Template:Redirect2Template:LawUnrefTemplate:GlobalizeTemplate:United Nations tableThe United Nations, or UN, is an international organization established in 1945. The UN describes itself as a "global association of governments facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, and social equity." It was founded by 51 states and as of 2005 it consists of 191 member states, including virtually all internationally-recognized independent nations. From its headquarters in New York City, the member countries of the UN and its specialized agencies give guidance and make decisions on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout each year.
The organization is structurally divided into administrative bodies, including the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, UN Economic and Social Council, UN Trusteeship Council, UN Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice, as well as counterpart bodies dealing with the governance of all other UN system agencies, for example, the WHO and UNICEF. The organization's most visible public figure is the Secretary-General.
As the UN main building is aging, the UN is in the process of building a new location designed by Fumihiko Maki.
The UN was founded at the conclusion of World War II by the victorious world powers, and the founders of the UN had high hopes that it would act to prevent conflicts between nations and make future wars impossible, by fostering an ideal of collective security. The organization's structure still reflects in some ways the circumstances of its founding; specifically, in addition to the rotating national members of the prominent United Nations Security Council, there are five permanent members with veto power — the United States of America, Russia (which replaced the Soviet Union), United Kingdom, France, and the People's Republic of China (which replaced the Republic of China).
Background and history
The term "United Nations" was coined by Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, to refer to the Allies. Its first formal use was in the January 1, 1942 Declaration by the United Nations, which committed the Allies to the principles of the Atlantic Charter and pledged them not to seek a separate peace with the Axis powers. Thereafter, the Allies used the term "United Nations Fighting Forces" to refer to their alliance.
The idea for the United Nations was elaborated in declarations signed at the wartime Allied conferences in Moscow, Cairo, and Tehran in 1943. From August to October 1944, representatives of France, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the USSR met to elaborate the plans at the Dumbarton Oaks Estate in Washington, D.C. Those and later talks produced proposals outlining the purposes of the organization, its membership and organs, as well as arrangements to maintain international peace and security and international economic and social cooperation. These proposals were discussed and debated by governments and private citizens worldwide.
On April 25 1945, the United Nations Conference on International Organizations began in San Francisco. In addition to the Governments, a number of non-government organizations, including Lions Clubs International were invited to assist in the drafting of the charter. The 50 nations represented at the conference signed the Charter of the United Nations two months later on June 26. Poland, which was not represented at the conference, but for which a place among the original signatories had been reserved, added its name later, bringing the total of original signatories to 51. The UN came into existence on October 24, 1945, after the Charter had been ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council — Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and the United States — and by a majority of the other 46 signatories.
Initially, the body was known as the United Nations Organization, or UNO. But by the 1950s, English speakers were referring to it as the United Nations, or UN.
The United Nations headquarters building was constructed in New York City in 1949 and 1950 beside the East River on land purchased by an 8.5 million dollar donation from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. UN headquarters officially opened on January 9, 1951. While the principal headquarters of the UN are in New York, there are major agencies located in Geneva, The Hague, Vienna, Montreal, Bonn and elsewhere. The street address is 760 United Nations Plz New York, NY 10017, US
Membership and structure
- Main articles: United Nations member states, United Nations General Assembly observers, United Nations System & Reform of the United Nations
Template:Sidebar UN membership is open to all peace-loving states that accept the obligations of the UN Charter and, in the judgement of the organization, are able and willing to fulfill these obligations, though clearly several nations with no intention of complying with these requirements are members of the UN. The General Assembly determines admission upon recommendation of the Security Council.
The United Nations is based on six principal organs, part of what is collectively called the United Nations System:
- UN General Assembly
- UN Security Council
- UN Economic and Social Council
- UN Trusteeship Council
- UN Secretariat
- International Court of Justice
- Main article: UN Security Council
The Security Council is in practice the most powerful decision-making body of the UN, as its resolutions are backed by the will of the most powerful members of the international community. However, this does not mean that its resolutions (e.g. international sanctions) are necessarily enforced, as the UN does not have its own means to do so. Even when economic sanctions are applied, their effectiveness (e.g. against Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the 1990s, or in abolishing apartheid in South Africa) is unclear.
The Assembly has established the principle that the UN should not be overly dependent on any one member to finance its operations. Thus, there is a 'ceiling' rate, setting the maximum amount any member is assessed for the regular budget. In December 2000, the Assembly agreed to revise the scale of assessments to make them better reflect current global circumstances.
