The United Nations Charter was signed on 24 October 1945. The first session of the UN took place in London in 1946 and thereafter in New York. The aims of the UN are: to maintain international peace and security, the development of friendship, equal rights and self determination and the solution of economic and social problems. Most countries are members of the UN.
The General Assembly meets annually to discuss any proposals within the scope of the Charter. Each member country has one vote per resolution.
The Security Council meets regularly to discuss matters that affect international peace and security. There are 15 members of which China, France, Russia, USA and the UK are permanent members.
The main purpose of the Economic and Social Council is the co-ordination of specialist UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNESCO, UNHCR, WWF and WHO.
The International Court of Justice provides legal rulings on cases presented by the UN or member countries. There are 15 Judges of different nations each serving for nine years. Judgements are usually final but may be reopened within 10 years under special circumstances. Failure to comply with the Judgement may mean recourse to the Security Council.