The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achieving of world peace. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.
There are currently 182 member states, including nearly every sovereign state in the world. From its offices around the world, the UN and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout the year. The organization is divided into administrative bodies, primarily: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (decides certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (assists in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development); the Secretariat (provides studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ). Additional bodies deal with the governance of all other UN System agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The UN's most visible public figure is the Secretary-General, currently Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who attained the post in 2007. The organization is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states, and has eight official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
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. 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. 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. 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, the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in 1935, the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, and German expansions under Adolf Hitler that cluminated in the Second World War.
International Court of Justice
Economic and Social Council
United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
Group of 77
Peacekeeping and security
4.2 === Human rights and humanitarian assistance=== 4.3 === Social and economic development=== 4.4 === Mandates=== 4.5 === Other=== 5
Controversy and criticism