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Home International RelationsHits: 5646

UN Specialized Agencies

Jul 12, 2014

Specialized Agencies are legally independent international organizations with

their own rules, membership, organs and financial resources, were brought
into relationship with the United Nations through negotiated agreements.
Some of the agencies existed before the First World War, some were
associated with the League of Nations, others were created almost
simultaneously with the United Nations and yet others were created by the
United Nations itself to meet emerging needs.

A) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) :

The aim of the Food and Agriculture Organization:

1. Raise levels of nutrition and standards of living.

2. Secure improvements in food production and distribution.

3. Better the conditions of rural people.

4. Contribute toward an expanding world economy and ensure freedom from


Headquarter: Rome, Italy.

Established: in 1945

Members: The FAO has 191 member nations, one associate member and one
member organisation, the European Union.

B) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) :

The Convention on International Civil Aviation, which provided for the

establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), was
signed in Chicago in 1944.

The Organization came into existence on 4 April 1947 after 26 states had
ratified the Convention.

Under article 44 of the Convention, the ICAO is charged with developing the
principles and techniques of international air navigation, and fostering the
planning and development of international air transport to ensure the safe
and orderly growth of international civil aviation throughout the world.

Headquarter: In Montreal.

The ICAO has 191 members.

C) International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) :

It is an international financial institution and UN specialised agency dedicated

to eradicating poverty in rural areas of developing countries.

The Fund was established in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974
World Food Conference.

IFAD provides low-interest loans and grants to developing countries to finance

innovative agricultural and rural development programmes and projects.

It is Headquarter in Rome.

D) International Labour Organization (ILO) :

International Labour Organization (ILO) was founded in 1919, its Constitution

forming part of the Treaty of Versailles.

Its main aims are to:

1. Promote rights at work.

2. Encourage decent employment opportunities.

3. Enhance social protection.

4. Strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues.

ILO became the first specialised agency of the UN in 1946.

It deals with labour issues.

Headquarters : in Geneva, Switzerland.

183 Member States are there in ILO.

E) International Maritime Organization (IMO) :

It is responsible for the safety of life at sea, maritime security and the
protection of the marine environment through prevention of sea pollution
caused by ships.

It facilitates cooperation among governments to achieve the highest

practicable standards of maritime safety and security, and efficiency in

It is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and

environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to
create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and
effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

IMO Convention entered into force in 1958.

IMO currently has 170 Member States and three Associate Members.

Headquarter: London.
F) International Monetary Fund (IMF) :

An organisation of 187 countries that works to foster global monetary

cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote
high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty.

IMF's primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary

systemthe system of exchange rates and international payments that
enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other.

The Funds mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and
financial sector issues that bear on global stability.

IMF reviews country policies and national, regional, and global economic and
financial developments through a formal system known as surveillance.

The primary source of the IMF's financial resources is its members quotas,
which broadly reflect members relative position in the world economy.

In addition, the IMF can borrow temporarily to supplement its quota

resources. The expanded New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB), which can
provide supplementary resources of up to SDR 370 billion (about $572
billion), is the main backstop to quotas.

SDRs : The IMF issues an international reserve asset known as Special

Drawing Rights (SDRs) that can supplement the official reserves of member

Headquarter: Washington D.C.

IMF Articles of Agreement were drawn up at the Bretton Woods Conference in


IMF has 188 member countries.

The purposes of the Fund are to:

1. Promote international monetary cooperation through consultation and


2. Facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, and

thereby contribute to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of
employment and real income.

3. Promote exchange stability and orderly exchange arrangements.

4. Assist in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments and the

elimination of foreign exchange restrictions.
5. Assist members through the temporary provision of financial resources to
correct maladjustments in their balance of payments.

G) International Telecommunication Union (ITU) :

Founded in 1865 in Paris as the International Telegraph Union.

The 1932 Madrid Plenipotentiary Conference decided the current name,

which came into force on 1 January 1934.

The ITU is an inter-governmental organization that brings together

governments and industry to coordinate the establishment and operation of
global telecommunication networks and services.

It allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical
standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect,
and strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.

Headquarter: Geneva.

Purposes of the Union are to:

1. Extend international cooperation among Member States for the

improvement and rational use of telecommunications of all kinds.

2. Promote and enhance participation of entities and organisations in the

activities of the Union and foster cooperation and partnership between them
and Member States.

3. Promote and offer technical assistance to developing countries in


4. Promote the development of technical facilities and their most efficient


5. Promote the extension of the benefits of information and communication

technologies to all the world's inhabitants.

6. Promote the use of telecommunication services with the aim of facilitating

peaceful relations.

7. Harmonies the actions of Member States and promote cooperation and

partnership between Member States and sector members.

8. Promote internationally a broader approach to telecommunications issues

by cooperating with other inter-governmental organisations and those non-
governmental organisations concerned with telecommunications.

Currently has a membership of 193 countries and over 700 private-sector

entities and academic institutions.

H) United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was

established in 1945.

Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration

among nations through education, science and culture.

Headquarter: in Paris, France.

Members: 193 countries.

UNESCO is known as the "intellectual" agency of the United Nations.

UNESCO strives to build networks among nations that enable this kind of
solidarity, by:

1. Mobilizing for education: so that every child, boy or girl, has access to
quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for
human development.

2. Building intercultural understanding: through protection of heritage and

support for cultural diversity. UNESCO created the idea of World Heritage to
protect sites of outstanding universal value.

3. Pursuing scientific cooperation: such as early warning systems for

tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements, to strengthen
ties between nations and societies.

4. Protecting freedom of expression: an essential condition for democracy,

development and human dignity.

I) United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO):

It is mandated to promote industrial development and international industrial


The Organization's mission statement is: Partner for prosperity.

