UN Ocean conference

The conference sought to find ways and urge for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. Its theme is Our oceans, our future: partnering for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14

  • The UN Ocean Conference was held in June 2017 at UN headquarters in New York. 
  • It is a high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.
  • SDG 14 advocates conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. 
  • Many voluntary commitments for concrete action to advance implementation were made by governments during the conference. 
  • To follow-up on the implementation of these voluntary commitments, United Nations has recently launched nine thematic multi-stakeholder Communities of Ocean Action.
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UN-Habitat

It is the UN programme working towards a better urban future. mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.

Headquarters Nairobi, Kenya
  • The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.
  • UN-Habitat reports to the United Nations General Assembly. 
  • Theme of the 26th Meeting of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat is Opportunities for effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
  • India has recently been unanimously elected as the President of the UN-Habitat. 

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.

Formation 1964
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
  • It is a part of the UN Secretariat. 
  • It is a part of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG). 
  • It was formed specifically to handle the problems of developing countries dealing with trade, investment and development issues. 

Important reports published by UNCTAD

  1. Trade and Development Report
  2. World Investment Report
  3. The Least Developed Countries Report
  4. Information and Economy Report
  5. Technology and Innovation Report
  6. Commodities and Development Report

United Nations Human Rights Council


UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system. It is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world. 

  • The headquarters of UNHRC is in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The UN General Assembly elects the members who occupy the UNHRC’s 47 seats for 3 years period.
  • No member may occupy a seat for more than 2 consecutive terms.
  • The UNHRC is the successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights and is a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly. 
  • The Human Rights Council is a separate entity from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), but the council works closely with the OHCHR. 
  • OHCHR provides substantive support for the meetings of the Human Rights Council and follow-up to the Council’s deliberations. 
  • The General Assembly, via a two-thirds majority, can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership. 
  • The Universal Periodic Review of the UNHRC assesses the human rights situations in all 193 UN Member States.
  • The Review takes into account information from different sources, one of them being the NGOs.

World Tourism Organization

United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

  • It is the leading international organization in the field of tourism
  • It promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.
  • It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism knowledge.
  • It encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to maximize the contribution of tourism to socio-economic development, while minimizing its possible negative impacts.

World Meteorological Organization

WMO was created in 1950 as an intergovernmental organization. It became a specialized agency of the United Nations, in 1951, for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.

  • WMO is the UN system‘s authoritative voice on weather, climate and water.
  • Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland and is headed by the Secretary-General. 
  • Through its members, WMO provides forecasts and early warnings to nations, which help prevent and mitigate disasters. 
  • WMO monitors and forecast the transport of chemical and oil spills, forest fires, volcanic ash, haze and nuclear isotopes.
  • It also draws world attention to the depletion of the ozone layer. 
  • The Climate Centre at Indian Meteorological Department, Pune has recently been recognized as the Regional Climate Centre by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for providing regional climate services to South Asian countries.

World Intellectual Property Organization

Created in 1967 to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.

  • WIPO currently has 191 member states, administers 26 international treaties
  • Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • WIPO is designed to promote the worldwide protection of both industrial property  and copyrighted materials.
  • WIPO‘s predecessor was The United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (BIPRI). 
  • BIPRI administered two conventions such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. BIRPI is thus transformed to become WIPO.

 

World Health Organization

A specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.

Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
  • The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
  • Its predecessor, the Health Organization, was an agency of the League of Nations.
  • It has the authority of directing and coordinating matters related to International health.
  • World Health Assembly is the supreme decision making body of WHO, attended by delegations from all member states.
  • It meets in Geneva in May each year.
  • The Executive Board of WHO implements the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly.

The WHO is responsible for

  1. World Health Report
  2. Worldwide World Health Survey
  3. World Health Day

United Nations Industrial Development Organization

  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations, which promotes inclusive and sustainable industrial development(ISID)
  • Headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
  • The Organization addresses some of the most pressing issues of our time, and works to accelerate economic growth in order to bring prosperity to all while at the same time safeguarding the environment.
  • UNIDO’s mandate is fully aligned with the global development agenda, which underlines the central role of industrialization and its importance as a key enabler for all 17 Global Goals, and especially for SDG9.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

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A specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.

