Important Agencies of the United Nations!
The UN has two major functions to perform:
(i) To maintain international peace and security by solving disputes between nations and by developing friendly relations among them;
(ii) To foster worldwide cooperation and understanding to solve international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems.
To maintain international peace and security, the UN functions through its General Assembly, the Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat. To solve economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and to develop international cooperation, a number of specialized agencies have been established. They work under the supervision of the UN’s Economic and Social Council.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
The UNESCO was created in 1946 with its headquarters in Paris. It encourages the spread of universal education. It believes that a better understanding among the different nations could be achieved through collaboration in education, science and culture.
The UNESCO devotes a large portion of its funds to projects for educational and scientific development in Third World countries. It also encourages an exchange of technology between countries and international cooperation between artists, scientists and scholars.
The United Nations international children’s fund (UNICEF):
The UNICEF has its headquarters in New York. The organization was established in 1946 with the aim of providing aid to children and their mothers in countries devastated by the Second World War.
The UNICEF looks into the issues of child health, nutrition and education. It provides medical aid and medicines to fight disease, especially in the underdeveloped countries of the world. It also assists in the running of childcare centres. It tries to solve the problem of child labour.
A large portion of its funds comes through the sale of greetings cards.
The International Labour Organization (ILO):
The ILO was set up in 1918 after the end of the First World War. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It was later on turned into a specialized agency of the United Nations entrusted with the task of improving the conditions of labour throughout the world.
Through various schemes, the ILO helps the member countries in vocational training and small-scale handicrafts. It attempts to improve the conditions of work and the standard of living of workers. It sets international standards for basic human rights child labour and social well-being.
It pays special attention to the problems of women and children.
The World Health Organization (WHO):
The WHO was established on 7 April, 1948, which is observed as the World Health Day. The headquarter of the WHO is in Geneva.
The main purpose of the WHO is to improve the standard of health all over the world. It believes that good health is a fundamental right of every human being. The WHO helps countries to strengthen their health systems. It helps them by giving important medicines and other supplies for medical care. It also undertakes programmes for immunization against major infectious diseases.
The WHO is concerned about proper food supply and nutrition. It helps to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation to everybody. It had organised the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (1981-1990).
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
The FAO was founded in 1945 with its headquarters in Rome.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
The UNDP was formed in 1950 with its headquarters in Paris.
The projects initiated by the UNDP aim at helping developing nations to make better use of their natural and human resources, to expand productivity and improve the living standards of the people. It attempts to strengthen and expand educational systems at the university level and support research methods for new discoveries.
The UNDP also provides loans and grants to encourage self-help activities in the poor countries. It is also one of the agencies which work to support global programmes on HIV and AIDS. India has benefited greatly through these agencies.