Specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the UN and each other through the coordinating machinery of the United Nations Economic and Social Council at the intergovernmental level, and through the Chief Executives Board for coordination (CEB) at the inter-secretariat level.[1] Specialized agencies may or may not have been originally 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[2] specialized agencies that carry out various functions on behalf of the UN. The specialized agencies are as follows:[3]

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Edit

Main article: Food and Agriculture Organization

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 UN agencies and its headquarters are in Rome, Italy.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Edit

Flag of ICAO

ICAO flag.

Main article: International Civil Aviation Organization

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, 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, the 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) Edit

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. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Its headquarters are in Rome, Italy.

International Labour Organization (ILO) Edit

Flag of ILO

ILO flag.

Main article: International Labour Organization

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) Edit

Flag of the International Maritime Organization

IMO flag.

Main article: International Maritime Organization

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), was established in 1948 through 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 among governments and the shipping industry to improve maritime safety and to 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.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Edit

Main article: International Monetary Fund

International Monetary Fund (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.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Edit

Flag of ITU

ITU flag.

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 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) Edit

Flag of UNESCO

UNESCO flag.

Main article: UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1946 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 in order to 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) Edit

Main article: United Nations Industrial Development Organization

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations system, headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The Organization's primary objective is the promotion and acceleration of industrial development in developing countries and countries with economies in transition and the promotion of international industrial cooperation.

UNIDO believes that competitive and environmentally sustainable industry has a crucial role to play in accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Organization therefore works towards improving the quality of life of the world's poor by drawing on its combined global resources and expertise in the following three interrelated thematic areas:

  • Poverty reduction through productive activities;
  • Trade capacity-building; and
  • Energy and environment.

Universal Postal Union (UPU) Edit

Flag of UPU

UPU flag.

Main article: Universal Postal Union

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 Edit

The World Bank Group comprises a goup 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. It’s 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. Three of the five World Bank Group organizations, namely the IBRD, the IFC, and the IDA, are specialized agencies of the United Nations.[4]

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) Edit

Main article: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

The IBRD makes loans to developing countries for development programmes with the stated goal of reducing poverty. It is part of the World Bank Group (WBG).

International Finance Corporation (IFC) Edit

Main article: International Finance Corporation

The IFC is the largest multilateral source of loan and equity financing for private sector projects in the developing world. It is part of the World Bank Group (WBG).

International Development Association (IDA) Edit

Main article: International Development Association

The IDA's mandate is close to that of IBRD, with the focus on the poorest countries. It is part of the World Bank Group (WBG).

World Health Organization (WHO) Edit

Flag of WHO

WHO flag.

Main article: World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health Organization, which had been an agency of the League of Nations.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Edit

Main article: World Intellectual Property Organization

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations created in 1967 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Its purpose is to encourage creative activity and to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world. The organisation administers several treaties concerning the protection of intellectual property rights.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Edit

Flag of the World Meteorological Organization

WMO flag.

Main article: World Meteorological Organization

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. Established in 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Edit

Main article: World Tourism Organization

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was established in 1925 in London, United Kingdom, to replace the International Union of Official Tourist Propaganda Organization (IUOTPO). UNWTO has 160 member states and 350 affiliated members representing private organizations, educational institutions and others. It is headquartered in Madrid, Spain. The World Tourism Organization serves as a forum for tourism policies and acts as a practical source for tourism know-how.

Former specialized agencies Edit

The only UN specialized agency to go out of existence is the International Refugee Organization, which existed from 1946 to 1952. In 1952, it was replaced by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is a subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly.

Related and comparable organizations Edit

There are many other intergovernmental organizations that have concluded cooperation agreements with the United Nations. In terms of cooperation structures, some agreements come very close to the relationship agreements concluded under articles 57 and 63 of the UN Charter. This is why these organizations are called related organizations, but due to lack of formalities required by articles 57 and 63, they are not specialized agencies of the United Nations.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Edit

Flag of IAEA

IAEA flag.

