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The United Nations (UN) is an international organization assembled on Earth and the predecessor of both the Unified Earth Government and its defensive branch the UNSC. By the 26th century, the UN had been absorbed into a branch of the UEG.
The idea of a United Nations system of global governance began in 1920 after the end of World War I. The brainchild of American President Woodrow Wilson, the purpose of the League of Nations was to spark economic development and to keep the peace after the destruction of the war. However, this organization would soon collapse without the support of the United States Congress. The concept would return in 1945 after the Second World War. A significant time in human history, as it sparked tensions between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which lead to the space race and the development of many advanced technologies. Had humanity not endured the Cold War, it is likely that humanity would have been even less prepared for interstellar age, and the inevitable war that followed.
The U.N began as an international organization that described itself as a "global association of governments facilitating co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, and social equity." It was founded on June 26, 1945 shortly before the end of the Second World War at the signing of the United Nations Charter by 51 countries, replacing the previous "League of Nations."
By the time humanity began colonizing the other planets of the Sol system, the United Nations gained control over the nations of Earth, uniting them under a common government, the Unified Earth Government - an imperative governance change in order to maintain peace and prosperity among the colonies of the UN. However, some of the UN's attempts to maintain peace failed, resulting in the Interplanetary War of 2160 - 2164.
Eventually, the UN developed the "United Nations Space Command," which policed space. The UNSC became the main military body of Earth's "empire."
As far as the 26th century, the UN still existed in a similar fashion to how it was when created, although under ultimate control of the UEG, similar to the UNSC and the CAA. After the beginning of the Human-Covenant war, the UNSC gained ultimate control of the UEG and its branches. The power was ultimately returned to the UEG after the war.