About the UN-
- An intergovernmental organization established on 24 October 1945 to promote international co-operation as a replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict.
- Its predecessor, the League of Nations, created by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 was disbanded in 1946.
- Its charter was signed in San Francisco on June 26, 1945 and came into existence on October 24 [UN day celebrated on this date], 1945 after 51 countries has signed the charter [UN Conference on International Organisation in San Francisco, California ] currently there are 193 member (Last one to join is South Sudan, 14th July, 2011)
- The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, was elected as the first UN Secretary-General.
|Official Languages||Arabic, English, French, Chinese, Spanish, Russian|
|Members||193 (Latest Member South Sudan)|
|Secretary General||Ban Ki Moon is replaced by the Antonio Guterres (Incumbent) [Portugal]|
|Emblem||Map of world between 2 olive branches (In white n Blue color)|
How the Idea came:
- There were several international treaty organizations and conferences 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.
- 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.
- The League failed to act against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1937, Second Italo-Ethiopian War in 1935, the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 and German expansion under Adolf Hitler that culminated in the Second World War.
- The World Leaders, who collaborated to end the WW-II, felt a strong need for a mechanism which will possibly bring all nations together through a global organization. The United Nations was to be that Organisation.
The UNO has 4 main purposes
- To keep peace throughout the world;
- To develop friendly relations among nations;
- To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
- To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.
|FUNCTIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS (Elaborated)
Maintain International Peace and Security:
• The main function of the UN is to maintain peace and security of all of its member states.
• The UN does this by working to prevent conflict; helping parties in conflict to make peace; peacekeeping; and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold & flourish. These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective.
Protect Human Rights:
• The term Human Right is mentioned in the founding charter of UN making the promotion and protection of human rights a key purpose and guiding principle of the Organization.
• In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought human rights into the realm of international law. Since then, the Organization has diligently protected human rights through legal instruments and on-the-ground activities.
• The Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) supports the human rights components of peacekeeping missions in several countries with many regional offices in several countries.
Deliver Humanitarian Aid:
• The term is mentioned in its charter “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character.”
• It does this through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, whose members include the UN system entities most responsible for providing emergency relief.
• Four UN entities, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP) have primary roles in the delivery of relief assistance.
Promote Sustainable Development:
• Since 1945, one of the main priorities of the UN is to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.
• The UN is also working to develop a framework to ensure that both the sustainable development agenda and climate action are properly resourced.
• The main UN offices involved in this are UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, The UN Development Program, UN offices for Disaster Risk Reduction, Sandai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and many agencies like World Health Organisation, The Food and Agriculture Organization, UNICEF, UNESCO and the UN Environment Program.
Uphold International Laws:
• The UN Charter, in its Preamble, set an objective: “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”.
• Ever since, the development of, and respect for international law has been a key part of the work of the Organization.
FUNCTIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS TODAY:
• Through the peacekeeping force UN maintains the peace and security for all of its member states. Though the UN does not maintain its own military, the man-powers’ in peacekeeping force are being contributed by the member nations, who are being deployed on regions of armed conflict and possibly for discouraging combatants from resuming fights postwar with the approval of UN Security Council. In 1988, the Peacekeeping force won a Nobel Peace Prize for its actions.
• In addition to maintain peace, the UN aims to protect human rights and provide humanitarian assistance when needed which is being supported by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by UN General Assembly.
• The UN currently provides technical assistance in elections, help to improve judicial structures and draft constitutions, trains human rights officials and provide food, drinking water, shelter and other humanitarian services to people displaced by famine, war and natural disaster.
• Finally, the UN plays an integral part in social and economic development through its UN Development Program which is the largest source of technical grant assistance in the world.
• In addition the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the UN Population Fund and the World Bank Group to name a few play an essential role in this aspect of the UN as well. The UN also annually publishes the Human Development Index to rank countries in terms of poverty, literacy, education and life expectancy.
