It was founded in 1945 after World War II as an international organization facilitating cooperation in, among other areas, international law. Throughout the 21st century, Earth's national governments were on a continuous decrease in administrative power. After the damage done to the planet's ecosystem reached extreme levels, the world's nations decided to finally put aside their individual interests and international differences and achieve global unification. The UN Secretariat subsequently became the executive leader of all humanity and remained so until the Martian colony was granted independence from the UN.
The Secretariat is the centre of the executive branch, consisting of the Secretary-General and his or her immediate subordinates. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) interacts with elements beyond Earth's sphere of control, like Mars, the Belt, and settlements in the outer planets, as well as independent interstellar colonies.
The UN is seated on Earth in New York City, but also has a presence on Luna, in the New Hague facilities in Lovell City. Its armed forces consist of the United Nations Navy (UNN) and the United Nations Marine Corps (UNMC).
By the end of the 21st century, humanity finally started reaching out into space. Permanent settlements were established on Mars and Luna, as well as the Asteroid Belt. While Earth was still divided between the various national governments, the UN wielded significant power. Extraterrestrial colonization was organized under the UN. As time passed, Earth's ecosystem was deteriorating, until the damage done reached dangerous levels. To successfully counteract this, humanity unified, with all national governments ceding their sovereignties to the UN. However, in some regions, most notably in the Pashwiri Autonomous Zone, the UN is widely distrusted and rebellion and dissent are commonplace.
The newly-established world government managed to decrease climate change and pollution to acceptable levels and enforced ecological recovery programs that are still active in the 24th century. Humanity was expanding, but no settlement farther than the Asteroid Belt was viable due to technological limitations. Mars, however, was becoming more and more populous.
Still stranded in the inner Sol system, overpopulation reached ridiculous levels on Earth by the end of the 22nd century - beginning of the 23rd century. Mars was vying for independence, but the UN rejected the colony's demand. It wasn't until the creation of the Epstein drive that Mars had an advantage that forced the UN into granting them independence.
Book and TV events
When the Donnager is destroyed by what is believed to be OPA (Outer Planets Alliance) ships and Mars declares war on the Belt, the UN stays neutral. Later, when James Holden released information on the ships that destroyed the Donnager were actually authorized for construction by the UN, United Nations Navy ships fired on Martian Congressional Republic Navy (MCRN) ships in Mars' orbit and destroyed the Deimos deep radar station. The MCRN then orders their ships in the Sol system to return to Mars and declares war on Earth. The two fleets would engage over Mars, but the combat would only be limited to Mars' orbit.
Full article: Eros incident (Books)
Once the Eros security camera feeds go live, the knowledge of Protogen's involvement is made known. The UN begins arresting personnel and dismantling their network looking for clues. While looking, they discover that Fred Johnson was considered Protogen's largest threat and the UN forgives him of his past offences.
In an effort to stop Eros from crashing on Earth, the UN fires all of its 3,573 planet-based interplanetary nuclear missiles towards the station. However, in order to give Miller more time, the OPA rerouted the missiles and would continue to fly those missiles around the system well after Eros crashed into Venus.
After the Eros incident, delegates from the UN, Martian Congressional Republic (MCR), and OPA attend a peace conference on [[Cere
Interstellar colonizationThe UN then began sending probes toward other star systems in hopes of establishing the first presence on an extrasolar body. The UN prepared colony ships for the anticipated land rush.
Eventually, probes transmitted back data of a perfectly habitable planet, which would later come to be known as New Terra. The United Nations granted Royal Charter Energy (RCE), an Earth-based company, the rights to chart and exploit the new planet, prior to attempting the planet's colonization. However, several Sol refugees were already in the process of establishing a footprint there. As such, an impartial team was sent out to mediate the problem and, later, deal with the alien phenomena governing the planet.
Eventually, colonization succeeded and encouraged millions to billions of other residents to move to a new system. This presumably doomed the Martian state, leaving the United Nations as the sole human superpower.
Bombardment of Earth
Full article: Bombardment of Earth
When Earth is hit with three asteroids by the Free Navy, the UN is left in disarray as its headquarters in New York is destroyed by the tsunami caused by the second asteroid impact. Secretary-General Nancy Gao is presumed killed in the bombardment, which leaves Undersecretary Chrisjen Avasarala the acting Secretary-General on Luna. All other surviving government personal are also evacuated to Luna.
