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Notes on United Nations- important for PCS-J & Law  

(a) To keep peace throughout the world;(b) to develop friendly relations between nations;(c) to work together to help people live...

What are the aims of the United Nations?

(a) To keep peace throughout the world;

(b) to develop friendly relations between nations;

(c) to work together to help people live better lives, to eliminate poverty, disease and illiteracy in the world, to stop environmental destruction and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms and

(d) to be a centre for helping nations achieve these aims.

What are the principles of the United Nations?

 (a) All Member States have sovereign equality;

(b) All Member States must obey the Charter;

(c) Countries must try to settle their differences by peaceful means;

(d) Countries must avoid using force or the threat of force to settle disputes;

(e) The UN may not interfere in the domestic affairs of any country and

(f) Countries should try to assist the United Nations.

 When did the UN come into existence and Who coined the name “United Nations” ?

 (a)  On October 24, 1945. The day is now celebrated each year around the world as United Nations Day.

United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was first used in the “Declaration by United Nations” of 1 January 1942 during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the axis powers.

 How many Members are there in the UN ?

  Currently, 195 (January 2018)

What are the six official languages of the UN ? 

Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

How many countries signed the Charter at the San Francisco Conference in 1945?


Name the country which did not sign the Charter at San Francisco but is still considered an original member.

Poland – which was not able to send a representative.

What is the opening statement of the UN Charter?

 “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” .

 What is the United Nations Charter and when and where was it signed?

The Charter is the constituting instrument of the UN, setting out the rights and obligations of Member States and establishing the UN organs and procedures. The Charter was signed on June 26, 1945 at San Francisco, USA.

 Name the principal Organs of the UN.

   (i) General Assembly;  (ii) Security Council; (iii) International Court of Justice; (iv) Economic and Social Council; and (v) Secretariat.

 Who are the members of UN General Assembly?

The General Assembly is composed of representatives of all Member States each of which has one vote.

What are the functions and powers of the General Assembly?

 Under the Charter the G.A. is the main deliberative organ. Apart from discussing questions relating to peace, international cooperation, human rights and international collaboration in economic, social, cultural, educational and health fields, it receives and considers reports from the Security Council and other UN organs, it considers and approves the UN budget and apportions the contribution among members, it elects non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of Economic and Social Council, the judges of the International Court of Justice and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoints the Secretary-General.

When and how is the General Assembly called in Session?

The General Assembly’s regular session begins each year on the third Tuesday in September and continues usually until mid-December.

In addition to its regular Sessions, the Assembly may meet in Special Sessions at the request of the Security Council, of a majority of the members of the UN or of one member if the majority of members concurs. Emergency Special Sessions may be called within 24 hours on a request from anyone of these.

 How are decisions arrived at in the General Assembly?

 Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters require a two-third majority and other questions decided by a simple majority.

Are the decisions of the General Assembly binding on the Governments?

While the decisions of the GA have no legally binding force for Governments, they carry the weight of world opinion as well as the moral authority of the world community.

How many representatives can each country have in the General Assembly? .

Not more than five.

Where is the Headquarters of UN and since when?

 New York, USA, since 1952.

 Who is eligible to be a Member of the UN?

The Charter declares that membership of the UN is open to all the peace-loving nations who accept its obligations. The States are admitted by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.

 Does UN Charter provide for the suspension or expulsion of Member States? 

 Yes, for violation of the principles of the Charter.

Can the UN Charter be amended?

Yes, by a vote of two-thirds of the Members of the General Assembly and ratification by two-thirds of the Members of the United Nations including the five permanent Members of the Security Council.

What is the main function of the Security Council ?

The Security Council has primary responsibility under the Charter, for the maintenance of International Peace and Security.

Who are the members of the Security Council ?

  The Council has 15 members; five permanent members – China, France, The Russian Federation, UK and USA – and 10 elected by the General Assembly for 2 year terms.