• For the future, the UN has established what it calls its Millennium Development Goals which is being agreed by member states to achieve these goals relating to reducing poverty, child mortality, fighting diseases and epidemics, and developing a global partnership in terms of international development by 2015.
• Further, the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 is being adopted advancing the Millennium Development Goals 2015 for greater sustainability of Human Beings and other lives on earth.
• Some member states have achieved a number of the agreement’s goals while others have reached none. However, the UN has been successful over the years and only the future can bring evidence for the true realization of these goals for greater benefits.
Principle Organs of UNO
- There are 6 principle organs of UN as follows
- 6th original Trusteeship council stop its function so not mention in picture below.
- General Assembly (New York)
- Composed of all United Nations member states, each of which has equal vote, the assembly meets in regular yearly sessions, but emergency sessions can also be called.
- General Assembly appoints Secretary General of UN based on the recommendations given by Security Council.
- General Assembly elects Non-Permanent members in Security Council and elects Members for Social and Economic Council.
- Along with Security Council, General Assemble elects Judges to International Court of Justice.
- Decision on important questions such as those on peace and security, UN budget, admission, suspension and expulsion of members to various organs of UN requires special majority.
- UN budget – United Nation is funded by its member states through compulsory and voluntary contributions.
- Led by a president, elected from among the member states on a rotating regional basis, & 21 vice-presidents
- The size of each state’s compulsory contribution depends mainly on its economic strength, though its state of development and debt situation are also taken into account and member countries can make voluntary contribution to UNESCO, WHO, UN Programmes and Funds such as Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
- Major work area of General Assembly consists of:
- Election of members to other UN organs
- Admission, suspension, and expulsion of member states
- Budgetary matters by majority of votes i.e. 2/3rd of the members present & voting
- Make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN, except matters of peace and security that are under consideration by the Security Council
- Elects the non-permanent members of the UNSC; all members of ECOSOC; the UN Secretary General (following proposal by the UNSC); and the fifteen judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
- Security Council (Policemen of the world) [UNSC] (New York)
- Charged with maintaining peace and security among countries
- While other organs of the UN can only make “recommendations” to member states, the Security Council has the power to make binding decisions on member states
- 5 permanent members (Veto power) + 10 Non-permanent for 2 years
- The five permanent members hold veto power over UN resolutions, allowing a permanent member to block adoption of a resolution, though not debate
- The ten temporary seats are held for two-year terms, with member states voted in by the General Assembly on a regional basis
- Decisions on procedural matters should have vote of at least 9 of the 15 members and decision on substantive matters require nine votes and the absence of negative vote by any of the 5 permanent members.
- The presidency of the Security Council rotates alphabetically each month.
- G4 Nations – 4 countries bids for permanent seats in UNSC. Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan.
- Uniting for Consensus (Coffee Club) – These are group of countries who are opposing the expansion of permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council under the leadership of Italy.
- Other Members in Coffee Club – Spain, Malto, San Marino , Pakistan , South Korea, Canada , Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Turkey
- Secretariat (New York)
- Headed by Secretary-General who acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN
- Secretary-General is appointed by General Assembly, after being recommended by the Security Council
- Carries out tasks as directed by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and other UN bodies
- International Court of Justice (The Hague, Netherland)
- Composed of 15 judges who serve 9-year terms; appointed by the General Assembly;
- It settles legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions to the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
- The Court settles legal disputes between nations only and not between individuals, in accordance with international law. If a country does not wish to take part in a proceeding it does not have to do so, unless required by special treaty provisions. Once a country accepts the Court’s jurisdiction, it must comply with its decision.
- Every sitting judge must be from a different nation.
- Hear cases related to war crimes, illegal state interference, ethnic cleansing, and other issues
- ICJ’s primary purpose is to adjudicate disputes among states
- The Court can only hear a dispute when requested to do so by one or more States. It cannot deal with a dispute of its own motion. Means has NO Suo Moto power.
- Only main organ having office outside the New York.
