Basic Facts about the United Nations 2014

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This comprehensive handbook designed for the general public explains the structure of the United Nations, how the Organization works, the main issues it addresses and its importance for people everywhere. In addition to setting out the various roles played by principle UN organs and related organizations, Basic Facts about the United Nations documents the Organization’s contributions to international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights, humanitarian action, international law and decolonization. Appendices contain current data on UN membership and peacekeeping operations, as well as contact information for UN information centres, services and offices. This latest edition has been revised to take account of significant developments in the world and the Organization itself since 2011.



International peace and security

One of the primary purposes of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security. Since its creation, the United Nations has often been called upon to prevent disputes from escalating into war, to persuade opposing parties to use the conference table rather than the force of arms to settle disputes, or to help restore peace when armed conflict does break out. Over the decades, the UN has helped end numerous conflicts and foster reconciliation, including successful peacekeeping missions in Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan and Timor- Leste. While the Security Council is the primary organ for dealing with issues of international peace and security, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General also play major, complementary roles in fostering peace and security. United Nations activities cover the principal areas of conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, enforcement and peacebuilding (see www.un.org/peace).


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