Politics in Minutes (2016)

International institutions

The United Nations was established in 1945 to replace the unsuccessful League of Nations, with the aims of maintaining international peace and security, promoting sustainable development, protecting human rights, upholding international law and delivering humanitarian aid. It consisted initially of 51 member states, but has grown to a membership of 193 – virtually every nation in the world. Although it has no real executive or legislative power, the UN has considerable influence as a medium for expressing the views of its members, each of whom is represented at the General Assembly.

The UN’s various roles are divided between its five principal, active organs –the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice. Other specialized agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the World Health Organization, are autonomous organizations that coordinate with the UN Economic and Social Council.