Sunday, January 2, 2011

United Nations peacekeeping missions and It's International Court of Justice

United Nations Great Contribution For

Social and economic development-

NEW YORK: United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon on Monday strongly condemned the suicide attack on a church in Egyptian city of Alexandria that killed 21 people and asked authorities to bring perpetrators of the crime to justice.

"The Secretary-General is appalled by the bomb attack that killed 21 people and wounded 70 others at the al-Qiddissin Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt, on New Year's Eve," said a statement by the spokesman of the UN chief.

"He strongly condemns this deplorable act of violence and supports efforts by the Egyptian authorities to bring those responsible to justice," the statement said.

"The Secretary-General conveys his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt," it said.
Frustrated by the collapse of U.S.-sponsored peace talks, Palestinians are preparing to take their case to the U.N. Security Council in the coming days with a resolution declaring ongoing Jewish settlement in the West Bank a major obstacle to ending the conflict.

The carefully worded resolution stops short of calling for sanctions against Israel or seeking recognition for Palestinian statehood. But it is designed to increase pressure on both Israel and the United States, Palestinian officials said.

The U.S. frequently has supported Israel by vetoing such moves in the United Nations. But Palestinian officials say the proposed resolution largely mirrors views expressed by the Obama administration in recent months.

2011, International Year of Chemistry (IYC)

IYC, organized by UNESCO and the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), will celebrate chemistry's vital contributions. To launch the Year, eminent chemists including several Nobel laureates will attend a conference at UNESCO on 27 and 28 January.
These successive “international years” highlight the crucial role of science in understanding our environment and for development and peace. They show the international community’s determination to engage deeply with these subjects. They also underline UNESCO’s driving role in these processes, as the only United Nations agency specializing in the sciences. 

UNESCO has worked throughout the year to organize conferences and travelling exhibitions, placing biodiversity at the heart of its programmes -- not only in science, but also in culture, given the close links between cultural diversity and biodiversity. Those efforts contributed significantly to the outcome of the 10th ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10), held in Nagoya (Japan) in October 2010. A new ten-year strategic plan was adopted, along with a new international Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization. 

The activities carried out to mark these “international years” lay milestones for the long term. Their impact extends far beyond the limits imposed by the calendar. At its 185th session in October 2010, the Executive Board of UNESCO decided to launch an ambitious programme on biodiversity, in particular by strengthening the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB). This groundbreaking programme, launched in the early 1970s, laid the foundations for what is known today as “sustainable development.” We will now step up efforts to encourage biodiversity research and conservation in the 564 biosphere reserves that stretch across 109 countries.

Biodiversity is our most fundamental natural resource. It supports processes that we all often take for granted, such as air quality, climate regulation, water purification, parasite and disease control, pollination and the prevention of erosion. Human well-being and survival are hardly conceivable without flourishing biodiversity. This must be a goal that we all work towards, together. 

The 2011 International Year of Chemistry will be a springboard for our greater ambitions in the sciences. Chemistry is everywhere in our daily life -- in the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the energy we use. As is biodiversity, chemistry is part of the often overlooked “silent environment” that we must understand better. 

On the initiative of Ethiopia, the United Nations declared 2011 International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011) and entrusted its organization to UNESCO. We shall seize this opportunity to redouble efforts in our fields of action – including science cooperation and diplomacy, building the research capacities of States and quality science education for all. Celebrated in the 100th anniversary year of the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Marie Curie, 2011 is an ideal moment to pay tribute to and promote women’s contribution to science. 

Science in general and chemistry in particular is a strategic lever for development. It is also a remarkable instrument of peace, through international cooperation among researchers worldwide. 

This potential of science must be better known. We must consider together how to make greater use of this. 

How, for instance, can we develop ‘green chemistry’ in the service of sustainable development? Discoveries in chemistry can help us rise to the challenges of climate change and develop alternative sources of energy. Chemistry can facilitate access to unpolluted water sources -- a challenge that will affect future stability in many regions. The celebration of the International Year of Chemistry should be understood in the context of United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Above all, it must lead to more effective decision-making and the development of practical applications.  

