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Model United Nations: Taking on the Role of Citizen of the World

Answers to Activities

Easy Peasy

1. The United Nations was established in the year 1945 .

2. The UN was established by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation.

3. Today, 191 countries belong to the UN.

4. The Secretary General of the United Nations is Kofi Annan .

5. The UN Secretary General is from the country of Ghana .

6. When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. This treaty is called the UN Charter .

True or False?

7. Every country that belongs to the UN is represented in the General Assembly, where each country has one vote. True

8. If the UN makes a decision on an issue, it can force countries to follow that decision. False

9. The General Assembly has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. False

10. There are five permanent members of the UN Security Council that cannot be voted off. True

Getting Tricky

11. What is a veto power, where is it exercised, and which countries can exercise it?
A veto power is the power to block a proposal by casting a negative vote. The veto power is only exercised in the Security Council. The 5 permanent members of the Security Council—China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States—can block any proposal brought before the Council by casting a negative vote. The ten non-permanent members (which are periodically elected to the Security Council by all Member States for a two-year term) do not have a veto power.

12. What action can the UN take if a war breaks out?
The UN can seek to resolve disagreements through diplomacy. The Secretary General may mediate between parties, or exercise quiet diplomacy behind the scenes to attempt to resolve the situation. The Security Council may recommend ways to avoid conflict, or to restore peace—through negotiation, for example, or taking a dispute before the International Court of Justice.

The Security Council can also set up UN peacekeeping operations in order to maintain peace and international security. Most operations involve military duties, such as observing a ceasefire or establishing a buffer zone while negotiators seek a long-term solution. Others may require civilian police or other civilian personnel to help organize elections or monitor human rights. Operations have also been deployed to monitor peace agreements in cooperation with the peacekeeping forces of regional organizations.

13. What is a non-governmental organization (NGO), and what role do these organizations play in the United Nations?
A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary group, which is organized on a local, national or international level.

NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions. They can bring concerns to the UN and monitor policies. They provide analysis and expertise on important issues, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, the environment or health.

14. What is the International Court of Justice?
The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the main judicial organ of the UN. Consisting of 15 judges elected jointly by the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Court decides disputes between countries. Participation by States in a proceeding is voluntary, but if a State agrees to participate, it is obligated to comply with the Court's decision. The Court also provides advisory opinions to the General Assembly and the Security Council upon request.

15. Does the UN create laws? Does every country in the world have to follow them?
The UN Charter specifically calls on the United Nations to develop international law. The UN has created more than 500 conventions, treaties and standards, which have provided a framework for promoting international peace and security and economic and social development. Countries are only legally bound by these conventions if they ratify them.

The International Law Commission prepares drafts on topics of international law which can then be incorporated into conventions and opened for ratification by States. Some of these conventions form the basis for law governing relations among States, such as the convention on diplomatic relations or the convention regulating the use of international watercourses.

Short answers from the United Nations website; visit the UN site for more information. Afterwards, you may want to try the activities again.

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