As part of that agreement, the regular budget ceiling was reduced from 25 to 22 per cent; this is the rate at which the United States is assessed. The United States is the only member that meets that ceiling, all other members' assessment rates are lower. On the other hand, it is in arrears with hundreds of millions of dollars (see also United States and the United Nations). Under the scale of assessments adopted in 2000, other major contributors to the regular UN budget for 2001 are Japan (19.63%), Germany (9.82%), France (6.50%), the U.K. (5.57%), Italy (5.09%), Canada (2.57%) Spain (2.53%) and Brazil (2.39%).
Special UN programmes not included in the regular budget (such as UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR, and WFP) are financed by voluntary contributions from member governments. In 2001, it is estimated that such contributions from the United States will total approximately $1.5 billion. Some of this is in the form of agricultural commodities donated for afflicted populations, but the majority is financial contributions.
Aims and activities
The member countries of the UN and its specialized agencies — the "stakeholders" of the system — give guidance and make decisions on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout each year. Governing bodies made up of member states include not only the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council, but also counterpart bodies dealing with the governance of all other UN system agencies. For example, the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board oversee the work of WHO. Each year, the United States Department of State accredits United States delegations to more than 600 meetings of governing bodies.
When an issue is considered particularly important, the General Assembly may convene an international conference to focus global attention and build a consensus for consolidated action. High-level United States delegations use these opportunities to promote United States policy viewpoints and develop international agreements on future activities. Recent examples include:
- The UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992, led to the creation of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development to advance the conclusions reached in Agenda 21, the final text of agreements negotiated by governments at UNCED;
- The International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo, Egypt, in September 1994, approved a programme of action to address the critical challenges and interrelationships between population and sustainable development over the next 20 years;
- The World Summit on Trade Efficiency, held in October 1994 in Columbus, Ohio, cosponsored by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the city of Columbus, and private-sector business, focused on the use of modern information technology to expand international trade;
- The World Summit for Social Development, held in March 1995 in Copenhagen, Denmark, underscored national responsibility for sustainable development and secured high-level commitment to plans that invest in basic education, health care, and economic opportunity for all, including women and girls;
- The Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, in September 1995, sought to accelerate implementation of the historic agreements reached at the Third World Conference on Women held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985; and
- The Second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), convened in June 1996 in Istanbul, Turkey, considered the challenges of human settlement development and management in the 21st century.
- Main article: United Nations International Years
The UN declares and coordinates "International Year of the..." in order to focus world attention on important issues. Using the symbolism of the UN, a specially designed logo for the year, and the infrastructure of the UN system to coordinate events worldwide, the various years have become catalysts to advancing key issues on a global scale.
Arms control and disarmament
The 1945 UN Charter envisaged a system of regulation that would ensure "the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources". The advent of nuclear weapons came only weeks after the signing of the Charter and provided immediate impetus to concepts of arms limitation and disarmament. In fact, the first resolution of the first meeting of the UN General Assembly (January 24 1946) was entitled "The Establishment of a Commission to Deal with the Problems Raised by the Discovery of Atomic Energy" and called upon the commission to make specific proposals for "the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction".
The UN has established several forums to address multilateral disarmament issues. The principal ones are the First Committee of the General Assembly and the UN Disarmament Commission. Items on the agenda include consideration of the possible merits of a nuclear test ban, outer-space arms control, efforts to ban chemical weapons, nuclear and conventional disarmament, nuclear-weapon-free zones, reduction of military budgets, and measures to strengthen international security.
The Conference on Disarmament is the sole forum established by the international community for the negotiation of multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements. It has 66 members representing all areas of the world, including the five major nuclear-weapon states (the People's Republic of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States). While the conference is not formally a UN organization, it is linked to the UN through a personal representative of the Secretary-General; this representative serves as the secretary general of the conference. Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly often request the conference to consider specific disarmament matters. In turn, the conference annually reports on its activities to the General Assembly.
- Main article: Peacekeeping
Template:Sidebar UN peacekeepers are sent to various regions where armed conflict has recently ceased, in order to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage the combatants from resuming hostilities, for example in East Timor until its independence in 2001. These forces are provided by member states of the UN; the UN does not maintain any independent military. All UN peacekeeping operations must be approved by the Security Council.