How can we share better the benefits of chemistry? Science and chemistry concern all of us and must not remain the exclusive preserve of experts. We must improve and accelerate science and chemistry education, train today the chemists of tomorrow and enable everyone to understand chemical processes and gauge their impact. These are the first steps to building knowledge societies. We must provide genuine resources to everybody, girls and boys, so that they can take part. 

These are my wishes for 2011. This year again, through a conference series, the launch of an experiment in schools across the world on the theme of water and special emphasis on this theme in its programmes, UNESCO will work to make these wishes come true.

Source: Irina Bokova

United Nations Organization
الأمم المتحدة
联合国 / 聯合國
Organisation des Nations unies
Организация Объединённых Наций
Organización de las Naciones Unidas
Map of UN member statesNote that this map does not represent the view of its members or the UN concerning the legal status of any country,[1] nor does it accurately reflect which areas' governments have UN representation.
Map of UN member states
Note that this map does not represent the view of its members or the UN concerning the legal status of any country, nor does it accurately reflect which areas' governments have UN representation.
Headquarters International territory in Manhattan, New York City
Official languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
Membership 192 member states
 -  Secretary-General South Korea Ban Ki-moon
 -  General Assembly President Switzerland Joseph Deiss
 -  United Nations Charter signed 26 June 1945 
 -  Entry into force of Charter 24 October 1945 

The United Nations Organization (UNO) or simply the United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.

There are currently 192 member states, including nearly every sovereign state in the world. From its offices around the world, the UN and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout the year. The organization has six principal organs: the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (for assisting in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (which is currently inactive). Other prominent UN System agencies include the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The UN's most visible public figure is the Secretary-General, currently Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who attained the post in 2007. The organization is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states, and has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.


The United Nations' system is based on five principal organs (formerly six–the Trusteeship Council suspended operations in 1994, upon the independence of Palau, the last remaining UN trustee territory); the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice.

Four of the five principal organs are located at the main United Nations headquarters located on international territory in New York City. The International Court of Justice is located in The Hague, while other major agencies are based in the UN offices at Geneva, Vienna, and Nairobi. Other UN institutions are located throughout the world.

The six official languages of the United Nations, used in intergovernmental meetings and documents, are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The Secretariat uses two working languages, English and French. Four of the official languages are the national languages of the permanent members of the Security Council (the United Kingdom and the United States share English as a de facto official language); Spanish and Arabic are the languages of the two largest blocs of official languages outside of the permanent members (Spanish being official in 20 countries, Arabic in 26). Five of the official languages were chosen when the UN was founded; Arabic was added later in 1973. The United Nations Editorial Manual states that the standard for English language documents is British usage and Oxford spelling, the Chinese writing standard is Simplified Chinese. This replaced Traditional Chinese in 1971 when the UN representation of China was changed from the Republic of China to the People's Republic of China.

General Assembly-

United Nations General Assembly hall.
The General Assembly is the main deliberative assembly of the United Nations. Composed of all United Nations member states, the assembly meets in regular yearly sessions under a president elected from among the member states. Over a two-week period at the start of each session, all members have the opportunity to address the assembly. Traditionally, the Secretary-General makes the first statement, followed by the president of the assembly. The first session was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Westminster Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations.

When the General Assembly votes on important questions, a two-thirds majority of those present and voting is required. Examples of important questions include: recommendations on peace and security; election of members to organs; admission, suspension, and expulsion of members; and, budgetary matters. All other questions are decided by majority vote. Each member country has one vote. Apart from approval of budgetary matters, resolutions are not binding on the members. The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN, except matters of peace and security that are under Security Council consideration.

Conceivably, the one state, one vote power structure could enable states comprising just eight percent of the world population to pass a resolution by a two-thirds vote (see List of countries by population). However, as no more than recommendations, it is difficult to imagine a situation in which a recommendation by member states constituting just eight percent of the world's population, would be adhered to by the remaining ninety-two percent of the population, should they object.

