Government and Politics

United Nations

What are the bodies and agencies of the United Nations?

The UN’s charter establishes six main bodies and explains their duties and operating methods. The General Assembly is the major forum: all member nations are represented there, and the assembly can discuss any issue that is deemed relevant and important to the UN; the Security Council has the major responsibility for preserving peace; the Economic and Social Council investigates economic questions and works to improve living standards; the Secretariat is the UN’s administrative body, helping all organs do their work; the Trusteeship Council assists non-self-governing territories; and the International Court of Justice hears disputes between member nations. Except for the last one, all bodies convene in the UN headquarters in New York City. The International Court of Justice meets in The Hague.

Since the charter was written in 1945, the United Nations has established numerous agencies, committees, and commissions to help carry out its work around the world. Among those that are most well known to the public are the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which encourages the exchange of ideas among nations; the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which assists children and adolescents worldwide, particularly those in devastated areas or developing countries; the World Health Organization (WHO), which promotes high health standards around the globe; the International Labor Organization (ILO), which works to improve labor conditions and protect workers; and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which addresses currency and trade issues.


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