- Economic and Social Council (New York)
- Assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social co-operation and development
- Has 54 members, which are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term and Seats in the council are allocated based on geographical representation.
- The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen amongst the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC
- Trusteeship council (New York)
- It stops its function since 1st November, 1994, a month after the independence of Palau
Different Angle of looking UN
6.1 International Labour Organisation
- The International Labour Organisation was created in 1919 by the Versailles Peace Treaty ending World War I.
- After the demise of the League of Nations, the ILO became the first specialized agency associated with the UN.
- The organization has 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands are members of the ILO and its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It is responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards.
- Unlike other United Nations specialized agencies, the International Labour Organization has a tripartite governing structure – representing governments, employers, and workers.
- ILO designates some member countries as Chief Industrial Importance.
- The designated nations are Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- In 1988, the international labour conference adopted the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. It aims to eliminate all forms of forced or compulsory labour, abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.
- The five flagship programs of ILO are
- Better work,
- Social Protection Floors for All (SPF’s),
- Global Action for Prevention on Occupational Safety and Health (GAP-OSH programme),
- Jobs for Peace and Resilience.
6.2 Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
- It was established in 1945 with the objective of eliminating hunger and improving nutrition and standards of living by increasing agricultural productivity.
- Its secretariat is located in Rome, Italy.
- Some of the important key programmes of FAO are Food Security Programmes, Codex Alimentarius, International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) etc.,
- Codex Alimentarius – International Food Standards
- The Codex Alimentarius Commission, established by FAO and WHO develops harmonized international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices in the food trade.
- International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)- It aims to protect cultivated and wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of pests.
- Codex Alimentarius – International Food Standards
6.3 UNESCO – UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
- UNESCO is responsible for promoting peace, social justice, human rights and international security through International cooperation on educational, science and cultural programs.
- It has 195 member states and is based in Paris, France.
- Major themes under UNESCO:
- Education – UNESCO leads the global efforts in improving all aspects of education policy, increasing access to learning, expanding early childhood care and ensure that all children are able to access and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
- Natural Science – UNESCO promotes member countries to formulate policies for protecting water and water quality, ocean and promoting technologies for resource management and disaster management.
- Social and Human science – It promotes basic human rights and focused on global issues like fighting discrimination and racism.
- Culture – To foster Cultural diversity and protection cultural heritage. UNESCO leads international efforts to safeguard tangible and intangible heritages.
- Communication and information – To promote Inclusive knowledge.
- UNESCO’s World Heritage Mission – Encourage world countries to protect Natural and Cultural Heritage sites. It publishes Global Education Monitoring report and Gender Parity Index.
- It also leads the initiative of Man and Biosphere Programme for protecting Biosphere reserves across the world.
6.4 WHO – World Health Organisation
- WHO is the first global health organization absorbing many regional and national health bodies.
- It has 194 member countries and its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It has the authority of directing and coordinating matters related to International health.
- World Health Assembly – It is the supreme decision making body of WHO, attending by delegations from all member states. It meets in Geneva in May each year.
- 70th World Health Assembly will be held this year in Geneva.
- Executive Board – It is to implement the decision and policies of the World Health Assembly.
6.5 International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
- ICAO was created after the Chicago convention on International Civil Aviation.
- It became a specialized agency of the United Nations linked to Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
- Its secretariat is located in Montreal, Canada.
It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency as well as for aviation
- Recently, ICAO introduced a market based measure for international aviation to measure carbon emission
called as ―CORSIA – Carbon Offsetting and Reporting Scheme for International Aviation‖.
6.6 International Maritime Organisation
- It is the only UN special agency to have its headquarters in the United Kingdom.
- It is the first ever international organization devoted exclusively to maritime matters.
- The objective of IMO is the improvement of Maritime safety and the prevention of marine pollution.
- One of the important committee under IMO is The Maritime Environment Protection Committee which is
responsible for coordinating the Organisation’s activities in prevention and control of pollution of the marine
environment from ships.
