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International organizations

United Nations peacekeepers on patrol in Lebanon in 2006 Many countries belong to one or more international organizations. They are established by treaty, an agreement made between states. The agreement sets out laws that the members agree to follow. Members of international organizations agree to work together, aiming to create a peaceful and prosperous group. Nearly all the countries of the world are members of the United Nations.

Map of United Nations member states, coloured according to the date they joined
The UN Headquarters in New York, USA

United Nations

The United Nations (UN) was formed to prevent war and to foster good relations between nations. Set up in October 1945, at the end of World War II, the UN today is a worldwide organization with 193 member countries. Every member has a seat (and a vote) on the General Assembly. 
A body of selected countries forms the UN Security Council, together with five permanent members, USAUKFranceRussia and China. The Security Council takes decisions at times of crisis. Each of the five permanent members may veto a UN resolution (prevent it being carried out). The UN sends troops from different countries to keep the peace between warring groups.
Foreign leaders cast their votes during a UN Security Council meeting about the Syrian Civil War on 18th December 2015.
A UNICEF worker hands out leaflets about unexploded bombs to Lebanese children in 2006

UN agencies

The first and oldest international organization is the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, which was formed in 1815. It aims to promote European prosperity through the River Rhine, which flows through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands.

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