United Nations Organisation

General Knowledge »

UNO United Nations Organisation History

The name ‘United Nations’ was deviced by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was first used in the declaration by United Nations of January 1, 1942, during the Second World War. The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. The United Nations Organisation came into existence on 24th October, 1945. UNO’s headquarters are located in New York ( Manhatten Island ).

Languages used by the UNO are :

  1. Chinese
  2. English
  3. French
  4. Russian
  5. Spanish
  6. Arabic.

The U.N.O. has at present 193 members. [ South Sudan ( 193rd country ) admitted in July 9th, 2011 ].


  1. To maintain international peace and security.
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self – determination.
  3. To achieve cooperation in solving world problems like poverty, illiteracy, diseases, etc and to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.
  4. To harmonise the actions of nations in achieving these common goals.

Major Organs of the UNO

General Studies Question Bank CD

  • General Assembly : All member nations are represented in the General Assembly, which meets once in a year. Each nation can send upto five representatives, but has only one vote, and all matters are decided by a two – third majority. It discusses the world’s views on the work of all the UN organs.
  • Security Council : It consists of 15 members. Five of them are permanent members – USA, Russia, UK, France and China, while the other 10 are non – permanent members elected every two years by the General Assembly. The Security Council is the nerve centre of the UNO and takes all important decisions on policy matters of the UNO.
  • Veto in the SC : The five permanent members of the SC have veto power, i.e., no resolution can be passed if one of the permanent members casts a negative vote. This is known as the ‘veto power’. All important resolutions must be voted ‘yes’ by five permanent members and at least two non – permanent members. In practice, if a permanent member abstains from voting it is not considered as veto. The Security Council remains in session throughout the year.
  • The Economic and Social Council ( ECOSOC ) : It consists of 54 members and works for establishment of world peace by promoting better social, economic, educational and health conditions and respect for human rights and fundamental freedom for all people.
  • The Trusteeship Council : It oversaw the transition of Trust the Territories to Self – Government. It was suspended at the end of 1994.
  • International Court of Justice ( ICJ ) : The seat of the ICJ is at the Hague. It consists of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly for a period of 9 years. The judges are eligible for re – election.
  • Its main functions are the settling of disputes between member nations regarding treaties and question of International law and giving advisory opinions at the request of the General Assembly, the SC or any other bodies of the UNO. In 2010 it justified the independence of Kosovo in 2008 from Serbia.
  • The Secretariat : It is the administrative unit of the UNO. It is composed of the Secretary – General who is the Chief Administrative Officer and head of international staff ( 16,000 at the headquarters and 50,000 worldwide ) who carry out the day – to – day operations of the UNO. The Secretary – General of the UNO is appointed by the General Assembly for a five year term and may be reappointed.

Secy. General : Ban Ki – moon ( S. Korea ); Deputy Secy. General: Ms. Asha – Rose Megrio ( Tanzania ).

Agencies of the UNO

  • Food and Agriculture Organisation ( FAO ) : Sequel to the UN conference on Food and Agriculture in Virginia in May 1943, FAO was established on the 16th of October 1945 in Canada as planned by the interim commission which came up in July 1943. Its aims include enhancing the nutrition levels and standards of living, improving the network of production and distribution of agricultural produce, improving the rural milieu, putting an end to starvation etc. To muster finance for international programs aimed at improving the worldwide food and agrarian situation, is also among its responsibilities. It has a 189 member council elected by its conference which meets biennially.

    Headquarters : Rome ( Italy ).
    Director General : Jose Graziano desilva ( Brazil )

  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ( GATT ) : This agreement was arrived at following the international negotiations held in 1947. However it came into effect with the dawn of the following year. It laid down rules and regulations for a fair international trade cutting down on tariff barriers. How ever it could not help overcome the non – tariff barriers. It conceded itself to WTO in 1995, however it had 128 members in December 1994. The GATT was based in Geneva.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA ) : This specialised agency of UNO was founded on 29 July 1957. It aims at promoting ‘Research and Development’ in the field of atomic energy while making sure that it is directed only at peaceful uses. It forebids the use of atomic energy by any country for its military purposes. It encourages mutual transfer of technical and scientific informations relating to atomic studies. The secratariat, a board of Governers and the General Conference Constitute the IAEA which functions under a Director General.

