United Nations Organisations in News | Prelims Capsules 2021


United Nations Organisations in News for UPSC Prelims 2021


On this page, you can read about the United Nations Organisations which were in the news in the year 2020-21.

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United Nations Security Council (UNSC)  

News: India began its two-year non-permanent period at the UNSC along with Norway, Mexico, Ireland, and Kenya. But it is almost certain that India is not getting permanent membership of UNSC anytime soon. Thus, this opportunity should be viewed as a once-in-a-decade opportunity to pursue the national interests of the country. 

Previously, India was elected for the years 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992, and most recently in 2011-2012. Thus It is the 8th time that India is sitting on this chair.

About UNSC: The UN Security Council is one of the UN’s 6 main organs. The other 5 organs are; the General Assembly, the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat. It is aimed at maintaining international peace and security. It held its first session on 17 January 1946 in Westminster, London. 

Headquarters:  New York, United States 

Members Countries: The UNSC has 15 members consisting of permanent and non-permanent members.

  • 5 members — US, UK, Russia, China, and France — are permanent members. These permanent members have veto rights.  
  • The other 10 elected or non-permanent members have a tenure of two years. At present, the non-permanent members are Estonia, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Norway, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Tunisia, and Vietnam. 
  • Initially, the strength of non-permanent members was six which was extended to ten in 1965. 
  • All permanent members have veto power whereas all the members have one vote. To decide on any matter in the UNSC, 9 votes out of 15 are required. However, if any of the 5 permanent members votes against or veto the matter or resolution, it cannot be passed.
  • Veto powers of P5 countries have been used most frequently by Russia, blocking more than 100 resolutions since the council’s founding. 
  • A UN member, which is not a member of UNSC can participate in the UNSC discussion without any voting power. However, it is only possible if the matter in discussion will affect the interest of the country.

Presidency: The Presidency of the UNSC rotates alphabetically among 15 members every month. 

Powers: Among all the United Nations Organisations, only UNSC has the power to make binding decisions on member states. 

Objectives:   

  • Maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations; 
  • Investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction; 
  • Recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement; 
  • Formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments; 
  • Determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
  • Call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression; 
  • Recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General. The UNSC along with the Assembly it elects the Judges of the International Court of Justice(ICJ). 

Reforms and associated organisations: 

  1. G4 Nations – Established in 2005 it is a group of 4 countries bidding for permanent seats in the UNSC. They are Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan. 
  2. Uniting for Consensus (Coffee Club) – This is the group of countries opposing the expansion of permanent seats in the UNSC under the leadership of Italy. It was established in 1995 and includes – Italy, Spain, Malta, San Marino, Pakistan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia & Turkey. 

UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 

India has been elected to three key bodies of the UN ECOSOC (United Nations’ Economic and Social Council). 

These bodies are the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), Executive Board of UN Women, Executive Board of the World Food Programme. 

About UN- ECOSOC: It was established in 1945. It is one of the six main organs of the United Nations. It is the principal organ that works on sustainable development policies. It also coordinates the activities of several UN units and organizations working on development and social, environmental, and economic issues 

Headquarters: New York, United States. 

Aim: To serve as a forum for coordination and discussion on international economic, environmental, and social issues. It also works towards formulating policy recommendations addressed to the Member States and the United Nations system. 

Functions 

Every year a the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is organized under the council. It reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

Members: The Council consists of 54 Member States. The UNGA elects them for a 3-year term. 

  • Seats in the council are allocated based on geographical representation. 11 of them are allotted to Asian states, 14 to African states, 6 to Eastern Europe, 10 to Latin America and the Caribbean, and 13 to Western Europe 
  • For the nations to be elected as members of ECOSOC for a three-year term, it needs 2/3rd majority of UN General Assembly votes. 
  • Each member of the council has one vote and generally voting in the council is by a simple majority. The president is elected for a one-year term from amongst the member states. 

ICJ (International Court of Justice)

About ICJ:  

  • It was established under UN Charter 1945 (which also established UNSC) to act as a principal judicial organ of the UN. It acts as a Civil court. 
  • As it is the UN principal judicial organ it is called as “world court”. 

