CHAPTER 18 SUMMARY.doc

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29 Mar 2012
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CHAPTER 18 SUMMARY
The United Nations is: a group of international institutions (including World Health
Organization, International labour Organization, etc) and programmes and funds (such as
United Nations Children’s Fund and United Nations Development Programme)
•established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries (192 members by 2006)
•legitimacy of UN derived from universal membership, and an unique mandate (security,
economic & social development, protection of human rights and the environment)
•four main purposes:
1. Maintain international peace and security
2. Develop friendly relations among nations
3. Cooperate in solving international problems/promoting human rights
4. Be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations
•problem with its predecessor (League of Nations) was a lack of effective power and no
clear organization/division of responsibility
•United Nations has 6 main organs: Security Council, General Assembly, Secretariat,
Economic/Social Council, Trusteeship Council and the International Court of Justice
(* If you wish to see a chart of the UN system, it’s on page 316 or
www.un.org/aboutun/chart/pdf)
PARTS OF UN
SECURITY COUNCIL
•after 1965, made up of 15 states – 5 permanent members (USA, Britain, France, Russia
and China)
•decisions are binding – must be passed by 9/15 majority, as well as EACH of 5 p-
members
•p-members have veto power – Realist principle – great powers must be given a privileged
position or the UN would not work
•UN will try to resolve threats peacefully but will use all necessary means under certain
conditions
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
•‘a parliament of nations’ meets to discuss world’s most pressing problems – each member
state has one vote
•2/3 majority is required for decisions to pass
•decisions only have the status of recommendations, not binding – serve as important
indicators of world opinion and represent the moral authority of community of nations
THE SECRETARIAT
•carries out substantive and administrative work – led by Security-General
•some research functions and quasi-management functions
•remains primarily bureaucratic, lacks political power except article 99 which permits SG
to be involved in large range of areas loosely interpreted as threats to peace
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
•coordinate economic and social work of UN and UN family or organizations
•also consults with NGOs (vital link between UN and civil society)
•effective management sought out by paying attention to specific issues
•management arrangements subject to direct GA supervision and can be modified by
assembly resolution – also largely funded on voluntary basis
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