The United Nations (UN), established in 1945, is an international organization with states as members.
The UN functions both as an arena for states to negotiate international rules and norms, and as an actor set to monitor these rules and engage in activities to further specific goals, such as peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief. The UN is unique among international organizations because it represents the most encompassing and ambitious attempt to institutionalize cooperation and to regulate inter-state relations through rules. The UN consists of a General Assembly where all member states are represented, a Security Council, and a Secretariat. The broader UN system is made up of programme and funds like the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and specialized agencies like the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
At NUPI, central areas of research on the UN include:
- the evolution of norms of non-intervention
- the politics of the UN Security Council and the role of global summits
- the legitimacy and efficacy of the UN’s operational activities