Main article: International Atomic Energy Agency

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an intergovernmental organization for scientific and technical cooperation in the field of nuclear technology. It seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for military purposes. The IAEA was set up as an autonomous organization in 29 July 1957. Prior to this, in 1953, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower envisioned the creation of this international body to control and develop the use of atomic energy, in his "Atoms for Peace" speech before the UN General Assembly.[5] The organization and its former Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize announced on 7 October 2005. Its current membership is 144 countries.[6]

Due to historical reasons and the political nature of its work, the IAEA is not a specialized agency. Instead, its relationship to 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.[7]

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)Edit

Main article: UNICEF

UNICEF is not a specialized agency but is an organization created by the UN General Assembly.

World Trade Organization (WTO) Edit

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.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Edit

Main article: Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

CTBTO Preparatory Commission Edit

Main article: Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization

Summary Edit

Logo Official name Abbreviation Location Established Precursor established Members states Other participants Map and reference
FAO logo Food and Agriculture Organization FAO Italy, Rome 1945 FAO members and observers [1]
Flag of ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO Canada, Montreal 1947 ICAO [2]
IFAD logo International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD Italy, Rome 1977
  • the UN members without: Australia, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Bahrain, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Bahamas, Marshall Islands, Yemen;
  • Cook Islands, Niue
IFAD [3]
ILO logo International Labour Organization ILO Switzerland, Geneva 1919
  • the UN members without: Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Bhutan, North Korea, Palau, Micronesia, Nauru, Tonga
International Labour Organization [4]
Flag of the International Maritime Organization International Maritime Organization IMO UK, London 1959
  • the UN members without: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Rwanda, Burundi, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Bhutan, Belarus, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Laos, Palau, Micronesia, Nauru;
  • Cook Islands
International Maritime Organization [5]
International Monetary Fund logo International Monetary Fund IMF USA, Washington D.C. 1945
  • the UN members without: Cuba, North Korea, Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Nauru;
  • Kosovo
International Monetary Fund [6]
Flag of ITU International Telecommunication Union ITU Switzerland, Geneva 1865 ITU [7]
Flag of UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO France, Paris 1945 1922 UNESCO [8]
Unido logo United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO Austria, Vienna 1985 1966
  • the UN members without: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Canada, United States, Andorra, Brunei, Estonia, Iceland, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu;
Flag of UPU Universal Postal Union UPU Switzerland, Bern 1874 Universal Postal Union membership [10]
World Bank Logo World Bank Group WBG USA, Washington D.C. 1945
  • the UN members without: Cuba, North Korea, Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Nauru;
  • Kosovo
World Bank Group [11]
Flag of WHO World Health Organization WHO Switzerland, Geneva 1948 1907 World Health Organization [12]
WIPO logo 2010 World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO Switzerland, Geneva 1967
  • the UN members without: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu;
  • Vatican City
WIPO [13]
Flag of the World Meteorological Organization World Meteorological Organization WMO Switzerland, Geneva 1950 1873
  • the UN members without: Andorra, Grenada, Equatorial Guinea, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Tuvalu;
  • Cook Islands, Niue
WMO members states and territories [14]
UNWTO Logo World Tourism Organization UNWTO Spain, Madrid 1974 1925
  • the UN members without: Suriname, Guyana, United States, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Liberia, Somalia, Comoros, Ireland, Iceland, United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Estonia, United Arab Emirates, Myanmar, Singapore, New Zealand, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga;
UNWTO [15]
Flag of IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA Austria, Vienna 1957
  • the UN members without: Cape Verde, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Togo, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bhutan, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kiribati, Laos, Maldives, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu;
  • Vatican City
IAEA members [16]
Emblem of the United Nations United Nations Organization UN USA, New York 1945 1919 United Nations membership of Sovereign States [17]
Wto logo World Trade Organization WTO Switzerland, Geneva 1995 1948
  • the UN members without: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Russia, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Seychelles, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yemen, East Timor, Eritrea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, San Marino, Somalia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu;
WTOmap currentstatus (May2010) [18]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. "The United Nations System". 
  2. ECOSOC: UN Agencies,
  3. UN structure and organization, Specialized Agencies
  4. Maurizio Ragazzi: World Bank Group, para.7. In: Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
  5. About IAEA: History
  6. About IAEA: By the Numbers
  7. Johan Rautenbach: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), para.2. In: Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
  8. Listed in the table are only these UN observers that participate in the 15 specialized agencies, IAEA, ICJ and WTO.

External links Edit

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