Security Council-

United Nations Security Council chamber.
The Security Council is charged with maintaining peace and security among countries. While other organs of the United Nations can only make 'recommendations' to member governments, the Security Council has the power to make binding decisions that member governments have agreed to carry out, under the terms of Charter Article 25. The decisions of the Council are known as United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The Security Council is made up of 15 member states, consisting of 5 permanent members–China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States–and 10 non-permanent members, currently Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey, and Uganda. The five permanent members hold veto power over substantive but not procedural resolutions allowing a permanent member to block adoption but not to block the debate of a resolution unacceptable to it. The ten temporary seats are held for two-year terms with member states voted in by the General Assembly on a regional basis. The presidency of the Security Council is rotated alphabetically each month, and is held by Uganda for the month of October 2010.


The United Nations Secretariat Building at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
The United Nations Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General, assisted by a staff of international civil servants worldwide. It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by United Nations bodies for their meetings. It also carries out tasks as directed by the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Economic and Social Council, and other UN bodies. The United Nations Charter provides that the staff be chosen by application of the "highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity," with due regard for the importance of recruiting on a wide geographical basis.

The Charter provides that the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any authority other than the UN. Each UN member country is enjoined to respect the international character of the Secretariat and not seek to influence its staff. The Secretary-General alone is responsible for staff selection.

The Secretary-General's duties include helping resolve international disputes, administering peacekeeping operations, organizing international conferences, gathering information on the implementation of Security Council decisions, and consulting with member governments regarding various initiatives. Key Secretariat offices in this area include the Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter that, in his or her opinion, may threaten international peace and security.


The current Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea.
The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General, who acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN. The current Secretary-General is Ban Ki-moon, who took over from Kofi Annan in 2007 and will be eligible for reappointment when his first term expires in 2011.

Envisioned by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a "world moderator", the position is defined in the UN Charter as the organization's "chief administrative officer", but the Charter also states that the Secretary-General can bring to the Security Council's attention "any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security", giving the position greater scope for action on the world stage. The position has evolved into a dual role of an administrator of the UN organization, and a diplomat and mediator addressing disputes between member states and finding consensus to global issues.

The Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly, after being recommended by the Security Council, any member of which can veto, and the General Assembly can theoretically override the Security Council's recommendation if a majority vote is not achieved, although this has not happened so far. There are no specific criteria for the post, but over the years, it has become accepted that the post shall be held for one or two terms of five years, that the post shall be appointed on the basis of geographical rotation, and that the Secretary-General shall not originate from one of the five permanent Security Council member states.

Secretaries-General of the United Nations
No. Name Country of origin Took office Left office Note
1 Trygve Lie  Norway 2 February 1946 10 November 1952 Resigned; First Secretary-General from Scandinavia
2 Dag Hammarskjöld  Sweden 10 April 1953 18 September 1961 Died while in office
3 U Thant  Burma 30 November 1961 1 January 1972 First Secretary-General from Asia
4 Kurt Waldheim  Austria 1 January 1972 1 January 1982
5 Javier Pérez de Cuéllar  Peru 1 January 1982 1 January 1992 First Secretary-General from America
6 Boutros Boutros-Ghali  Egypt 1 January 1992 1 January 1997 First Secretary-General from Africa
7 Kofi Annan  Ghana 1 January 1997 1 January 2007
8 Ban Ki-moon  South Korea 1 January 2007 Incumbent

Social and economic development-

Millennium Development Goals:
  1. eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;
  2. achieve universal primary education;
  3. promote gender equality and empower women;
  4. reduce child mortality;
  5. improve maternal health;
  6. combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;
  7. ensure environmental sustainability; and
  8. develop a global partnership for development.
The UN is involved in supporting development, e.g. by the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is the largest multilateral source of grant technical assistance in the world. Organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are leading institutions in the battle against diseases around the world, especially in poor countries. The UN Population Fund is a major provider of reproductive services.

