The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations, established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles, to promote international security and achieve peace and security. Having failed with the prevention of the Second World War, a new organization came to existence. The name “United Nations”, was first used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and given ist exact meaning in the “Declaration by United Nations” of 1 January 1942, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.

In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories. Today, the UN numbers 192 Member States. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter. According to it, the UN has four purposes: to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. 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 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 based in the Hague. UN also functions through its 18 agencies funds and programmes, such as the UNICEF, UNHCR, FAO and UNESCO.