Headquarters: Hague, The Netherland (Only principal UN organ not located in New York) 

Cases that ICJ Handles

  • ICJ Settles legal disputes between Nations only. ICJ settles disputes on issues of Sovereignty, trade, treaty violations, and interpretations, etc. 
  • The Court has no jurisdiction to deal with applications from individuals, non-governmental organizations, corporations, or any other private entity. It cannot provide them with legal advice or help them in their dealings with national authorities.
  • The Court can only hear a dispute in the case of a request by one or more States. It cannot deal with a dispute on its own initiative. It is also not permitted to investigate and rule on acts of sovereign States.

Member Countries: Members of UN automatically becomes the member of ICJ. 

Composition: 15 members elected for 9 years. Of the 15 judges, the composition is mandated to be as follows – 

  1. 3 from Africa 
  2. 2 from Latin America and the Caribbean 
  3. 3 from Asia 
  4. 5 from Western Europe and other states 
  5. 2 from Eastern Europe  

Qualification and conditions for appointments

  • To get elected candidate has to get absolute majority in UNGA and UNSC 
  • 5 Judges are elected for 3 years once 
  • No two Judges can be of the same nationality 
  • Members can be re-elected 
  • The President and Vice-President are elected by secret ballot to hold office for 3 years. 
  • The P5 members of the UNSC always have a judge on the Court. The exception was China, which did not have a judge on the Court from 1967 to 1985 because it did not put forward a candidate. More recently Britain too lost an election to India thereby failing to get even a single judge in ICJ in 2017. 

India is a member of the UN so it is also a member of ICJ. Indian Judge Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected in 2018. 

Rulings:  

  • Once the country accepts UN intervention then the judgment is binding. 
  • Judgments given in contentious cases between states are also binding in nature 
  • Court also gives advisory opinions to the Council, the General Assembly and other authorized bodies on legal questions referred to it by these entities
  • Judgments are final and without appeal. The only possibility is filing an application for any Issue related to the scope and interpretation of the judgment before the Court for interpretation.

Specialised United Nations Organisations 

World Bank Group 

News: The World Bank and UNESCO released the Education Finance Watch Report (EFW), 2021. 

About World Bank group: The World Bank Group With 189 member countries is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It consists of 5 institutions that share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development. 

Its five institutions: 

  • The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): IBRD is a global development cooperative owned by 189-member countries and it is the largest development bank in the world. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1944 with the mission of financing the reconstruction of European nations devastated by World War II. IBRD finances investments across all sectors and provides technical support and expertise at each stage of a project. 
  • The International Development Association (IDA): It was established in 1960. It aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions. 
  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC): It was established in 1956. It provides various forms of financing without sovereign guarantees, primarily to the private sector 
  • The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA): MIGA was established in 1988. It provides insurance against certain types of risk, including political risk, primarily to the private sector. 
  • The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): It was established in 1966. It works with governments to reduce investment risk by providing settlement of disputes. 

Members:  

  • To become a member of IBRD, a country must first join the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  
  • Only the members of IBRD are allowed to join other institutions within the Bank such as IDA, IFC, MIGA, and ICSID. 
  • At present, there are 189 member countries that are shareholders in the IBRD 

UN and World Bank Group – IBRD, IFC, and IDA are Specialized Agencies of the UN.  ICSID and MIGA are not Specialized Agencies 

  • While five institutions have their own country membership, governing boards, and articles of agreement, they work as one to serve the partner countries. 
  • The IBRD and IDA provide loans at preferential rates to member countries, as well as grants to the poorest countries. 
  • IFC, MIGA, and ICSID focus on strengthening the private sector in developing countries by providing financing, technical assistance, political risk insurance, and settlement of disputes to private enterprises, including financial institutions. 

India and the World Bank Group  

  • India is a member of four of the five constituents of the World Bank Group except for ICSID. 
  • India is one of the founder members of IBRD, IDA, and IFC. 

World Bank 

  • IBRD and IDA are collectively known as the World Bank. WB provides loans to countries for capital programs. 
  • They were created at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Objective: Currently, the aim of the World Bank is to end extreme poverty, reducing the share of the global population that lives in extreme poverty to 3 percent by 2030. Further, it aims to promote shared prosperity by increasing the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of people in every country and Provide sustainable development. 

