The United Nations Office at Geneva (Switzerland) is the second biggest UN centre, after the United Nations Headquarters (New York City).
The United Nations Office at Geneva (Switzerland) is the second biggest UN centre, after the United Nations Headquarters (New York City).

United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the United Nations Economic and Social Council at the intergovernmental level, and through the Chief Executives Board for co-ordination (CEB) at the inter-secretariat level.[1][2][3]

One of the principal objectives of the UN is to solve economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems through international cooperation. Several specialized agencies have been set up to achieve these goals, agencies which may or may not have been created by the United Nations, but they are incorporated into the United Nations System by the United Nations Economic and Social Council acting under Articles 57 and 63 of the United Nations Charter. At present, the UN has in total 15[4][5][note 1] specialized agencies that carry out various functions on behalf of the UN. The specialized agencies are listed below.[8][9]

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Main article: Food and Agriculture Organization

FAO logo
FAO logo

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO's mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy. FAO is the largest of the UN agencies. It was established in 1945 and its headquarters is in Rome, Italy.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Main article: International Civil Aviation Organization

ICAO flag
ICAO flag

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was founded in 1947. It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth. Its headquarters are located in the Quartier international de Montréal of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The ICAO Council adopts standards and recommended practices concerning air navigation, prevention of unlawful interference, and facilitation of border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation. In addition, ICAO defines the protocols for air accident investigation followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, commonly known as the Chicago Convention.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Main article: International Fund for Agricultural Development

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was established as an international financial institution in 1977, as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference and a response to the situation in the Sahel. It is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Its headquarters are in Rome, Italy.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

Main articles: International Labour Organization and Member states of the International Labour Organization

ILO flag
ILO flag

The International Labour Organization (ILO) deals with labour issues. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1919, it was formed through the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles and was initially an agency of the League of Nations. It became a member of the UN system after the demise of the League and the formation of the UN at the end of World War II. Its Constitution, as amended to date, includes the Declaration of Philadelphia on the aims and purposes of the Organization. Its secretariat is known as the International Labour Office.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Main article: International Maritime Organization

IMO flag
IMO flag

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), was established in 1948 by the United Nations to coordinate international maritime safety and related practices. However, the IMO did not enter into full force until 1958.

Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO promotes cooperation between government and the shipping industry to improve maritime safety and prevent marine pollution. IMO is governed by an Assembly of members and is financially administered by a Council of members elected from the Assembly. The work of IMO is conducted through five committees, and these are supported by technical sub-committees. Member organizations of the UN organizational family may observe the proceedings of the IMO. Observer status may be granted to qualified non-governmental organizations.

The IMO is supported by a permanent secretariat of employees who are representative of its members. The secretariat is composed of a Secretary-General who is periodically elected by the Assembly, and various divisions including, inter alia, marine safety, environmental protection, and a conference section. It also promotes international cooperation in education, science and culture.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Main article: International Monetary Fund

International Monetary Fund (IMF) is part of the United Nations system and has a formal relationship agreement with the UN, but retains its independence.[10] The IMF provides monetary cooperation and financial stability and acts as a forum for advice, negotiation and assistance on financial issues. It is headquartered in Washington D.C., United States of America.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Main article: International Telecommunication Union

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications. It was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris on 17 May 1865. Its main tasks include standardization, allocation of the radio spectrum, and organizing interconnection arrangements between different countries to allow international phone calls — in which regard it performs for telecommunications a similar function to what the Universal Postal Union (UPU) performs for postal services. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, next to the main United Nations campus.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Main article: UNESCO

UNESCO flag
UNESCO flag

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945 with its headquarters in Paris, France. Its stated purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture to propagate further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter.

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Main article: United Nations Industrial Development Organization

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations, which promotes inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID), headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The Organization addresses some of the most pressing issues of our time and works to accelerate economic growth to bring prosperity to all while at the same time safeguarding the environment. UNIDO's mandate is fully aligned with the global development agenda, which underlines the central role of industrialization and its importance as a key enabler for all 17 Global Goals, and especially for SDG9. The Director General is Gerd Müller.

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

Main article: Universal Postal Union

UPU flag
UPU flag

The Universal Postal Union (UPU), headquartered in Berne, Switzerland, coordinates postal policies between member nations, and hence the worldwide postal system. Each member country agrees to the same set of terms for conducting international postal duties.

World Bank Group (WBG)

Main article: World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is a part of the United Nations System and has a formal relationship agreement with the UN, but retains its independence.[10] The WBG comprises a group of five legally separate but affiliated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Development Association (IDA), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). It is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Its mission is to fight poverty with passion and professionalism for lasting results and to help people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors. The WBG headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., United States.]</ref> The organization and its former Director-General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize announced on 7 October 2005. As of March 2015, the IAEA's membership is 164 countries.[11]

Due to historical reasons and the political nature of its work, the IAEA is not a specialized agency. Instead, its relationship with the United Nations is governed by a special agreement as well as by its statute that commits the IAEA to report annually to the General Assembly and, when appropriate, to the Security Council.[12]

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Main article: International Organization for Migration

Since September 2016, IOM has been a related organization to the United Nations with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.[13] The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental organization that provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, including internally displaced persons, refugees, and migrant workers.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

Main article: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental organization, located in The Hague, Netherlands. The organization promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction. The verification consists of both evaluations of declarations by member states and on-site inspections.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

Main article: World Trade Organization

The WTO was established instead of the failed proposal for a specialized agency dealing with trade issues, the International Trade Organization. WTO headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Summary

