The best way understand the United Nations is to break it down into all of its parts. The UN is headed by the Secretariat and is comprised of four main bodies. Those main bodies are 1) the General Assembly, 2) the Security Council, 3) the Economic and Social Council, and 4) the International Court of Justice. Stemming from these main bodies are a large number of agencies, committees, commissions, programmes, tribunals, subsidiary organs, boards, councils, panels, working groups, centres, institutes, funds, and other entities.

Scroll down to see descriptions of UN agencies and programmes


UNDP United Nations Development Programme

"Empowered lives. Resilient nations."

Stated Concerns: Sustainable Development; Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding; Climate and Disaster Resilience; Gender Equality; Crisis Response

UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

“The UN Refugee Agency”

Stated Concerns: Refugee Advocacy; Asylum and Migration; Education; Ending Statelessness; Environment, Disasters and Climate Change; Livelihoods; Protection; Public Health; Safeguarding Individuals; Shelter; Towards a global compact on refugees

WFP World Food Programme

“Zero Hunger”

Stated Concerns: Food assistance; Humanitarian support; Emergency relief; Climate action; Disaster risk reduction; Gender equality; Nutrition; Smallholder market support; Social protection and safety nets; Sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems; South-South cooperation

WHO World Health Organization

“Our goal is to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world.”

Stated Concerns: Health systems; Noncommunicable diseases; Communicable diseases

FAO Food and Agriculture Organization

“Our three main goals are: the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.”

DPO Department of Peace Operations

“Investing in Peace Around the World”

Stated Concerns: Military; Police; Civil affairs; Rule of law; Electoral assistance; Security Sector Reform; Mine action; Gender and peacekeeping; Field support; Conduct and discipline; Legal Frameworks; Protection of civilians; Environment and sustainability; Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; Children in conflict; Human rights

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

“Building peace in the minds of men and women”

Themes: Education for the 21st Century; Fostering Freedom of Expression; Protecting Our Heritage and Fostering Creativity; Learning to Live Together; Building Knowledge Societies; One Planet, One Ocean; Science for a Sustainable Future; Preventing Violent Extremism

OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

“The principal human rights official of the United Nations.”

Stated Concerns: Adequate Housing; Administration of Justice; Albinism; Business and Human Rights; Children; Civil and Political Rights; Climate change; Coercive measures; Conscientious objection; Death penalty; Detention; Development (Good Governance and Debt); Disability and Human Rights; Disappearances; Discrimination; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Education; Environment; Executions; Food; Forced evictions; Freedom of Opinion and Expression; Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Freedom of Religion and Belief; Health; HIV/AIDS and Human Rights; Human Rights Defenders; Human rights education and training; Human Rights Indicators; Humanitarian action; Independence of Judiciary; Indigenous Peoples; Internal Displacement; International Order; International Solidarity; Land and Human Rights; Mercenaries; Migration; Minorities; Nationality; Older persons; Poverty; Privacy; Private military and security companies; Racism; Reprisals; Rule of Law; Sexual orientation and gender identity; Slavery; Social Security; Terrorism; Torture; Trade and Investment; Traditional values; Trafficking in Persons; Transitional Justice; Treaty Body Strengthening; Urbanization and Human Rights; Violent extremism; Water and sanitation; Women's Rights and Gender; Youth

UN-HABITAT United Nations Human Settlements Programme

“For a Better Urban Future”

Themes: Legislation; Mobility; Housing & slum upgrading; Safety; Climate Change; Gender; Planning & Design; Economy; Reconstruction; Resilience; Human Rights; Water & Sanitation

UNFPA United Nations Population Fund

“Delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.”

Stated Concerns: Sexual & reproductive health; Family planning; HIV & AIDS; Maternal health; Midwifery; Obstetric fistula; Sexual & reproductive health; Young people; Adolescent pregnancy; Child marriage; sexuality education; Youth leadership & participation; Human rights & gender equality; Engaging men & boys; Female genital mutilation; Gender-based violence; Gender equality; Human rights; Ageing; Census; Climate change; Migration; Urbanization

UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund

“For Every Child”

Stated Concerns: Child protection and incusion; Child survival; Education; UNICEF in emergencies; Gender; Innovation for children; Supply and logistics; Research and analysis

OCHA Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

“Responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies.”

Themes: Environmental Emergencies; Community Engagement; Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas; Gender Equality; Humanitarian Access; Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination; Internal Displacement

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme

“…for the wise management of the environment”

Stated Concerns: Climate Change; Disasters & Conflicts; Ecosystem Management; Environmental Governance; Chemicals & Waste; Resource Efficiency


"Coordinating the UN's work on water and sanitation"

UN-Water coordinates the efforts of UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues.

