UN Agencies, Funds and Programs
The United Nations’ system is comprised of the UN itself and more than 30 affiliated organizations — known as programs, funds, and specialized agencies — with their own membership, leadership, and budget processes. These groups work with and through the UN to promote worldwide peace and prosperity.
UN Programs and Funds
UN programs and funds are financed through voluntary contributions rather than assessed contributions.
They include the following programs:
• United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – On the ground in 166 countries, UNDP is the UN’s global development network, focusing on the challenges of democratic governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, energy and environment, and HIV/AIDS. UNDP also coordinates national and international efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals aimed at poverty reduction. Recently UNDP helped Liberia prepare for national elections that put Africa’s first woman president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, in office. It has helped Thailand build solar-power water pumping stations. And it has helped earthquake damaged regions of Pakistan with long-term development planning. UNDP also publishes the annual Human Development Report.
• Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, UNHCR protects refugees worldwide and facilitates their return home or resettlement. UNHCR is working on the ground in over 116 countries, helping 20.8 million persons in areas including Lebanon, Darfur, southern Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
• United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) – UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and development assistance to children and mothers. Recent UNICEF initiatives have included polio immunization for 5.5 million children in Angola, helping girls enroll and stay in school in 34 African countries, and reintegrating child soldiers in Sierra Leone into civil society.
• World Food Program (WFP) – WFP, which aims to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. Every year, the program feeds almost 100 million people in over 80 nations. WFP has delivered aid to Darfur, to Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, and to southern Asia following the tsunami.
• United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) – UNDCP helps Member States fight drugs, crime, and terrorism. Aside from providing laboratory services, this Program helps to improve cross-border cooperation.
• United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) – UNFPA works on the ground in 140 nations to “ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.”
• United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) – UNEP coordinates the United Nations’ environmental activities. It develops international environmental conventions, assesses global environmental trends, encourages new civil sector partnerships, and strengthens institutions so they might better protect the environment.
• UN Women – The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
UN Specialized Agencies
The United Nations’ specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and funded by both voluntary and assessed contributions. These agencies include the:
• World Bank – The World Bank focuses on poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards worldwide by providing low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, and communications, among other things. The World Bank works in over 100 countries.
• International Monetary Fund (IMF) – The IMF fosters economic growth and employment by providing temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment and technical assistance. The IMF currently has $28 billion in outstanding loans to 74 nations.
• World Health Organization (WHO) – WHO is responsible for global vaccination campaigns, responding to public health emergencies, defending against pandemic influenza, and leading the way for eradication campaigns against life-threatening diseases like polio and malaria. Last year WHO eliminated avian flu in Vietnam, removed two countries from the list of polio-endemic nations, and provided humanitarian assistance in Lebanon and Darfur.
• United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – UNESCO focuses on everything from teacher training to helping improve education worldwide to protecting important historical and cultural sites around the world. UNESCO added 28 new World Heritage Sites this year to the list of irreplaceable treasures that will be protected for today's travelers and future generations.
• International Labor Organization (ILO) – ILO promotes international labor rights by formulating international standards on the freedom to associate, collective bargaining, the abolition of forced labor, and equality of opportunity and treatment.
• Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – FAO leads international efforts to fight hunger. It is both a forum for negotiating agreements between developing and developed countries and a source of technical knowledge and information to aid development.
• International Maritime Organization (IMO) – IMO has created a comprehensive shipping regulatory framework, addressing safety and environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, security, and efficiency.
• World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – WMO facilitates the free international exchange of meteorological data and information and the furtherance of its use in aviation, shipping, security, and agriculture, among other things.
• World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – WIPO protects intellectual property throughout the world through 23 international treaties.
• International Civilian Aviation Organization (ICAO) – ICAO sets international rules on air navigation, the investigation of air accidents, and aerial border-crossing procedures
• United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT) – ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishes the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. ITU is committed to connecting the world's people – wherever they live and whatever their means. Through our work, we protect and support everyone's fundamental right to communicate.