Principal Organs of the United Nations

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff


This is the directorate on UN operations, apart from political decisions. The staff works under the secretary-general, whom it assists and advises.


  • Ban Ki-moon, South Korea, Jan. 1, 2007
  • Kofi Annan, Ghana, 1997–2006
  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egypt, 1992–1996
  • Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Peru, 1982–1991
  • Kurt Waldheim, Austria, 1972–1981
  • U Thant, Burma (Myanmar), 1961–1971
  • Dag Hammarskjöld, Sweden, 1953–1961
  • Trygve Lie, Norway, 1946–1953

Trusteeship Council

The UN charter originally established the Trusteeship Council as a main organ of the UN and entrusted it with the administration of territories placed under the trusteeship system.

The Trusteeship Council suspended operations on Nov. 1, 1994, after the October independence of Palau, the last UN territory. In a May 1994 resolution, the Trusteeship Council amended its rules of procedure, agreeing to meet only as occasion required (by its decision or by request of a majority of its own General Assembly/Security Council members) rather than annually.

The Trusteeship Council is comprised of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Now that the aims of the trusteeship system have been fulfilled, however, its functions and powers have been lying dormant.

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