Introduction World / United Nations
The flag of the United Nations was adopted on October 20, 1947, and consists of the official emblem of the United Nations in white on a blue background.
The emblem's design is described as:
A map of the world representing an azimuthal equidistant projection centred on the North Pole, inscribed in a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalised branches of the olive tree. The projection of the Map extends 60° South Latitude, and includes four concentric circles.
—Official Seal and Emblem of the United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General, 15 October 1946
Globally, the 20th century was marked by:
(a) two devastating world wars;
(b) the Great Depression of the 1930s;
(c) the end of vast colonial empires;
(d) rapid advances in science and technology, from the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (US) to the landing on the moon;
(e) the Cold War between the Western alliance and the Warsaw Pact nations;
(f) a sharp rise in living standards in North America, Europe, and Japan;
(g) increased concerns about the environment, including loss of forests, shortages of energy and water, the decline in biological diversity, and air pollution;
(h) the onset of the AIDS epidemic; and
(i) the ultimate emergence of the US as the only world superpower.
The planet's population continues to explode:
from 1 billion in 1820, to
2 billion in 1930,
3 billion in 1960,
4 billion in 1974,
5 billion in 1987,
6 billion in 1999, and
7 billion in 2012.
For the 21st century, the continued exponential growth in science and technology raises both hopes (e.g., advances in medicine) and fears (e.g., development of even more lethal weapons of war).
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.
There are 193 member states, including every internationally recognised sovereign state in the world but Vatican City. From its offices around the world, the UN and its specialized agencies decide on substantive and administrative issues in regular meetings held throughout the year.