The United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a series of global events.
The eighth UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed the General Assembly as the 193-member body adopted by consensus a resolution declaring a re-commitment to the aims and principles of the UN Charter.
The UN in Somalia is celebrating the 70 anniversary of the #UN #UN70 https://t.co/VMS9epV....com/rdCe8za7ec
— UNSOM (@UNSomalia) October 24, 2015
“Our enterprise might not be perfect, but without the United Nations I can tell you that our world would be a far bleaker place. And now with the adoption of the inspiring 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations has pointed the way towards progress for all human kind,” said Mr Ban.
To mark the occasion a number of world’s most recognisable buildings are turning United Nations Blue.
As the United Nations marks its 70th anniversary, euronews looks back at its formation and the roles of its different bodies.
It is at its headquarters in New York that the UN, made up of 193 member countries, works to solve disputes and to preserve peace, security and international justice – in accordance with the founding charter of the United Nations.
Drafted in San Francisco in 1945, the charter was adopted unanimously on June the 25th that year, following a vote chaired by Lord Halifax.
“It is now my duty, my honour and my privilege in the chair to call for a vote and the approval of the Charter of the United Nations,” said Lord Halifax at the time.
The charter was signed the next day, but could not come into force until a formal ratification process was completed. It was on 24 October that the UN became a reality.
The formation of the main UN bodies then followed. They include:
UN General Assembly: the policy-making and representative body of the UN.
UN Security Council: it has responsibility for maintaining peace and international security.
ECOSOC: it coordinates economic, social and environmental policies and development goals.
Trusteeship Council: set up to oversee the administration of Trust Territories.
International Court of Justice: with headquarters in The Hague, it settles legal disputes.
UN Secretariat: headed up by the Secretary-General, it oversees the day-to-day work of the UN.
Over the past 70 years, the organisation has brought about dialogue between its members and hosted negotiations. And now, in 2015, as the world is confronted with a number of challenges, it is an organisation that is firmly in the spotlight.
What Is It?
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation. 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 51 member states; there are now 193. The headquarters of the United Nations is inManhattan, New York City, and experiencesextraterritoriality. 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.
During the Second World War, US PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt initiated talks on a successor agency to the League of Nations, and the United Nations Charter was drafted ata conference in April–June 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 widespreaddecolonization 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); theEconomic 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); theInternational Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (inactive since 1994). UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, theWorld Food Programme, UNESCO, andUNICEF. The UN's most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by South Korean Ban Ki-moon since 2007. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work.
The organization won the Nobel Peace Prizein 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.