The founders of the UN had high hopes that it would act to prevent conflicts between nations and make future wars impossible, by fostering an ideal of collective security. Those hopes have obviously not been fully realized. From about 1947 until 1991 the division of the world into hostile camps during the Cold War made agreement on peacekeeping matters extremely difficult. Following the end of the Cold War, there were renewed calls for the UN to become the agency for achieving world peace and co-operation, as several dozen active military conflicts continue to rage around the globe. The breakup of the Soviet Union has also left the United States in a unique position of global dominance, creating a variety of new challenges for the UN.
UN peace operations are funded by assessments, using a formula derived from the regular scale, but including a surcharge for the five permanent members of the Security Council (who must approve all peacekeeping operations); this surcharge serves to offset discounted peacekeeping assessment rates for less developed countries. In December 2000, the UN revised the assessment rate scale for the regular budget and for peacekeeping. The peacekeeping scale is designed to be revised every six months and is projected to be near 27% in 2003. The United States intends to pay peacekeeping assessments at these lower rates and has sought legislation from the U.S. Congress to allow payment at these rates and to make payments towards arrears.
Total UN peacekeeping expenses peaked between 1994 and 1995; at the end of 1995 the total cost was just over $3.5 billion. Total UN peacekeeping costs for 2000, including operations funded from the UN regular budget as well as the peacekeeping budget, were on the order of $2.2 billion.
The UN Peace-Keeping Forces received the 1988 Nobel Prize for Peace. In 2001 the United Nations and Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the UN, won the Nobel Peace Prize "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world."
For participation in various peacekeeping operations, the United Nations maintains a series of United Nations Medals which are awarded to military service members of various countries who enforce UN accords. The first such decoration issued was the United Nations Service Medal, awarded to UN forces who participated in the Korean War. The NATO Medal is designed on a similar concept and both the UN Service Medal, and the NATO Medal, are considered international decorations instead of military decorations.
The pursuit of human rights was one of the central reasons for creating the United Nations. World War II atrocities and genocide led to a ready consensus that the new organization must work to prevent any similar tragedies in the future. An early objective was creating a legal framework for considering and acting on complaints about human rights violations.
The UN Charter obliges all member nations to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights" and to take "joint and separate action" to that end. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, though not legally binding, was adopted by the General Assembly in 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all. The General Assembly regularly takes up human rights issues. The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), under ECOSOC, is the primary UN body charged with promoting human rights, primarily through investigations and offers of technical assistance. As discussed, the High Commissioner for Human Rights is the official principally responsible for all UN human rights activities (see, under "The UN Family", the section on "Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights").
The United Nations and its various agencies are central in upholding and implementing the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A case in point is support by the United Nations for countries in transition to democracy. Technical assistance in providing free and fair elections, improving judicial structures, drafting constitutions, training human rights officials, and transforming armed movements into political parties have contributed significantly to democratization worldwide.
The United Nations is also a forum in which to support the right of women to participate fully in the political, economic, and social life of their countries. The UN contributes to raising consciousness of the concept of human rights through its covenants and its attention to specific abuses through its General Assembly or Security Council resolutions or ICJ rulings.
Humanitarian assistance and international development
In conjunction with other organizations, such as the Red Cross, the UN provides food, drinking water, shelter and other humanitarian services to populaces suffering from famine, displaced by war, or afflicted by some other disaster. Major humanitarian arms of the UN are the World Food Programme (which helps feed more than 100 million people a year in 80 countries), the High Commissioner for Refugees with project in over 116 countries, as well as peacekeeping projects in over 24 countries. At times, UN relief workers have been subject to attacks. Template:See
The UN is also involved in supporting development, e.g. by the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the largest multilateral source of grant technical assistance in the world. Organizations like the WHO, UNAIDS and Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are leading institutions in the battle against AIDS around the world, especially in poor countries. The UN Population Fund is a major provider of reproductive services. It has helped reduce infant and maternal mortality in 100 countries.
The UN promotes human development through various agencies and departments:
- World Health Organization eliminated smallpox in 1977 and is close to eliminating polio.
- World Bank / IMF
The UN has helped run elections in countries with little democratic history including recently in Afghanistan and East Timor. The UN also runs international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the Ad-Hoc Court for East Timor.
Treaties and international law
The UN negotiates treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to avoid potential international disputes. Disputes over use of the oceans may be adjudicated by a special court.
The International Court of Justice is the main court of the United Nations. Its purpose is to adjudicate disputes amoung states. The ICJ began in 1946 and continues to hear cases. Important cases include: Congo v. France, where the Democratic Republic of Congo accused France of illegally detaining former heads of state accused of war crimes. Nicaragua v. United States, where Nicaragua accused the United States of illegally arming the Contras. This case led to the Iran-Contra affair.