Structure:  

  • The World Bank is like a cooperative, made up of 189 member countries.  
  • These member countries, or shareholders, are represented by a Board of Governors, who are the ultimate policymakers at the World Bank.  
  • The governors are member countries’ ministers of finance or ministers of development.  
  • They meet once a year at the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund. 

Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States 

Member Countries:  

  • There are 189 member countries that are shareholders in the IBRD, the primary arm of the WBG.   

Shareholdings: The size of the World Bank’s shareholders, like that of the IMF’s shareholders, depends on the size of a country’s economy. Thus, the cost of a subscription to the World Bank is a factor of the quota paid to the IMF. 

Reports Published by World Bank: 

  • Ease of Doing Business 
  • World Development Report 
  • Global Economic Prospect Report 
  • Remittance Report 
  • Ease of Living Index 
  • India Development Update 
  • Global Financial Development Report 
  • Energy Efficiency Implementation Readiness 
  • Human Capital Index 
  • Logistics Performance Index 

Functions:  

  • World Bank Group is affiliated with the United Nations (UN) and designed to finance projects that enhance the economic development of member states.  
  • The World Bank is the largest source of financial assistance to developing countries.  
  • It also provides technical assistance and policy advice. The World Bank also supervises on behalf of international creditors about the implementation of free-market reforms.  
  • Together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization, it plays a central role in overseeing economic policy and reforming public institutions in developing countries, and defining the global macroeconomic agenda.  

International Labour Organization (ILO)

News:  After 35 years, India has assumed the Chairmanship of the Governing Body of International Labour Organization (ILO). 

About:  The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers, and workers of 187 member States. They together set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men. After the demise of the League of Nations, the ILO became the first specialized agency associated with the UN in 1946.  

Headquarters:  Geneva, Switzerland 

Objectives: The main aim of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. 

Member Countries: 187 member statesIndia is a founding member of the ILO. 

ILO functions through three main bodies

  1. The International labour Conference sets the International labor standards and the broad policies of the ILO. It meets annually in Geneva. Often called an international parliament of labour.
  2. The Governing body is the executive council of the ILO. It meets three times a year in Geneva.
  3. Lastly, The International Labour Office is the permanent secretariat of the International Labour Organization.

Reports Published:   

  • World Employment and Social Outlook  
  • Global Wage Report  
  • World Social Protection Report 

Significance:  

  • It received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 for improving peace among classes, pursuing justice for workers, and for technical assistance to other developing nations. 
  • ILO designates some member countries as nations of “Chief Industrial Importance”. The designated nations are Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The industrial population is the criteria for chief Industrial Importance. 
  • In 1988, the international labor conference adopted the “Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work”. The declaration aims to eliminate all forms of forced or compulsory labour, abolition of child labour, and elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.

Food and Agriculture Organization 

News: The Arbor Day Foundation and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation have recognised Hyderabad as ‘2020 Tree City of the World’. 

About FAO: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. The mandate of FAO is to improve nutrition and standards of living by increasing agricultural productivity. It was founded in October 1945.

Member States: With over 194 member states, 1 member organization, and 2 associate members, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide. 

Headquarters: Rome, Italy  

United Nations Organisations

Objectives: Its goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. FAO doesn’t provide direct aid or food to countries. Rather, it tries to create sustainable food sources in the countries. Following are the 5 strategic objectives of FAO 

Reports Published: 

  • World State of Forest Report 
  • Global Food Price Index 

key programmes:  Some of the important key programs of FAO are Food Security Programmes, Codex Alimentarius, International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), etc 

  • Codex Alimentarius: It is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety. The Codex Alimentarius Commission established by FAO and WHO in 1961 is an international food standard-setting body. 
  • International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC): It aims to protect cultivated and wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of pests. 
  • Globefish – It is a unit within the FAO, responsible for information and analysis on international fish trade and markets. Globefish’s flagship reports cover over 14 of the most major traded seafood commodities, including shrimp, tuna, salmon, small pelagics and other species with detailed statistics. 

