The Structure of United Nations

The world has made great strides in the way of international organization. Since 1919, many international organizations have emerged in terms of competence, membership, goals, authorities and others. Perhaps the League of Nations was the first of these international organizations, and its primary goal was to preserve international peace and security, prohibit the use of force as an individual means of extracting rights, and prevent another world war after World War I. The United Nations soon emerged in the wake of the end of World War II, as a result of Consider creating an alternative world organization to the League of Nations. Benefiting in its composition and organizational structure from previous experience in the League of Nations, namely the United Nations.

Article 7 of the United Nations Charter defined the branches of this organization, so that it consists of six main organs or branches: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the General Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice, with the possibility of establishing other branches as he sees fit. The necessity of its establishment in accordance with the provisions of the Charter.

1- The General Assembly:
The General Assembly is the largest branch of the United Nations in terms of the number of its members. The first paragraph of Article 9 of the Charter stipulates that the General Assembly shall consist of all members of the United Nations. It meets in a regular session once a year beginning on Tuesday of the third week of September. It may meet in an emergency or special session whenever necessary and at the request of the Security Council or a majority of the members of the United Nations.

The General Assembly has broad general powers, and it has the right to discuss all matters that fall within the powers of the United Nations, whether related to the general principles of international cooperation or issues related to colonial affairs, and it may issue whatever recommendations it deems necessary in all matters. An important limitation to this general mandate, however, is that the General Assembly must refrain from making any recommendation regarding any dispute or position on the agenda of the Security Council.

The General Assembly exclusively elects members of the Economic and Social Council, non-permanent members of the Security Council, and some members of the Trusteeship Council, and the General Assembly considers the branch competent to monitor the activities of other branches. .

The General Assembly shares with the Security Council some important responsibilities such as appointing the Secretary-General of the United Nations, selecting judges for the International Court of Justice, imposing sanctions on member states, and accepting new members. However, it alone has many specializations related to the financial and administrative affairs of the United Nations, foremost of which is the approval of the draft program and budget and the determination of the share of member states in the material budget of the organization.

Every member state of the General Assembly has one vote in accordance with the principle of equality, and the General Assembly takes its recommendations or decisions by a simple majority regarding unimportant matters and by a two-thirds majority regarding important issues. The principle is that the Assembly does not issue binding decisions, but rather recommendations to member states, but it has broad powers in matters Financial, administrative, and internal affairs of the organization and its decisions are binding.

2 – The Security Council:

It consists of:
A – the permanent members: and  their number is five members defined by the charter, they are (the United States of America, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China).

B – The elected members:  their number is ten. They are elected by the General Assembly for a period of two years that is not subject to immediate renewal. When choosing these countries, the extent of their contribution to the preservation of peace and the fairness of geographical distribution are taken into account. In its resolution issued on December 28, 1963, the General Assembly specified the distribution of non-permanent seats in the Council on the basis of five seats for African and Asian countries, two seats for Western Europe and other countries, two for Latin America, and one for Eastern European countries.

The council is competent to settle disputes by peaceful means and it has the right to recommend the means it deems appropriate to settle these disputes, and in the event of aggression, the Security Council is the competent authority to identify the aggressor and the offended party, and the measures that it can take in such cases start with recommending temporary arrangements such as a ceasefire. The fire, withdrawal of the aggressor forces or the conclusion of a truce to ordering the imposition of certain sanctions against the aggressor state, such as the economic blockade, cutting off means of transportation, land, sea and air communications and ending with the use of force to deter the aggressor.

The Security Council meets whenever necessary. Its decisions are taken by a simple majority on procedural matters and by nine votes, including the votes of the permanent states collectively on substantive issues. The Security Council is the only branch that has the power to issue a binding decision vis-à-vis the Member States, especially when it makes its decisions based on the provisions of Chapter Seven of the Charter relating to situations of threat to peace and the occurrence of aggression.

3 – The Economic and Social Council:

It was originally composed of 18 members that were increased several times as a result of the steady increase in the number of members of the United Nations, and since 1973 it has consisted of 54 members elected by the General Assembly for a three-year renewable term. The General Assembly shall take into account, upon election, the criteria for equitable geographical distribution. And the distribution of the seat seats in accordance with the system currently in force on the basis of 14 seats for African countries, 11 seats for Asian countries, 10 seats for Latin American countries, 13 seats for Western European and other countries, 6 seats for Eastern European countries.