It is the successor of the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

Headquarters Paris, France
Membership
195 member states
  • It is a global development agency with missions that include promoting sex education, literacy, clean water and equality for women.
  • It is known for its World Heritage Mission which encourages world countries to protect Natural and Cultural Heritage sites.
  • It also leads the Man and Biosphere Programme for protecting Biosphere reserves across the world.

Reports published by UNESCO

  1. Global Education Monitoring report
  2. Gender Parity Index.

International Telecommunication Union

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications.

  • It was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris on 17 May 1865.
  • Its main tasks include standardization, allocation of the radio spectrum, and organizing interconnection arrangements between different countries to allow international phone calls — in which regard it performs for telecommunications a similar function to what the UPU performs for postal services.
  • It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

International Monetary Fund

IMF, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods in July 1944. The 44 countries at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation to avoid a repetition of the competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

  • With the membership of 189 countries, the Fund’s mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability. 
  • A core responsibility of the IMF is to provide loans to member countries experiencing actual or potential balance of payments problems. 
  • Unlike development banks, the IMF does not lend for specific projects. 
  • The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries official reserves. 
  • Gold remains an important asset in the reserve holdings of several countries, and the IMF is still one of the world‘s largest official holders of gold. 
  • Unlike the General Assembly of the United Nations, where each country has one vote, decision making at the IMF was designed to reflect the relative positions of its member countries in the global economy. 

Reports released by IMF

  1. World economic outlook
  2. Global Financial stability report

International Maritime Organization

Established in 1948 through the United Nations to coordinate international maritime safety and related practices. However the IMO did not enter into full force until 1958.

  • Headquartered in London, United Kingdom,
  • IMO promotes cooperation among government and the shipping industry to improve maritime safety and to prevent marine pollution.
  • IMO is governed by an Assembly of members and is financially administered by a Council of members elected from the Assembly.
  • The work of IMO is conducted through five committees and these are supported by technical sub-committees.
  • Member organizations of the UN organizational family may observe the proceedings of the IMO.
  • Observer status may be granted to qualified non-governmental organizations.
  • The IMO is supported by a permanent secretariat of employees who are representative of its members.
  • The secretariat is composed of a Secretary-General who is periodically elected by the Assembly, and various divisions including, inter alia, marine safety, environmental protection, and a conference section.And also promotes international cooperation in education, science and culture

International Labour Organization

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) deals with labour issues.
  • Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Founded in 1919, it was formed through the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles and was initially an agency of the League of Nations.
  • It became a member of the UN system after the demise of the League and the formation of the UN at the end of World War II.
  • Its Constitution, as amended to date, includes the Declaration of Philadelphia on the aims and purposes of the Organization.
  • Its secretariat is known as the International Labour Office.

International Civil Aviation Organization

  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was founded in 1947.
  • It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.
  • Its headquarters are located in the Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • The ICAO Council adopts standards and recommended practices concerning air navigation, prevention of unlawful interference, and facilitation of border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation.
  • In addition, ICAO defines the protocols for air accident investigation followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, commonly known as the Chicago Convention.
  • It also solves disputes between two countries

Food and Agriculture Organization

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A specialized agency of the United Nationsthat leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate arguments and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture,  forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all.

Headquarters Rome, Italy
  • Its motto is “Let there be bread”.
  • It has 194 member states, along with the European Union (member organization).

Specialized Agencies under UN

About the Agencies

Specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the coordinating machinery of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (one of the principal organ of UN) at the intergovernmental level, and through the Chief Executives Board for coordination (CEB) at the inter-secretariat level. Specialized agencies may or may not have been originally created by the United Nations, but they are incorporated into the United Nations System by the United Nations Economic and Social Council acting under Articles 57 and 63 of the United Nations Charter. At present the UN has in total 15 specialized agencies that carry out various functions on behalf of the UN.

The 15 Specialized agencies are :

  1. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  2. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
  3. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  4. International Labour Organization (ILO)
  5. International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  6. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  7. International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  8. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  9. United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  10. Universal Postal Union (UPU)
  11. World Bank Group (WBG)
  12. World Health Organization (WHO)
  13. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  14. World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  15. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

World Trade Organisation

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WTO is the only intergovernmental organisation which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced under the Marrakesh Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It is the largest international economic organisation in the world.

