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United Nations at 72
September 23, 2017, 4:36 pm

Delegates from around the world are gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York for the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which is being held from 12 – 25 September.

The UNGA as the main deliberative, policymaking and representative forum of the UN provides a unique platform for the multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the UN Charter. Nevertheless, despite 72 years of deliberations, many of the goals aspired to in the UN Charter that established the global body in 1945, remain unfulfilled, or at best, continues to be works in progress.

Below we provide an overview of the functioning of the United Nations of 193 nations

UN History:

In June 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco to draw up and sign the United Nations Charter. On 24 October, 1945, the Charter was ratified by the Republic of China (ROC), France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, along with a majority of the other 45 nations that drew up the Charter. Today, the United Nations has 193 members and October 24 of each year is designated as United Nations Day.

"If we fail to use it [UN Charter], we shall betray all those who have died so that we might meet here in freedom and safety to create it. If we seek to use it selfishly — for the advantage of any one nation or any small group of nations — we shall be equally guilty of that betrayal. " US President Harry Truman at the signing of the UN Charter on 26 June, 1945.

UN Objective:

According to the UN Charter, the United Nations has four purposes:

    To maintain international peace and security

    To develop friendly relations among nations

    To cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights

    To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations


UN General Assembly (UNGA):

Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, the UNGA provides a platform for multilateral discussion on issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law.

The General Assembly regularly meets under six main committees to discuss issues of concern to the global community. They are the Committee on: Disarmament and international security issues; Economic and financial issues; Social, humanitarian and cultural issues; Special political and decolonization issues; Administrative and budgetary issues; and Legal issues.

The UNGA deliberates issues on its floor and passes resolutions through a voting process that grants each member of the UN a single vote. For routine issues, a simple majority is sufficient to adopt the resolution, however, for more important topics, the decision has to be made by two-thirds majority.

UN Security Council (UNSC):

Established in 1945 as per the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council comprises of 15 members. Five of these members — People's Republic of China (PRC), France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — are veto-holding permanent members, while the remaining 10 non-permanent members are elected by the UNGA for a two-year term

The UNSC has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. All Member States are obligated to comply with the Council's decision.

 Each member of the Security Council has one vote, with decisions on procedural matters taken by an affirmative vote of nine members. All other matters are decided only by an affirmative vote of nine members, as well as that of all five permanent members. The five permanent members have the right to veto any decision, even if the remaining 14 members vote in support of a resolution. A member who is party to a dispute that is being considered by the UNSC is obliged to abstain from voting.

Kuwait at the UN:

The Security Council, at its 1034th meeting, held on the 7th of May 1963 unanimously decided to recommend to the General Assembly that Kuwait be admitted to membership to the United Nations. Following this recommendation, the General Assembly, at its Fourth Special Session, in its 1203rd plenary meeting on 14 May, 1963, adopted resolution 1872 admitting the State of Kuwait as the 111th member state in the United Nations. His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who was then the Foreign Minister of Kuwait, addressed the General Assembly at its Fourth Special Session. The flag raising ceremony of the State of Kuwait at United Nations Headquarters took place on the 15 May, 1963.

UN Secretary General:

Antonio Guterres, the 67-year-old former Prime Minister of Portugal, is the current Secretary-General of the UN. He took over as the UN Chief following the end of the tenure of his predecessor Ban ki-Moon at the end of 2016. Between 2006 and 2015, Mr. Guterres was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He was the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party of Portugal and the Prime Minister of the country from 1992 to 2002. From 1999 to 2005 he was also President of the Socialist International, the worldwide alliance of democratic socialist parties.

The UN today:

Assists more 65 million refugees and people fleeing war, famine or persecution

Protects and promotes Human rights on the ground and through 80 treaties or declarations

Assists over 67 countries a year with their elections

Works with 195 states to promote the Paris Climate Change Agreement, to holding the rise in global temperature to the 2 degree C above pre-industrial levels

Protects peace through 117,000 peace-keepers in 15 operations on five continents

Coordinates a $22.5 billion appeal for the humanitarian needs of 93.5 million people

Provides food to 80 million people in 80 countries

Fights poverty by helping improve lives of 1.1 million people

Supports maternal health by helping more than 1 million women a month

Vaccinates 45 percent of the world's children thereby saving 3 million lives a year


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