What are UN specialized agencies, and how many are there?
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2019
UN specialized agencies are international organizations that coordinate their work with the United Nations through negotiated agreements.
UN funds and programmes are distinctly different from specialized agencies. In general, the funds and programmes are established by a resolution of the UN General Assembly and have a focused mandate. They are funded either mainly or entirely through voluntary contributions and have a governing body that reviews their activities. Coordination is facilitated through ECOSOC and the Chief Executives Board (CEB). On the other hand, specialized agencies are legally independent of the United Nations and have separate budgets, members, rules, and personnel. The bulk of their funding comes from voluntary contributions from governments, institutions, and individuals. Some specialized agencies, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), have been in existence longer than the United Nations.
There are currently 17 specialized agencies:
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
- Universal Postal Union (UPU)
- World Bank Group:
- IBRD: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
- IDA: International Development Association
- IFC: International Finance Corporation
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
You can find a short description of each of these agencies in the links below.
Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.