Specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations 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. 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 specialized agencies that carry out various functions on behalf of the UN. The specialized agencies are listed below.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation 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 is in Rome, Italy.
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, 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.
It also solves disputes between two countries.
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.
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.
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 government 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) is sometimes considered to be a specialized agency. It is part of the United Nations system and has a formal relationship agreement with the UN, but retains its independence. 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.
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.
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.
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 economics 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:
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.
The World Bank Group is part of the United Nations system and has a formal relationship agreement with the UN, but retains its independence. 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 of America.
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).
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).
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).
The World Health Organization (WHO) acts as a coordinating authority on international public health and deals with health and sanitation and diseases and sends medical teams to help combat epidemics. 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. It was established in April 7, 1948 when 26 members of the United Nations ratified its Constitution. April 7 is celebrated as the World Health Day every year. The WHO is governed by 194 Member States through the World Health Assembly. Its headquarters are at Geneva in Switzerland.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (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 organization administers several treaties concerning the protection of intellectual property rights.
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 modern meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was established in 1974 in Madrid, Spain, to replace the International Union of Official Tourist Publicity Organizations (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.
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 (headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland), which is a subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly.
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There are many other intergovernmental organizations that have concluded cooperation agreements with the United Nations like, UNIDO, WFP, IMSO (International Mobile Satellite Organization) and many more. In terms of cooperation structures, some agreements come very close to the relationship agreements concluded under articles 57 and 63 of the UN Charter with the specialized agencies, but due to Charter requirements that the agencies deal with "economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related fields", organizations with such agreements are not formally specialized agencies of the United Nations. The IAEA established such an agreement with the UN in 1957, and the OPCW and the CTBTO used this model for agreements of their own with the UN.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission preparatory commission is tasked with preparing the activities of the nuclear non-proliferation organization.
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 on 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. 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.
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.
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 of the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction. The verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by members states and on-site inspections.
|No.||Logo||Official name||Abbreviation||Location||Established||Precursor established||Members states||Other participants||Map and reference|
|-||United Nations||UN||USA, New York City||1945||1920||
|1||Food and Agriculture Organization||FAO||Italy, Rome||1945||—|||
|2||International Civil Aviation Organization||ICAO||Canada, Montreal||1947||—||—|||
|3||International Fund for Agricultural Development||IFAD||Italy, Rome||1977||—||
|4||International Labour Organization||ILO||Switzerland, Geneva||1919||—||
|5||International Maritime Organization||IMO||UK, London||1959||—|||
|6||International Monetary Fund||IMF||USA, Washington, D.C.||1945||—||—|||
|7||International Telecommunication Union||ITU||Switzerland, Geneva||1865||—||
|8||United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization||UNESCO||France, Paris||1946||1922|||
|9||United Nations Industrial Development Organization||UNIDO||Austria, Vienna||1985||1966||
|10||Universal Postal Union||UPU||Switzerland, Bern||1874||—|||
|11||World Bank Group||WBG||USA, Washington, D.C.||1945||—||—|||
|12||World Health Organization||WHO||Switzerland, Geneva||1948||1907|||
|13||World Intellectual Property Organization||WIPO||Switzerland, Geneva||1967||—||
|14||World Meteorological Organization||WMO||Switzerland, Geneva||1950||1873|||
|15||World Tourism Organization||UNWTO||Spain, Madrid||1974||1925||
|16||Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission||CTBTO Prep Com||Austria, Vienna||1996||—||—|||
|17||International Atomic Energy Agency||IAEA||Austria, Vienna||1957||—||
|18||Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons||OPCW||Netherlands, The Hague||1997||—||—|||
|19||World Trade Organization||WTO||Switzerland, Geneva||1995||1948||
The number of specialized agencies thus rose to fifteen.
The Organization is not a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN), but it will have a special relationship with it, to be organized on the basis of an agreement between the two organizations. It could not be a specialized agency within the meaning of Articles 57 and 63 of the UN Charter, as these provisions presuppose that the functions of the agency fall within the powers of the UN Economic and Social Council, which is clearly not the case with the OPCW. Its status will rather be comparable to that of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
IAEA, for example, is not a UN specialized agency. It submits annual reports to the UN General Assembly and to the Security Council, when necessary. If any questions arise that fall within the purview of the Security Council, the IAEA notifies the SC accordingly. The IAEA's special relationship with the UN and UN SC is also specified in an agreement between the IAEA and the UN in 1957. Under this agreement the IAEA cooperates with the Security Council by furnishing it, at its request, with such information and assistance as may be required in the exercise of its responsibility for maintenance or restoration of international peace and security. This agreement has since served as a model for UN agreements with nonproliferation organizations such as the OPCW and the CTBTO