6.7 World Meteorological Organisation
- WMO was created in 1950 as an intergovernmental organization and became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951.
- Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
- WMO is the UN system’s authoritative voice on weather, climate and water.
- Through its members, WMO provides forecasts and early warnings to nations which help prevent and mitigate disasters.
- WMO monitors and forecast the transport of chemical and oil spills, forest fires, volcanic ash, haze and nuclear isotopes. It also draws world attention to the depletion of the ozone layer.
- Indian Meteorological Department, Pune acts as the regional centre for WMO in Asian Region.
6.8 World Intellectual Property Organisation
- The Mission of WIPO is to promote innovation and creativity for the economic, social and cultural development of all countries.
- It is headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland.
- WIPO’s predecessor was The United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (BIPRI).
- It administered two conventions such as Paris convention and Berne convention for the protection of Industrial property and literary & artistic works respectively.
- Marrakesh Treaty of the WIPO – It is to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired and print disabled. India was the first country to sign this treaty.
6.9 International Fund for Agricultural Development
- It is a specialized UN agency dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
- It provides low-interest loans and grants to developing countries to finance innovative agricultural and rural development programmes and projects.
- It was setup after The World Food Conference 1974 which was organized in response to the food crises of 1970s in Sahelian Countries of Africa.
- It is headquartered in Rome, Italy.
6.10 United Nations Industrial Development Organisation
- UNIDO is mandated to promote Industrial development and global industrial cooperation.
- Its mission is to promote and accelerate the industrialization of developing countries.
- It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
6.11 United Nations World Tourism Organisation
- It is responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
- It is headquartered in Madrid, Spain.
- Samarkand Declaration – It is the joint initiative of UNWTO and UNESCO and the declaration is made on Silk Road Tourism to enhance sustainable tourism development along the historic Silk Road route.
6.12 International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
- It is the specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs).
- It is responsible for the allocation of radio spectrum and satellite orbits, and for the standardization and development of ICTs worldwide.
- The work of ITU covers the whole ICT sector from digital broadcasting to the Internet and from mobile technologies to 3D TV.
- It is unique among UN agencies in having both public and private sector membership. ITU currently has a membership of 192 countries and 700 private-sector entities.
- Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
6.13 World Food Programme (WFP)
- WFP is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
- WFP works from its headquarters at Rome to help people who cannot produce or obtain enough food for themselves and their families.
- It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
- The WFP was formally established in 1963 by the FAO and the United Nations General Assembly.
- The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
- WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.
- WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.
- Food-for-work programmes help promote environmental and economic stability and agricultural production.
- WFP has coordinated the five-year Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project which assists smallholder farmers by offering them opportunities to access agricultural markets and to become competitive players in the market place.
- The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
6.14 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- UNDP, an UN organization formed in 1965 to help countries eliminate poverty and achieve sustainable human development, an approach to economic growth that emphasizes improving the quality of life of all citizens while conserving the environment and natural resources for future generations.
- The status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly.
- UNDP is working to strengthen new frameworks for development, disaster risk reduction and climate change.
- UNDP also encourages the protection of human rights and the empowerment of women in all of its programs
- The UNDP Human Development Report Office also publishes an annual Human Development Report (since 1990) to measure and analyze developmental progress. In addition to a global Report, UNDP publishes regional, national, and local Human Development Reports.
- The UNDP is one of the main UN agencies involved in the development of the Post-2015 Development Agenda widely known as the sustainable development goals.
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperit
6.15 United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
- UNHRC is a UN System inter-governmental body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world.
- The UN General Assembly elects the members who occupy the UNHRC’s 47 seats for 3 years period and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
- The UNHRC is the successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights and is a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly.
- The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.
- The General Assembly, via a two-thirds majority, can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership.
- The Universal Periodic Review of the UNHRC assesses the human rights situations in all 193 UN Member States.
- The Universal Periodic Review takes into account information’s from different sources, one of them NGOs.