- 1 The United Nations System
- 2 General Assembly
- 2.1 Subsidiary Organs
- 2.2 Funds and Programmes
- 2.3 Research and Training
- 2.4 Other Entities
- 2.5 Related Organisations
- 3 Security Council
- 4 Economic and Social Council
- 4.1 Specialised Agencies
- 4.1.1 Food and Agriculture Organisation
- 4.1.2 International Civil Aviation Organisation
- 4.1.3 International Labour Organisation
- 4.1.4 UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
- 4.1.5 World Health Organisation
- 4.1.6 World Intellectual Property Organisation
- 4.1.7 World Meteorological Organisation
- 4.1.8 World Tourism Organisation
- 4.1 Specialised Agencies
- 5 Secretariat
- 6 International Court of Justice
- 7 Trusteeship Council
- 8 Non-Specialised Agencies
- 9 Initiatives
- 10 Affiliated Organisations
- 11 Articles
- 12 References
The United Nations System
Notes: Representing the UN with a tree structure won't do, since various organs share responsibilities. Job for Draw.io, or can possibly use a MindMap - see MindNode > United Nations: UN System. Chart taken from UN:System Chart. Note it is not correct, as a simple tree cannot demonstrate shared organs very well. Could also have the relevant section opposite the text...
See also UN:Main Organs + United Nations § Structure
See also "The UN System", good place to start. Also UN System, and UN Directory. Note the "Chief Executives Board for Coordination" is v.important wrt the UN.
What we do, News, Annual Reports, For journalists, Dcouments, Main Organs
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- UN Human Rights Council
- International Seabed Authority,
- UN Development Group (UNDG),
- UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),
- UN Office of Legal Affairs (UNOLA), law,
- UN Executive Office of the Secretary-General (UNEOSG),
- International Trade Centre (ITC),
Chief Executives Board for Coordination
The membership of the CEB includes: the United Nations; 15 specialised agencies established by intergovernmental agreement; 3 Related Organizations; and 12 funds and programmes created by the United Nations General Assembly. IOM is the newest member to join the CEB. The United Nations (the Secretariat); ILO, FAO, UNESCO, ICAO, WHO, World Bank Group, IMF, UPU, ITU, WMO, IMO, WIPO, IFAD, UNIDO, UNWTO, IAEA, WTO, IOM, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNHCR, UNRWA, UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP, UNODC, UN-Habitat, UN-Women, UNOPS. ref
The High Level Committee on Management (HLCM) is responsible to the Chief Executives Board for coherent, efficient and cost‐effective management across the United Nations system of organisations. It is composed of the most senior managers of each CEB member organisation. See HCLM Strategic Plan ref
The Legal Advisors Network was initiated in Sept.2007, with the aim of increasing communication among legal advisers across the system, develop consultation and knowledge sharing mechanisms to address issues of common concern and ensure, where appropriate, a better dissemination of relevant guidelines, policies and practices. It also supports a better understanding of the needs of the various bodies for which the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) provides central legal services. ref
- General Assembly
- See here, http://www.un.org/en/ga/
- Subsidiary Organs
- Funds and Programmes
- #UN Development Programme (UNDP)
- #N Children's Fund (UNICEF), website
- #UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), website
- (UNRWA), website
- #UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
- (WFP), website
- #UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), website
- (UNFPA), website
- (UNHABITAT), website
- Research and Training
- Other Entities
- Related Organisations
- Security Council
- See here, http://www.un.org/en/sc/
- #International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Reports to both the Security Council and the General Assembly.
- Subsidiary Organs
- Counter-Terrorism Committee
- International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
- International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
- Military Staff Committee
- Peacekeeping operations and political missions
- Sanctions committees (ad hoc)
- Standing committees and ad hoc bodies
- Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
- See here, http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/
- Functional Commissions
- Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
- Narcotic Drugs
- Population and Development
- Science and Technology for Development
- Social Development
- Status of Women
- United Nations Forum on Forests
- Regional Commissions
- Other Bodies
- Research and Training
- #Specialised Agencies - autonomous organisations whose work is coordinated through ECOSOC (intergovernmental level) and CEB (inter-secretariat level).