Head Quarters Geneva, Switzerland
Region served
Worldwide
Membership
164 member states
Official language
English, French, Spanish
  • The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments.
  • The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process.
  • These agreements are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments. 
  • The WTO has 164 members and 22 observer governments, with Afghanistan the latest to join. 
  • WTO members do not have to be fully independent states; they need only be a customs territory with full autonomy in the conduct of their external commercial relations.
  • The highest decision-making body of the WTO is the Ministerial Conference, which usually meets every two years. 
  • Five principles which WTO follows are non-discrimination, reciprocity, binding and enforceable commitments, transparency, safety values. 
  • The operation of the WTO dispute settlement process involves case-specific panels appointed by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), the Appellate Body, The Director-General and the WTO Secretariat, arbitrators, and advisory experts. 
  • The 11th biennial ministerial conference was recently held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

World Economic Forum

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A Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland. Recognised in 2015 by the Swiss authorities as an other international body under Switzerland’s Host State Act 2007. Its mission is cited as committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

 

Headquarters Cologny, Switzerland
Region served
Worldwide
Official language
English
  • The forum members are world‘s 1,000 leading companies 
  • It provides a platform for the world‘s 1,000 leading companies to shape a better future. 
  • It focuses on three key strategic challenges

1. Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution
2. Solving the problems of the Global Commons
3. Addressing global security issues.

Membership

  • The foundation is funded by its 1,000 member companies, typically global enterprises with more than five billion dollars in turnover (varying by industry and region).
  • These enterprises rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country and play a leading role in shaping the future of their industry and/or region.

It releases Reports

  1. Global Information Technology Report,
  2. Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report,
  3. Global Competitiveness Report (GCR),
  4. Global Human Capital Report, Global Risks Repo.

UN Convention on the Law of Sea

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Also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.

Location Montego Bay, Jamaica
Effective 16 November 1994
Condition 60 ratifications
Signatories 157
Parties 168
  • UN has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention. 
  • However, there is a role played by organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, the International Whaling Commission, and the International Seabed Authority (ISA). 
  • The most significant issues covered by convention were setting limits, navigation, archipelagic status and transit regimes, exclusive economic zones (EEZs), continental shelf jurisdiction, deep seabed mining, the exploitation regime, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes. 
  • The convention gives a clear definition on Internal Waters, Territorial Waters, Archipelagic Waters, Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone, and Continental Shelf. 
  • Mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction is regulated through an International Seabed Authority and the Common heritage of mankind principle. 
  • According to UNCLOS, Landlocked states are given a right of access to and from the sea, without taxation of traffic through transit states.
  • Disputes can be submitted to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea established under the Convention, to the International Court of Justice, or to arbitration.
  • The Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction over deep seabed mining disputes.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

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A Eurasian political, economic, and security organisation, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter, formally establishing the organisation, was signed in June 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003.

Headquarters Beijing, China
Membership
Official language
Chinese and Russian
  • Members agreed to “oppose intervention in other countries’ internal affairs on the pretexts of ‘humanitarianism’ and ‘protecting human rights;’ and support the efforts of one another in safeguarding the five countries’ national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and social stability. 
  • With observer states included, its affiliates account for about half of the world’s population. 
  • The Council of Heads of State is the top decision-making body in the SCO. 
  • The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism. 
  • All SCO members, except for China, India & Pakistan, are also members of the  Eurasian Economic Community. 
  • The original purpose of the SCO was to serve as a counterbalance to NATO and in particular to avoid conflicts that would allow the United States to intervene in areas bordering both Russia and China.

Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia

Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) is an intergovernmental institution for the generation and application of early warning information. 

  • It evolved from the efforts of countries in Africa and Asia, in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
  • It works with a multi-hazard framework for the generation and communication of early warning information and capacity building for preparedness and response to trans-boundary hazards.
  • It operates from its regional early warning center in Thailand. 
  • It seeks to establish regional early warning system within multi-hazard framework for generation and communication of early warning information and capacity building for preparedness and response to trans-boundary hazards.
  • It provides information related to Tsunami and extreme weather conditions. It also acts as a test bed for emerging technologies and help to enhance performance.