What is the ‘Veto’ power?

 The power to Veto any decision by a negative vote in the Security Council. It is enjoyed by five permanent members of the Security Council- China, France, Russia, UK and USA.

 Are the decisions of the Security Council binding on the Member States?

  Yes, the Security Council alone has the power to take decisions which Member States are obliged under the Charter to carry out.

 Who elects non-permanent members of the Security Council?  The UN General Assembly.

Can any Member State which is not a member of Security Council participate in the discussion of the Security Council?

 Yes, but without a vote and if the Member State considers the discussion specially affects that country’s interests and is invited by the Security Council.

 Can the Security Council meet elsewhere than at its Headquarters in New York and has it so far met elsewhere?

   Yes, in 1972 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and in 1973 in Panama City, Panama.

 How is the President of the Security Council elected?

   The members take monthly turn in the presidency in English alphabetical order.

What and where is the International Court of Justice?

The International Court of Justice is the judicial organ of the United Nations. It only deals with cases brought by nations, not individuals. It consists of 15 Judges. The court sits in permanent session at The Hague, Netherlands.

Name of present Secretary-General of the UN and his country.

 Mr. Ban Ki-moon from South Korea. Assumed office on January 1, 2007 and was re-elected on January 1, 2011. His second term expires on December 31, 2016

 Who appoints the UN Secretary-General and what is his diplomatic status?

The General Assembly appoints on the recommendation of the Security Council. He holds the status of a Head of the State.

 What is the tenure of his office?

 Five years, but may be re-appointed.

Who was the first UN Secretary-General and when was he elected?

  Mr. Trygve Lie of Norway. Elected on February 1, 194

 Name the UN Secretary-General who died in an air-crash?

Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden, who died on September 18, 1961 during a Congo Mission.

How many Secretary-Generals have so far served the UN ? Name them.     Eight (8)      

  • Mr. Trygve Lie (Norway)
  • Mr. Dag Hammarskjold (Sweden)
  • Mr. U. Thant (Mayanmar)
  • Mr. Kurt Waldheim (Austria)
  • Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar (Peru)
  • Mr. Boutros BoutrosGhali (Egypt)
  • Mr. Kofi Annan (Ghana)
  • Mr. Ban Ki Moon (South Korea)

 There is only one UN Secretary-General who resigned before completing his term. Who is he ?   Mr. Trygve Lie of Norway, who was re-elected on December 13, 1951 for a three year mandate, but resigned in November 1952.

Name the UN Secretary-General who later on became the President of his country?

Mr. Kurt Waldheim of Austria.

Only one Latin American became the UN Secretary-General. Who was he and from where?

 Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru.

Name the only UN Secretary-General who was not re-elected for the second term and why?

  Mr. Boutros BoutrosGhali of Egypt vetoed by USA.

Who was the President of the First Session of General Assembly?

Mr. Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium in 1946.

Who holds the record for delivering the longest speech at the UN General Assembly?

Mr. V.K Krishna Menon of India, on January 23, 1957. His speech ran for 7 hours and 48 minutes over two sessions.

Only one Indian has so far been the President of the UN General Assembly. Who is that person ? When and at which session?

Mrs. Vijaylakshmi Pandit. At the eight session in 1953.

When and where did the first meeting of the UN General Assembly take place?

On January 10, 1946 in Central Hall, Westminster, London.

When was the first Veto used, by which country and for what?

On February 4, 1946 by Soviet Union on intervention of British troops in Greece.

China’s first Veto as permanent member of Security Council was applied on August 25, 1972, against what?

 To stop the entry of Bangladesh into the UN as a Member State.

Mr. Kurt Waldheim’s re-election for the third term was vetoed in the Security Council. Who applied the Veto?


 What is the significance of the Inter-Allied Declaration?

 Signed in London on June 12, 1941 the Inter-Allied Declaration “to work together, with other free peoples, both in war and peace” was the first of a series of steps which led to the establishment of the UN.