With billions dead on Earth, the UN government deals with stabilizing the affected areas on Earth that suffer from devastation, lawlessness, societal collapse, and ecological damage.
Full article: Free Navy Conflict
The United Nations remained on the defensive with the Free Navy ship Azure Dragon continuing to direct asteroids against Earth (although this time without success as Earth's defences were on alert). When the independent ship Rocinante captured the Azure Dragon and brought it to Luna, the ship's systems were studied and it was learned the Free Navy leadership was at located at Ceres. Acting Secretary-General Avasarala along with her makeshift government leadership decided to launch the UNN Home fleet to capture the station.
In 16 XTE, after the bombardment of Earth, humanity's homeworld and the capital planet of Earth forces, the United Nations, along with the Martian Congressional Republic and the Outer Planets Alliance, founded the Consolidated Fleet, which effectively became Sol system's emergency war-time government.
Following the creation of the Consolidated Fleet, UNN, MCRN, and anti-Free Navy OPA launched an offensive in order to take back the Sol system. When they succeed, after they recapture the Slow zone and Marco Inaros' disappearance, the UN began to recover and rebuild.
Full article: Laconia-Sol Conflict
Thirty years after the Bombardment of Earth, the United Nations economy has managed to recover. During this time the United Nations political strength along with that of the Martian Congressional Republic has weakened in the outer system and colonies with the Transport Union controlling all access to the Ring network.
When the Slow Zone is captured by emerging Laconian Imperial Navy from the Laconia gate, they launch an offensive to take the Sol system. The Earth-Mars Coalition Navy and Transport Union fleet attempt to stop them but are decimated by the Heart of the Tempest in the Battle of Point Leuctra. The United Nations then surrenders to become a client state of the Laconian Empire.
Under Laconian ruleFour years into the rule of the Laconian Empire, the status of the United Nations is unclear. However, the office of Secretary-General of the United Nations no longer governs Earth, with the planet now ruled by a Laconian selected Governor. The military branch of the UN government was also disbanded and integrated into the Laconian Imperial Navy.
- Main article: UN-MCR Cold War (TV)
By the time of the destruction of the Canterbury the United Nations and Martian Congressional Republic (MCR) maintained chilled relations and were involved in a state of a cold war between the two powers. Their agenda also encompassed concerns of piracy and terrorism within the Outer Planets Alliance (OPA), interrogating Belters such as Heikki Sabong who was arrested on smuggling stolen Stealth technology; with incidents like this, the UN refrained from recognizing the OPA as a legitimate political body. While Sabong committed suicide en route to Luna, UN Deputy Undersecretary Chrisjen Avasarala personally believed the OPA tried to obtain stealth technology to forge an alliance with the MCR, offsetting the current political balance.
During the attack on the MCRN Donnager Avasarala ordered the UNN Orinoco to be dispatched to the Donnager and gather information about what was going on. However, the ship was too far away and too slow to reach the Donnager in time before it destroyed itself.
Trying to test her theory of a Mars-OPA alliance using stealth technology, Avasarala manipulates UN ambassador to Mars, Franklin DeGraaf, to spread rumours of Belters in the possession of stealth deposits, and then be able to track and witness the communication between the Martian government and its military. Though contrary to their expectations, the Martians respond concerned, internally asking about the state and number of their deposits. Avasarala then concludes the MCR is not responsible for any conspiracy at play. However, ambassador DeGraaf is expelled from Mars for causing this leak of intelligence.
Chrisjen Avasarala then asked her ex-colleague Carlos Davila for access to his spy on Tycho Station in order to keep an eye on Fred Johnson, a former colonel of the UNMC and important figure in the OPA. When Davila refused, she persuades him with talk of his imprisoned son, Esteban, who is up for parole. While UN Undersecretary Sadavir Errinwright first disciplines Avasarala for her actions, he gives in to permit espionage on Tycho Station.
Hoping to deescalate the tension between Earth and Mars, Errinwright ordered UN black ops teams to Tycho Station to investigate Fred Johnson's alleged stealth technology program and to assassinate James Holden as to prevent further escalation, planning to frame it as "random street violence" on Eros.
