The United Nations Organisation is ultimately the result of a meeting held in 1941 between the then US President F.D.Roosevelt and the British statesman Winston Churchill in which they outlined their ideas for the world once the Second World War had ended. They envisaged a better world in which countries would all be able to benefit from global peace and prosperity and they suggested a worldwide system of security.
On January 1st 1942 the name was used officially for the first time in the "Declaration by the United Nations" but this was not the UN as we know it today. During the Second World War the term was used to refer to the Allies.
The United Nations we know today began to take shape as World War Two drew to a close. In 1944, at Dumbarton Oaks near Washington D.C. representatives from the UK, the US, the USSR, France and China held discussions and debates to establish the purpose of the United Nations. The original aims of the organisation included preventing future wars by maintaining world peace and increasing trade between nations.
At the Yalta Conference the following year members decided that other countries could join the organisation as long as said countries had joined the Allies before March 1945. In addition to this a voting system was set up to facilitate the decision-making process. In April 1945 the United Nations Conference on International Organisation was held in San Francisco. Fifty nations sent representatives. Two months later they all signed the Charter of the United Nations in San Francisco and the United Nations was officially born. In October 1945 the Charter was ratified by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the Republic of China, France, the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Later that same year, in December, it was decided that the UN headquarters would be based in the US. The Rockefeller family donated money and land was bought in New York. The official opening the the UN headquarters was in January 1951. Today, although the main HQ is in New York, other agencies of the UN are based in various locations around the world, from Geneva to Nairobi.
The UN’s achievements to date include fostering the respect of human rights, supporting independence for colonies, setting up health care, encouraging economic development and trade agreements, organising peace-keeping missions, arranging and monitoring ceasefires, supervising elections, organising relief efforts to disaster zones and helping refugees. However, the UN has so far been unable to achieve its original objective of world peace.
Quick Quiz: Read the clues below and write the solutions on a piece of paper. Then take the first letter of each answer and rearrange them to find the hidden word connected with this Talking Point.
1. President F.D.Roosevelt and Winston Churchill __________ a better world in which countries would all be able to benefit from global peace and prosperity.
2. The United Nations we know today began to take __________ as World War Two drew to a close.
3. In 1944, at Dumbarton Oaks near Washington D.C. representatives from the UK, the US, the USSR, France and __________ held discussions and debates to establish the purpose of the United Nations.
4. In October 1945 the Charter was __________ by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
5. The UN’s achievements to date include fostering the respect of human rights, supervising __________, organising relief efforts to disaster zones and helping refugees.
6. However, the UN has so far been __________ to achieve its original objective of world peace.
Who should coordinate relief efforts in disaster zones? Discuss.
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