- #Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
- #International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), https://www.ifad.org/
- #International Labour Organisation (ILO),
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- International Maritime Organisation (IMO), http://www.imo.org/
- International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
- #UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 93/30
- UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
- Universal Postal Union (UPU)
- #World Bank Group,
- #World Health Organisation (WHO)
- #World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
- #World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
- #World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
- See list of Offices here, http://www.un.org/en/sections/about-un/secretariat/index.html
- § UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
- § UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights), https://www.ohchr.org/,
- International Court of Justice
- See here, http://www.icj-cij.org/en
- Trusteeship CouncilThe Trusteeship Council suspended operation on Nov.01.1994, because on Oct.01.1994 Palau, the last United Nations Trust Territory, became independent. See also here, http://www.un.org/en/sections/about-un/trusteeship-council/index.html
The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. All 193 Member States are represented, and each has equal weight: one nation, one vote. Every year in September, the full membership meets in the General Assembly Hall in New York for the annual General Assembly session, and general debate. Decisions on important questions, eg. on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a 66% majority of the General Assembly. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority. Each year, the General Assembly elects a President and 21 Vice-Presidents to serve a one-year term of office. ref, ref
Funds and Programmes
UN Development Programme
UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, focusing on helping countries in 3 main areas: Sustainable development; Democratic governance and peacebuilding; and Climate and Disaster resilience. ToDo: org.chart, 2017 report, Funding + Contributors. ref
UN Capital Development Fund
UNCDF makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries.
Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office
MPTF allows multiple donors to pool their funding to support large-scale projects and initiatives.
UN Volunteers, ... in 2017, ~25,000 UN Volunteers in 131 countries and online.
UN Office on Drugs and Crime
UNODC is the secretariat of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three supplementary protocols on: Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children; Smuggling of Migrants; and illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms. It is also the secretariat of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption. UNODC promotes the ratification and implementation of all of these conventions and protocols through capacity building, training and technical assistance. ref, ref
UN Children's Fund
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence. ref UNICEF's programmes are grounded in research; their website has an Interactive Data Visualisation page to help understand the data analysis.
UN Environment Programme
UNEP was founded in Jun.1972 after the UN Conference on the Human Environment. It is responsible for a number of environmental issues concerning various UN agencies. Some of these responsibilities include: developing international environmental agreements, encouraging environmental science, and creating development policies with national governments. Experts of the UNEP have contributed to guidelines of treaties and policies in terms of potential contaminants. United Nations Environment Programme, ref
- Sept.27.2018: Under-fire UN environment chief forced back to HQ. Erik Solheim, under pressure over frequent flying and rule-breaking, has also now recused himself over wife’s job. Damian Carrington, The Guardian.
UNEP Finance Initiative
UNEP FI is a unique partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector. UNEP FI works closely with over 200 financial institutions that are signatories to the UNEP FI Statement on Sustainable Development, and a range of partner organisations, to develop and promote linkages between sustainability and financial performance. Through peer-to-peer networks, research and training, UNEP FI carries out its mission to identify, promote, and realise the adoption of best environmental and sustainability practice at all levels of financial institution operations.ref
Convention on Biological Diversity
- Dec.03.2017: Gene Drive Files reveal covert lobbying tactics to influence UN expert group. Gene drives are a highly controversial genetic extinction technology with potential applications for agricultural, conservation or military use. New GM technologies like CRISPR are being used to have genetic modifications, like infertility, into organisms that will spread to all next generations. In this way, entire species could be wiped out. One example is mosquitoes, which idiots like Bill Gates are funding - with zero thought for the vast ecological and societal consequences. External actors with a vested interest in the development of gene drives have organised amomg themselves to influence the work of the UN expert group. Emerging Ag president and founder Robynne Anderson is a former communications director of CropLife International, an international lobby group for the biotech and pesticide industries. Sarah Lukie, a biotech lobbyist at Brussels-based Croplife International. Previously, Lukie worked for the U.S. Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the sister organization of EuropaBio. Biotechnology lobby group Public Research and Regulation Initiative runs a similar influencing operation. The US Military is taking a leading role in pushing gene drive development - you don't need much imagination to figure out what their interests might be. The fact that gene drive development is now being primarily funded and structured by the US military should raise very alarming questions. Food and Agriculture, Corporate Europe Observatory.
Research and Training
The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members (5 permanent and 10 non-permanent members) link. Each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions. The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. The Security Council has a Presidency, which rotates, and changes, every month (link). ref
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is the world's central inter-governmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field. It works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, contributing to international peace and security and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The Agency was set up as the world’s "Atoms for Peace" organisation within the United Nations family. It was given the mandate to work worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. The IAEA has a dual mission to "accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity", and to "ensure ... that assistance provided ... is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose". Reports to both the Security Council and the General Assembly. ref, ref. International Atomic Energy Agency, https://www.iaea.org/
- May.28.2009: Toxic link: the WHO and the IAEA. A 50-year-old agreement with the IAEA has effectively gagged the WHO from telling the truth about the health risks of radiation. Fifty years ago, the World Health Organisation's assembly voted into force an obscure but important agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The effect of this agreement has been to give the IAEA an effective veto on any actions by the WHO that relate in any way to nuclear power – and so prevent the WHO from playing its proper role in investigating and warning of the dangers of nuclear radiation on human health. Oliver Tickell, The Guardian.