 Give the date and venue of the first meeting of the Security Council.

  On January 17, 1946 at Westminster, London.

 Why and when was the first-Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly called?

On November 6, 1956 to discuss the Suez Canal Crisis.

Give the date of India’s admission to UN

  October 30, 1945.

Name the UN Secretaries-General who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

  Mr. Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden for his work in helping settle the Congo Crisis. And Mr. Kofi Annan along with UN in 200l.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded nine times to the UN and its organizations. Name them

Ans.1950Ralph Bunche
 1954Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
 1961Dag Hammarskjold
1965UN Childrens Fund
1969International Labour Organisation
1981Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
2001Kofi Annan
2005International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammad El Baradei
2007Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Al Gore Jr.

Who pays for the UN and how is the contribution assessed?

The main source of funds for the regular budget of the UN is the contribution of Member States. Member States are assessed on a scale specified by the Assembly. The fundamental criterion on which the scale of assessments is based is the real capacity of Member States to pay. Rich countries pay more and poor countries pay less.

 Is there any limit on payments of contribution to the UN ?

Yes. No single country can pay more than 22% of the total and the minimum is 0.01%.

Can a Member-State be penalised for delay or non-payment of dues?

If Member-States get too far behind with their dues they lose their voting rights in the General Assembly. However this has never happened.

What is the difference between UN Peace-keeping forces and other Armed forces?

There are some important differences

  • UN Peace Keepers cannot take sides in a conflict.
  • Countries in conflict must agree to the presence of Peace Keepers.
  • UN Peace Keepers are generally lightly armed and cannot use force unless attacked.
  • UN Peace Keepers may also be civilians and from the police because peace keeping includes a range of activities includig humanitarian assistance, monitoring elections, and observing and reporting on a situation.

 Who commands the UN Peacekeeping Operations?

Peacekeeping Operations are established by the Security Council and directed by the Secretary- General usually through a special representative The UN has no military force of its own and member states provide the military and persons required for each operation. Peacekeepers wear their country’s uniform and are identified as peacekeepers only by a UN blue helmet or beret and a badge.

 What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

The Universal Declaration is a standard, but it is not law. However, several covenants, which include the main points of the Declaration, were signed in the 1960s and came into force in 1976 after most of the countries had ratified them. These countries are obliged to abide by them. They also gave the right to the UN to monitor whether or not Governments are observing their citizens’ Human Rights.

When was the Human Rights Declaration adopted?

On December 10, 1948 by the UN General Assembly. December 10 is observed as Human Rights Day around the world.

 Can individuals complain to the UN for violations of their Human Rights?

Yes, communications containing complaints of violations of Human Rights are dealt with under the Economic and Social Council resolution 1503 (XLVIII), commonly known as the 1503 procedure and summarized and sent confidentially to the 53-member commission on Human Rights. Copies of the complaints are also sent to the named State. The identity of the writers is not disclosed unless they have consented to disclosure.

What is UNDP and its role ?

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the world’s largest multilateral source of grant funding for development cooperation. It was created in 1965. Its funds come from the yearly voluntary contributions of Member States of the UN or its affiliated agencies.

Who are the United Nations Volunteers?

Established by a 1970 resolution of the General Assembly the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) are the specialists and field-workers who work in development and humanitarian relief programmes of Governments, assisted by UN agencies.

What is UNEP ?

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established as a result of the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972. UNEP’s main job is to catalyse environmental action and awareness worldwide. It has its Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and is the world’s leading environmental agency.

Why is the World Environment Day celebrated annually on 5th June?

 To commemorate the anniversary of the opening day of the first UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972.

What is the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF)?

 UN Democracy Fund was established in early 2005 to promote democracy throughout the world by providing assistance for projects that consolidates and strengthens democratic governance. However, UNDEF does not promote any sample model of democracy. The fund officially began its work on March 6, 2006

What is the role of UNICEF?

