United Nations Overview - by UN Visitors' Service Nairobi - January 2014
WELCOME TO THE UNITED NATIONS!
karibUNi: IT’S YOUR WORLD!
• United Nations (UN) formed by 51 states after World War II
to: “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war […]”
• UN Charter signed on 24th October 1945: UN Day.
• Main Headquarters in New York, USA.
• 193 Member States to date, newest member South-Sudan
• 6 official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French,
Russian & Spanish.
• Administrative arm of the United Nations
• Services the other organs of the United Nations
• Informs the world's media about the work of the United
Nations (Public Information)
• Organizes international conferences on issues of
worldwide concern; interprets speeches & translates
documents into the Organization's official languages.
The current Head of
the UN Secretariat:
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
UN Secretaries General
1 January 2007 - present
1 January 1997 –31 December 2006
1 January 1992 –31 December 1996
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
1 January 1982 –31 December 1991
1 January 1972 –31 December 1981
30 November 1961 –31 December 1971
10 April 1953 –18 September 1961
1 February 1946 –10 November 1952
The International Court of Justice
• Principal judicial organ of the UN.
• Established in June 1945 by the Charter of the UN. Work
commenced in April 1946.
• 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and
Security Council for 9 year terms.
• Main role: settles legal disputes submitted to it by
States & to gives advisory opinions on legal questions
referred to it by authorized UN organs & specialized
• Main role: maintenance of international peace & security.
• 15 members; 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent.
• Non-permanent members elected from different regions in
the world to serve 2 year terms.
• Council on a 24-hr call (can meet any day, at any time)
• 9 out of 15 votes required to pass a resolution (no veto from
the permanent members!).
• Only UN-Organ which can enforce it’s resolutions – they are
Actions the Security
Council may take:
• Peaceful settlement of disputes (i.e. negotiations,
peace talks, good offices of the Secretary-General,
also Special Representatives of the SecretaryGeneral)
• Establish Peacekeeping Operations
• Enforcement measures (i.e. targeted sanctions,
• Has suspended it’s work, no longer active!
• Previously supervised the administration of Trust
Territories placed under the Trusteeship System.
• Main goal: to promote the advancement of the
inhabitants of Trust Territories and their progressive
development towards self-determination.
• Special Committee on Decolonization still active to
• 17 non-self-governing territories remaining today!
• Main goal: to improve the world’s living standards and to
promote the respect of human rights – no peace & security
without economic & social stability!
• Coordinates the work of UN funds, programmes & specialized
agencies; i.e. UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNEP, UN-HABITAT, ILO,
• Sets international standards; i.e. Children’s Rights
• World’s economic, social & environmental challenges are
discussed, debated and recommendations made by this
Mandated by the General Assembly to:
•be the leading global environmental authority that sets
the global environmental agenda and
•serve as an advocate for the environment.
•Climate Change, Disasters & Conflicts, Ecosystem
Management, Environmental Governance, Harmful
Substances, Resource Efficiency
Mandated by the General Assembly to:
•promote socially and environmentally sustainable
towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate
shelter for all.
•Urban Development & Management, Land &
Housing, Environment & Climate Change, Water &
Sanitation, Urban Economy & Financing Shelter, Risk &
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Are to be succeed by
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs)
Post-2015 Development Agenda
• Main deliberative, policymaking and representative
organ of the UN, also “World Parliament”.
• Comprises of all 193 member states.
• Provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion.
• Six main committees.
• Meets from September to December for it’s main
session each year. However, session lasts a year.
• Currently in 68th Session.
Learn more about the UN
• Official website: www.un.org
• United Nations on Facebook:
• UN channel on YouTube:
• UN on Twitter: @UN
• UN Foundation: www.unfoundation.org
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Job opportunities: https://careers.un.org