Economic and Social Council
The Economic and Social Council is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as implementation of internationally agreed development goals. It serves as the central mechanism for activities of the UN system and its specialized agencies in the economic, social and environmental fields, supervising subsidiary and expert bodies. It has 54 Members (link), elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms. It is the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development. ref
Specialized agencies are legally independent international organisations 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 WW1, some were associated with the League of Nations, others were created at almost the same time as the United Nations, and yet others were created by the United Nations itself to meet emerging needs. Specialised agencies work with the UN and each other through the coordinating machinery of ECOSOC at the intergovernmental level, and through the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) at the inter-secretariat level. ref See also UN:Specialised Agencies + United Nations § Specialized agencies + List of specialized agencies of the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organisation
- Food and Agriculture Organization, http://www.fao.org/home/en/, http://www.fao.org/about/en/, State of the World publications, Funding, Projects Sustainable Development Goals (17), http://www.fao.org/themes/en/ > http://www.fao.org/sustainable-development-goals/en/
The aim of the FAO 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. ref
The International Institute for Sustainable Development § SDG Knowledge Hub is an online resource centre for news and commentary regarding the implementation of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is managed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and is a veritable mine of information on who is keeping their word... and who isn't.
- http://sdg.iisd.org/actors/, http://sdg.iisd.org/sdgs/, http://sdg.iisd.org/news/earth-overshoot-day-world-consumes-annual-resources-budget-in-seven-months/, Linkback: SDG Watch Europe are running campaigns... we need to hold these bastards to their promises.
International Civil Aviation Organisation
The ICAO, in charge of reducing the carbon footprint of international aviation, has little or no public scrutiny. Its agenda and discussion documents are not released to the public or the international press, and meetings are not open to the media. Anyone who leaks documents being discussed faces “unlimited liability for confidentiality breaches”.
- Feb.11.2019: Critics attack secrecy at UN body seeking to cut global airline emissions. The ICAO's environment committee meets on Monday in Montreal behind closed doors to discuss measures to reduce emissions from international aircraft. Domestic and international flights emitted 895m tonnes of CO2 last year – 2.4% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. A number of industry bodies are key observers at Monday’s meeting of the Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection (CAEP). They include the International Business Aviation Council, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, the Arab Civil Aviation Commission, the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, the Airports Council International and the International Air Transport Association. The only non-governmental body not linked to the airline industry allowed into the meeting is the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, made up of a small group of international environmental NGOs. Transparency International said: “Agencies which set common global standards for large, international industries have to be transparent in order to prevent capture by corporate interests, or even the appearance of undue influence. This year, international aircraft will, for the first time, have to start monitoring their emissions as part of ICAO measures to reduce emissions with a market-based system of purchasing emissions offsets – rather than by directly reducing aircraft emissions. Few believe the scheme will have the required impact. Sandra Laville, The Guardian.
International Labour Organisation
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
World Health Organisation
World Intellectual Property Organisation
World Meteorological Organisation
World Tourism Organisation
The Secretariat comprises the Secretary-General (link) and tens of thousands of international UN staff members who carry out the day-to-day work of the UN as mandated by the General Assembly and the Organization's other principal organs. The Secretary-General is chief administrative officer (link) of the Organization, appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a five-year, renewable term. UN staff members are recruited internationally and locally, and work in duty stations and on peacekeeping missions all around the world. But serving the cause of peace in a violent world is a dangerous occupation. Since the founding of the United Nations, hundreds of brave men and women have given their lives in its service.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its seat is at the Peace Palace in the Hague (Netherlands). It is the only one of the six principal organs of the United Nations not located in New York (United States of America). The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies. ref
The Trusteeship Council was established in 1945 by the UN Charter, under Chapter XIII, to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories that had been placed under the administration of seven Member States, and ensure that adequate steps were taken to prepare the Territories for self-government and independence. By 1994, all Trust Territories had attained self-government or independence. The Trusteeship Council suspended operation on 1 November 1994. By a resolution adopted on 25 May 1994, the Council amended its rules of procedure to drop the obligation to meet annually and agreed to meet as occasion required -- by its decision or the decision of its President, or at the request of a majority of its members or the General Assembly or the Security Council. ref
- United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)
- Publications >>World Water Development Report,
UN Global Compact
The Compact is a call to companies to align strategies and operations with Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and Anti-Corruption; and to take actions that advance societal goals. ref, p.5
Global Compact for Migration
Principles for Responsible Investment
The PRI is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. The PRI encourages investors to use responsible investment to enhance returns and better manage risks, but does not operate for its own profit; it engages with global policymakers but is not associated with any govt; it is supported by, but not part of, the United Nations. The PRI has two UN partners – § UNEP Finance Initiative and § UN Global Compact – which play an important role in delivering the PRI’s strategy.
