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The United Nations (UN)

Yhdistyneet kansakunnat tunnusThe United Nations (UN) is the key instrument of multilateral cooperation for Finland. As a Member State of the UN, Finland is committed to maintaining international peace and security and a peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Commitment also means cooperation to solve economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and work to promote human rights and to develop international law.

In accordance with the concept of comprehensive security, all these principles support international peace and stability.

Finland is a candidate for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for 2013–2014.

Founded to serve as a cooperation organisation between nations

The United Nations was founded after the Second World War to serve as a cooperation organisation between nations, committed to protect the world from new wars. The organisation was established under an international treaty, signed on 26 June 1946, called  the UN Charter . The Charter determines the main principles of international relations and the form and goals of the organisation.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights mean for example the right to work and education. Photo: EUUniversal Declaration of Human Rights mean for example the right to work and education.

International security has traditionally been understood to refer to securing states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. In the 21st century, the definition of security has started to change and individual persons’ security is increasingly considered to take precedence over states’ integrity.

Human security as a fundamental right for all people in the world

Human security is understood to be a broader concept than combating a military threat. Human security also covers fight against poverty, illnesses, environmental problems and organised crime. 

One of the UN’s first tasks was to prepare the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a historic declaration of people’s most fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to life, liberty and a nationality, the freedom of opinion, expression and religion, the right to work and education, and the right to take part in the government of their country. Human rights policy is a key sector of Finland’s foreign and security policy and activities in the UN.

In the 50 years as a Member State of the UN, Finland has played a more prominent role in the world organisation than its size would suggest. Finland has participated in the UN peacekeeping operations as long as from the late 1950s and become known as a peacekeeping superpower. Finland has taken an active part also in other activities in the UN, including development of international law, disarmament diplomacy and multilateral development cooperation.

The UN Strategy of the Finnish Foreign Service
e-publication 978-952-281-147-9 
Publications of MFA 8/2013

The UN’s key functions:

  • UN General Assembly 
  • Security Council 
  • Economic and Social Council
  • International Court of Justice 
  • UN Specialized Agencies 
  • Humanitarian affairs in the UN

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