The council is concerned with developing cooperation between states in the economic, social and cultural fields and regulating relations between nations on the one hand and each of the international non-governmental organizations on the other hand.

4- Trusteeship Council:

The purpose of establishing this council was to supervise the administration of the colonies that were subject to the mandate system during the era of the League and the colonies that were cut off from the defeated countries in the Second World War and it consists of: the guardian states of the colonies subject to the guardianship system, and the permanent states in the Security Council that do not administer the territories covered For the trusteeship system, and a number of other states elected by the General Assembly, taking into account that there is always a numerical balance between the trusting states and other countries.

The council is concerned with examining the reports that the guardian states are obligated to prepare on developments in the political, economic and social conditions in the colonies under guardianship, examining complaints received regarding these matters, organizing periodic visits to them, and forming investigation committees etc.

This council ceased to exist in real terms after all the colonies or regions that were subject to the tutelage system gained their independence.

5 – General Secretariat:

It is the administrative and technical apparatus of the United Nations and carries out secretarial work for all the aforementioned agencies or branches and undertakes the preparation of the studies requested from it and the collection of data or information. It also undertakes the preparation of the program and budget approved by the General Assembly after discussion and amendment.

The General Secretariat consists of:

A- The  Secretary General of the United Nations: He  heads the General Secretariat and is responsible for the work of this body as a whole before the General Assembly. He is chosen from among the nominees of the member states by the Security Council first, then the General Assembly approves or rejects this choice, and the Secretary General is responsible for appointing the staff of the General Secretariat, supervising their work and holding them accountable, and in addition to his administrative competencies, the United Nations Charter has assigned the Secretary-General some political functions, the most important of which are his powers In alerting the Security Council to any issue it deems threatening international peace and security. It also implements the political tasks assigned to the Security Council today, such as mediating or supervising the implementation of a resolution issued in relation to a specific conflict … etc.

B-  The General Secretariat:  It consists of the rest of the technical administrative staff, and the Secretary General appoints them according to competency standards, taking into account the equitable geographical distribution. The General Assembly on February 13, 1946 and ratified by the Member States. The headquarters of the General Secretariat is located in New York.

6-  The International Court of Justice:  It consists of fifteen judges chosen for a period of nine years, each of the Security Council and the General Assembly from among the nominees of the Member States from judges and experts in international law, and it is taken into account when choosing not to have more than one judge from among the subjects of a particular country and to reflect The formation of the court is the most important civilization and the main legal systems in the world.

These judges enjoy all immunities and privileges that enable them to carry out their mission in complete independence, and they may only be dismissed for health or mental reasons and by a decision of the court itself.

In the formation of the organizational structure of the United Nations and in the distribution of burdens, competencies and powers among its branches, it has been taken into account that it responds to two types of considerations:

The first:  considerations of the political balance between the General Assembly on the one hand and the Security Council on the other hand, based on the idea that the public branch in which all member states participate, must have broad and general powers and that the branch that includes the major countries that have been delegated by the Charter special responsibilities in the field of maintaining peace And international security must have stronger powers within the scope of the powers vested in it and at the same time share with the general branch some important competencies related to the entity of the organization as a whole.

The second:  considerations of job division of labor, for the Security Council is the body responsible for maintaining international peace and security, the Trusteeship Council is the body responsible for supervising the administration of colonies covered by the wills system, the Economic and Social Council is the body responsible for coordinating economic and social policies for the United Nations system, and the General Secretariat is the administrative body For the organization, the International Court of Justice is the judicial and advisory body. As for the General Assembly, it is the body that supervises and monitors all of these bodies.

In addition to the five main organs and branches of the United Nations on the Charter, the General Assembly alone has the right to form whatever subsidiary organs and branches it deems to meet and keep pace with international needs and developments.

The General Assembly has expanded the use of this right and created many of these organs, so that the contemporary organizational structure of the United Nations has become very complex.

Sources and references:

Charter of the United Nations

Prof. Dr. Hassan Nafaa, Principles of Political Science, Cairo University, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Department of Political Science.

Muhammad Aziz Shukri, The International International Organization between Theory and Reality, Dar Al-Fikr, Damascus, 1973.

Dr.. Iman Ahmed Allam, International Organization, Faculty of Law, Benha University.