The United Nations is an organization of sovereign nations not a world government. It provides the machinery to help find solutions to disputes or problems, and to deal with virtually any matter of concern to humanity. It does not legislate like a national parliament. But in the meeting rooms and corridors of the UN, representatives of almost all countries of the world large and small, rich and poor, with varying political views and social systems have a voice and vote in shaping the policies of the international community. The year 1995 marks the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Organization. The UN has six main organs, listed below. All are based at UN
Headquarters in New York, except the International Court of Justice, which is located at The Hague, Netherlands.
The General Assembly
The General Assembly, sometimes called the nearest thing to a world parliament, is the main deliberative body. All Member States are represented in it, and each has one vote. Decisions on ordinary matters are taken by simple majority. Important questions require a two-thirds majority. The Assembly holds its regular sessions from mid-September to mid-
December; special or emergency sessions are held when necessary. Even when the
Assembly is not in session, its work goes on in special committees and bodies. The Assembly has the right to discuss and make recommendations on all matters within the scope of the UN Charter. It has no power to compel action by any Government, but its recommendations carry the weight of world opinion. The
Assembly also sets policies and determines programmes for the UN Secretariat. It sets goals and directs activities for development, approves the budget of peace- keeping operations and calls for world conferences on major issues. Occupying a central position in the UN, the Assembly receives reports from other organs, admits new Members, approves the budget and appoints the Secretary-General.