On Tycho Station, Fred Johnson sent a broadcast revealing the information found on the data cube he took from MCRN Lieutenant Lopez's uniform on the Rocinante. It gave a detailed analysis of the attack against the Donnager, revealing that the attackers were advanced stealth fighters, and its engines built at the Bush Naval Shipyards of the UN. With this information, Avasarala first suspected a conspiracy within the UN government itself. Admiral MIchael Souther then told Chrisjen that Johnson is lying about Earth's involvement in the attack, though she demanded a full investigation into the fusion drives described in DeGraaf's private data. Errinwright interrupts them, claiming that the stealth ships were indeed built at the Bush shipyards but for "private contractors", not the UNN. However, Avasarala is certain that Errinwright himself had to be part of this conspiracy.
- Main article: Eros incident (TV)
- Main article: Ganymede Incident (TV)
- Main article: UN-MCR War (TV)
After fighting over Ganymede broke out again, due to the destruction of the MCRN Karakum and skirmishes involving the Weeping Somnambulist and Rocinante, Sorrento-Gillis officially declared war against the MCR, manipulated by Errinwright to do so. Fighting quickly intensified and broke out in the Jovian system and across the Sol system, with the UNN Jupiter fleet engaged at Ganymede and other Jovian moons, there were also other battles involving smaller fleets and strike groups of the UNN and MCRN.
While the UNN had significantly more vessels and tactically used that advantage, the MCRN ships ultimately proved to be more effective, quickly reducing the superiority of the UNN in its numbers. Therefore the UN resorted to finding other means of ending the war as quickly as possible; eventually, the spy satellite Watchtower-14 discovered the location of a MCRN Stealth C Ballistic Missile Platform, representing the first-strike and the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) capability of the MCRN. With the location of the other platforms now being able to be predicted, a plan was conceptualized to take out all platforms simultaneously with railgun strikes, eliminating that tactical advantage of the MCR. Though deemed dangerous with a level of success of "just" 82%, the plan was eventually executed on the orders of Sorrento-Gillis. The UNN railgun platform strikes were all successful except one, which was unexpectedly delayed due to a malfunction. Due to that time delay, the last platform was able to fire a Planetbuster nuclear missile before it was destroyed; planetary defences were able to destroy almost all nuclear warheads, with one being able to reach the surface and detonate above Goias Maior in Amazonia, killing at least 2 million people. Subsequent relief efforts were organized for the blast zone.
Now in need of boosting war morale for the UN, Sorrento-Gillis with the help of his personal friend Anna Volovodov drafted and held a speech at the convened General Assembly in New York City. He was able to rally enough public support for the continuation of the war, as Errinwright again pushed Sorrento-Gillis to revise the speech to be more pragmatic and antagonizing.
To cover up his involvement in Project Caliban and the Eros incident, Errinwright would accuse Chrisjen Avasarala of being complicit in the conspiracy to weaponise the Protomolecule, leading to her being branded a traitor. Sorrento-Gillis then ordered her to be arrested as a traitor. Upon hearing the news that Avasarala's personal spy Cotyar Ghazi had been captured aboard the UNN Agatha King following the fighting on and near the Guanshiyin, Admiral Augusto Nguyễn, personally complicit with Errinwright's conspiracy, would personally venture onto the ship to interrogate the prisoner. The Agatha King, now under Nguyễn's command, would then be diverted to Io, to take control of the Protomolecule project as ordered by Errinwright.
The location of the Agatha King and the UNN Jupiter fleet prompted the reaction of the MCRN to redeploy their forces to encounter them at Io, having suspected the battle to take place at Callisto. Nguyễn's secrecy about the intention of the fleet approaching Io concerned crew members of the Agatha King, most notably Admiral Michael Souther, who was forced to step down as captain of the Agatha King and believed Nguyễn and Errinwright were part of a conspiracy after he was sent evidence to support that theory by the MCRN Hammurabi. With the battle almost commencing, Souther instigated a mutiny on board the Agatha King, arresting Nguyễn as a conspirator and demanding the UNN fleet to not engage the MCRN fleet on basis of foul play. However, Souther was shot and the mutiny quelled, with the UNN ships loyal to Souther beginning to fire on the ones loyal to Nguyễn. Captain Sandrine Kirino of the Hammurabi would announce that any ship who broadcasted peaceful intentions would be considered unhostile. Nguyễn then responded with the hybrid pods on Io being launched for Mars. Though multiple pods were destroyed by the fleet, the Agatha King was infested with Protomolecule and intentionally destroyed itself.