UN WOMEN United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

“The global champion for gender equality.”

Stated Concerns: Leadership and political participation; Economic empowerment; Ending violence against women; Peace and security; Humanitarian action; Governance and national planning; Sustainable development agenda; HIV and AIDS; Training for gender equality and women’s empowerment

IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency

“Atoms for Peace and Development”

Stated Concerns: Energy; Health; Addressing environmental issues; Water; Food and agriculture; Industry; Nuclear science; Nuclear installation safety; Radiation protection; Security of nuclear and other radioactive material; Radioactive waste and spent fuel management; Transport; Emergency preparedness and response

ILO International Labour Organization

“Promoting Jobs, Protecting People”

Care Economy; Child Labour; Collective bargaining and labour relations; Cooperatives; Decent work; Disability and work; Domestic workers; Economic and social development; Employment Intensive Investment; Employment promotion; Employment security; Equality and discrimination; Forced labour, human trafficking and slavery; Freedom of association; Future of work; Gender equality; Globalization; Green jobs; HIV/AIDS; Indigenous and tribal peoples; Labour law; Labour migration; Maritime Labour Convention; Maternity protection; Multinational enterprises; Non-standard forms of employment; Poverty; Rural economy; Safety and health at work; Skills, Knowledge and Employability; Small enterprises; Social finance; Social protection; Sustainable enterprises; Tripartism and social dialogue; Wages; Working time; Work, peace and resilience; Youth employment

UN News Centre

“Breaking News from the UN News Service”

UN News; UN Radio; UN Television; UN Photo; UN Webcast; UN Meetings Coverage; Coverage of UN Peacekeeping missions

DPI Department of Public Information

“Inform. Engage. Act.”

The Department of Public Information is dedicated to communicating the ideals and work of the United Nations to the world; to interacting and partnering with diverse audiences; and to building support for peace, development and human rights for all.

Global Daily

“Stay involved and stay informed.” // "Your world. Your Issues. Your news."

Global Daily serves to bring global citizens the best journalism and most compelling stories aggregated from media outlets and partners from around the world: Business+Finance; Climate+Energy; Gender+Equality; Health; Opinions; Poverty+Development; Tech+Data // From refugees to rising inequality, the world is facing some of the most pressing issues of our day. With these challenges in mind, Global Daily serves to bring global citizens the best journalism and most compelling stories aggregated from media outlets and partners from around the world. Global Daily also highlights the latest news on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, with stories illuminating each of the 17 goals.

UN Chronicle

The UN Chronicle, a quarterly journal published by the Department of Public Information since 1946, covers information and debate on activities of the United Nations system. It features essays and opinions from official, non-governmental, academic, and policymaking groups connected with the Organization. The journal covers a wide-range of topics including: human rights; economic, social and political issues; peacekeeping operations; international conferences; youth related matters; women and children; and global health.

World Bank Group

“To end extreme poverty… To promote shared prosperity…”

Development Priorities: Climate Change; Education; Energy; Fragility, Conflict and Violence; Poverty; Sustainable Development; Trade; Health; Mangrove Conservation

WTO World Trade Organization

“Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity for Sustainable Development”

Agriculture; Anti-dumping; Balance of payments; Customs valuation; Goods schedules; Import licensing; Information Technology; Market access for goods; Quantitative restrictions; Pre-shipment Inspection; Sanitary & phytosanitary measures; State trading enterprises; Subsidies & countervail measures; Rules negotiations; Fisheries subsidies; Tariffs; Technical barriers to trade; Textiles; Trade facilitation; Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs); I-TIP services; Intellectual Property; Specific TRIPS issues; Dispute settlement; Aid for Trade; Development; Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF); Trade monitoring; Trade policy; Civil aircraft; Competition policy; Electronic Commerce; Environment; Climate change; Environmental Goods Agreement; Government procurement; Investment; Regional trade agreements; Preferential trade arrangements; Trade finance

IMF International Monetary Fund

The IMF’s fundamental mission is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system. It does so in three ways: keeping track of the global economy and the economies of member countries; lending to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and giving practical help to members.

CPD Commission on Population and Development

“Monitoring Global Population Trends”

Themes: Adolescents and Youth; Ageing; Environment; Family Planning; Fertility; HIV/AIDS; International Migration; Marriage and Unions; Mortality; Population Policies; Population Trends; Urbanization

CSOCD Commission on Social Development

Mission: to strengthen international cooperation for social development, particularly in the areas of poverty eradication, productive employment and decent work and the social inclusion of older persons, youth, family, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, persons marginalized from society and development.