India & FAO: 

  • FAO council approved India’s membership to the World Food Program (WFP) Executive Board for 2020 and 2021.  
  • In India, WFP is providing technical assistance and capacity-building services. Ministry of Agriculture is the nodal agency. 
  • It has also decided to observe ‘International Year of Millets’ in 2023, upon the request from the Indian government. 
  • India celebrated 2018 as “National Year of Millets’ and notified millets as Nutri-Cereals & allowed its inclusion in Public Distribution System (PDS).  
  • Following are strategic priority areas of FAO in India
    1. Sustainable and improved agricultural productivity and increased farm incomes
    2. Stronger food and nutrition security systems
    3. Effective natural resource management, community development, and assistance in transboundary cooperation to the global public good
    4. Enhanced social inclusion, improved skills, and employment opportunity in the agriculture sector

UNESCO

News: The World Bank and UNESCO released the Education Finance Watch Report (EFW), 2021. 

About UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that was outlined in a constitution signed November 16, 1945. It promotes international collaboration in education, science, and culture to promote peace. 

Headquarters: Paris, France 

Member Countries:  UNESCO has 195 member countries and it pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. 

 Reports Published:  

  • Global Education Monitoring Report 
  • Gender Parity Index 

 Functions: 

  • It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture 
  • UNESCO’s programs contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. 
  • It aimed at assisting, supporting, and complementing the national efforts of member states to eliminate illiteracy and to extend free education.   
  • UNESCO also seeks to encourage the free exchange of ideas and knowledge by organizing conferences and providing clearinghouse and exchange services. 
  • Besides its support of educational and science programs, UNESCO is also involved in efforts to protect the natural environment and humanity’s common cultural heritage. 
  • UNESCO is known for its World Heritage Mission which encourages world countries to protect Natural and Cultural Heritage sites. 
  • UNESCO also leads the Man and Biosphere Programme for protecting Biosphere reserves across the world. 12 of the eighteen India’s biosphere reserves are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list. Recently Panna Biosphere Reserve(PBR) became the 12th site in India.  

UNESCO achievements

unesco

United Nations Organisations for UPSC IAS Exam 


World Health Organization 

News: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced an initiative called the “Global Breast Cancer Initiative”. 

About WHO: World Health Organization (WHO), is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) established in 1948.  WHO is the first global health organization established in 1948, replacing many regional and national health bodies. Its primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations system

Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. 

Member Countries: All Member countries of the United Nations may become members of WHO by accepting its Constitution. Other countries may be admitted as members when their application has been approved by a simple majority vote of the World Health Assembly. 194 Members of WHO are grouped according to 6 regions. 

  • 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.
  • The Executive Board of WHO implements the decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly.
  • The US is currently the biggest financial contributor to the WHO, and has been its active member for many decades. 

Aim: It aims to enhance international cooperation for improved public health conditions.  Each year WHO celebrates its date of establishment, April 7, 1948, as World Health Day. 

Functions: Its specific tasks include epidemic control, quarantine measures, and drug standardization.   WHO promotes the attainment of “the highest possible level of health” by all people. 

Definition of Health by WHO: WHO defines health positively as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  

World Health Assembly: The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.  

Reports Published:  

  • World Health Report 
  • Global Nutrition Report 
  • World Vision Report 
  • Ambient Air Pollution Report 
  • World Report on Hearing 

Initiatives of WHO:  

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced an initiative called the “Global Breast Cancer Initiative”.

About Global Breast Cancer Initiative: 

  • Aim: The initiative aims to reduce global breast mortality by 2.5% by 2040. 
  • The initiative will particularly focus on reducing deaths in low-income countries. There the progress to tackle the disease is relatively slow. 

Key Features of the Initiative: 

  • Guidance to Governments: Under the initiative, WHO will work with other UN agencies. They will provide guidance to governments on how to strengthen systems for diagnosing and treating breast cancer. It is expected to improve capacities to manage other types of cancer. 
  • Evidence-based Technical Package: An evidence-based technical package will also provided to countries as part of the initiative. It will incorporate existing WHO cancer tools and products. 

First-ever World Report on Hearing

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) released its first-ever World Report on Hearing in 2021. This report released on World Hearing Day (observed on 3rd March). The report has been developed in response to the World Health Assembly resolution adopted in 2017. The resolution aims to provide guidance for the Member States to integrate ear and hearing care into their national health plans.

Summits: The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland. Its Seventy-fourth World Health Assembly is scheduled to held on 24 May – 1 June 2021. 

