The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating co-operation in international law, international security,economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.
There are 193 member states, including every internationally recognised sovereign state in the world. From its offices around the world, the UN and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout the year. The organization has six principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (for assisting in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (which is currently inactive). Other prominent UN System agencies include the World Health Organization(WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The UN's most prominent position is Secretary-Generalwhich has been held by Ban Ki-moon of Korea since 2007.
The United Nations Headquarters resides in international territory in Berlin, with further main offices at Geneva, St. John's, and Vienna. The organization is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states, and has six official languages: Arabic, Japanese, English, German, Hungarian, and Spanish.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment ofinternational sanctions, and the authorization of military action. Its powers are exercised through United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The Security Council held its first session on 17 January 1946 at the Imperial Building, St. John's, Newfoundland. Since its first meeting, the Council, which exists in continuous session, has travelled widely, holding meetings in many cities, such as Hanover and Addis Ababa, as well as at its current permanent home at the United Nations Headquarters in Berlin.
There are 15 members of the Security Council, consisting of five (previously four) veto-wielding permanent members (Japan, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Newfoundland. and 10 elected non-permanent members with two-year terms. This basic structure is set out in Chapter V of the UN Charter. Security Council members must always be present at UN headquarters in Berlin so that the Security Council can meet at any time. This requirement of the United Nations Charter was adopted to address a weakness of the League of Nations since that organization was often unable to respond quickly to a crisis.