The six Principles for Responsible Investment, developed by investors, for investors, are a voluntary and aspirational set of investment principles that offer a menu of possible actions for incorporating ESG issues into investment practice.About, How ESG engagement creates value for both companies and investors
- Dec.21.2018: British UN aid worker Ali Khamis sacked after sex claim. Ali Khamis, a British aid worker has been sacked by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR after an inquiry into allegations that he sexually assaulted a Ugandan woman he had hired as a maid. Despite promising a zero-tolerance approach on sexual misconduct, the UNHCR took 9 months to investigate the allegations against Mr Khamis, then sacked him within days of The Times making inquiries about the case. The UN agency, which received £850m in British aid from 2012-17, said that the 22-year-old woman in the case was not... Sean O'Neill, The Times.
- Dec.12.2018: Sweden suspends funding for UN Aids agency as Britain urged to follow suit. Swedish minister calls for Michel Sidibé to step down after report alleging harassment and favouritism at agency. UNAids spearheads the global fight against Aids and HIV. Britain has been attacked by campaigners for not taking a similarly strong stance. The Department for International Development is the 5th biggest donor. Rebecca Ratcliffe, The Guardian. See also Pressure grows on UN official accused of encouraging 'harassment and abuse', Dec.07.
- Jul.2018: Highjacking the SDGs? The Private Sector and the Sustainable Development Goals. Marie-Luise Abshagen, Anna Cavazzini, Laura Graen, Wolfgang Obenland, Global Policy Forum. Joint paper from
- Mar.09.2018: UN moves towards recognising human right to a healthy environment. John Knox, UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said the momentum for such a move was growing along with an awareness of the heavy toll being paid by those fighting against deforestation, pollution, land grabs and poaching. Formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests and wildlife. The number of murders of land and environmental defenders tracked by Global Witness increased to 197 last year, compared with 147 in in 2012. Jonathan Watts, The Guardian.
- Feb.14.2018: Charity sex scandal: UN staff ‘responsible for 60,000 rapes in a decade’. UN staff have carried out thousands of rapes around the world, former senior official Andrew MacLeod has claimed. In a report published last year by António Guterres, the secretary-general, the body said that 103 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN staff were made in 2016; 52 of them against the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. Nearly half of the allegations involved “one or more children”. The UN deploys 100,000 uniformed military and police professionals and 95,000 civilians around the world. Mr Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister, said the UN had “wrestled for many years with the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse”. Henry Zeffman, The Times.
- May.21.2017: Cash-strapped UN health agency spends about $200 million a year on travel. WHO routinely spends ~$200m a year on travel; far more than what it doles out to fight some of the biggest problems in public health including AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. Officials have complained internally that UN staffers are breaking the rules by booking perks like business class airplane tickets and rooms in 5-star hotels. CBS News.
- Sept.2015: Fit for whose purpose? Private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations. Digging into the numbers behind the funding of the United Nations, Adams and Martens uncover a trail that leads to corporate interests having a disproportionate say over the bodies that write global rules. This book shows how Big Tobacco, Big Soda, Big Pharma and Big Alcohol end up prevailing and how corporate philanthropy and private-public-partnerships twist the international agenda without governments overseeing, but it also clearly spells out some practical ways to prevent it and rescue a citizens-based multi-lateralism. Growing reliance on the corporate sector: opening of the UN to corporations and philanthropy. (much more) Barbara Adams, Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum. Links: Foundation for the Global Compact, Foundation for the Global Compact, United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP),
- Jul.20.2003: United it falls. Never Learn to Type: A Woman at the United Nations by Margaret Joan Anstee and We Did Nothing by Linda Polman. These two contrasting but immensely powerful books will be devoured by anyone seeking to understand the body which is one of the very few institutions able to temper the present gross globalisation of greed and to control the desire of one member state for world domination. They serve at once to confound the enemies of the organisation while moderating the expectations of those who see in it a panacea for the political follies of humankind. Dame Margaret Anstee's fascinating account of the diplomatic absurdities and infighting which often surround the attempts of governments to agree on bringing order to the planet. Linda Polman writes of the many botched UN peacekeeping operations and the shameful failure of the govts of the member states to support or finance them. Both authors rightly ridicule those who call for the UN to 'reform', cut its meagre budgets and trim its operations while member govts refuse to pay their debts to it. It took the attack on the World Trade Centre to get the US to cough up $850m of overdue contributions to the United Nations. Then Bush and the Blair Ministry egregiously stabbed it in the back. The world is the poorer for Anglo-American treachery. Hugh O'Shaugnessy, The Guardian.