The United Nations

Established on 24 October 1945 following the atrocities of World War II, the United Nations (UN) is an international, inter-governmental organisation whose purpose is to promote diplomacy and international co-operation.  Currently, it is composed of 193 member states.


Its missions include: maintain international peace and security; promote sustainable development; protect human rights; uphold international law; and deliver humanitarian aid.


To this end, it has several branches, or organs, the primary of which are: the General Assembly, which is deliverative policy-making and representative branch of the UN.  All of its 193 states are included in this Assembly, the only UN body to do so.  The General Assembly is headed by its one-year term president, currently HE Mr Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark.


Its Security Council, whose primary responsibility as set out by the UN Charter, is maintaining international peace and security.  It has fifteen members, five of which are permanent and ten are non-permanent members.  Each of these has one vote; under the UN Charter, all members of the UN must comply with the decision of the Security Council.  The permanent members are: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and the United States of America.  The ten non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms.  Currently, they are comprised of: Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.


The Economic and Social Council is the primary UN organ that deals with the co-ordination, policy review and policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues.  It also deals with the implementation of internationally agreed development goals. It is a useful mechanism for activities of the UN system and its specialised agencies in the economic, social and environment fields.


Finally, the International Court of Justice is the judicial organ of the UN.  It's housed n the Peace Palace in the Hague, Netherlands.  Its role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinion on legal questions.


Its headquarters are in New York City, Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna.

United Nations Emblem

UN Regional Groups

The regional groups are groups of representatives of Member and observer States by geographic region that meet for the purposes of discussion, usually in connection with specific questions being addressed within the intergovernmental bodies.


Below is a list of the Regional Groups as provided by the UN Department of General Assembly and Conference Management:


  • African States/African Group
  • Asia-Pacific Group
  • Eastern European States Group
  • Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC)
  • Group of Western European and Other States (WEOG)

Special Cases


Turkey participates fully in both WEOG and Asian Group, but for electoral purposes is considered a member of WEOG only.


United States of America

The United States of America is not a member of any regional group, but attends meetings of the Western Europe and Other States Group (WEOG) as an observer.

Order of Precedence

The Dean of both the regional groups and the diplomatic corps in Malaysia comes from the order of precedence amongst Ambassador and High Commissioners.  It is oft-used by governments for very formal, or state occasions.


The order denoted in this system does not necessarily indicate the function or importance of one's position; in this context, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Malaysia is the longest-serving Ambassador or High Commissioner, as held by international protocol.  (A) denotes arrival date (as opposed to the date of presentation of one's letter of credentials); TBD stands for "to be determined".