No. Logo Official name Abbreviation Location (Country) Location (City) Established Precursor established Member states Other participants Map and reference
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
United Nations UN  United States New York City 1945 1920
United Nations membership of Sovereign States.png
UN
Specialized agencies
1
FAO logo.svg
Food and Agriculture Organization FAO  Italy Rome 1945
FAO members and observers.png
FAO
2 International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO  Canada Montreal 1947
ICAO.png
ICAO
3 International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD  Italy Rome 1977
  • the UN members except Andorra, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Brunei, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine
  • Cook Islands, Niue
  • observers: Holy See
IFAD.png
IFAD
4 International Labour Organization ILO  Switzerland Geneva 1919
  • the UN members except Andorra, Bhutan, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, North Korea
International Labour Organization.png
ILO
5 International Maritime Organization IMO  United Kingdom London 1959
  • the UN members except Afghanistan, Andorra, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Eswatini, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Mali, Micronesia, Niger, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
  • Cook Islands
IMO Participation.svg
IMO
6 International Monetary Fund IMF  United States Washington, D.C. 1945
  • the UN members except Andorra, Cuba, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and North Korea;
  • Kosovo
International Monetary Fund.png
IMF
7
International Telecommunication Union logo.svg
International Telecommunication Union ITU  Switzerland Geneva 1865
Member states of the International Telecommunication Union.png
ITU
8
UNESCO logo English.svg
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO  France Paris 1946 1922
UNESCO member states.png
UNESCO
9
UNIDO Logo.svg
United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO  Austria Vienna 1985 1966
  • the UN members except Andorra, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Estonia, Iceland, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Nauru, New Zealand (as of 31 December 2013), Palau, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, United Kingdom, United States
  • Palestine[16]
Map of UNIDO membership as of 2010.png
UNIDO
10 Universal Postal Union UPU  Switzerland Bern 1874
Universal Postal Union membership.png
UPU
11
World Bank Group logo.svg
World Bank Group WBG  United States Washington, D.C. 1945
World Bank Group.png
WBG
12
World Health Organization Logo.svg
World Health Organization WHO  Switzerland Geneva 1948 1907
World Health Organization membership status map.png
WHO
13 World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO  Switzerland Geneva 1967
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) members world map.png
WIPO
14 World Meteorological Organization WMO  Switzerland Geneva 1950 1873
  • the UN members except Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and San Marino
  • Cook Islands, Niue
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) members - states and territories.png
WMO
15
UNWTO Logo.png
World Tourism Organization UNWTO  Spain Madrid 1974 1925
  • the UN members except Antigua and Barbuda, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Sweden, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States
UNWTO.png
UNWTO
Related organizations
16
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Logo
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission CTBTO Prep Com  Austria Vienna 1996
CTBT Participation.svg
CTBTO
17
International Atomic Energy Agency Logo.svg
International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA  Austria Vienna 1957
  • the UN members except Andorra, Bhutan, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Maldives, Micronesia, Nauru, North Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, São Tomasé and Príncipe, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu
  • Holy See
IAEA member states.svg
IAEA
18 Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons OPCW  Netherlands The Hague 1997
CWC Participation.svg
OPCW
19
World Trade Organization (logo and wordmark)
World Trade Organization WTO  Switzerland Geneva 1995 1948
  • the UN members except Algeria, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Kiribati, Lebanon, Libya, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan
  • customs territory members: European Union, Hong Kong, Macau, Chinese Taipei
WTO members and observers.svg
WTO Archived 5 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
20 International Organization for Migration IOM  Switzerland Geneva 1951 172 member states 8 observer states (over 80 global and regional IGOs and NGOs are also observers)
IOM members and observers.svg
IOM

Notes

  1. ^ In some sources,[6][7] the UN indicates that there are 17 specialized agencies when counting the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the International Development Association (IDA), all part of the World Bank Group (WBG), as individual specialized agencies.

References

  1. ^ "The United Nations System" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2008.
  2. ^ Nations, United. "UN System". United Nations. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  3. ^ "What are UN Specialized Agencies, and how many are there? - Ask DAG!". ask.un.org. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  4. ^ "REPERTORY OF PRACTICE OF UNITED NATIONS ORGANS SUPPLEMENT No. 10 (2000–2009) – ARTICLE 17(3)" (PDF). United Nations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. The number of specialized agencies thus rose to fifteen.
  5. ^ Eckart Klein: United Nations, Specialized Agencies, para.9. In: Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
  6. ^ "UN Specialized Agencies". Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Retrieved 11 March 2018. There are 17 Specialized Agencies: ...
  7. ^ "World Bank Group". Dag Hammarskjöld Library / UN System Documentation. Retrieved 11 March 2018. ... IBRD, IFC and IDA are Specialized Agencies of the UN ...
  8. ^ UN structure and organization, United Nations specialized agencies
  9. ^ Nations, United. "Specialized Agencies". United Nations. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  10. ^ a b "REPERTORY OF PRACTICE OF UNITED NATIONS ORGANS SUPPLEMENT NO. 9 (1995–1999) – VOLUME II – ARTICLE 17(3)" (PDF). United Nations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  11. ^ "IAEA By Numbers". www.iaea.org. 26 May 2014.
  12. ^ Johan Rautenbach: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), para.2. In: Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
  13. ^ "IOM Becomes a Related Organization to the UN". International Organization for Migration. 26 July 2016.
  14. ^ Regional organizations allowed by their member states to speak on their behalf.
  15. ^ Listed in the table are only these UN observers that participate in the 15 specialized agencies, IAEA, ICJ and WTO.
  16. ^ "Member States List". UNIDO. Retrieved 7 December 2018.