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United Nations Documents

Major Bodies of the UN

The major bodies of the UN are:

  1. The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative body of the UN. Resolutions are the primary way the GA expresses its recommendations, which are not binding on UN members. All member states have one vote.  There are many subsidiary bodies and committees of the GA, that study various issues, make recommendations, and write draft GA resolutions.  The six main committees are:
  2. The Security Council addresses issues of international peace and security, and is invested with substantial power to take real-life action (in contrast with the GA). Security Council resolutions are binding on all UN members There are 15 seats on the council. Five are permanently held by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia. The other ten seats are filled by other member states in rotating terms.
  3. The Economic and Social Council addresses economic and social goals of the UN, such as promoting higher standards of living and full employment. There are 54 members, elected by the GA for three year terms.
  4. The Secretariat is the administrative arm of the UN, headed by the Secretary-General who is appointed by the GA.
  5. The Trusteeship Council oversees a system which administers territories considered able to self-govern. The goal of this council is administer such territories while moving them toward self-government or independence.  This council's activities were suspended in 1994 when its last remaining trust territory achieved independence.
  6. The International Court of Justice (ICJ or the "World Court") is the principal judicial arm of the UN. It sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICJ adjudicates legal disputes between states and issues legal opinions at the request of international organizations.

UN Organization Chart