 


World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 

About WMO: It is an intergovernmental organization established by the ratification of the WMO Convention in 1950. 

Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland. 

Member Countries: 193 Member States and Territories. 

Significance:

  • It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.
  • WMO is the UN system’s authoritative voice on weather, climate, and water.
  • WMO monitors and forecasts 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.

Reports Published:  

  • Greenhouse Gas Bulletin 
  • United in Science Report 
  • Statement of the State of Global Climate in 2019 Report 

Functions: WMO is dedicated to international cooperation and coordination on the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the land and oceans, the weather and climate it produces, and the resulting distribution of water resources.   


United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) 

News: The US President decided to rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The moves come after the former US President had withdrawn from the global body three years ago. 

Similarly, in the 46th session of the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) Sri Lanka has officially sought India’s support for its nation’s rights and accountability record. On the other hand, India abstained voting in the session. 

About UNHRC: The UNHRC is a United Nations body established in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights. It is an inter-governmental body.  

Aim: To promote and protect human rights around the globe. Apart from that, the UNHRC also investigates alleged human rights violations in countries. 

Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland 

Member Countries: The council has 47 members elected for a 3-year term. 5 Regional groups elect these 47 members. Members are barred from occupying a seat for more than two consecutive three-year terms. 

Five regional groups for membership: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe. 

Duration: The members are elected for a period of three years. Each member can hold office for a maximum of two consecutive terms. 

Meeting: The members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues. In addition to that, the commission also passes non-binding resolutions and recommendations by a majority vote. 

Recent Meeting: The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its forty-sixth regular session from 22 February to 23 March 2021 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. 

Working: The UNHRC works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The commission also engages in the UN’s special procedures. 

UN’s Special Procedures of Human Rights Council: These are independent human rights experts. They have the mandate to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. 

Resolutions: The UNHRC resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral significance. 

Objectives: UNHCR’s overall mandate is to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees and persons of concern while working to find durable solutions to their situation 

Status of UNHRC 

  • They are subordinate to the United Nations. But since they are immediately controlled by inter-governmental bodies and derive most of their financial resources from other sources than the United Nations budgets, they are somewhat more akin to specialized agencies than to “subsidiary organs” such as UN commissions and committees. 

Moreover, as their activities are more operational and carried out at the field level, they have needs dictated by an environment quite different from that of headquarters-centered administrations.


UN Women

News: India has been elected to three key bodies of the UN ECOSOC (United Nations’ Economic and Social Council). Among these, the Executive Board of UN Women was one of them.  

About UN Women: 

  • UN Women is the United Nations entity that is dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. 
  • The UN General Assembly established UN Women in 2010 to accelerate the progress on meeting women’s needs worldwide. 

Members: The Executive Board of UN Women consists of 41 members. 

Headquarters: New York, United States 

United Nations Organisations for UPSC IAS Exam 


World Food Programme (WFP) 

About WFP: It was created in 1961 as an experiment to provide food aid through the UN system. IN 1965, it was enshrined as a full-fledged UN programme. It launched its 1st development program in Sudan. It was formally established in 1963 by the FAO and UNGA.  

Since then, WFP has been at forefront of the conflict-ridden countries for humanitarian assistance to the hungry and needy people. Globally, WFP functions in more than 83 countries including India, reaching 86.7 million people. 

Headquarters: Rome, Italy 

Objectives: To eradicate hunger and malnutrition with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for food aid itself. 

Part of: It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee. 

Funding: Its operations are funded entirely by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors. It raised US$8 billion in 2019 

Member Countries: WFP is governed by a 36-member Executive Board and partners with more than 1,000 national and international NGOs to provide food assistance and tackle the underlying causes of hunger.  

In India, WFP has moved from providing direct food aid to providing technical assistance and capacity building services to the Government, with Ministry of Agriculture being the nodal ministry.   

Nobel Prize: WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. This is for the following reasons, 

  • WFP’s contribution in combating hunger, 
  • Work of WFP towards bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas 
  • Its role as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.  

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 

News: Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has received the Asia Environmental Enforcement Award-2020. 

About the UNDP: It was formed in 1965 to help countries eliminate poverty and also to achieve sustainable human development by reduction of inequalities and exclusion. 

