What is the United Nations?
What exactly do they do?
You might know the United Nations (UN) for its peacekeeping activities, conflict building and humanitarian assistance, but its work goes further than that.
- provides food to 90 million people in 73 countries
- vaccinates 58% of the world’s children, saving 2.5 million lives a year
- promotes maternal health, saving the lives of 30 million women a year
- assists over 36 million refugees and people fleeing war, famine or persecution
- mobilises US$ 12.4 billion in humanitarian aid to help people affected by emergencies
- helps combat climate change
- heads a campaign to end the use of leaded fuel in over 100 nations
- deploys 120,000 peacekeepers on 4 continents
Human rights & democracy
- promotes democracy, assisting some 30 countries a year with their elections
- protects and promotes human rights on site and through 80 treaties/declarations
- has helped 370 million rural poor achieve better lives in the last 30 years
Although the UN doesn’t make laws, it provides the means to help resolve international conflicts and formulate policies on matters affecting each and every one of us.
How is it structured?
There are 6 main UN institutions – with 5 based in New York:
The sixth, the International Court of Justice, is located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
The UN Headquarters is located in New York, where the members regularly meet to reach agreements on how to solve global issues. After the Second World War, on 24 October 1945, 51 countries established the United Nations as a commitment to preserve peace. Today, almost every country in the world is part of the UN.
Housed at the Palais des Nations, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) serves as the representative office of the Secretary-General at Geneva. A focal point for multilateral diplomacy, UNOG services more than 8,000 meetings every year, making it one of the busiest conference centres in the world. With more than 1,600 staff, it is the biggest duty stations outside of United Nations headquarters in New York.
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs informs about the relationship between United Nations and Switzerland.