UNIDO aspires to reduce poverty through sustainable industrial development.

It wants every country to have the opportunity to grow a flourishing

productive sector, to increase their participation in international trade and to
safeguard their environment.

Date of Establishment 1966

Headquarter: Vienna

The Organization focuses on three main thematic areas:

1. Poverty reduction through productive activities

2. Trade capacity-building

3. Energy and environment

J) Universal Postal Union (UPU):

Established by the Berne Treaty of 1874 and became a specialised agency of

the UN in 1948.

Article 1 of the Vienna Constitution 1964 states that the aim of the Union is to
secure the organisation and improvements of postal services, promote the
development of international collaboration and undertake, as far as possible,
technical assistance in postal matters requested by members countries. To
this end, the countries that have adopted the Constitution comprise a single
postal territory.

Headquarter: Bern

192 member countries

K) World Bank Group:

WB Group provides low-interest loans, interest-free credits, and grants to

developing countries.

It also provides or facilitate financing through trust fund partnerships with

bilateral and multilateral donors.

Since inception in 1944, the World Bank has expanded from a single
institution to a closely associated group of five development institutions.

World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five international organizations that

make leveraged loans to poor countries. It is the largest and most famous
development bank in the world and is an observer at the United Nations
Development Group.

1) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD):

It aims to reduce poverty in middle-income countries and creditworthy poorer

countries by promoting sustainable development through loans, guarantees,
risk management products, and analytical and advisory services.

Established in 1944 as the original institution of the World Bank Group.

IBRD is structured like a cooperative that is owned and operated for the
benefit of its 188 member countries.

IBRD raises most of its funds on the world's financial market.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.

IBRD is owned by 188 member countries.

2) International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) :

It is an international arbitration institution which facilitates arbitration and

conciliation of legal disputes between international investors.

It was established under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment

Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID or the
Washington Convention).

It has 140 Members.

The primary purpose of ICSID is to provide facilities for conciliation and

arbitration of international investment disputes.

It was established in 1966.

3) International Development Association (IDA) :

IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called credits) and grants
for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve
peoples living conditions.

It complements the World Banks original lending armthe International Bank

for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

It was established in 1960.

IDA lends money on concessional terms. This means that IDA charges little or
no interest and repayments are stretched over 25 to 40 years, including a 5-
to 10-year grace period.

IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress.

4) International Finance Corporation (IFC):

IFC offers investment, advisory, and asset management services to

encourage private sector development in developing countries.

It was established in 1956.

IFC's aim is to create opportunities for people to escape poverty and achieve
better living standards by mobilizing financial resources for private
enterprise, promoting accessible and competitive markets, supporting
businesses and other private sector entities, and creating jobs and delivering
necessary services to those who are poverty-stricken or otherwise vulnerable

IFC is owned and governed by its member countries, but has its own
executive leadership and staff that conduct its normal business operations.

5) Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA):

It is an international financial institution which offers political risk insurance


MIGA was created to complement public and private sources of investment

insurance against non-commercial risks in developing countries. MIGAs
multilateral character and joint sponsorship by developed and developing
countries were seen as significantly enhancing confidence among cross-
border investors.

MIGA was established in 1988.

MIGA's mission is "to promote foreign direct investment into developing

countries to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people's

It insures long-term debt and equity investments as well as other assets and
contracts with long-term periods.

L) World Health Organization (WHO):

The Organization formally came into existence on 7 April 1948 and became a
UN specialized agency on 10 July 1948.

Article 1 of the Constitution defines the WHO's objective as "the attainment

by all peoples of the highest possible level of health".

Headquarter: Geneva.

It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping

the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating
evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and
monitoring and assessing health trends.

M) World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):

It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international

intellectual property (IP) system that rewards creativity, stimulates innovation
and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public

It has 187 member states.

Its mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective

international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and
creativity for the benefit of all.

Established in 1967.

Headquarter in Geneva.

WIPO administers 24 treaties that deal with different legal and administrative
aspects of intellectual property, notably the Paris Convention for the
Protection of Industrial Property , the Berne Convention for the Protection of
Literary and Artistic Works and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

N) World Meteorological Organization (WMO):

It is the successor to the International Meteorological Organization, which was

established in 1873.

It formally came into existence in 1950 and became a UN specialised agency

in 1951.

It has a membership of 191 countries.

Headquarter is in Geneva.

WMO facilitates the free and unrestricted exchange of data and information,
products and services in real- or near-real time on matters relating to safety
and security of society, economic welfare and the protection of the

mission of WMO is to:

1. Facilitate worldwide cooperation in the establishment of networks of

stations for the making of meteorological observations as well as hydrological
and other geophysical observations related to meteorology, and to promote
the establishment and maintenance of centres charged with the provision of
meteorological and related services.

2. Promote the establishment and maintenance of systems for the rapid

exchange of meteorological and related information.

3. Promote standardization of meteorological and related observations and to

ensure the uniform publication of observations and statistics.

4. Promote activities in operational hydrology and to further close

cooperation between Meteorological and Hydrological Services.

5. Encourage research and training in meteorology and, as appropriate, in

related fields, and to assist in coordinating the international aspects of such
research and training.
O) World Tourism Organization (UNWTO):

UN's specialised agency in the field of tourism.

It provides leadership and support to the tourism sector in the advancement

of sustainable policies, practices and actions.

Through the promotion and development of responsible, sustainable and

universally accessible tourism, UNWTO endeavors to maximise tourism's
contribution to socio-economic growth, job creation, development,
environmental conservation, cultural enrichment and international
understanding, while minimizing negative social or environmental impacts. It
pays particular attention to the interests of developing countries.

It was established in 1975.

Headquarter in Madrid.

UNWTO has 160 member states and 350 affiliated members representing
private organizations, educational institutions and others.


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