United Nations System

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The United Nations Office at Geneva (Switzerland) is the second biggest UN centre, after the United Nations Headquarters (New York).
Structure of the United Nations.

The United Nations System consists of the United Nations, its subsidiary organs (including the separately-administered funds and programmes), the specialized agencies, and affiliated organizations. The executive heads of some of the United Nations System organizations and the World Trade Organization, which is not formally part of the United Nations System,[1][2][3] have seats on the United Nations System Chief Executives' Board for Coordination (CEB).[4] This body, chaired by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, meets twice a year to co-ordinate the work of the organizations of the United Nations System.

The United Nations System includes the United Nations and its subsidiary bodies (such as the separately-administered funds and programmes, research and training institutes, and other subsidiary entities), specialized agencies, and affiliated organizations.[5][6] Some of the organizations of the United Nations System predate the founding of the United Nations in 1945 and were inherited after the dissolution of the League of Nations.

United Nations[edit]

"Organs of the United Nations" redirects here.
Main article: United Nations

The principal organ of the UN System was the United Nations itself. It consists of the six principal organs established by the Charter of the United Nations:

Principal organs of the United Nations [7]
UN General Assembly
— Deliberative assembly of all UN member states —
UN Secretariat
— Administrative organ of the UN —
International Court of Justice
— Universal court for international law —
UN General Assembly hall
Headquarters of the UN in New York City
International Court of Justice
  • May resolve non-compulsory recommendations to states or suggestions to the Security Council (UNSC);
  • Decides on the admission of new members, following proposal by the UNSC;
  • Adopts the budget;
  • Elects the non-permanent members of the UNSC; all members of ECOSOC; the UN Secretary General (following his/her proposal by the UNSC); and the fifteen judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Each country has one vote.
  • Supports the other UN bodies administratively (for example, in the organization of conferences, the writing of reports and studies and the preparation of the budget);
  • Its chairperson – the UN Secretary General – is elected by the General Assembly for a five-year mandate and is the UN's foremost representative.
  • Decides disputes between states that recognize its jurisdiction;
  • Issues legal opinions;
  • Renders judgement by relative majority. Its fifteen judges are elected by the UN General Assembly for nine-year terms.
UN Security Council
— For international security issues —
UN Economic and Social Council
— For global economical and social affairs —
UN Trusteeship Council
— For administering trust territories (currently inactive) —
UN security council
UN Economic and Social Council
UN Trusteeship Council
  • Responsible for co-operation between states as regards economic and social matters;
  • Co-ordinates co-operation between the UN's numerous specialized agencies;
  • Has 54 members, elected by the General Assembly to serve staggered three-year mandates.
  • Was originally designed to manage colonial possessions that were former League of Nations mandates;
  • Has been inactive since 1994, when Palau, the last trust territory, attained independence.

General Assembly[edit]

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA/GA) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the United Nations, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, receive reports from other parts of the United Nations and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions.[8] It has also established a wide number of subsidiary organs.[9]

Security Council[edit]

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action. Its powers are exercised through United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The Security Council held its first session on 17 January 1946 at Church House, Westminster, London. Since its first meeting, the Council, which exists in continuous session, has travelled widely, holding meetings in many cities, such as Paris and Addis Ababa, as well as at its current permanent home at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

There are 15 members of the Security Council, consisting of five veto-wielding permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 elected non-permanent members with two-year terms. This basic structure is set out in Chapter V of the UN Charter. Security Council members must always be present at UN headquarters in New York so that the Security Council can meet at any time.

Economic and Social Council[edit]

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) constitutes one of the six principal organs (one is not active, as of 2011) of the United Nations. It is responsible for co-ordinating the economic, social and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies, their functional commissions and five regional commissions. ECOSOC has 54 members; it holds a four-week session each year in July. Since 1998, it has also held a meeting each April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations System.[10]

Secretariat[edit]

The United Nations Secretariat is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and it is headed by the United Nations Secretary-General, assisted by a staff of international civil servants worldwide. It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by United Nations bodies for their meetings. It also carries out tasks as directed by the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Economic and Social Council, and other U.N. bodies. The United Nations Charter provides that the staff to be chosen by application of the "highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity," with due regard for the importance of recruiting on a wide geographical basis.

