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List of specialized agencies of the United Nations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the UnitedNations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the UnitedNations Economic and Social Council at the intergovernmental level, and through the Chief Executives Board for co-ordination (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 UnitedNations System by the United Nations Economic and Social Council acting under Articles 57 and 63 of the UnitedNations Charter. At present the UN has in total 15[2][3][4][notes 1] specialized agencies that carry out various functions on behalf of the UN. The specialized agencies are listed below.[7]

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

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)

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)

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)

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 Labor Office.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

IMO flag.
IMO flag.

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.And also promotes international cooperation in education, science and culture

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) is part of the UnitedNations system and has a formal relationship agreement with the UN, but retains its independence.[8] 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)

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)

UNESCO flag.
UNESCO flag.

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)

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 in order 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 Li Yong.

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

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)

The World Bank Group is part of the UnitedNations system and has a formal relationship agreement with the UN, but retains its independence.[8] 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.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

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)

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)

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)

WHO flag.
WHO flag.

The World Health Organization (WHO) acts as a coordinating authority on international public health which deals with health and sanitation and diseases and sends medical teams to help combat epidemics. Established on 7 April 1948, 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.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

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.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

WMO flag.
WMO flag.

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.

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO or WTO)

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO or WTO) 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.

Former specialized agencies

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 UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees (headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland), which is a subsidiary organ of the UnitedNations General Assembly.

Related organizations

There are 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 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.[9][10][11][12][13][14] These organizations are termed Related Organizations by the UN.[15]

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.[13][14][16]

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission preparatory commission is tasked with preparing the activities of the nuclear non-proliferation organization.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

IAEA flag.
IAEA flag.

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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Since September 2016, IOM has been a related organization to the United Nations.[20] Headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The Organization 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.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

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.


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
UnitedNations UN  United States New York City 1945 1920
United Nations membership of Sovereign States.png
Specialized agencies
FAO logo.svg
Food and Agriculture Organization FAO  Italy Rome 1945
FAO members and observers.png
Flag of ICAO.svg
International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO  Canada Montreal 1947
IFAD logo.jpg
International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD  Italy Rome 1977
  • the UN members except Andorra, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Brunei, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Palau, Poland, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine
  • Cook Islands, Niue
  • observers: Holy See
Flag of ILO.svg
International Labour Organization ILO   Switzerland Geneva 1919
  • the UN members except Andorra, Bhutan, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, North Korea, Tonga
International Labour Organization.png
Flag of the International Maritime Organization.svg
International Maritime Organization IMO  United Kingdom London 1959
  • the UN members except Afghanistan, Andorra, Armenia, Belarus, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Mali, Micronesia, Nauru, Niger, Rwanda, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Zambia
  • Cook Islands
IMO Participation.svg
6 International Monetary Fund IMF  United States Washington, D.C. 1945
International Monetary Fund.png
7 International Telecommunication Union ITU   Switzerland Geneva 1865
Member states of the International Telecommunication Union.png
Flag of UNESCO.svg
UnitedNations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO  France Paris 1946 1922
UNESCO member states.png
9 UnitedNations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO  Austria Vienna 1985 1966
  • the UN members except Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Estonia, Iceland, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand (as of 31 December 2013), Palau, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, United Kingdom, United States
Map of UNIDO membership as of 2010.png
Flag of UPU.svg
Universal Postal Union UPU   Switzerland, Bern 1874
Universal Postal Union membership.png
World Bank logo.svg
World Bank Group WBG  United States Washington, D.C. 1945
World Bank Group.png
Flag of WHO.svg
World Health Organization WHO   Switzerland Geneva 1948 1907
World Health Organization membership status map.png
13 World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO   Switzerland Geneva 1967
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) members world map.png
Flag of the World Meteorological Organization.svg
World Meteorological Organization WMO   Switzerland Geneva 1950 1873
  • the UN members except Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Nauru, 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
15 World Tourism Organization UNWTO  Spain Madrid 1974 1925
  • the UN members except Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Comoros, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Kiribati, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Sweden, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States
Related organizations
16 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission CTBTO Prep Com  Austria Vienna 1996
CTBT Participation.svg
Flag of IAEA.svg
International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA  Austria Vienna 1957
  • the UN members except Andorra, Bhutan, Cape Verde, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Maldives, Micronesia, Nauru, North Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu
  • Holy See
IAEA member states.svg
18 Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons OPCW  Netherlands Hague 1997
CWC Participation.svg
19 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, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan
  • customs territory members: European Union, Hong Kong, Macau, Chinese Taipei
WTO members and observers.svg
20 International Organization for Migration IOM   Switzerland Geneva 1951

See also


  1. ^ In some sources,[5][6] 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.


  1. ^ "The UnitedNations System" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2008. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ "REPERTORY OF PRACTICE OF UNITEDNATIONS ORGANS SUPPLEMENT No. 10 (2000-2009) - ARTICLE 17(3)" (PDF). UnitedNations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. The number of specialized agencies thus rose to fifteen. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  3. ^ Eckart Klein: United Nations, Specialized Agencies, para.9. In: Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
  4. ^ "What are UN specializedagencies, and how many are there?". Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Retrieved 11 March 2018. There are currently 15 specialized agencies: ...
  5. ^ "UN SpecializedAgencies". Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Retrieved 11 March 2018. There are 17 Specialized Agencies: ...
  6. ^ "World Bank Group". Dag Hammarskjöld Library / UN System Documentation. Retrieved 11 March 2018. ... IBRD, IFC and IDA are Specialized Agencies of the UN ...
  7. ^ UN structure and organization, SpecializedAgencies
  8. ^ a b "REPERTORY OF PRACTICE OF UNITEDNATIONS ORGANS SUPPLEMENT NO. 9 (1995-1999) - VOLUME II - ARTICLE 17(3)" (PDF). UnitedNations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  9. ^ List of Agreements between SpecializedAgencies and the UnitedNations
  10. ^ "The UN System, Chief Executives Board for Coordination". Retrieved 22 January 2013.: "The Executive Heads of IAEA and WTO are invited to meetings of the CEB like any other specialized agency head."
  11. ^ The UnitedNations System chart, Published by the United Nations Department of Public Information, December 2007
  12. ^ "Organization Chart - UnitedNations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination".
  13. ^ a b Bothe, Michael; Ronzitti, Natalino; Rosas, Allan, eds. (1998). The New Chemical Weapons Convention: Implementation and Prospects. Kluwer Law International. p. 6. 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).
  14. ^ a b Lattanzi, Flavia; Schabas, William, eds. (2014). Essays on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 2. Il Sirente. p. 64.
  15. ^ "DIRECTORY OF UNITEDNATIONS SYSTEM ORGANIZATIONS - Related Organizations". UnitedNations. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  16. ^ "International Affairs". 53 ("4-6"). Znanye Publishing House. 2007: 63. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 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 Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ About IAEA: History
  18. ^ "IAEA By Numbers". 26 May 2014.
  19. ^ Johan Rautenbach: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), para.2. In: Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
  20. ^ "IOM Becomes a Related Organization to the UN". International Organization for Migration. 26 July 2016.
  21. ^ Regional organizations allowed by their member states to speak on their behalf.
  22. ^ Listed in the table are only these UN observers that participate in the 15 specialized agencies, IAEA, ICJ and WTO.

External links

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