The UN also promotes human development through various related agencies. The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF), for example, are independent, specialized agencies and observers within the UN framework, according to a 1947 agreement. They were initially formed as separate from the UN through the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944.

The UN annually publishes the Human Development Index (HDI), a comparative measure ranking countries by poverty, literacy, education, life expectancy, and other factors.

The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that all 192 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. This was declared in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000.


UNITED NATIONS:  India, Colombia, Germany, Portugal and South Africa began their two-year tenure on Saturday as non-permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, with the world watching how some of the aspirants for the permanent seats work to accomplish their goal.

Elected by the UN General Assembly on October 12, the five new members took their seats on New Year day. The Security Council has remained unchanged since its membership expanded from 11 to 15 nations in 1963. Efforts to reform the Council, undertaken since 1979, have made little progress. Five permanent members, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, hold veto power.

This is a list of UN peacekeeping missions since the United Nations was founded in 1945, organized by region, with the dates of deployment, the name of the related conflict, and the name of the UN operation.

Peacekeeping, as defined by the United Nations, is a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace. UN peacekeepers—soldiers and military officers, civilian police officers and civilian personnel from many countries—monitor and observe peace processes that emerge in post-conflict situations and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they have signed. Such assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development. All operations must include the resolution of conflicts through the use of force to be considered valid under the charter of the United Nations.

IDP camp in Sudan resulting from the Darfur conflict.
The Charter of the United Nations gives the Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. For this reason, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize peacekeeping operations. Most of these operations are established and implemented by the United Nations itself with troops serving under UN operational command. In other cases, where direct UN involvement is not considered appropriate or feasible, the Council authorizes regional organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Economic Community of West African States or coalitions of willing countries to implement certain peacekeeping or peace enforcement functions. In modern times, peacekeeping operations have evolved into many different functions, including diplomatic relations with other countries, international bodies of justice (such as the International Criminal Court), and eliminating problems such as landmines that can lead to new incidents of fighting.


Top 10 donators to the UN budget, 2009
Member state Contribution
(% of UN budget)
 United States 22.00%
 Japan 16.624%
 Germany 8.577%
 United Kingdom 6.642%
 France 6.301%
 Italy 5.079%
 Canada 2.977%
 Spain 2.968%
 China 2.667%
 Mexico 2.257%
Other member states 23.908%
The UN is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from member states. The regular two-year budgets of the UN and its specialized agencies are funded by assessments. The General Assembly approves the regular budget and determines the assessment for each member. This is broadly based on the relative capacity of each country to pay, as measured by their Gross National Income (GNI), with adjustments for external debt and low per capita income.

The Assembly has established the principle that the UN should not be overly dependent on any one member to finance its operations. Thus, there is a 'ceiling' rate, setting the maximum amount any member is assessed for the regular budget. In December 2000, the Assembly revised the scale of assessments to reflect current global circumstances. As part of that revision, the regular budget ceiling was reduced from 25% to 22%. The U.S. is the only member that has met the ceiling. In addition to a ceiling rate, the minimum amount assessed to any member nation (or 'floor' rate) is set at 0.001% of the UN budget. In addition, for the least developed countries (LDC), a ceiling rate of 0.01% is applied.

The current operating budget is estimated at $4.19 billion for the 2-year (biennial) period of 2008 to 2009, or a little over 2 billion dollars a year (refer to table for major contributors).

A large share of UN expenditures addresses the core UN mission of peace and security. The peacekeeping budget for the 2005–2006 fiscal year is approximately $5 billion (compared to approximately $1.5 billion for the UN core budget over the same period), with some 70,000 troops deployed in 17 missions around the world. UN peace operations are funded by assessments, using a formula derived from the regular funding scale, but including a weighted surcharge for the five permanent Security Council members, who must approve all peacekeeping operations. This surcharge serves to offset discounted peacekeeping assessment rates for less developed countries. As of 1 January 2008, the top 10 providers of assessed financial contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations were: the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, China, Canada, Spain, and the Republic of Korea.

