The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation.
An intergovernmental organization or international governmental organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states, or of other intergovernmental organizations.
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A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II in order to prevent another such conflict.
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War.
World War I, also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier.
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At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.
The headquarters of the United Nations is in Manhattan, New York City, and experiences extraterritoriality.
Manhattan is the most densely populated borough of New York City, its economic and administrative center, and the city's historical birthplace.
Extraterritoriality is the state of being exempted from the jurisdiction of local law, usually as the result of diplomatic negotiations.
The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States.
Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna.
Geneva is the second most populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria.
The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states.
Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.
The United Nations Charter was drafted at a conference in April–June 1945; this charter took effect 24 October 1945, and the UN began operation.
The UN's mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades by the Cold War between the US and Soviet Union and their respective allies.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR, was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed from 1922 to 1991.
The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc and powers in the Eastern Bloc.
The organization participated in major actions in Korea and the Congo, as well as approving the creation of the state of Israel in 1947.
Israel, officially known as the State of Israel, is a country in the Middle East, on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea.
The organization's membership grew significantly following widespread decolonization in the 1960s, and by the 1970s its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping.
Decolonization or decolonisation is the undoing of colonialism, where a nation establishes and maintains its domination over dependent territories.
Peacekeeping refers to activities that tend to create conditions that favor lasting peace.
After the end of the Cold War, the UN took on major military and peacekeeping missions across the world with varying degrees of success.
The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly ; the Security Council ; the Economic and Social Council ; the Secretariat ; the International Court of Justice ; and the United Nations Trusteeship Council.
The United Nations Trusteeship Council, one of the principal organs of the United Nations, was established to help ensure that trust territories were administered in the best interests of their inhabitants and of international peace and security.
UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, UNESCO, and UNICEF.
The United Nations Children's Fund is a United Nations program headquartered in New York City that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.
The World Food Programme is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris.
The UN's most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by South Korean Ban Ki-moon since 2007.
Ban Ki-moon is a South Korean statesman and politician who is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work.
The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and a number of its officers and agencies have also been awarded the prize.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes created by the Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature.
Other evaluations of the UN's effectiveness have been mixed.
Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, corrupt, or biased.