UN specialized agencies

The Specialized Agencies are autonomous intergovernmental organizations. They are brought into relationship with the United Nations through special agreements concluded by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in accordance with the Charter (art. 57 & 63). They carry out various functions on behalf of the UN and have their own headquarters.


Some of the specialized agencies have been in existence long before the United Nations, whereas others have been established much later:

The specialized agencies are funded by contributions from member states.

Chief Executives Board

The coordination of the specialized agencies towards the UN and among each other is performed by The United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB). The CEB is composed of

The CEB was earlier known as the Administrative Committee of Coordination (ACC).

Joint Inspection Unit

The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) conducts inspections and investigations of
the efficiency of the UN, its programmes, funds and specialized agencies.

Publishing and depository libraries

The specialized agencies have their own documentation and publishing. They also have their own depository library system, linked to relevant libraries in their member states.

UN Specialized Agencies


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations the leading agency for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development.


International Atomic Energy Agency promotes and safeguards the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


International Civil Aviation Organization safeguards the orderly development of civil aviation.


International Fund for Agricultural Development supports increased food production in poor communities by providing funding and resources to poor farmers and landless peoples in developing countries.


International Labour Organization is a labour organization with the goal of improving conditions for workers around the world.


International Monetary Fund promotes multilateral monetary co-operation and stability. 


International Maritime Organization a forum for international cooperation on rules and practices for safety at sea.


International Telecommunication Union promotes and coordinates the establishment and operations of global telecommunication networks and services.


United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization contributes to peace by promoting collaboration among nations through culture, science, education and media.


United Nations Industrial Development Organization is a coordinating body for industrial activities and international industrial cooperation.


World Tourism Organization serves as a global forum for the development of responsible and sustainable tourism around the world.


Universal Postal Union secures and improve postal services throughout the world.


World Health Organization is the United Nations specialized agency for health. 


World Intellectual Property Organization promote respect for intellectual property worldwide.


World Meteorological Organization promotes efficient exchange of meteorological observations worldwide..

World Bank Group

World Bank Group (WBG) provides loans, technical assistance and policy advice to developing countries for the purpose of reducing poverty and promoting sustainable economic development.


World Trade Organization oversees the rules of international trade and the settlement of international trade disputes between Governments, and to organize trade negotiations.

More on UN specialized agencies

  • Joint Inspection Unit, JIU, submits an annual report to the General Assembly in the documentary series General Assembly Official Records. Supplement No. 34.
  • Basic facts about the United Nations, 42nd Editions. This UN publication offers an overview of the specialized agencies. It is updated regularly.
UN Specialized Agencies

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
  • UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions
  • United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
UN Documents available online
Last modified: 2024-02-15