    It is headquartered at Vienna, Austria. Director General : Yukiya Amano ( Japan ).

  • General Studies Question Bank CD

  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( IBRD ) : IBRD which forms an integral part of the World Bank was established on December 27, 1945 following the conference that conceived its formation at Bretton Woods in July 1944. And it started functioning on June 25, 1946. It aims at reconstructing and developing the economy of its member nations, particularly the developing countries by encouraging foreign investment and supplementing private investment. It also seeks to promote international trade and steady balance of payments. IBRD had more than 186 members in 2009. It is headed by a President and headquartered at Washington DC. Tuvalu joined in 2010.
  • International Civil Aviation Organisation ( ICAO ) : After having been around since June 1945 sequel to the international conference on Civil Avation held at Chicago from 1st November to 7th December 1944, ICAO came into force on 4th of April 1947. It sets forth internationed standards and regulation for Civil Avation aimed at safety. It offers technical.assistance to the developing countries besides providing economic and statistical data to all its member nations. It drafts international air conventions. International customs and immigration formalities and public health regulations relating to air transport have been simplified by ICAO. Triennial meetings are held by ICAO which has 183 member nations out of which 30 form the ICAO Council. The Assembly elects the Council which in turn elects the President and the Secretary General. It is headquartered at Montreal ( Canada ).
  • International Development Association ( IDA ) : IDA was formed on September 24, 1960 as an affiliate of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( IBRD ) with the objective of helping poorest countries of the World. Though affiliated to IBRD it functions as distinct entity. It is headquartered at Washington DC.
  • International Finance Corporation ( IFC ) : It was established on July 20, 1956 as an affiliate of the World Bank. Its aim is to promote economic development in its member countries ( 182 ). It can make supplementary investments along with private parties with a view to encouraging the private sector in its member nations. And it is not necessary for the IFC to obtain an underwriting from the respective governments for the recovery of such investments where adequate private capital could not be mustered with reasoble terms. It also attempts to conflate private investments and effective and experienced management. It is headquartered at Washington DC.
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development ( IFAD ) : Conceived by the World Food Conference in 1974, the IFAD came into existence on July 2009 as a $35.7 billion fund contributed by the industrialised nations and the petroleum exporting countries with $600 million coming from the former and $400 million from the later. Its aims are to enhance the food production and provide employment to non – land – owning farmers in the developing countries and also to minimise malnutrition in third world countries. The president of the fund is responsible for all its activities. Based in Rome ( Italy ).
  • International Labour Organisation ( ILO ) : It was established in 1919 sequel to the peace conference in Paris wherein a commission was setup headed by Samuel Groupers, President of American Federation of Labour, which paved the way for the formation of ILO as an independent organisation of the League of Nations. It is a tripartite organisation in which one half is represented by governments, one fourth by labour and the remaining one – fourth by employers. The governing body of ILO consists of 183 members. The ILO became the first specialised agency of the UNO in 1946. It is headed by a Director – General. ILO is headquartered at Geneva.Director General :Juan Somavia. The main aim of ILO is to improve the working conditions of world wide labourers, to enhance their standard of living and to help maintain Economic and Social stability.
  • International Maritime Organisation ( IMO ) : It was formed in March 1958 following the International Maritime conference held at Geneva. Its aim is to ensure the safety of life at Sea. In operation, IMO is an advisory and consultative organisation. It calls for inter ¬ governmental cooperation, elimination of redundant rules and regulations infringing the international maritime activities, highest attainable safety standards, most practicable efficient navigation etc. The Assembly of IMO consists 169 member nations. It holds biennial meetings. The headquarters of IMO is situated in London.