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was created by the General Assembly during its first session in 1946 with a mandate for the survival, protection and development of children. As the only UN agency devoted exclusively to the needs of children, UNICEF speaks on their behalf and promotes the implementation of the convention on the child, which became international law in September 1990. UNICEF relies entirely upon voluntary public and government contribution. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.

What and where is the United Nations University?

 The United Nations University (UNU) is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Established in 1973 UNU works to promote scholarly international and scientific cooperation to help solve urgent global problems.

In what way is the UNU different from a traditional teaching university?

 It has no student of its own, no faculty, no campus. It operates through worldwide networks of academic and research institutions, including its own research and training centers and individual scholars, to address problems.

 What means are available to the UN to help resolve conflicts?

 (a) Member States may bring a conflict to the attention of the Security Council. The Security Council can then call upon countries in conflict to settle their differences peacefully (Article 33).

  • If countries in conflict cannot come to an agreement on their own, they can take the dispute to the International Court of Justice which will decide who is right and who is wrong (Article 36).
  • The Security Council may ask UN members to stop trading with the country or countries and to cut all forms of communication including by sea, air, rail, post, telephone, radio etc. Members may also be asked to close Embassies in the country or countries concerned (Article 41).
  • If all this fails or is felt to be impractical the Security Council may dispatch neutral UN Peace Keepers to patrol safety or demilitarized zones, or to enforce or monitor cease-fire agreements until a permanent agreement is reached. However, Peace Keepers can only be sent if all countries in conflict agree to their presence.
  • In some cases, the Security Council may authorize Member States to intervene in a conflict by using a regular military force. Forces are contributed by Member States. This has happened only twice, in Korea in 1950 and in Kuwait in 1991.
  • Article 43 requires all Member States to make an agreed number of armed forces available to the Security Council for use in such cases.

Who is a refugee and who protects them on behalf of the UN ?

  “A refugee is a person who owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established. by the General Assembly in 1951 to protect refugees and promote durable solutions to their problems.

Name the seventeen agencies, known as “Specialized Agencies” – a term used in the UN Charter.

  •   International Labour Organisation (lLO).
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
  • UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
  • World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • International Monetary Fund (lMF).
  • International Civil Aviation Organisation (lCAO).
  • Universal Postal Union (UPU).
  • International Telecommunication Union (lTU).
  • World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
  • International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
  • World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (lAEA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) do not have the formal status of a specialised agency.

What is the World Bank?

The World Bank is a group of four institutions; The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), established in 1945, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), established in 1956, the International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), established in 1988.

The Common objective of all four institutions is to help raise standards of living in developing countries by channeling financial resources to those countries from developed countries.

What was the Bretten Woods Conference?

It was a United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference of 44 Governments held in 1944 at Bretten Woods, USA. It led to the establishment of IBRD – the International Bank for Reconstruction

and Development.

 What is IMF?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) founded in December 1945 is an inter-governmental organization to :

  • promote cooperation on international monetary issues;
  • to promote exchange stability;
  • to facilitate balanced growth of international trade; and
  • to make the general resources of the fund temporarily available to members to permit them to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments.

Was India among the original 51 Member States of the UN in 1945 ?  Yes.

What is IAEA? Give its date of establishment, the place of its Headquarters and its basic objectives.

 International Atomic Energy Agency was established on July 29, 1957 in Vienna. Its two main objectives are to seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world and to ensure that it is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose. It is administered by a 35-member Board of Governors headed by a Director General.

Name the first specialised agency of the United Nations?

 ILO – International Labour Organisation. It was established in 1919 as an autonomous institution associated with the League of Nations. By an agreement approved on December 14, 1946, ILO became the first specialised agency associated with UN. Based at Geneva in Switzerland ILO works to promote social justice for working people everywhere. In ILO, workers, employers and Governments representatives have an equal voice in formulating its policies.

