UN Structure

The United Nations (UN) has six main organs. Five of them — the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Secretariat — are based at UN Headquarters in New York. The sixth, the International Court of Justice, is located at The Hague in the Netherlands.

United Nations Headquarters in New York, NY 

United Nations Headquarters in New York

The United Nations is neither a supra-State nor a government of governments. It does not have an army and it imposes no taxes. It depends on the political will of its Member States to have its decisions put into action and relies on the contributions of its Members to carry out its activities.

The six organs of the United Nations are outlined in the sections below:

General Assembly

The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations. It is composed of representatives from all Member States, each of which has one vote. Read more about the General Assembly here.

Security Council

Under the Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions. Read more about the Security Council here.

Economic and Social Council

A founding UN Charter body established in 1946, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the place where the world’s economic, social and environmental challenges are discussed and debated, and policy recommendations issued. Read more about ECOSOC here.

Trusteeship Council

The Trusteeship Council was established to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories and to make sure that adequate steps were taken to prepare the Territories for self-government or independence. Read more about the Trusteeship Council here.

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Court is charged with settling legal disputes between States and giving advisory opinions to the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Read more about the International Court of Justice here.


The UN Secretariat, consisting of staff representing all nationalities working in duty stations all over the world, carries out the day to day work of the Organization. The Secretariat services the other principal organs of the United Nations and administers the programmes and policies established by them. Read more about the Secretariat here.