To what extent does the United Nations system work? This comprehensive survey of the world's most important family of international organizations examines the UN's structure and powers, and considers whether it is achieving what it set out to do. Focusing on legal rather than political issues, White first examines the UN's objectives, not only as defined in the original charter and the constituent documents of its various agencies, but also in terms of how its goals and values have been implemented. He then explores its institutional structure, explaining each body's powers and the relationships among them; here, he also evaluates the various bodies in terms of democratic accountability and transparency. In the core of the book, a wide-ranging review of UN activities, he assesses whether the organization has sufficient powers to implement its goals in the key areas of security, justice, human rights, the environment and economic development.