An Overview of The United Nations

The United Nations was set up in the aftermath of World War II with the brief of aiming to foster dialogue and cooperation between sovereign nations after the devastation that was wrought on the world between 1939 and 1945.

The official date was 24 October 1945 and there were 51 founding members. Fast forward to 2017 and this worldwide organisation has a total of 193 members out of 195 recognised countries today.

The Holy See in the Vatican and the State of Palestine are non-member observer states.

The United Nations’ Headquarters is in the Manhattan District of New York in the United States of America, but it also has offices in Geneva in Switzerland, Nairobi in Kenya and Vienna in Austria.

The UN’s funding comes from its members and the mandate that it has includes keeping international peace and security. It is also tasked with promoting and safeguarding fundamental human rights around the world as well providing aid to nations in the event of disasters.

The United Nations also sends peacekeeping forces to areas of strife around the world and the troops involved are known as the “blue helmets” due to the colour of their head gear. One of the most famous deployments, which was widely seen to be unsuccessful at best, was when the former Soviet satellite state of Yugoslavia broke up and civil war ensued.

The United Nations also promotes development and encourages investment to be made in countries which are deemed to be lagging behind the rest of the world. The United Nations also coordinates its efforts with the International Red Cross, Red Crescent and Doctors without Borders, and many other international non governmental and not for profit organisations.

The UN is the best known international organisation and it has representations in all member and observer states.