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UN Programmes and Funds

UN Programmes and Funds


The ‘UN System’, also known unofficially as the ‘UN Family’ is made up of the UN itself and many affiliated programmes, funds and specialized agencies, all with their own membership, 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.


United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP): • Headquartered in New York City, formed in 1965 to help countries eliminate poverty and achieve sustainable human development. • On the ground in nearly 170 countries, the UNDP is UN’s global development network, focusing on the challenges of democratic governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, energy and environment and from HIV/AIDS recovery and prevention. • The largest UN Development assistance program, the UNDP is headed by an administrator who oversees a 36 member Executive Board representing both developing and developed countries. • The UNDP administers aid through five year Country Programmes, which fund projects aimed at attracting investment capital, training skilled employees and implementing modern technologies. • It also assists developing countries through experts for the promotion of Good Governance by building political and legal institutions that are equitable, responsive and open to public participation and to expand the private sector of their economies in order to provide more jobs. • UNDP Resident Representatives in more than 125 developing countries help to coordinate the local activities of other UN agencies and programs as well as those of non-governmental organizations. United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF): • Formed on December 11, 1946 to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by WW-II, headquartered in New York City, provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. • It is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from governments (about two-thirds of organization’s resources) and private donors (nearly about six million individuals) through national committees. • It is estimated that about 92% of UNICEF revenue is distributed to program services which emphasizes on developing community level services to promote the health and well being of children. • UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006. • Most of UNICEF’s work is in the field, with staff in over 190 countries having about 200 country offices, guided by 7 regional offices that provide technical assistance to country offices as needed. • The primary point of distribution of essential items such as vaccines, antiretroviral medicines for children and mothers with HIV, nutritional supplements, emergency shelters, family reunification and educational supplies etc. are done through Copenhagen based supply division. • A 36 member executive board made up of government representatives, elected by UN Economic and Social Council for three year terms, establishes policies, approves programmes and oversees administrative and financial plans. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): • Also known as UN Refugee Agency, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, a UN Program mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. • Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well being of refugees who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and would fit the legal definition of a refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol, the 1969 Organization for African Unity Convention or some other similar treaty. • Presently, UNHCR has major missions in Lebanon, South Sudan, Chad/Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan as well as Kenya to assist and provide services to IDPs and refugees in camps and in urban settings. • The UNHCR hosts expert roundtables to discuss issues of concern to the international refugee community. • The UNHCR was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 and 1981.The UNHCR has been chosen for the prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2015. • UNHCR relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions from governments, UN and pooled funding mechanisms, intergovernmental institutions and the private sector. • These funds are being used in providing protection, shelter, water, health, education and other essentials to millions of refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless and internally displaced people around the world. World Food Program (WFP): • Initially established in 1961, after the 1960 Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Conference and formally established in 1963 by the FAO and the UNGA on three year experimental basis. In 1965, the program was extended to a continuing basis. • The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from 36 member states. • The European Union is a permanent observer in the WFP and as a major donor participates in the work of its Executive Board. • Its vision is a world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. • The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors. The organization’s administrative costs are only seven percent—one of the lowest and best among aid agencies. • WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS. Food-for-work programmes help promote environmental and economic stability and agricultural production. • The objectives that the WFP hopes to achieve are to: – “Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies” – “Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies” – “Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs” – “Reduce under-nutrition and break the intergenerational cycle of hunger” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): • Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Program and the Centre for International Crime Prevention is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. • UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices and relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from Governments, for 90 per cent of its budget. • In the Millennium Declaration, Member States also resolved to intensify efforts to fight transnational crime in all its dimensions, to redouble the efforts to implement the commitment to counter the world drug problem and to take concerted action against international terrorism. • The three pillars of the UNODC work program are: – Field-based technical cooperation projects to enhance the capacity of Member States to counteract illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. – Research and analytical work to increase knowledge and understanding of drugs and crime issues and expand the evidence base for policy and operational decisions. – Normative work to assist States in the ratification and implementation of the relevant international treaties, the development of domestic legislation on drugs, crime and terrorism, and the provision of secretariat and substantive services to the treaty-based and governing bodies. • In pursuing its objectives, UNODC makes every effort to integrate and mainstream the gender perspective, particularly in its projects for the provision of alternative livelihoods, as well as those against human trafficking. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): • Headquartered in New York City, US, initially began operation in 1969 as the UN Fund for Population Activities (the name was changed in 1987) under the administration of the United Nations Development Fund. In 1971 it was placed under the authority of the UNGA. • An UN Organisation and a leading UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. • Their work involves the improvement of reproductive health; including creation of national strategies and protocols and providing supplies and services. • The organization has recently been known for its worldwide campaign against obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation. • Guided by the Program of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development and the Millennium Development Goals, the organisation is working on ground in about 150 countries in association with governments, other UN Agencies, Civil societies and the private sector to make a real difference to millions of people, especially the most vulnerable. • It operates in all regions of the world with its specialized agencies and is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD): • A permanent intergovernmental body established by the UNGA in 1964, headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland and the other offices are in New York and Addis Ababa. • In the era of globalization where phenomenal expansion of trade has helped lift millions out of poverty but, not nearly enough people have benefited. • UNCTAD supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively by helping them to deal with the potential drawbacks of greater economic integration. • The primary objective of UNCTAD is to formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology. The conference ordinarily meets once in four years; the permanent secretariat is in Geneva. • UNCTAD technical cooperation activities are financed from: bilateral funding — including individual governments, UN system and other international organizations, the European Commission and private and public sectors donors — the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); the United Nations program budget; and Delivering as one funding mechanisms and other Multi donor Trust Funds (MDTFs). United Nations Environment Program (UNEP): • Headquartered in Gigiri, neighbourhood of Nairobi, Kenya, established in 1972 as a result of the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference). • UNEP coordinates in environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. • Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy. • Governments are the core of UNEP’s funding because UNEP is an intergovernmental organization owned by the 193 UN Member States. Each and every country is a donor, and each and every country is a recipient. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA): • Created in Dec 1949, a relief and human development agency, has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees. • Its services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict. • Headquarters are divided between the Gaza Strip and Amman. Its operations are organized into five fields: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza and it directly reports to UNGA. • In addition to its regular budget which is contributed by member countries, UNRWA receives funding for emergency activities and special projects. • The major donors are the US, European Commission, Sweden, The UK, Norway and the Netherlands. United Nations Women (UN Women): • Headquartered in New York City, US, created in July 2010, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. • It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment: – Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW). – International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). – Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI). – United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). United Nations Habitat (UN Habitat): • An UN program working towards a better urban future, its mission involves twin agenda: to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements developments and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. • It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat I) held in Vancouver, Canada in 1976. • The agency has three main divisions which each oversee a set of programmes: (i) the Shelter and Sustainable Human Settlements Development Division; (ii) the Monitoring and Research Division; and (iii) the Regional and Technical Cooperation Division. • Most of the agency’s budget comes in the form of voluntary contributions from governments and inter-governmental donors. • Other partners, like local authorities, the Private sector, multi-lateral organization and other UN bodies provide funding for specific programmes.

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