    Director General : Efthimio S.E. Mitropoulos.

  • International Monetary Fund ( IMF ) : IMF came into being on 27 December, 1945 and became operational about two years later on the 1st of March 1947. Its main aims are enhancing co – operation on money matters among its member nations, expansion of international trade, promoting exchange stability, avoidance of depreciation on exchanges arising from international competetion, establishment of multilateral payment system with regard to monetary transactions between its member nations, expurgation of plethora of foreign restrictions, and so on. Headed by a Managing Director, ( now, Christian Lagarde ) IMF has in its structure a board of Governers and Executive Directors. However the MD is elected by the ED’s. The headquarter of IMF is at Washington DC.
  • International Telecommunication Union ( ITU ) : It is the outcome of the fusion of the International Telegraph Union established in the year 1865 in Paris ( France ) and the International Radio Telegraph Union established in the year 1906 in Berlin. This merger was resolved at the convention held at Madrid in 1932. However ITU became a specialised agency of UNO in the year 1947. Its responsibilities include planning, regulating and coordinating all international telecommunications, also space communication, improving telecommunication facilities, etc. It also attempts to globalise Television and Broadcasting. It encourages the rising of new techniques and innovations and the development of specialised telecommunication facilities particularly in the developing countries. Headquartered at Geneva.
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency ( MIGA ) : This Agency of UNO came into being in April 1988. It aims at helping the developing countries by encouraging private investments. It offers insurance to those private investors who invest in developing countries thereby fecilitating increased investments. It also offers consultation and advise where needed. It attempts to make sure that the scourge of war, civil crisis and suchlike things if any, do not come in the way of its activities. With 25 Industrialized countries and 150 Developing countries ( total 175 ) fold the MIGA had about for membership in March 2009.
  • United Nations Children’s Fund ( UNICEF ) : Formerly known as United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, this agency of UNO which was later rechristned as United Nations Children’s Fund however retaining the same abbreviation UNICEF came into existance in 1946. And it became a permanet UN agency in the year 1953. The concern of UNICEF obviously revolves around the welfare of the children all over the globe. UNICEF aims at shielding the children from a number of diverse appalling factors including child labour and the scourge of war. The wide spectrum of its endeavors includes, among various other aspects, the prevention and eradication of diseases in children, educating the children, providing congenial living milieu soon and so forth. The UN General Assembly adopted a convention on the ‘Rights of the Child’ in 1989. A world summit for children was held in 1990. The convention then, having been endorsed by over 150 countries seeks to transform children’s children’s basic needs into legal rights. The convention binds the governments to Vouch for children’s right to (i) Survival (ii) Development and protection from abuse (iii) Protection against neglect, economic or sexual exploitation (iv) The best possible health care standards (v) Free and compulsory primary education (vi) Freedom of thought, religion concience, association and expression. And it also lays emphasis as providing assistance to families in order to help maintain sufficient living standards. The highlight of goals of UNICEF for the year 2009.
    1. Universal Child Immunisation
    2. Breast – feeding
    3. Oral Rehydration Therapy
    4. Nutrition & deficiency eradication
    5. Eradication of Child labour
    6. Health and
    7. Education.

    Voluntary contributions from various governments and general public make up the sole monetary source of UNICEF UNICEF functions under an Executive Director who acts as the head of the executive board which comprises of 54 UN members designated by ECOSOC. It is headquartered at New York.

    Executive Director : Anthony Lake.

  • General Studies Question Bank CD

  • United Nations Human Rights Council ( UNHRC ) : The UN General Assembly adopted a Universal declaration on Human Rights on 10th December 1948, which enunciates among several other things that, as a human being, everyone has the right to
    1. Survival
    2. Liberty and Security
    3. Work
    4. Freedom of movement and association
    5. Social security and
    6. Equality. It also forbids slavery and arbitrary arrests.