“Since war begins in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” Where does this well-known quotation come from.

 From the constitution of UNESCO – United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization – which came into being on November 4, 1946, with Headquarters in Paris, France. UNESCO is involved in promoting education worldwide, preserving the world’s heritage and culture, improving accessibility to communication and supporting social scientific research.

What is Sustainable Development?

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) defines sustainable Development as programmes that would “improve people’s quality of life within the carrying capacity of the earth’s life-support system”.

 Who got the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership in establishing the UN.

Mr. Cordel Hull, US Secretary of State in 1945.

What and when was the first resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly.

On January 24, 1946, UNGA adopts its first resolution and its main focus was peaceful uses of atomic energy and the elimination of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction.

What do you know about “An Agenda for Peace”? When and by whom was it issued?

On June 17, 1992, UN Secretary-General Mr. Boutros BoutrosGhali issued, for submission to the Member States – An Agenda for Peace. It recommends ways to improve the UN capacity for preventive diplomacy, peace-making and peace-keeping.

 What is “An Agenda for Development” ?

 It is a blueprint for improving the human condition. In response to the request of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General issued this report on May 6, 1994.

Which day of the year is celebrated as International Day of Peace?

The General Assembly has designated 21 September as the International Day of Peace.

What is UN’s initiative “Alliance of Civilizations”?

 A new initiative – “Alliance of Civilizations” was launched in 2005 in response to concerns that extremists had been exploiting the sense of a widening gap between Islamic and Western societies with an objective to build bridges and promote a culture of respect.

The alliance was originally proposed by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and co-sponsored by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and both countries continue to act as co-sponsors.

 AIDS kills more than 2 million people each year. Is there any UN programme to tackle this threat?

  Ten UN agencies have pooled their resources in the UN Programme – called UNAIDS to combat HIV/AIDS. The participating agencies are UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank. In their Millennium Declaration, world leaders resolved by 2015 to have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and to provide special assistance to children orphaned by the disease.

Why was the Trusteeship Council set-up and why has it suspended its operations?

 Trusteeship Council was set up by the UN to supervise the administration of Trust Territories and its major goal was to promote self-government or independence. On 1 November 1994 the Council has suspended its operation with the independence of Palau, the last remaining UN Trust territory. It will now meet as occassions required at the request of General Assembly or the Security Council

Who are the Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors. Who appoints them.

They are prominent personalities who have lent their names, talents and time to support UN programmes. Messengers of Peace are appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The Goodwill Ambassadors are appointed by a cross-section of funds. Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj was appointed UN Messenger of Peace on February 2001.

What is NPT? Has India signed it, if not why?

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the most universal of all multilateral disarmament treaties, was first opened for signature in 1968 and came into force in 1970. The NPT is the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. India is not a signatory to NPT because India considers it a discriminatory treaty.

 What are the special powers granted to Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter?

 Under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council is empowered to take measures to enforce its decisions. It can impose embargoes and sanctions or authorise the use of military force by a coalition of Member States or by a regional organisation or arrangement. But the Security Council takes such action only as a last resort.

What is role of United Nations in the field of disarmament?

The UN General Assembly has two subsidiary bodies dealing with disarrnament issues: the first committee (Disarmament and International Security) and the Disarmament Commission.

The Conference on Disarmament is the international community’s sole multinational negotiating forum for disarmament agreements. The Conference successfully negotiated both the chemical weapons convention and the comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban. Treaty (CTBT). Of late the Conference has been unable to agree on a substantive programme due to lack of consensus.

 How does the UN build peace through development?

While the war is the worst enemy of development, a healthy and balanced development is the best form of conflict prevention. A central tool of the UN action to consolidate peace is development assistance. The UN through its various agencies play a role in stimulating economic recovery and mobilising resources.

Read more: Important Notes Of CPC (Civil Procedure Code) For Judiciary-PCSJ-Law

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