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United Nations Research Guide: Main UN Websites

General Information

About the United Nations

The United Nations was established in 1945 as an international organization of member states committed to maintaining peace and security among nations, and solving economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems.  Currently, 192 countries accept the responsibilities of membership and participate in carrying out the United Nations’ missions.

Six principal bodies make up the United Nations.  The General Assembly is the main governing body of the UN.  Each member state has one representative and one vote.  The Security Council, which consists of five permanent and 10 rotating members, is charged with maintaining international peace and security.  The Economic and Social Council has responsibility for areas such as population and development, social and cultural rights, and sustainable development.  In practice, the work of the Trusteeship Council is complete and will meet only as required.  The International Court of Justice settles legal disputes between states.  The Secretariat consists of the administrative staff that carries out the day to day work of the United Nations in duty stations around the world. 

 United Nations Today.  (2008). New York: United Nations.