Specialized Agencies

Specialized Agencies are legally independent international organizations with their own rules, membership, organs and financial resources, were brought into relationship with the United Nations through negotiated agreements. Some of the agencies existed before the First World War, some were associated with the League of Nations, others were created almost simultaneously with the United Nations and yet others were created by the United Nations itself to meet emerging needs. Given the diversity of their respective fields of action, history and experience, each agency has its own needs and concerns, not to speak of corporate culture.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) was founded in 1919, its Constitution forming part of the Treaty of Versailles. The ILO became the first specialised agency of the UN in 1946.

The aim of the Food and Agriculture Organization, as defined in its Constitution, is to: raise levels of nutrition and standards of living; secure improvements in food production and distribution; better the conditions of rural people and; contribute toward an expanding world economy and ensure freedom from hunger.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established in 1945 to promote the aims set out in article 1, para. 3 of the UN Charter. Its purpose, as stated in article 1 of its Constitution, is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture.

The Convention on International Civil Aviation, which provided for the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), was signed in Chicago in 1944. The Organization came into existence on 4 April 1947 after 26 states had ratified the Convention. Under article 44 of the Convention, the ICAO is charged with developing the principles and techniques of international air navigation, and fostering the planning and development of international air transport to ensure the safe and orderly growth of international civil aviation throughout the world.

Representatives of 61 states adopted the World Health Organization (WHO) Constitution in 1946. The Organization formally came into existence on 7 April 1948 and became a UN specialized agency on 10 July 1948. Article 1 of the Constitution defines the WHO's objective as "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health". The detailed functions are set out in article 2 of the Constitution.

Since inception in 1944, the World Bank has expanded from a single institution to a closely associated group of five development institutions.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organisation of 187 countries that works to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty.

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) was established by the Berne Treaty of 1874 and became a specialised agency of the UN in 1948. Article 1 of the Vienna Constitution 1964 states that the aim of the Union is to secure the organisation and improvements of postal services, promote the development of international collaboration and undertake, as far as possible, technical assistance in postal matters requested by members countries. To this end, the countries that have adopted the Constitution comprise a single postal territory.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was founded in 1865 in Paris as the International Telegraph Union. The 1932 Madrid Plenipotentiary Conference decided the current name, which came into force on 1 January 1934. The ITU is an inter-governmental organization that brings together governments and industry to coordinate the establishment and operation of global telecommunication networks and services.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is the successor to the International Meteorological Organization, which was established in 1873. It formally came into existence in 1950 and became a UN specialised agency in 1951.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the UN specialised agency responsible for the safety of life at sea, maritime security and the protection of the marine environment through prevention of sea pollution caused by ships. It facilitates cooperation among governments to achieve the highest practicable standards of maritime safety and security, and efficiency in navigation.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system that rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and UN specialised agency dedicated to eradicating poverty in rural areas of developing countries. The Fund was established in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference.

The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the UN specialized agency mandated to promote industrial development and international industrial cooperation. The Organization's mission statement is: Partner for prosperity: UNIDO aspires to reduce poverty through sustainable industrial development. we want every country to have the opportunity to grow a flourishing productive sector, to increase their participation in international trade and to safeguard their environment.

UNWTO is the UN's specialised agency in the field of tourism. It provides leadership and support to the tourism sector in the advancement of sustainable policies, practices and actions. Through the promotion and development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, UNWTO endeavours to maximise tourism's contribution to socio-economic growth, job creation, development, environmental conservation, cultural enrichment and international understanding, while minimizing negative social or environmental impacts. It pays particular attention to the interests of developing countries.

CEB Programme Themes