The Charter provides that the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any authority other than the UN. Each UN member country is enjoined to respect the international character of the Secretariat and not seek to influence its staff. The Secretary-General alone is responsible for staff selection.

International Court of Justice[edit]

The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. Its main functions are to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and to provide advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorized international organs, agencies, and the UN General Assembly.

Trusteeship Council[edit]

The United Nations Trusteeship Council, one of the principal organs of the United Nations, was established to help ensure that trust territories were administered in the best interests of their inhabitants and of international peace and security. The trust territories—most of them are former mandates of the League of Nations or territories taken from nations defeated at the end of World War II—have all now attained self-government or independence, either as separate nations or by joining neighbouring independent countries. The last was Palau, formerly part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which became a member state of the United Nations in December 1994.

Funds and programmes, research and training institutes, and other bodies[edit]

The separately-administered funds and programmes, research and training institutes, and other subsidiary bodies are autonomous subsidiary organs of the United Nations.[6]

Funds and programmes[edit]

Throughout its history the United Nations General Assembly has established a number of programmes and funds to address particular humanitarian and development concerns. These bodies usually report to the General Assembly through an executive board. Only one UN programme has ever closed in the history of the organization, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), which ceased to exist in 1959 and was subsequently replaced by the UNHCR.

Each of the funds and programmes is headed by an Executive Director at the Under-Secretary-General level and is governed by an Executive Board. One former fund, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), was merged with other elements of the United Nations System into a new organization, UN Women, in January 2011.

Programmes and funds of the United Nations
No. Acronyms Agency Headquarters Head Established Comment
1 UNDP United Nations Development Programme United States New York, USA New Zealand Helen Clark 1965
2 UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund United States New York, USA United States Anthony Lake 1946
3 UNCDF United Nations Capital Development Fund United States New York, USA Luxembourg Marc Bichler 1966 Affiliated with the UNDP
4 WFP World Food Programme Italy Rome, Italy United States Ertharin Cousin 1963
5 UNEP United Nations Environment Programme Kenya Nairobi, Kenya Germany Achim Steiner 1972
6 UNIFEM United Nations Development Fund for Women United States New York, USA Spain Inés Alberdi 1976 Merged with UN Women in 2011
7 UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Switzerland Geneva, Switzerland Portugal António Guterres 1951
8 UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Switzerland Geneva, Switzerland Mali Michel Sidibé 1951 Joint programme
9 UNFPA United Nations Population Fund United States New York, USA Nigeria Babatunde Osotimehin 1969
10 UN-HABITAT United Nations Human Settlements Programme Kenya Nairobi, Kenya Spain Joan Clos 1978
11 UNV United Nations Volunteers Germany Bonn, Germany Netherlands Richard Dictus 1978 Administered by UNDP
12 UNRWA United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East State of Palestine Gaza, Palestine and Jordan Amman, Jordan Italy Filippo Grandi 1949
13 UN WOMEN United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women United States New York, USA South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka 2010 Created by the merger of the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

Research and training institutes[edit]

The various research and training institutes were established by the General Assembly to perform independent research and training. One former institute, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), was merged with other elements of the United Nations System into a new organization, UN Women, in January 2011.

Secretariats of Conventions[edit]

Other entities[edit]

Specialized agencies[edit]

The specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the co-ordinating machinery of the Economic and Social Council. Each was integrated into the UN System by way of an agreement with the UN under UN Charter article 57.[4]

Related organizations[edit]

Some organizations have a relationship with the UN defined by an arrangement different from the agreements between the specialized agencies and the UN, which are establish under Articles 57 and 63 of the United Nations Charter.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission (CTBTO PrepCom)

The CTBTO PrepCom reports directly to the UN General Assembly.[12]

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The relationship between the IAEA and the UN was established by a resolution of the UN General Assembly. Unlike the specialized agencies which report to ECOSOC, the IAEA reports directly to the General Assembly as well as the Security Council and ECOSOC.[4] Like the other specialized agency's heads, their executives are part of the United Nations System Chief Executives' Board for Coordination (CEB).[4]