Special UN programmes not included in the regular budget (such as UNICEF, the WFP and UNDP) are financed by voluntary contributions from other member governments. Most of this is financial contributions, but some is in the form of agricultural commodities donated for afflicted populations.

Because their funding is voluntary, many of these agencies suffer severe shortages during economic recessions. In July 2009, the World Food Programme reported that it has been forced to cut services because of insufficient funding. It has received barely a quarter of the total it needs for the 09/10 financial year.

International Court of Justice-

Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), located in The Hague, Netherlands, is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. Established in 1945 by the United Nations Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Statute of the International Court of Justice, similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the Court.
It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, sharing the building with the Hague Academy of International Law, a private centre for the study of international law. Several of the Court's current judges are either alumni or former faculty members of the Academy. Its purpose is to adjudicate disputes among states. The court has heard cases related to war crimes, illegal state interference and ethnic cleansing, among others, and continues to hear cases.

A related court, the International Criminal Court (ICC), began operating in 2002 through international discussions initiated by the General Assembly. It is the first permanent international court charged with trying those who commit the most serious crimes under international law, including war crimes and genocide. The ICC is functionally independent of the UN in terms of personnel and financing, but some meetings of the ICC governing body, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, are held at the UN. There is a "relationship agreement" between the ICC and the UN that governs how the two institutions regard each other legally.

Economic and Social Council-

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development. ECOSOC has 54 members, all of which are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term. The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen amongst the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC. ECOSOC meets once a year in July for a four-week session. Since 1998, it has held another meeting each April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Viewed separate from the specialized bodies it coordinates, ECOSOC's functions include information gathering, advising member nations, and making recommendations. In addition, ECOSOC is well-positioned to provide policy coherence and coordinate the overlapping functions of the UN’s subsidiary bodies and it is in these roles that it is most active.

Specialized institutions-

There are many UN organizations and agencies that function to work on particular issues. Some of the most well-known agencies are the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Bank and the World Health Organization.

It is through these agencies that the UN performs most of its humanitarian work. Examples include mass vaccination programmes (through the WHO), the avoidance of famine and malnutrition (through the work of the WFP) and the protection of vulnerable and displaced people (for example, by the UNHCR).

2 January 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) have discussed the recent situation on the Korean Peninsula in a telephone conversation, during which the United Nations chief reaffirmed his readiness to provide assistance to facilitate peace and stability in the region in close coordination with the concerned countries.

During the discussion yesterday, Mr. Ban said he appreciated President Lee Myung-bak's commitment to resolving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear problem through the Six-Party Talks, referring to the talks involving China, DPRK, Japan, ROK, Russia and the United States aimed at resolving the crisis over the nuclear issue.

“The Secretary-General looked forward to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted by the ROK, an event which would significantly contribute to strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation regime,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson.

He congratulated Mr. Lee and the people of the ROK for successfully hosting the Group of 20 (G20) Summit in Seoul in November and for the country's continued economic and social development last year.

The Secretary-General commended the ROK's active contribution to the work of the UN, including through an increase in overseas development assistance and greater participation in the world body's peace operations, as well as to global efforts to address climate change and promote green growth.

The UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals concluded with the adoption of a global action plan to achieve the eight anti-poverty goals by their 2015 target date and the announcement of major new commitments for women's and children's health and other initiatives against poverty, hunger and disease.

Antonio Banderas, Angelique Kidjo, Zinedine Zidane, Maria Sharapova and Annie Lennox are among the UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace who have been and will continue to champion the cause of the Millennium Development Goals. "I thank these outstanding leaders for joining our push to advance progress towards the Millennium Development Goals," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "They are household names who are bringing the message of global justice and solidarity to homes and communities around the world."

From Wikipedia-

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