UN Logo


The United Nations

Multilateral development institution providing technical assistance and funding throughout the world.
Brief Overview

The UN has unique strengths in promoting development. Its presence is global, and its comprehensive mandate spans social, economic and emergency needs. The UN does not represent any particular national or commercial interest. When major policy decisions are taken, all countries, rich and poor, have a voice.

A round of world conferences has identified practical ways of solving global problems in a range of areas such as education (1990), environment and development (1992), human rights (1993), population and development (1994) natural disaster reduction (1994), social development (1995), the advancement of women (1995), human settlements (1996) and food security (1996). The UN is now working closely with Member States to implement decisions taken at these conferences.

The UN has been responsible for formulating a number of new key developmental objectives, such as sustainable development, advancement of women, human rights, environmental protection and good governance, and for developing programmes to make them a reality.

The UN system—the UN, the specialized agencies and the UN programmes and funds–works in a variety of ways to promote economic and social goals.

The mandates of the specialized agencies cover virtually all areas of economic and social endeavour. The agencies provide technical assistance and other forms of practical help to countries around the world. Working in cooperation with the UN, they help formulate policies, set standards and guidelines, foster support and mobilize funds.

A few of the UNs specialized agencies include the following:

The World Bank, for example, provides more than $20 billion in development assistance each year. Developing countries use these loans to strengthen their economies and expand their markets. Although loans are available only to Governments, the Bank also works with local communities, NGOs and, through the International Finance Corporation, private enterprise to encourage sustained growth.

In the forefront of efforts to bring about social and economic progress is the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The UN’s largest multilateral provider of grants for sustainable human development, it works in 174 countries and territories to facilitate technical cooperation and eradicate poverty.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the lead UN organization working for the long-term survival, protection and development of children. In some 150 countries, UNICEF’s programmes focus on immunization, primary health care, nutrition and basic education. Many other UN programmes work for development, in partnership with Governments and NGOs:

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest international food aid organization for both emergency relief and as part of development programmes.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is the largest international provider of population assistance.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) works to encourage sound environmental practices everywhere, and

The UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) assists people living in health-threatening housing conditions.

To increase the participation of developing countries in the global economy, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) promotes international trade. UNCTAD also works with—

The World Trade Organization (WTO), a separate entity, in assisting developing countries’ exports through the Geneva-based International Trade Centre.

Contact Information
website: http://www.un.org/
e-mail: ecu@un.org
See vast listing of NGOs on web.

Stated Goals
Regions of Work
Areas of Work
Examples of Upgrading Project
Project Selection Process
| What is Urban Upgrading? | Doing Urban Upgrading | Case Examples |
Issues and Tools | Resources | About This Site |
Search Web Site | Site Map | Home | Ask Grady | Feedback |

Copyright © 1999-2001, The World Bank Group. All Rights Reserved.