The Structure of the United Nations
193 States belong to the United Nations – almost all the States in the world. In the United Nations, the Member States are represented by their respective governments. The principal organs of the United Nations, according to the Charter, are
- General Assembly
- Security Council
- Secretariat with the Secretary-General
- Economic and Social Council
- International Court of Justice
- Trusteeship Council
The General Assembly is the principal political organ of the United Nations with all-encompassing responsibility. In it, all 192 Member States are represented with the same rights. As the sole plenary organ, the General Assembly assumes a special political position that makes it the pivot of all United Nations activities.
The six main committees are:
- The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security Committee) that is concerned with disarmament and related international security questions
- The Second Committee (Economic and Financial Committee) that is concerned with economic questions
- The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee) that deals with social and humanitarian issues
- The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee) that deals with a variety of political subjects not dealt with by the First Committee, as well as with decolonization
- The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary Committee) that deals with the administration and budget of the United Nations
- The Sixth Committee (Legal Committee) that deals with international legal matters
Among the six principal organs of the United Nations, the responsibility for keeping world peace and international security lies with the Security Council. It is the only organ that can adopt internationally binding resolutions for the Member States of the United Nations.
The Secretariat is composed of the Secretary-General and staff members subordinate to the Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon, former Foreign- and Trade Minister of the Republic of Korea, has been the Secretary-General of the United Nations since January 1, 2007.
The Economic and Social Council is the central coordinating organ of the United Nations. It is the liaison between the political level of the General Assembly and the development activities of the institutions below.
The International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, is the United Nations’ principal organ for the administration of justice. It is composed of 15 independent judges, chosen by the General Assembly and the Security Council for nine-year terms.
The Trusteeship Council was originally tasked with oversight of the management of the international trusteeship system of subordinate colonial regions and support of them as they developed toward independence. With the conclusion of the last trusteeship agreement, the work of the Trusteeship Council de facto ended.
In addition to the principal organs, there are a multitude of subsidiary organs, special organizations, specialized agencies and other intergovernmental institutions, that, for the most part, were established after the founding of the United Nations in 1945.