Notable United Nations Figures
Criticism and controversies
Reforming the UN
In recent years there have been many calls for reform of the United Nations. There is, however, little clarity, let alone consensus, about what "reform" might mean in practice. Some want the UN to play a greater or more effective role in world affairs, others want its role reduced to humanitarian work. In 2004 and 2005, allegations of mismanagement and corruption regarding the Oil-for-Food Programme for Iraq under Saddam Hussein led to renewed calls for reform.
An official reform programme was initiated by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan shortly after starting his first term on January 1, 1997. Reforms mentioned include changing the permanent membership of the Security Council (which currently reflects the power relations of 1945); making the bureaucracy more transparent, accountable and efficient; making the UN more democratic; and imposing an international tariff on arms manufacturers worldwide.
The United States Congress has shown particular concern with reforms related to UN effectiveness and efficiency. In November 2004, H.R. 4818 mandated the creation of a bipartisan Task Force to report to Congress on how to make the United Nations more effective in realizing the goals of its Charter. The Task Force came into being in January 2005, co-chaired by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell. In June 2005, the task force released "American Interests and UN Reform: Report of the Task Force on the United Nations,"  with numerous recommendations on how to improve UN performance.
On June 17, 2005, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 2745) to slash funds to the UN in half by 2008 if it does not meet with certain criteria laid out in the legislation. This reflects years of complaints about anti-American and anti-Israeli bias in the United Nations, particularly the exclusion of Israel from many decision making organizations. The United States of America is estimated to contribute about 22% of the UN's yearly budget, making this bill potentially devastating to the UN. The Bush administration and several former US ambassadors to the UN have warned that this may only strengthen anti-America sentiment around the world and would only serve to hurt current UN reform movements. The bill passed the House in June, and a parallel bill was introduced in the Senate by Gordon Smith on July 13 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:s1394:. However, a number of leading Senate Republicans objected to the requirement that the US contributions be halved in the event that the UN failed to meet all of the criteria. The UN Management, Personnel, and Policy Reform Act of 2005 (S. 1383), introduced July 12, 2005 into the Senate by Sen. Coleman, Norm [R-MN] and Sen. Lugar, Richard [R-IN], called for similar reforms but left the withholding of dues to the discretion of the President . As of December 2005, neither bill has come to a vote.
In September 2005, the United Nations convened a World Summit that brought together the heads of most of its 191 member states, in a plenary session of the General Assembly's 60th session. The UN billed the summit as "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations" . UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had proposed that the summit agree upon a global “grand bargain” to reform the United Nations, revamping international systems for addressing peace and security, human rights and development to make those systems capable of addressing the extraordinary challenges facing the United Nations in the 21st century. No such grand bargain emerged. Instead, world leaders agreed upon piecemeal reforms: the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission to provide a central mechanism to help countries emerging from conflict; agreement that the international community has the right to step in when national governments fail to fulfil their “responsibility to protect” their own citizens from atrocity crimes, a vague promise to create a better UN institution on human rights, and agreement to devote more resources to the UN's internal oversight agency.
Although the UN's member states achieved little in the way of reform of the UN bureaucracy, Secretary General Kofi Annan continued to carry out reforms under his own authority. He established a ethics office, responsible for administering new financial disclosure and whistleblower protection policies. As of late December 2005, the UN Secretariat was completing a review of all General Assembly mandates more than five years old. That review is intended to provide the basis for decision-making by the member states about which duplicative or unnecessary programs should be eliminated.
Successes and failures in security issues
A large share of UN expenditures address the core UN mission of peace and security. The peacekeeping budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal year is approximately $5 billion (compared to approximately $1.5 billion over the same period for the UN core budget), with some 70,000 troops deployed in 17 missions around the world. The Human Security Report 2005 , produced by the Human Security Centre at the University of British Columbia with support from several governments and foundations, documented a dramatic, but largely unknown, decline in the number of wars, genocides and human rights abuses over the past decade. The Report, published by Oxford University Press, argued that the single most compelling explanation for these changes is found in the unprecedented upsurge of international activism, spearheaded by the UN, which took place in the wake of the Cold War. The Report singles out several specific investments that have paid off , p. 9:
° A sixfold increase in the number of missions to prevent wars mounted by the UN between 1990 and 2002. ° A fourfold increase in efforts to stop existing conflicts 1990-2002. ° A sevenfold increase in the number of ‘Friends of the Secretary-General’, ‘Contact Groups’ and other government-initiated mechanisms to support peacemaking and peacebuilding missions between 1990 and 2003. ° An elevenfold increase in the number of economic sanctions in place against regimes around the world between 1989 and 2001. ° A fourfold increase in the number of UN peacekeeping operations between 1987 and 1999.