With the destruction of the Agatha King and the evidence being brought to Sorrento-Gillis, Sadavir Errinwright was accused of treason back on Earth and subsequently arrested, while fighting between the UN and MCR ceased.
Aftermath of the war and the Ring
- Main article: Slow zone incident (TV)
After the unveiling of the illegal actions of Sadavir Errinwright in using banned weaponry and illegally starting the UN-MCR War he was arrested and removed from his position. Secretary-General Esteban Sorrento-Gillis resigned and gifted his position to Chrisjen Avasarala. She then brokered a peace truce between the UN and MCR and offered collaboration with the OPA.
The creation of the Sol gate prompted an international fleet of Earth, Mars and the Belt to investigate and enter the ring. After the subsequent slow zone incident, the UN collaborated with the MCR to establish the EMC ring gate fleet, guarding the ring entrance and policing flight activity near it.
After the UN-MCR war, efforts by the UN have been made to ease tensions with Mars, culminating in the first visit of an acting UN Secretary-General to Mars. With the opening of the Ring network questions about whether the UN could use the access to 1,300 habitable systems to their advantage have been raised. Early expeditions had been contracted with Earth-based companies such as Royal Charter Energy (RCE) for the Ilus system.
Disagreeing with the anti-emigration policies of Secretary-General Avasarala, UN Home Secretary Nancy Gao resigned in protest and ran against Avasarala in the upcoming general elections. Nancy Gao won by a slim majority and began a policy of colonization, abandoning the ring blockade and instituting a mass migration of unemployed off Earth.
- Main article: Free Navy Conflict (TV)
When three asteroids impacted Earth more than half of the senior members of Nancy Gao's government onboard UN One were killed including the Secretary-General. Whilst the planet was protected from any further asteroid attacks, it was devastated by a major ecological catastrophe and the breakdown of society. Aid stations and relief centres were set up throughout the planet to try to help civilians, but starvation and premature death led to the death of billions. Much of the northern hemisphere became covered in snow as dust in the atmosphere cooled temperatures globally.
David Paster as the highest-ranking surviving member of government was assigned to be acting Secretary-General on Luna. Paster proved to be unsuited to the role, however, ordering the destruction of Pallas Station in the Belt as retaliation against the attacks of the Free Navy on Earth. After seven members of his emergency cabinet resigned in protest of that attack, a vote of no-confidence by the UN General Assembly was held against Paster and he was removed, without subsequent snap elections. Chrisjen Avasarala was nominated again as Secretary-General.Immediately after, Chrisjen Avasarala declared full martial law on Earth and Luna during the crisis as part of a declared state of emergency per the UN Charter, and abandoned any attacks against civilians in the Belt. The UNN would engage forces of the Free Navy on several occasions such as the engagement near Patroclus or the battle for the Sol gate, in the latter of which two Truman-class Dreadnoughts as part of the EMC ring gate fleet would engage the combined forces of the Free Navy command fleet and a defected MCRN faction. The battle was disastrous for the UNN and MCRN however, with both the Truman-class as well as a Donnager-class ships destroyed, and the Free Navy effectively taking control of the Ring network.
Government and politics
The United Nations is the centralized political body of Earth, having been founded from the remnants of Earth's sovereign nations. Instead of having separate governments for each country, the UN wields authoritative power over all of Earth and Luna, however it is still maintains devolution and is comprised of semi-autonomous sub-regions.
As a Presidential Republic, the UN's government is divided into three branches. The Secretary-General of the United Nations forms the executive branch; serving as head of state and government, and as commander-in-chief of the UNN. The Secretary-General is directly elected, and the Secretariat derives its authority from the Secretary-General’s power as the executive branch of government. The United Nations General Assembly serves as the legislative branch, and the Court of Justice as the judiciary. The Secretariat and the General Assembly are seated in New York City, while the Court of Justice is located in New Hague on Luna.
- Martian Congressional Republic
- Martian Congressional Republic Navy
- Outer Planets Alliance
- United Nations Navy
- United Nations Marine Corps
- United Nations Security Council
- Real life
- The Expanse Novel: Leviathan Wakes, Chapter 55