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

The OPCW is not an agency of the United Nations, but cooperates both on policy and practical issues. On 7 September 2000 the OPCW and the United Nations signed a co-operation agreement outlining how they were to co-ordinate their activities.[17] Under this agreement, the OPCW reports to the UN General Assembly.[12]

World Trade Organization (WTO)

The WTO does not have a formal agreement with the UN. Instead, their relationship is governed by an exchanges of letters. Unlike the specialized agencies and the IAEA, the WTO has no reporting obligations towards any of the principal organs of the UN, but provides ad-hoc contribution to the work of the General Assembly and ECOSOC.[13] The WTO has a seat on the CEB.[4]

Chief Executives Board and Senior Management Group[edit]

The United Nations Chief Executives' Board for Coordination (CEB) brings together on a regular basis the executive heads of the organizations of the United Nations System, under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General of the UN. The CEB aims to further co-ordination and co-operation on a whole range of substantive and management issues facing UN System organizations. In addition to its regular reviews of contemporary political issues and major concerns facing the UN System, the CEB approves policy statements on behalf of the UN System as a whole. Three committees report to the CEB, namely the High-level Committee on Programme (HCLP), the High-level Committee on Management (HCLM) and the UN Development Group (UNDG). Each of those bodies has, in turn, developed a subsidiary machinery of regular and ad hoc bodies on the substantive and managerial aspects of inter-agency co-ordination. The committee structure is supported by a CEB secretariat located in New York and Geneva.[18]

There is also a Senior Management Group, composed of some of the senior officials in the Secretariat and the funds and programmes at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General rank, which serves as the cabinet of the Secretary-General.[19]

United Nations common system[edit]

The United Nations, its subsidiary bodies, thirteen of the specialized agencies (ILO, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, ICAO, UPU, ITU, WMO, IMO, WIPO, IFAD, UNDIO, and UNWTO), and one related body (IAEA) are part of the United Nations common system of salaries, allowances, and benefits administered by the International Civil Service Commission. Most, but not all, of the members of the United Nations System are part of the common system; the Bretton Woods institutions (i.e. the World Bank Group and the IMF) are notable exceptions. The WTO utilizes the OECD common system. The UN common system was established to prevent competition amongst organizations of the United Nations System for staff and to facilitate co-operation and exchange between organizations.[20]

Some international organizations that are not part of the United Nations System (and therefore not members of the common system) but who voluntarily follow the policies of the common system in whole or in part include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NGLS Handbook". United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service. Retrieved 28 January 2013. "The World Trade Organization (WTO) is not officially a part of the UN system ..." 
  2. ^ "UN System of Organizations". United Nations Global Marketplace. Retrieved 28 January 2013. "... the World Trade Organization, which is not part of the UN system." 
  3. ^ "How to do business with the United Nations". Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2003. Retrieved 28 January 2013. "... the World Trade Organization, which is not part of the UN system." 
  4. ^ a b c d e "The UN System, Chief Executives Board for Coordination". Unsceb.org. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "United Nations System". UNESCO. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Structure and Organization". Un.org. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "UN Charter: Chapter III". United Nations. Retrieved 24 March 2008. 
  8. ^ CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS: Chapter IV. UN.org.
  9. ^ General Assembly: Subsidiary organs. UN.org.
  10. ^ "Background Information". UN Economic and Social Council. 
  11. ^ United Nations System of Organizations: "Entries listed in bold are members of the United Nations System's Chief Executives Board".
  12. ^ a b c The United Nations System chart, Published by the United Nations Department of Public Information, December 2007
  13. ^ a b The United Nations System chart, Published by the United Nations Department of Public Information, October 2011
  14. ^ List of Agreements between Specialized Agencies and the United Nations
  15. ^ UN Structure and Organization
  16. ^ Organizational Chart of the UN System and the CEB
  17. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 55 Resolution A/RES/55/283 {{{date}}}. Retrieved 21 August 2007.
  18. ^ "Chief Executives Board". Unsceb.org. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ "Welcome to the International Civil Service Commission". Icsc.un.org. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  21. ^ Staffing principles of IOM http://www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/about-iom/recruitment/staffing-principles-of-IOM
  22. ^ OSCE General conditions of employment http://www.osce.org/employment/18
  23. ^ Article 40 of the General Standards to govern the operations of the General Secretariat

External links[edit]