These efforts were both more numerous and, on average, substantially larger and more complex that those of the Cold War era.
However, in many cases United Nations members have shown reluctance to achieve or enforce Security Council resolutions. In 2003, controversy surrounded the United States-led invasion of Iraq conducted in the face of strong disapproval by a majority of members and by Israel's decade-long defiance of resolutions calling for the dismantling of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Such failures stem from the UN's intergovernmental nature — in many respects it is an association of 191 member states who must reach consensus, not an independent organization. Even in the case of actions mandated by the 15-member Security Council, the UN Secretariat is rarely given the full resources needed to carry out the mandates.
- Failure to encourage the developed world to act during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when current Secretary General Kofi Annan worked in the peacekeeping department of the UN.
- Failure by MONUC (UNSC Resolution 1291) to effectively intervene during the Second Congo War, which claimed nearly five million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1998-2002 (with fighting reportedly continuing), and in carrying out and distributing humanitarian relief.
- Failure to intervene during 1995 killings in Srebrenica, despite the fact that the UN designated it a "Safe Haven" for refugees and assigned 600 Dutch peacekeepers to protect it.
- Failure to successfully deliver food to starving citizens of Somalia; the food was usually seized by local warlords instead of reaching those who needed it. A US/UN attempt to apprehend the warlords seizing these shipments resulted in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu.
- Sexual abuse of girls by U.N. peacekeepers; In the Democratic Republic of the Congo it is reported that U.N. peacekeepers from several nations are sexually abusing and gang raping girls as young as 12 or 13. This abuse is called widespread and ongoing despite many revelations and probes by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services. 
- An internal U.N. investigation in 2005 found that sexual abuse similar to that uncovered in the Congo had been reported in five other countries in which U.N. peacekeeping troops were deployed, including Burundi, Ivory Coast, and Liberia; U.N. peacekeepers were at that point deployed in sixteen countries total. 
Inclusion on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights of nations, such as Sudan, Cuba and Libya, which demonstrably have abysmal records on human rights, and also Libya's chairmanship of this Commission, has been an issue. These countries, however, argue that Western countries, with their history of colonialist aggression and brutality, have no right to argue about membership of the Commission.
The Oil-for-Food Programme established by the United Nations in 1996 and terminated in late 2003, was intended to allow Iraq to sell oil on the world market in exchange for food, medicine, and other humanitarian needs of ordinary Iraqi citizens who were affected by international economic sanctions, without allowing the Iraqi government to rebuild its military in the wake of the first Gulf War. It was discontinued in 2003 amidst allegations of widespread abuse and corruption; the former director, Benon Sevan of Cyprus, was first suspended, and then resigned from the United Nations as an interim progress report of a UN-sponsored investigatory panel led by Paul Volcker concluded that Sevan had accepted bribes from the former Iraqi regime and recommended that his UN immunity be lifted, to allow for a criminal investigation.
Under UN auspices, over US$65 billion worth of Iraqi oil was sold on the world market. Officially, about US$46 billion used for humanitarian needs, with additional revenue paying Gulf War reparations through a Compensation Fund, supporting UN administrative and operational costs for the programme (2.2 per cent), and paying costs for the weapons inspection programme (0.8 per cent).
Also implicated in the scandal is United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose son Kojo Annan is alleged to have illegally procured UN oil-for-food contracts on behalf of a Swiss company, Coctecna.
The United Nations and its agencies benefit from a large immunity with regard to the laws of the countries in which they operate. The terms of employment of the staff of are not governed by the laws of the country in which their offices are located. Agreements with the host country safeguard the organization's impartiality with regard to the host and member countries. Hiring and firing practices, working hours and environment, holiday time, pension plans, health insurance and life insurance, salaries, expatriation benefits and general conditions of employment are managed according to rules and regulations proper to the UN. This independence gives them the freedom to implement human resource policies which are even contrary to the laws of their host and member countries. A person who is otherwise eligible for employment in Switzerland may not become an employee of the International Labor Organization unless he or she is a citizen of an ILO member state.