    The differences in the outlook of governments delayed the ratification of the declaration. Then the issue was taken up seriously by the UN General Assembly in 1966. Later, in 1976 it was ratified by 35 countries. The UN General Assembly has also adopted a convention on the elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. UNHRC’s pre – eminent role has been quite effective in several cases ( viz ) the elimination of apathy in South Africa, the aftermath of the Tinanmen Square Tragedy in China, the settling of internal stifle in Bosnia when its Serb populate demanded seperation, etc. UNHRC in India, has been keeping a conscientious vigil over the developments in Pakistan where there are teeming media reports of rampant human right violation. UNHRC functions under a High Commissioner whose post has however been incepted only in the year 1993. As of now, the commission has 47 members.

    High Commissioner : Ms. Navaneethan Pillay.

  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ( UNCTAD ) : The first conference which was attended by over 100 nations was held by the UN General Assembly at Geneva in December 1964. The objective of UNTCAD is to promote international trade and improve the economy of all the member nations particularly the developing ones. Meeting are convened as and when necessiated. In April 1968, UNCTAD conference conducted at the Indian Capital, New Delhi was attended by 130 nations. The tenth session of UNCTAD, in which 146 nations participated was held at Bangkok ( capital of Thailand ) from the 12th to 19th of February 2000. 12th UNCTAD conference was held in Accra, Ghana in April 2008. The president of this meet was Dr. Sapachai Panitchpakdi. As of now, UNCTAD has 193 members. However it was perceived that this meet failed to offer substantial grounds for the developing nations to benefit from. UNCTAD operates under a Secretary – General ( now, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi ).
  • United Nations Development Program ( UNDP ) : Its endeavours include assisting the developing countries in human and natural resource development, improving their indigenous capabilities so as to add to their wealth, providing funds for the technical and other developmental activities of the UNO etc. It is the world’s largest agency of its kind, with a multifacted agenda. It functions under a Director – General who also acts as the Administrator. Headquartered at New York.

    Director General : Helen Clark.

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation ( UNESCO ) : UNESCO was founded on the 4th of November 1946. The Program of UNESCO was drafted at the UN founding conference held in London and san Fransisco in 1945. And by 2006 UNESCO had gathered 193 members. The main aim of UNESCO is to promote international peace and security by encouraging collaboration among nations though education, science and culture and there by inculcating in the minds of the international communities, the respect for justice, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedom with little regard to religion, race, sex or language . the focus of its scientific research in the third world countries is on measures to better living conditions with a particular emphasis on hygienic drinking water. It has opened doors to a sustainable livelihood for the disabled and the desolate. While the organization is propped up by over a 1000 think – tanks it is funded by the world bank and the international Monetary Fund. It holds biennial conferences and functions under a Director – General ( Now : Irina Bokova ).it has its headquarters in paris ( France ).
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organisation ( UNIDO ) : It was formed in January 1967 and transformed into a specialized UN agency in 1985. Its main is to promote and accelerate the industralisation of the developing countries which account for three fourth of the global population. It functions under a director general. 104 countries took part in the first general conference of UNIDO which was held in Geneva in 1971 – 173 countries took part in the latest general conference of UNIDO which was held in Nigeria in March 2009. Agro – based industry has been a cornerstone of UNIDO. The organization has also been instrumental in the international upgradation of thchnological inputs and transfer and marketing consultancy . Headquartered in Vienna, Austria. Director General : Kandeh K. Yumkella. UNIDO seeks to proffer, besides other things, the following to the developing countries
    1. Industrial Assistance
    2. External finance for industrial projects
    3. Execution of industrial projects
    4. Co-ordination of UN systems with member nations etc
  • United Nations Environment Programe ( UNEP ) : This program was launched in the year 1972. its objective is to better milieux. It lays emphasis on healthy and effective environmental practices and calls for international cooperation on issues concerning human environment. Based in nairobi, the UNEP is headed by an Executice Director. ( Now : Achim Steiner )
  • United nations Fund for Population Activities ( UNFPA ) : it was created in 1967 with a view to helping the developing countries grapple with their population problems. It has launched program to overcome the scourge of population problems. It has launched program to overcome the scourge of population in over 130 countries and territories. It also aims at promoting awareness on the problems, population could potentially pose, world wide. Over a 25% of international population assistance to the developing countries is carried out under the aegis os UNFPA and the developing countries may take recourse to UNFPA in dealing with their population problems Headquarters : New York.
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR ) : The office of the High Commissioner came into existence on the New Year’s day of 1951. Initially it was intended to remain in place only for three years but later extended for tennures of five years from 1954. The UN High Commissioner addresses the problems of world-wide refugees of various nationality in an attempt to put an end to their travails through viable options such as voluntary repatriation, migration to other countries, local integration in the host nations etc. UNHCR also fosters humanity through special humanitarian tasks. The coveted Nobel Prize was conferred upon the office of UNCHR for its empathy and service to refugees, twice, once in 1954 and once again in 1981. The office of UNCHR is headquartered at Geneva.

