Main Organs of the UN

General Assembly

The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the UN and is composed of representatives of all Member States.  A revitalization of the Assembly is under way to enhance its role, authority, effectiveness and efficiency.

General Assembly Main Committees

The General Assembly has six main committees:

  • First Committee:  Disarmament and International Security
  • Second Committee:  Economic and Financial
  • Third Committee:  Social, Humanitarian and Cultural
  • Fourth Committee:  Special Political and Decolonization
  • Fifth Committee:  Administrative and Budgetary
  • Sixth Committee:  Legal

In addition, six Commissions report to the General Assembly:

  • Disarmament Commission
  • International Civil Service
  • International Law Commission
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
  • UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine
  • UN Peacebuilding Commission

Security Council

The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security.  It currently is comprised of 15 member States, five of which are permanent members with veto power.  These are China, France, Russian Federation, United States and United Kingdom.  A reform of the Security Council, including its membership is under consideration.

The Security Council has a large number of subsidiary bodies, including standing and ad hoc committees, Sanctions and other committees.

Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the principal organ to coordinate the economic, social and related work of the United Nations and the specialized agencies and institutions.  The Council’s 54 member States are elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.  Seats are allocated on a geographical basis, with 14 allocated to African States, 11 to Asian States, 6 to Eastern European States, 10 to Latin American and Caribbean States and 13 to Western European and other States. Voting in the Council is by simple majority; each member has one vote.
ECOSOC has a number of subsidiary bodies, including seven Functional Commissions, five Regional Economic Commissions, various Standing, Ad hoc and Expert Committees, and other related bodies.

The Functional Commission include:

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Commission on Narcotic Drugs
Commission on Population and Development
Commission on Science and Technology for Development
Commission for Social Development
Commission on the Status of Women
Commission on Sustainable Development
Statistical Commission
United Nations Forum on Forests

Regional Commissions are located around the world:

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice, located at the Hague in the Netherlands, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.  It settles legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions to the UN and its specialized agencies.

Trusteeship Council

The Trusteeship Council was established in 1945 to ensure that 11 Trust Territories placed under the administration of 7 Member States were prepared for self-government and independence.  This has been fully achieved by 1994, and the Council amended its rules of procedure to meet as and where occasion may require.