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Animation: How does the United Nations work?

Posted: 10:43 AM, Sep 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-10 18:41:43Z

The United Nations is typically seen as a pillar of international cooperation and dialogue. But getting almost 200 nations to work toward any common goal is an impressive feat, so how does the United Nations actually work? 

The UN is a product of World War II. On April 25, 1945, 50 nations led by the US, Britain and the Soviet Union met in San Francisco to come up with the UN Charter to create an international coalition to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of wars." 

The UN body is made up of six main "organs:" the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, International Court of Justice and Secretariat. You're probably most familiar with the first two. 

The first is the main policymaking group and it's the only organ to have representation by all members of the UN. The Security Council only has 15 members and is charged with protecting international security and peace. 

In theory, the UN is supposed to give countries a global forum to peacefully tackle massive humanitarian and geopolitical issues. In practice, the organization has been plagued with criticisms about its moral code, its inclusion of oppressive dictatorships, and the privileged status of certain countries like the U.S., Russia and the U.K.