UN in brief

The United Nations Conference opening session took place in San Francisco on 25 April 1945 with the main goal of drafting the UN Charter and, implicitly, setting-up the world organization. On 26 June 1945, the UN Charter was signed by the representatives of the 50 states attending the conference, as founding members of the UN (the same status being enjoyed by Poland as well; however it did not attend the San Francisco Conference). Currently the organization has 192 members.

The United Nations Organization was formally established in the course of the same year, on 24 October, when China, France, Great Britain, USA, USSR and most of the signatories ratified the UN Charters. As of 1945, 24 October has been the United Nations Day.

According to the Charter, the UN was a display of countries’ determination to prevent a new world conflict, to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relationships between countries, to achieve cooperation in the solving economic, social, cultural and humanitarian issues faced by the mankind and to promote and encourage observance of the human rights and basic freedoms for everybody, regardless of race, gender, language or religion.

The UN system consists of six main bodies, as well as other specialized bodies and institutions.

The six main bodies are: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat.


The UN system is comprised of 15 specialized agencies:

International Labor Organization (ILO) – headquartered in Geneva, it develops programs and policies aimed at improving labor conditions and employment opportunities, while at the same time setting international labor norms.


Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)- headquartered in Rome, contributes to the improvement of agricultural productivity and food security with a view to raising the quality of life. http://www.fao.org/  

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – headquartered in Paris, encourages education, cultural development, the protection of world natural and cultural heritage, international scientific cooperation, freedom of the press and of communication. http://www.unesco.org/  

World Health Organization (WHO)- headquartered in Geneva, it coordinates programs aimed at resolving health issues and support an increase of health levels around the world. Its fields of action are: immunology, health education and the distribution of medication. http://www.who.int/  

World Bank Group (WBG)- headquartered in Washington DC, it offers developing countries loans and technical assistance with the purpose of poverty reduction and the promotion of sustainable economic growth. http://www.worldbank.int/  

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - headquartered in Washington DC, it facilitates cooperation in the monetary field, as well as that of international financial stability, and offers a permanent consulting, advising and assistance framework in the financial field. http://www.imf.int/  

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - headquartered in Montreal, it sets the international norms of air transport security and efficiency, and coordinates international cooperation in the field of civil aviation. http://www.icao.int/ 

International Maritime Organization (IMO) - headquartered in London, contributes to the improvement of international maritime transportation and of maritime security norms, as well as to the reduction of maritime pollution. http://www.imo.org/  

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) - headquartered in Geneva, it fosters international cooperation with the aim of improving communication means, coordinating the use of radio and television frequencies and adopting of security measures. http://www.itu.int/  

Universal Postal Union (UPU) - headquartered in Bern, it sets the international rules for postal services, offers technical assistance and encourages cooperation in the field of postal services. http://www.upu.int/  

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)- headquartered in Geneva, it encourages scientific research in the field of terrestrial atmosphere and climate change, and facilitates the exchange of meteorological data at world level. http://www.wmo.ch/  

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - headquartered in Geneva, it encourages international protection in the field of intellectual property and facilitates cooperation in the field of copyrights, brands, industrial plans and patents. http://www.wipo.int/  

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - headquartered in Rome, it mobilizes financial resources to increase agricultural production and enhance the nutritional levels of poor communities in developing countries. http://www.ifad.org/  

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) - headquartered in Vienna, it encourages industrial progress in developing countries, in the field of technical assistance, consulting and training. http://www.unido.org/  

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)- headquartered in Vienna, is an autonomous intergovernmental organization founded under UN auspices, which works towards scientific and technical cooperation aimed at the peaceful use of nuclear energy. http://www.iaea.int/.


For more details regarding the institutional relations between the main UN bodies please browse the following link: Organization Chart of the United Nations System.

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