    High Commissioner : Antonio Guterres.

  • Universal Postal Union ( UPU ) : It was founded on 9th October 1874. However it became a specialised UN agency only in the year 1947. It is composed of subordinate units like the 40 member Executive Council, the 188 member universal postal congress, a 35 member consultative committee etc. The aim of UPU is to establish a single postal territory to fecilitate correspondence, enhance the efficiency of postal services and organisation and promote international postal collaboration among the countries. The International Bureau which takes care of international postal administration, information and consultation, liaisoning and such like things acts also as the secretariat of UPU which is headquartered at Berne in Switzerland.
  • World Bank : The World Bank is composed of four institutions ( viz ) IBRD, IFC, IDA and MIGA, the predominent one being the IBRD. As the IBRD was the first to be established among the four it is generally referred to as the World Bank. Having been established on 27th December 1945 the IBRD began its operations on 25th June 1946 while the IFC was established on 20th July 1956, the IDA on 24th September 1950 and the MIGA in April 1988 as affiliates to the World Bank.

    President : Robert Zoellick.

  • The World Health Organisation ( WHO ) : It was established on 7th April 1948 with the sole purpose of assisting various nations in the improvement of their health standards and the dissemination of new found medical information. Its aim is to prevent diseases and eradicate the existing ones. Some of the key programs of WHO pertain to child health, nursing, tuberculosis, malaria, yaws, sanitation, cholera, plague etc. The looming problem which confronts WHO now is AIDS and researches aimed at the eradication of the dreaded HIV are abready afoot. One of the major successes of WHO is the elimination of the epidemic cholera in Egypt in the year 1947. The benign hands of WHO have also come to the rescue of India on many occations ( Earthquake in Maharashtra, Surat plague etc. ) and conversly several Indian doctors, medical experts health specialists etc are among the hoard of international medical professionals associated with WHO.
    The WHO has a say in international patents. WHO has risen to several occasions all over the world. WHO has close ties with Red Cross. WHO works under a Director – General and has as its Chief organs, the World Health Assembly, the Executive Board and a Secretariat. While the World Health Assembly which consists of 7 members (the apex board) is the supreme governing body the secretariat takes care of the day – to – day administration of WHO. It is headquartered at Geneva.

    Director General : Dr. Margaret Chan.