Despite their independence in matters of personnel policy, the agencies of the United Nations voluntarily respect the laws and cultures of indepenant nations when the issue of same-sex marriages come up, and also allow decisions based on employees on the basis of nationality. Agencies of the United Nations will recognize same-sex marriages only if the country of citizenship of the employees in question recognizes the marriage, in accordance with their tradition of respect for the independance of differing cultures and customs. Individual agencies do, in some cases, provide limited benefits to domestic partners of their staff.
The UN in popular culture
The existence of the UN as a large, world-encompassing government organization has prompted many ideas about world government and world democracy. The UN is also often the subject of conspiracy theories.
An education activity called Model United Nations has grown popular in schools worldwide. Model UN has students simulate (usually) a body in the United Nations system, like the Economic and Social Council, the Economic and Finance Committee of the General Assembly, or the Executive Committee of UNICEF, to help them develop skills in debate and diplomacy.
The United Nations has been shown in several films. In the 1958 film North by Northwest, director Alfred Hitchcock wanted to film in the U.N but did not have permission. Shots were secretly done and recreated on a sound stage. The 2005 film The Interpreter is the first feature to be filmed on location in the United Nations. It features Nicole Kidman as an interpreter who becomes involved in international intrigue.
Fictional UN branches appear in many books, movies, and video games, including:
- United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition in Deus Ex
- United Nations Intelligence Taskforce in Doctor Who
- United Nations Naval Service in some David Feintuch novels
- United Nations Space Command in the Halo video game series
- United Nations Special Agency NERV in Neon Genesis Evangelion
- United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Force in the Godzilla series of films
- United Nations Global Defense Initiative from the Command and Conquer series of games
- United Nations Intersteller Colonization Agency in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
- United Nations International Critical Response and Tactical Team from the Clive Cussler novel Sahara
- UNCLE, the fictional organisation featured in the televison series The Man from UNCLE was based in New York with an international staff, and can be presumed to be at least UN-related.
Similar-themed World or Galactic Bodies that model the UN in some way include:
- League of Non-Aligned Worlds and Interstellar Alliance from Babylon 5.
- Earth Sphere Unified Nation (ESUN) and ZAFT (Zodiac Alliance of Freedom Treaty) from the Gundam Universe
- Allied Nations, from the movie Street Fighter
- DOOP (Democratic Order of Planets) from Futurama
- United Federation of Planets from Star Trek
- ^ With the exception of the Holy See, the sole permanent observer state, all internationally recognized independent countries are members. Other political entities, notably the Republic of China (Taiwan), Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara) and Palestinian Authority (Palestine) have some international diplomatic recognition from selected states, but are not UN members. The political status of Taiwan makes the Republic of China the only nation ever removed from the Security Council.
- United Nations System
- United Nations General Assembly
- United Nations Association
- Oil-for-Food Programme
- 2005 World Summit on the Millennium Development Goals and Reform of the United Nations
- League of Democracies: proposed replacement for the U.N.
- Independent Inquiry Committee: investigated the corruption and fraud in the UN Oil-for-Food Programme.
- Model United Nations
- International Relations
- An Insider's Guide to the UN, Linda Fasulo, Yale University Press (November 1, 2003), hardcover, 272 pages, ISBN 0300101554
- United Nations:The First Fifty Years, Stanley Mesler, Atlantic Monthly Press (March 1, 1997), hardcover, 416 pages, ISBN 0871136562
- United Nations, Divided World: The UN's Roles in International Relations edited by Adam Roberts and Benedict Kingsbury, Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (January 1, 1994), hardcover, 589 pages,ISBN 0198279264
- A Guide to Delegate Preparation: A Model United Nations Handbook, edited by Scott A. Leslie, The United Nations Association of the United States of America, 2004 edition (October 2004), softcover, 296 pages, ISBN 1880632713
- "U.S. At War - International." Time Magazine XLV.19 May 7, 1945: 25-28.
- United Nations - Official site
- Website of the Committee for a Democratic UN (German and English versions)
- Website of the Global Policy Forum, an independent think-tank on the UN
- Economist.com background
- United Nations Paper Money, 1946-56
- Agenda for Peace: B.-Boutros Ghali
- United Nations Exposed website - Criticisms of the UN from the Right
-  - Criticisms of the Secretary-General
- - A conceptual response at the United Nations to the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995
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