The status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly. 

Aim and Objective: It helps countries to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. 

Also, the UNDP help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results. UNDP focuses on three major areas; sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience. 

Headquarter: New York, United States. 

Reports Published:  

  • Global Social Norms Index 
  • Gender Equality Index 
  • Human Development Report 

Funding: The UNDP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states. 

Functions:  

  • Keeping people out of POVERTY 
  • GOVERNANCE for peaceful, just, and inclusive societies 
  • Crisis prevention and increased RESILIENCE 
  • ENVIRONMENT: nature-based solutions for development 
  • Clean, affordable ENERGY 
  • Women’s empowerment and GENDER equality 

UNDP in India: 

  • Governance & Accelerated Livelihoods (GOALS) project: UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) implementing this project. The GOALS project aims to strengthen the effectiveness of key programmes of the Ministry at National and state levels. The GOALS project provides a particular focus on livelihoods and employment in twelve districts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha.   
  • The Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network, or eVIN: It was developed by UNDP India with support from the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. It is an innovative technological solution aimed at strengthening immunisation supply chain systems across the country. The EVIN shows real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in the country. At present The eVIN program is being implemented by the Government of India in partnership with UNDP. 

United Nations EnvironmenProgramme (UNEP) 

News: Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has received the Asia Environmental Enforcement Award-2020.  

Award is given by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with UNDP, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), CITES, INTERPOL, and World Customs Organisation (WCO). 

About the UNEP:  

  • It was established in Stockholm in June 1972.  
  • UNEP sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system. 
  • As a member of the United Nations Development Group, UNEP aims to help the world meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

Headquarter: Nairobi, Kenya. 

Reports Published:  

  • Actions on Air Quality 
  • Global Environment Outlook 
  • Emission Gap Report 
  • Inclusive Wealth Report 
  • Adaptation Gap Report 2020 
  • Global Climate Litigation Report 2020 
  • Rise of Environmental Crime Report (along with INTERPOL). 

Functions: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading environmental authority in the United Nations system. UNEP re-organised its work program into six strategic areas such as:  

  1. CLIMATE CHANGE UNEP provides leadership in adaptation, mitigation, technology, and finance.   
  2. POST-CONFLICT AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT UNEP conducts environmental assessments in crisis-affected countries. 
  3. ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT Facilitates management and restoration of ecosystems and promotes use of ecosystem services.   
  4. ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE UNEP supports governments to achieve sustainable development at the country. 
  5. HARMFUL SUBSTANCES UNEP strives to minimize the impact of harmful substances and hazardous waste on the environment and human beings.   
  6. RESOURCE EFFICIENCY/SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION UNEP focuses on regional and global efforts to ensure natural resources are produced, processed, and consumed in a more environmentally friendly way.  

United Nations Organisations for UPSC IAS Exam 

UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

News: Indian-origin investment and development banker Preeti Sinha is appointed as Executive Secretary of UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). 

About UNCDF: It was established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1966. It provides microfinance access to 46 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). It will unlock the full potential of public and private finance in these countries.  

Headquarters: New York, United States. 

Parent Organization: United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Economic and Social Council 

Funding: UNCDF is an autonomous, voluntarily funded UN organization affiliated with UNDP. Its funding comes from UN member states, foundations, and the private sector. 

Financing Model: UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. 

UNCDF’s financing models work through three channels 

  • Inclusive digital economies: It connects individuals, households, and small businesses with financial eco-systems that catalyze participation in the local economy. It also provides tools to climb out of poverty and manage financial lives;  
  • Local development finance: This capacitates localities through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance. This will help to drive local economic expansion and sustainable development;  
  • Investment finance: This provides catalytic financial structuring, de-risking, and capital deployment to drive SDG impact and domestic resource mobilization. 

United Nations Peacekeeping Forces 

News: India has announced a gift of 2,00,000 doses of vaccine to the UN Peacekeeping Forces. 

About United Nations Peacekeeping Forces: It was created in 1948. They are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets 

Purpose: It provides security, political, and peacebuilding support to countries under conflicts. It helps countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace. 

Principles: They are guided by three basic principles: 

  • Consent of the parties 
  • Impartiality 
  • Non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate. 

