The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, and human rights issues. It was founded in 1945 with the signing of the United Nations Charter by 51 countries.
The UN was founded after the end of World War II (October 24,1945) by the victorious Allied Powers in the hope that it would act to intervene in conflicts between nations and thereby avoid war. The organization's structure still reflects in some ways the circumstances of its founding. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, each of which has veto power on any UN resolution, are the main victors of World War II or their successor states: the People's Republic of China (formerly the Republic of China), France, Russia (formerly the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, and the United States.
There are currently 193 United Nations member states, encompassing almost every recognized independent state. From its headquarters in New York City, the UN and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout each year. The United Nations is divided into five major administrative organs - the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice, and the Economic and Social Council. Additional bodies deal with the governance of all other United Nations system organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The UN's most visible public figure is the Secretary-General, currently Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who attained the post on 1 January 2007. The newest Member State is South Sudan, added on July 2011.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the organ of the United Nations 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 of international sanctions regimes, and the authorization for military action. Its powers are exercised through United Nations Security Council Resolutions. The Security Council consists of five permanent members (the People's Republic of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), which have veto power over any resolution, and ten temporary members, which are elected for two-year terms by the United Nations General Assembly.