  • World Intellectual Property Organisation ( WIPO ) : 51 countries endorsed a convention at Stockholm in 1967 forming WIPO, however it came into force only in 1970. It was then recognised as a specialised UN Agency four years later. It aims at protecting ‘Intellectual Properties’ all over the World, maintaining international cooperation for the protection of such properties. It also provides legal or technical assistance. All UN members are entitled for membership in WIPO, so also those invited by its General Assembly which is constituted by all the members. WIPO has 184 members and functions under a Director – General ( Now : Francis Gurry ). The headquarters is located at Geneva in Switzerland.
  • World Meteorological Organisation ( WMO ) : The Directors of the International Meteorological Organisation which had been set up in 1873, met at a conference in Washington DC and adopted a convention creating WMO in 1947 which however became operational on the 23rd of March 1950. Its principal aims include performing effective meteorological observations and efficient meteorological services through a worldwide network of observatories and service centres, promoting the establishment of facilities of help quicken the exchange of information on weather conditions and also applying Meteorology to the fields of agriculture, shipping, avation etc. It also attempts to pull together various centres across the world and meteorological satellites for the establishment of World Weather Watch ( WWW, note : this abbreviation also stands for World Wide Web which has no relevance here ). An International Program for research in the outer space happenings is a highlight of WMO’s endeavours. WMO and the UN Environment program jointly established the Intergovernmental Panel on climatic change in 1998 to study global climatic changes and Greenhouse effects. It is headed by a Secretary General and is headquartered at Geneva.
  • World Trade Organisation ( WTO ) : It is a permanent body established in 1943 after the Uruguay round of talks on General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ( GATT ). It succeeded the GATT in monitoring International Trade and solving international disputes. It became operational in 1995. WTO functions under a General Council headed by a ‘Director General’ and holds meetings every two years. There were 153 members in WTO in July 2009. WTO is headquartered at Geneva. WTO consists of adhoc panels and an exclusive unit for settling international disputes, called the Dispute Settlement Body ( DSB ).

    Director General : Pascal Lamy.

Important Years declared by the UNO

  • 1967 – International Tourism
  • 1968 – International Human Rights
  • 1970 – International Education Year
  • 1972 – International Book Year
  • 1973 – Copernicus Year
  • 1974 – World Population Year
  • 1975 – International Women’s Year
  • 1979 – International Year of Children
  • 1980 – 89 International water – Supply $ Sanitation Decade
  • 1981 – International Year of Disabled
  • 1983 – World Communication Year
  • 1985 – International Youth Year
  • 1986 – International Year of Peace
  • 1987 – International Year of Shelter for the Homeless
  • 1990 – International Literacy Year
  • 1992 – International Space Year
  • 1993 – International Year of the Indigenous populations
  • 1994 – International Year of the Family
  • 1995 – International Year of Tolerance
  • 1998 – International Year of Ocean
  • 1999 – International Year of Older Persons
  • 1991 – 2000 International Development Decade
  • 2000 – International Year of Universal Cultural values
  • 2001 – International Year of Women
  • 2002 – International Year of Eco – Tourism
  • 2003 – International Year of Fresh Water
  • 2003 – 2012 Literacy Decade
  • 2004 – International Year of Rice
  • 2005 – International Year of Physics
  • 2007 – International Polar Year
  • 2008 – International Potato Year
  • 2009 – International Year of Natural Fibres
  • 2010 – International Year of Biodiversity
  • 2011 – International Year of Year of Forests
  • 2012 – International Year of Co – Operatives

General Studies Question Bank CD

Secretary Generals of the UNO

  1. Trygve ( Norway 1946 – 53 )
  2. Dag Hammars Kjoeld ( sweden 1953 – 61 )
  3. U. Thant ( Myanmar 1962 – 71 )
  4. Kurl Waldheim ( Austria 1971 – 81 )
  5. Javier Petez de Cuellar ( Peru 1982 – 92 )
  6. Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali ( Egypt 1992 – 97 )
  7. Kofi Annan ( Ghana 1997 – 2002 )
  8. Kofi Annan ( Ghana 2002 – December 31, 2006 )
  9. Ban Ki – moon (South Korea, January 1, 2007 – Dec 31, 2011 )
  10. Ban Ki – moon ( South Korea, January 1, 2012 )

JEE Main

Application Form Submission 16 Dec 2020 to 16 Jan 2021.