How the United Nations responds to crises

Apr 9, 2022

Founded in 1945, the United Nations is made up of 193 member countries. The UN and its work are guided by the purposes and principles outlined in the Charter.

In every aspect, the UN’s work is shaped by its member countries which decide on the organization’s priorities, provide essential funding and lay out the terms of the UN’s crisis response.

The United Nations strives to achieve peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet. The UN’s work is wide-ranging, covering peace and security, human rights, humanitarian aid, sustainable development and climate action and international law.

Dedicated women and men carry out the UN’s vital efforts in all corners of the world — from feeding the hungry, protecting children, and delivering humanitarian aid to promoting sustainable development, peacekeeping and safeguarding civilians, taking climate action, and mediating conflicts to supporting refugees and migrants, advancing human rights and much more.

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The UN is often looked to for leadership and support during times of crisis, including at present the ongoing war in Ukraine. From providing basic essentials to refugees, to delivering food aid and medical supplies, to lending psycho-social support, learn more about how the UN has been supporting people impacted by the war.

The Secretary-General, who leads the UN Secretariat, uses his voice and moral authority to advocate for the interests and well-being of people everywhere, particularly the most vulnerable.

The Secretary-General exercises independence, impartiality and integrity in his efforts to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

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How member countries shape the UN’s work.

The member countries that comprise the UN meet to decide on the priorities that form the foundation of the organization's work through a set of principle “organs”.

The General Assembly (UNGA) is the main policy-making organ of the United Nations and provides a unique forum for multilateral discussions. In the General Assembly, each of the 193 member countries has an equal vote, although its decisions are non-binding.

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The Security Council is made up of 15 countries and is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Each member country has one vote, while its five permanent members also wield the power to veto matters brought before the Council. Under the UN Charter, all countries are obligated to comply with the Council’s decisions.

When the Security Council is unable to act because of the lack of unanimity among its five veto-wielding permanent members, a General Assembly resolution widely known as “United For Peace” gives the Assembly the power to take up matters of international peace and security.

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You can learn about the UN’s work by following along on social media:

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And also here on Medium:


How the United Nations responds to crises was originally published in We The Peoples on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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