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Getting Started: Some Basic Definitions

This toolkit uses a number of definitions and concepts that may be new to you. Below are some basic definitions that will help you to understand what we mean. Terms that are used very often throughout all sections are explained in more detail within the toolkit, for example, youth, human rights, or United Nations.

Convention (or Treaty):

an agreement between countries that is formally accepted as law.

Humanitarian setting:

a context in which an event (for example, armed conflict, natural disaster, epidemic, famine) or series of events has resulted in a critical threat to safety, security and well-being of a community or other large group of people.

Intergovernmental organization:

an organization that is established by a group of countries, usually through a treaty, also often referred to as an international organization. An example of an international organization is the United Nations.

International law:

a body of rules recognized by States that sets out their relations with one another.


a range of measures in the context of emerging, current or post-conflict situations for the explicit purpose of preventing violent conflict and promoting lasting and
sustainable peace, often by addressing the root causes of violent conflict.

Rule of law:

this means that laws apply to everyone in a given country, including lawmakers, the people who enforce the law, and judges.


another word for country; often used as ‘member State’, i.e. a State that is a member of an intergovernmental organization, such as the United Nations. Note: throughout this toolkit,
State is always used to mean a country, not a subdivision or region within a country.

United Nations:

an intergovernmental organization established in 1945, made up of 193
member States (as of 2022).

United Nations General Assembly:

the primary decision-making body of the United Nations, where each country that is a member of the UN participates and has a vote.

United Nations resolution(s):

formal expressions of the opinion or will of an organ of the United Nations, such as its General Assembly, the Security Council or the Human Rights

Bibliography And Further Reading