UN System

 A family picking up food from World Food Programme distribution center in Syria.


is part of the UN system, which, in addition to the UN itself, comprises many funds, programmes and specialized agencies, each of which have their own area of work, leadership and budget. The programmes and funds are financed through voluntary rather than assessed contributions. The Specialized Agencies are independent international organizations funded by both voluntary and assessed contributions. The UN coordinates its work with these separate UN system entities, which cooperate with the Organization to help it achieve its goals.


Funds and Programmes



Headquarters: New York City, USA

The  (UNDP) works in nearly 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience so countries can sustain progress. As the UNs development agency, UNDP plays a critical role in helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

The  (UNEP) established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment.


Headquarters: New York City, USA

The  (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.


Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

The mission of the  (UN-HABITAT) is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.


Headquarters: New York City, USA

The  works in 190 countries and territories to save childrens lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.


Headquarters: Rome, Italy

The  aims to eradicate hunger and malnutrition. The worlds largest humanitarian agency, WFP helps almost 100 million people in approximately 88 countries with assistance every year through food or cash distributions and more. The World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. 


UN Specialized Agencies

The UN specialized agencies are autonomous international organizations working with the United Nations. All were brought into relationship with the UN through negotiated agreements. Some existed before the First World War. Some were associated with the League of Nations. Others were created almost simultaneously with the UN. Others were created by the UN to meet emerging needs. 



Headquarters: Rome, Italy

The  leads international efforts to fight hunger. It is both a forum for negotiating agreements between developing and developed countries and a source of technical knowledge and information to aid development.


Headquarters: Montreal, Canada

The  develops standards for global air transport and assists its 192 Member States in sharing the worlds skies to their socio-economic benefit.


Headquarters: Rome, Italy

The , since it was created in 1977, has focused exclusively on rural poverty reduction, working with poor rural populations in developing countries to eliminate poverty, hunger and malnutrition; raise their productivity and incomes; and improve the quality of their lives.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  promotes international labor rights by formulating international standards on the freedom to associate, collective bargaining, the abolition of forced labor, and equality of opportunity and treatment.


Headquarters: Washington, DC, USA

The  fosters economic growth and employment by providing temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment and technical assistance. The IMF currently has $28 billion in outstanding loans to 74 nations.


Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

The  has created a comprehensive shipping regulatory framework, addressing safety and environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, security, and efficiency.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies. It is committed to connecting all the world's people C wherever they live and whatever their means. Through our work, we protect and support everyone's fundamental right to communicate


Headquarters: Paris, France

The  focuses on everything from teacher training to helping improve education worldwide to protecting important historical and cultural sites around the world. 


Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

The  is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.

UN Tourism

Headquarters: Madrid, Spain

The  is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.


Headquarters: Bern, Switzerland

The  is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. It  helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system. The objective of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health, as defined in the WHO Constitution, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  protects intellectual property throughout the world through 23 international treaties.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  facilitates the free international exchange of meteorological data and information and the furtherance of its use in aviation, shipping, security, and agriculture, among other things.

World Bank

Headquarters: Washington, DC, USA

The  focuses on poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards worldwide by providing low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, and communications, among other things. The World Bank works in over 100 countries.

* International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are not specialized agencies in accordance with Articles 57 and 63 of the Charter, but are part of the World Bank Group.


Other Entities and Bodies



Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizationsUNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bankand works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  C UNHCR protects refugees worldwide and facilitates their return home or resettlement.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  is a voluntarily funded autonomous institute within the United Nations. An impartial actor, the Institute generates ideas and promotes action on disarmament and security. UNIDIR brings together states, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and academia to work togetherinternationally, regionally and locallyto build and implement creative solutions that will benefit all states and peoples.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

An autonomous UN body established in 1963, the  is a training arm of the United Nations System, and has the mandate to enhance the effectiveness of the UN through diplomatic training, and to increase the impact of national actions through public awareness-raising, education and training of public policy officials. 


Headquarters: Copenhagen, Denmark

The mission of the  is to help people build better lives and help countries achieve peace and sustainable development. UNOPS helps the UN, governments and other partners to manage projects, and deliver sustainable infrastructure and procurement in an efficient way.


Headquarters: Amman, Jordan

The  has contributed to the welfare and human development of . Its services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.  It reports only to the UN General Assembly.


Headquarters: Turin, Italy

The  is the learning organization of the United Nations system. It designs and delivers learning programmes for staff of the UN system and its partners. It helps the United Nations become more effective by fostering a common leadership and management culture across the system.


Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

The  was established by the UN General Assembly with the mandate to conduct research into the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare. Today, the University comprises 14 research and training institutes in 12 countries. As the think tank of the UN system, UNU provides policymakers with high-quality, evidence-based research and pragmatic advice.

UN Women

Headquarters: New York City, USA

 merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focus exclusively on gender equality and womens empowerment.


Related Organizations



Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

The  promotes the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (which is not yet in force) and the build-up of the verification regime so that it is operational when the Treaty enters into force.


Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

The , is the world's centre for cooperation in the nuclear field. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.


Headquarters: The Hague, Netherlands

The  investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. As a court of last resort, it seeks to complement, not replace, national courts.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.


Headquarters: The Hague, Netherlands

The  is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997. OPCW Member States work together to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.


Headquarters: Bonn, Germany

The  (UN Climate Change) was established in 1992 when countries adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With the subsequent adoption of the Kyoto Protocol  in 1997 and the Paris Agreement  in 2015, Parties to these three agreements have progressively reaffirmed the Secretariats role as the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements, and a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The  (ITC) is the only development agency that is fully dedicated to supporting the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Established in 1964, the ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

See also UN System chart