territories of the founding
members.

The United Nations was formulated and negotiated among the delegations fromthe Allied Big
Four (the Soviet Union, the UK, the US and China) at theDumbarton Oaks Conference in 1944.[15]
[16]

After months of planning, the UN Conference on International Organization opened in San

Francisco, 25 April 1945, attended by 50 governments and a number of non-governmental


organizations involved in drafting the United Nations Charter. "The heads of the delegations of the
sponsoring countries took turns as chairman of the plenary meetings: Anthony Eden, of
Britain, Edward Stettinius, of the United States, T. V. Soong, of China, and Vyacheslav Molotov, of
the Soviet Union. At the later meetings, Lord Halifaxdeputized for Mr. Eden, Wellington Koo for T. V.
Soong, and Mr Gromyko for Mr. Molotov."[17] The UN officially came into existence 24 October 1945,
upon ratification of the Charter by the five permanent members of the Security CouncilFrance,
the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the UK and the USand by a majority of the other 46
signatories.[18]
The first meetings of the General Assembly, with 51 nations represented,[c] and the Security Council
took place in Londonbeginning 6 January 1946.[18] The General Assembly selected New York City as
the site for the headquarters of the United Nations, and the facility was completed in 1952. Its site
like UN headquarters buildings in Geneva, Vienna, and Nairobiis designated as international
territory.[21] The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, was elected as the first UN SecretaryGeneral.[18]

Cold War era