The United Nations

The United Nations is an international organisation set up in 1945, following the Second World War. It currently has 193 member states and its main functions are:

  • maintaining international peace and security
  • promoting sustainable development
  • protecting human rights
  • upholding international law
  • delivering humanitarian aid

All member states are represented in the UN’s General Assembly, based in New York. The UK is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which has the prime responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

The UN is affiliated with  other funds and programmes, such as UNICEF (which provides long-term humanitarian and development assistance to children and mothers); it is also connected to a number of specialised independent international organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the International Monetary Fund.

If you want to find out more, the official UN website will tell you all you need to do about the organisation, its history and its current activities, as well as its affiliated programmes and organisations.

You might also be interested in our other pages on international organisations:

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How the international world works