Understanding the United Nations
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The Basics Of The United Nations

As the General Assembly convenes, here is the United Nations 101

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The Basics Of The United Nations
WikiMedia

For an organization that literally unites the nations, it amazes me how little is taught about the United Nations in schools, or at least where I went to school. It wasn't until I went to college and got a higher education that I learned the basics of the United Nations. I believe that every American should know at least the basics of what the United Nations does, especially since our country is one of the 5 permanent members. So here are the main "organs" of the United Nations.

The visual above is a much more complex look at the organs of the United Nations, a more generalized description can be found below.

General Assembly- Each of the states (countries) in the United Nations is a member of the General Assembly. They make important decisions about peace and security. For something to get passed or at least given a second look it must get 2/3 votes.

Security Council- The Security Council is much more powerful than the General Assembly. It is made up of 5 permeant members: China, Soviet Union (now Russia), France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and 10 non-permeant members that are elected every two years from the General Assembly. Each of these 15 states has one vote and the permanent member states can veto any substantive issue.

Economic and Social Council- There are 54 members who are voted in and out by the General Assembly. They vote on all things that involve the world economy and social issues.

Secretary General- They have a five year term, are nominated by the Security Council, and elected by the General Assembly. The Secretary General is elected from states that aren't as powerful so there is proper global representation. Ban Ki-moon, from South Korea is the current Secretary General but his term ends this December, so be on the look out for a new Secretary General very soon.

International Court of Justice- The ICJ is the world court in the UN. There are 15 justices, who each have 9 year terms. They don't have much power, they mostly just advise countries.

The United Nations is a lot more complex than what I've described here, but after reading this you'll know more than the average American about the UN.

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