Portal:United Nations/Selected article

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League of Nations Assembly building in Geneva
The League of Nations was an international organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919–1920. The League's goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, diplomacy and improving global welfare. The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift in thought from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked an armed force of its own and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to economic sanctions which the League ordered, or provide an army, when needed, for the League to use. However, they were often very reluctant to do so. Benito Mussolini stated that "The League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out."



The United Nations Children's Fund (or UNICEF) was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations System and its name was shortened from the original United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund but it has continued to be known by the popular acronym based on this old name. Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.



The General Assembly
The United Nations General Assembly (GA, UNGA) is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the United Nations, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, receive reports from other parts of the United Nations and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions. The General Assembly meets under its president in regular yearly sessions which last from September to December, although it can reconvene for special and emergency special sessions. Its composition, functions, powers, voting, and procedures are set out in Chapter IV of the United Nations Charter. Voting in the General Assembly on important questions – recommendations on peace and security; election of members to organs; admission, suspension, and expulsion of members; budgetary matters – is by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. Other questions are decided by majority vote. Each member country has one vote. The first session was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Methodist Central Hall Westminster in London and included representatives of 51 nations.



The ICC headquarters in the Hague
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, sharing the building with the Hague Academy of International Law, a private centre for the study of international law. Established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Statute of the International Court of Justice, similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the Court. English and French are its two official languages.



The ECOSOC chamber
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development. ECOSOC has 54 members, all of whom are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term. The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen amongst the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC. ECOSOC meets once a year in July for a four-week session. Since 1998, it has held another meeting each April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Viewed separate from the specialized bodies it coordinates, ECOSOC’s functions include information gathering, advising member nations, and making recommendations. In addition, ECOSOC is well-positioned to provide policy coherence and coordinate the overlapping functions of the UN’s subsidiary bodies and it is in these roles that it is most active.



The United Nations Charter is the treaty that forms and establishes the international organization called the United Nations. While this document is occasionally misconstrued as a constitution it is, in fact, an agreement between states and not a compact among the individual peoples to create a government. It was signed at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California, United States, in 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries (Poland, the other original member, which was not represented at the conference, signed it later). It entered into force on October 24, 1945, after being ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council—the Republic of China (later replaced by the People's Republic of China), France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (later replaced by the Russian Federation), the United Kingdom, and the United States—and a majority of the other signatories.



The Security Council chamber
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.[1] 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.



The UN headquarters in New York
The United Nations Headquarters is a distinctive complex in New York City that has served as the headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1950. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood, on the east side of Midtown Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River. Though it is in New York City, the land occupied by the United Nations Headquarters is considered international territory, and its borders are First Avenue west, East 42nd Street south, East 48th Street north and the East River east.



Flag of the WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health Organization, which had been an agency of the League of Nations. The WHO's constitution states that its objective "is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." Its major task is to combat disease, especially key infectious diseases, and to promote the general health of the people of the world. The World Health Organization is one of the original agencies of the United Nations, its constitution formally coming into force on the first World Health Day, (7 April 1948), when it was ratified by the 26th member state.



UN Peacekeepers in Eritrea
United Nations peacekeeping missions have helped countries torn by conflict to create conditions for sustainable peace since the UN's founding in 1945. The peacekeepers—soldiers and military officers, civilian police officers and civilian personnel from many countries—monitor and observe peace processes that emerge in post-conflict situations and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they have signed. Such assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development. Peacekeeping operations are authorized by the Security Council, under the Charter of the United Nations.



UNFCCC map of parties

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The objective of the treaty is to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".

The treaty itself set no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. In that sense, the treaty is considered legally non-binding. Instead, the treaty provides a framework for negotiating specific international treaties (called "protocols") that may set binding limits on greenhouse gases.

The UNFCCC was opened for signature on 9 May 1992, after an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee produced the text of the Framework Convention as a report following its meeting in New York from 30 April to 9 May 1992. It entered into force on 21 March 1994. As of May 2011, UNFCCC has 195 parties.



Logo of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states' parties which are elected by their General Assembly.

The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The programme was founded with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since then, 190 states parties have ratified the Convention, making it one of the most adhered to international instruments. As of 2013, 981 sites are listed: 759 cultural, 193 natural, and 29 mixed properties, in 160 states parties.



Logo of the Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is an agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all. Its Latin motto, fiat panis, translates into English as "let there be bread". As of 8 August 2013, FAO has 194 member states, along with the European Union (a "member organization"), and the Faroe Islands and Tokelau, which are associate members.



Logo of the UNHCR
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN Refugee Agency, is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland and is a member of the United Nations Development Group. The UNHCR has won two Nobel Peace Prizes, once in 1954 and again in 1981.



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  1. ^ "Under the Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are:".