Authorised by: Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the UN Security Council. 

Peacekeeping forces: Member states contribute their manpower for Peacekeeping forces on a voluntary basis. 

Funding: The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States. Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping. 

India and the UN Peacekeeping forces: 

  • India is consistently among the top troop-contributing nations to the UN. At present, 5,424 personnel of India are serving in eight countries. It is currently the fifth-largest contribution. 
  • India’s contribution to the regular budget is 0.83% and 0.16% of the peacekeeping budget. 

Other Countries Contributions: 

  • The US has never contributed ground troops. But it contributes 27% of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. 
  • China currently contributes over 2,500 troops in various UN missions. It provides for 12% of the UN’s regular general budget and 15% of the peacekeeping budget.  

UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

News: The UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has endorsed the first-ever Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition (VGFSyN). 

About the CFS: The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was established in 1974. It was reformed in 2009 as the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders. The CFS brings together all stakeholders to ensure food security and nutrition for all. It is hosted and co-funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

United Nations Organisations for UPSC IAS Exam 

Secretariat: CFS is a United Nations Committee based at FAO’s headquarters. Its Secretariat comprises the three Rome-based UN agencies:  

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),  
  • The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),  
  • The World Food Programme (WFP). 

Meetings: CFS holds an annual Plenary session every October in FAO, Rome. 

Objectives: The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) enables an environment that creates incentives for all stakeholders and empowers them to participate in policy formulation and implementation. This UN System provides for review and follow-up of food security policies.


United Nations Organisations for UPSC IAS Exam 

United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)

News: United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. 

About UNCND: The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is a policymaking body within the United Nations system. It was established by Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 9(I) in 1946. The CND aims to assist the ECOSOC in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties for action against drugs and crime.  

In 1991, the General Assembly (GA) expanded the mandate of the CND to enable it to function as the governing body of the UNODC. 

Headquarters: Vienna, Austria 

Objectives: The CND reviews and analyzes the global drug situation, considering supply and demand reduction. It takes action through resolutions and decisions. 

The CND is also the final decision maker on proposals by the World Health Organisation.

Member Countries: The CND has 53 member states that are elected by ECOSOC. The CND is chaired by a Bureau. This Bureau includes at least one member per Regional Group. 

Annual Meetings: CND meets annually. The CND adopted the 2019 Ministerial Declaration to accelerate the implementation of joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem.  


UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) 

News: India criticized the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) for “selectivity” in seeking to protect Abrahamic religions — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism over others. 

About UNAOC: UNAOC is an organization that was set up in 2005. It was established as the political initiative of Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Turkey. 

Headquarters: New York, United States 

Objectives: Its four important priority areas for action are Education, Youth, Migration, Media. It plays a critical role in helping to reduce cross-cultural tensions and to build bridges between communities  


United Nations Forum on Forests 

About: The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) is a high-level intergovernmental policy forum.  

Established by: Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). 

Objective: To promote the management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests. Further, it aims to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end. 

Headquarters: New York, United States. 

Membership: The Forum has universal membership, and is composed of all Member States of the United Nations and specialized agencies. 


United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) 

News: The Ministry of Jal Shakti Ministry has entered a partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services(UNOPS) and the government of Denmark. The agreement aims to bring tap water connections to 11 water-scarce districts in Uttar Pradesh under the Jal Jeevan mission. 

About United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS): The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) was established in 1973 as part of the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP). It became an independent, self-financing organization in 1995. 

Headquarters: The headquarters of the United Nations Office for Project Services is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.  

Aim: It is dedicated to implementing projects for the United Nations System. Apart from that, UNOPS also help in project implementation of international financial institutions, governments and other partners around the world. 

Significance: UNOPS is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG). 


United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) 

About United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG): The United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) was established in 1997. It was previously known as the United Nations Development Group (UNDG). 

Headquarters: New York, United States 

Members: It is a consortium of 36 United Nations funds, programs, specialized agencies, departments, and offices playing a role in development. 

Aim: The UNSDG was created by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Furthermore, it is created with the intent to improve the effectiveness of United Nations development activities at the country level. It is a high-level forum for joint policy formation and decision-making. 

United Nations Organisations for UPSC IAS Exam 

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