The United Nations and How It Works
How the UN Affects You
The United Nations, headquartered in New York, is an international organization of 193 member-states. It was founded in 1945 to prevent another world war.
The U.N. is not a government and has no right to make binding laws. Instead, it uses the power of persuasion. All nations contribute to the U.N. budget, so they each have “skin in the game.” That funds U.N. specific initiatives, such as $200 billion for clean energy. Small countries benefit if these efforts are spent in their areas.
How the U.N. Is Organized
The U.N. General Assembly is composed of representatives of all member states. It creates the mandates that guide the day-to-day work of the boards and councils under it. The meeting lasts for several weeks in September of each year. That gives world leaders a chance to come together and form working relationships.
All U.N. members must comply with Security Council decisions. The Council sends peace-keeping forces to restore order when needed. The Council can impose economic sanctions or an arms embargo to pressure countries that don’t comply. It authorizes its members to take military action if needed. That gives the U.N. teeth to enforce its decisions on all members.