Stated Concerns: Ageing; Civil Society; Cooperatives; Disability; Employment and Decent Work; Family; Indigenous Peoples; Poverty and Education; Social Integration and Social Inclusion; Youth

DSD Division for Sustainable Development

“SDGS in Action”

Stated Concerns: Africa; Atmosphere; Biodiversity and ecosystems; Capacity-building; Chemicals and waste; Climate change; Desertification, land degradation and drought; Disaster risk reduction; Education; Employment, decent work for all and social protection; Energy; Finance; Food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture; Forests; Gender equality and women's empowerment; Green economy; Health and population; Indicators; Industry; Information for integrated Decision-Making & Participation; Institutional Frameworks and international cooperation for Sustainable Development; Mountains; Multi-stakeholder partnerships & voluntary commitments; National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS); Oceans & Seas; Poverty eradication; Rural Development; Science; Small Island Developing States; Sustainable cities and human settlements; Sustainable consumption and production; Sustainable tourism; Sustainable transport; Technology; Trade; Water and sanitation

UNRISD United Nations Institute for Social Development

“Research for Social Change”

Mission: carries out research that helps national governments and others achieve their sustainable development objectives. The research explores and analyses innovations and pathways that can lead towards more inclusive development outcomes, while also considering how critical obstacles can be overcome. An overarching goal for the Institute is to ensure that social development concerns and objectives remain prominent in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UNSD UN Statistical Commission

“Better Data. Better Lives.”

Big data for official statistics; Economic statistics; Energy statistics; Industrial statistics; Tourism statistics; Trade statistics; Environmental statistics; Geospatial information; Civil registration and vital statistics; Disability statistics; Gender statistics; Household surveys; Migration statistics; Population census datasets

UNFF United Nations Forum on Forests

Mission: the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests

UNISDR United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

“Connect and convince to reduce disaster impacts”

Stated concerns: Disaster Risk Reduction; Making Cities Resilient; Safe Schools; Safe Hospitals; Climate Change Adaption

Sustainable Energy for All

Mission: reducing the carbon intensity of energy while making it available to everyone on the planet; ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

DPA Department of Political Affairs

“Diplomacy. Prevention. Action”

Stated concerns: Elections; Decolonization; Palestinian Rights; Security Council; Woman, Peace and Security; Electoral Dispute Resolution; Election Security; Prevention of Election Fraud; Training of Election Officials; Civic and Voter Education; Increasing the Participation of Women and Minorities; Voter Registration; Polling and Counting Procedures; Information Technology Electoral Systems

UNPOL United Nations Police

“Sustainable Peace through Justice and Security”

Stated concerns: support Peacekeeping Operations; civilian protection; community-oriented policing; transnational organized crime

UNICRI United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute

Stated goals: to advance understanding of crime-related problems; to foster just and efficient criminal justice systems; to support the respect of international instruments and other standards; to facilitate international law enforcement cooperation and judicial assistance; Stated concerns: CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance Programme; Counterfeiting; Countering the Appeal of Terrorism; Environmental Crimes; International Criminal Law; Juvenile Justice; Major Events Security; Organized Crime and Corruption; Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) for the Protection of Vulnerable Targets; Promoting Social Justice and Development; Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants; Urban Security; Violence against Women; Asset recovery; Artificial Intelligence and Robotics; Illicit Traffic in Precious Metals and Traceability and Ethical Origin of Coloured Gemstones; Building capacity to enhance ethics and human rights protection of participants in biomedical research; Addressing Risks of Advances in Biology and Biotechnology; Cybersecurity and Technology Misuse; profiling; Hate Speech and Hate Crime; Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

Mission: to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions Stated concerns: Clean Cooking Solutions; Mortality and the Burden of Disease; Global Burden of Diseases and Injuries; Cooking with Solid Fuels; Air Pollution; Climate Change and the Environment; the Carbon Footprint of Traditional Woodfuels; Impacts on Women’s Safety; Safe Access to Fuel; Cooking Innovations; Energy Access; Refugee Energy Needs; Child Adoptions; Women’s Empowerment

Nothing But Nets

“Save Lives. Defeat Malaria”

Mission: to send life-saving bed nets and other malaria preventions and treatment to families in need

Stated concerns: Household Spraying; Malaria Testing & Treatment; Malaria Vaccine

UNODA Office for Disarmament Affairs

“… strengthening peace and security through disarmament”

stated concerns: weapons of mass destruction; conventional arms; regional disarmament; counter-terrorism

UN-OHRLLS Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

Stated concerns: productive capacity; agriculture, food and nutritional security; rural development; trade; commodities; human and social development; multiple crises and other emerging challenges; mobilizing financial resources for development; capacity building; good governance at all levels.

International Court of Justice

“… the principal judicial organ of the United Nations”