Global Organizations – Other

United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT)

UN-HABITAT was established in 1978 and has its headquarters at the UN office in Nairobi, Kenya. It is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It runs two major worldwide campaigns – the Global Campaign on Urban Governance, and the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure. Through these campaigns and by other means the agency focuses on a range of issues and special projects which it helps implement.

United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)

UNICRI is one of the five United Nations Research and Training Institutes. Its headquarters are located at Turin, Italy.


UNIDO helps developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their fight against marginalization in today’s globalized world. It mobilizes knowledge, skills, information and technology to promote productive employment, a competitive economy and a sound environment.


United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNIT-AR) was established in 1965. It is an autonomous body within the United Nations with the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of the Organization through appropriate training and research.


The regional arm of the United Nations Secretariat for the Asian and Pacific region is the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). It is located in Bangkok, Thailand.

Food and Agriculture Organization

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a child organization of ECOSOC and was established on 16 October 1945 in Quebec City, Canada. Currently, it is located in Rome, Italy, in the former seat of the Department of Italian East Africa. One of the most notable features of the building was the Axum Obelisk which stood in front of the agency seat, although just outside of the territory allocated to FAO by the Italian Government. It was taken from Ethiopia by Benito Mussolini’s troops in 1937 as a war chest, but was returned to Ethiopia on 18 April 2005. Its motto is in Latin Fiat Panis (“Let there be bread”). Objective is to lead international efforts to defeat hunger.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

IAEA seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. Established on  29 July 1957, it is an autonomous organization, not under direct control of the UN, but the IAEA does report to both the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

Its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria and two “Regional Safeguards Offices” are located in Toronto, Canada, and in Tokyo, Japan.  IAEA has three laboratories located in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria, and in Monaco.

The IAEA has three main bodies: the Board of Governors, the General Conference, and the Secretariat. Its main functions are:

  • the inspection of existing nuclear facilities to ensure their peaceful use,
  • providing information and developing standards to ensure the safety and security of nuclear facilities, and as a hub for the various fields of science involved in the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.

In 2004, the IAEA developed a Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). PACT responds to the needs of developing countries to establish, to improve, or to expand radiotherapy treatment programs. The IAEA is raising money to help efforts by its Member States to save lives and to reduce suffering of cancer victims.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Its predecessor was International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN). 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 Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ICAO defines an International Standard Atmosphere (also known as ICAO Standard Atmosphere), a model of the standard variation of pressure, temperature, density, and viscosity with altitude in the Earth’s atmosphere. This is useful in calibrating instruments and designing aircraft. ICAO standardizes machine-readable passports worldwide and publishes Doc 9303, Machine Readable Travel Documents, the technical standard for machine-readable passports. A more recent standard is for biometric passports. These contain biometrics to authenticate the identity of travellers.

Both ICAO and IATA have their own airport and airline code systems. ICAO uses 4-letter airport codes (vs. IATA’s 3-letter codes).

International Labour Organization (ILO)

ILO deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. It was established as an agency of the League of Nations following the Treaty of Versailles. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the International Labour Office.  ILO had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969. The ILO is a major provider of labour statistics.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), was established in Geneva in 1948 and came into in 1959. The IMCO name was changed to IMO in 1982. It is headquartered in London, United Kingdom It has 169 Member States and three Associate Members. Associate members are: Faroe Islands, Hong Kong and Macao. Non-members are generally the Landlocked countries.  IMO’s primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.

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 subcommittees.

International Telecommunication Union

International Telegraph Union was founded at Paris in 1865 on the initiative of the French government. Today, it is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies.

ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world and establishes worldwide standards.

The ITU is active in areas including broadband Internet, latest-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology, convergence in fixed-mobile phone, Internet access, data, voice, TV broadcasting, and next-generation networks.

ITU is based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a member of the United Nations Development Group and its membership includes 193 Member States and around 700 Sector Members and Associates. It is headed by Secretary-General, who is elected to a four-year term by the member states at the plenipotentiary conference.

How are international telephones dialling codes assigned to countries?

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recommendation defines the international public telecommunication numbering plan used in the PSTN. It also defines the format of phone numbers. As per these recommendations, numbers can have a maximum of 15 digits and are usually written with a + prefix. CCITT, the predecessor of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector, developed the first formal list of telephone country codes. It was included in the 1964 CCITT Blue Book. The list was organised by creating nine zones. Zone 1 for US, Canada, Bermuda and other Caribbean nations; Zone 2 for Africa and other Atlantic Islands; Zone 3 for Europe; Zone 4 for Europe; Zone 5 for Mexico, South America, Caribbean, and Central America; Zone 6 for Oceania and South-East Asia; Zone 7 for Russia, former Soviet Union; Zone 8 for East Asia and other special services; Zone 9 for South, Central, West Asia and Middle East.


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