About the United Nations
The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945, by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security.
What is the United Nations?
Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN. Membership currently totals 191 countries. When States become members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:
1.To maintain international peace and security;
2.To develop friendly relations among nations;
3.To cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
4.To be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations.
How Does it Work?
The United Nations is not a world government and it does not make laws. It does, however, provide the means to help resolve international conflicts and formulate policies on matters affecting all of us. At the UN, all the Member States — large and small, rich and poor, with differing political views and social systems — have a voice and a vote in this process.
The United Nations Organisation has six main organs. Five of them — the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Secretariat — are based at UN Headquarters in New York. The sixth, the International Court of Justice, is located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Economic and Social Council - ECOSOC
The Economic and Social Council coordinates the work of the 14 UN specialised agencies, 10 functional commissions and five regional commissions; receives reports from 11 UN funds and programmes; and issues policy recommendations to the UN system and to Member States. Under the UN Charter (the “constitution” of the UN), ECOSOC is responsible for:
- promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress;
- identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems;
- facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation;
- and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
ECOSOC's authority extends to over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system.
In carrying out its mandate, ECOSOC consults with academics, business sector representatives and more than 2,100 registered non-governmental organisations. The Council holds a four-week substantive session each July, alternating between New York and Geneva. The session includes a high-level segment, at which national cabinet ministers and chiefs of international agencies and other high officials focus their attention on a selected theme of global significance. ( Scouting and the United Nations)
WOSM has had Category II consultative status with ECOSOC since 1947. General Category I granted in 1998.