Within the United Nations system, there are a number of organizations that form part of the UN system. UN programs and funds work to improve the conditions of specific populations, such as the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the United Nations Children's Fund. The UN programs and funds are self-governed and have their own budgets and secretariats.

A number of independent organizations, known as specialized agencies, are linked to the UN through cooperative agreements. Specialized agencies are autonomous bodies that are created through international agreements. These specialized agencies have a wide spectrum of international responsibilities and work on a number of related issues, such as economic, social, education and health issues. Some of the specialized agencies also address issues that are relevant to ending violence against women

Finally, some intergovernmental organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration, maintain close ties with the United Nations although they are not officially a part of the UN system. Such organizations often work closely with UN programs and specialized agencies and well as non-governmental organizations.

Programs and Funds

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) works globally to promote development and to eradicate poverty. UNDP is the largest provider of grants for sustainable human development in the UN system, and currently operates in 174 countries and territories. UNDP promotes gender equality in all of its activities and also through a specific fund, the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Since 1987, the UNDP Gender in Development Program (GIDP) has ensured that gender issues are integrated into all of the UNDP practice areas.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

The United Nations Development Program's Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) is the agency primarily devoted to ending violence against women, through promoting the human rights of women and girls. UNIFEM works to strengthen the capacity of national and regional non-governmental women's organizations, to increase women's access to international human rights mechanisms, to bring women's human rights into the mainstream of the UN system and to develop approaches to eliminate violence against women that promote action by governments and inter-governmental agencies.

UNIFEM also supports the Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, created in 1997 by the UN General Assembly after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The goal of the Trust Fund is to identify and support innovative projects aimed specifically at preventing and eliminating violence against women around the world. Since the creation of the Trust Fund, UNIFEM has provided grants to 105 projects implemented in more than 65 countries worldwide. UNIFEM also uses the Trust Fund as a method to inform the entire UN system, national governments and civil society about strategies for eliminating violence against women. UNIFEM provides comprehensive information on the Trust Fund application procedure, such as the types of activities that are funded, who can apply for funding and general proposal requirements.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the largest internationally funded source of population assistance to developing countries. UNFPA works to advance gender equality and to end violence against women. UNFPA approaches gender-based violence as a both a major health and serious human rights concern. In 2000, the UNFPA State of the World's Population Report (Lives Together, Worlds Apart), addressed Ending Violence Against Women and Girls. The UNFPA has created an interactive guide to understanding that violence against women and girls is a public health priority

The UNFPA is one of a number of UN bodies that is working to combat trafficking in women and children, through its human trafficking program. UNFPA's planned activities to combat trafficking include the provision of technical assistance to governmental agencies to increase their capacity to develop anti-trafficking measures, to provide services for victims of trafficking and to promote awareness of the issue through advocacy campaigns.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is the UN agency that advocates for the protection of children's rights. UNICEF emphasizes the special needs of girls and also works to eliminate all forms of violence against children. UNICEF recognizes the important links between the human rights of children and of women, and therefore funds some international projects that focus on women's issues. In 2000, the research arm of UNICEF, the Innocenti Research Center, published a report on Domestic Violence against Women and Girls which discusses the cause and consequences of the problem as well as the obligations of national governments to eliminate this form of violence.

Specialized Agencies

International Labor Organziation (ILO)

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is the UN specialized agency that promotes internationally recognized human and labor rights. The ILO formulates policies to improve working conditions and employment opportunities, as well as global labor standards, through conventions and recommendations. The ILO, through its Conditions of Work Branch, addresses sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. The Conditions of Work Branch has published an Annotated bibliography on sexual harassment at work, which gives a range of references to other materials on the subject of sexual harassment. The ILO has also published a guide to combating sexual harassment at work, which provides a basis for understanding the nature of workplace violence and suggests ways to prevent it in the future. This publication can be ordered from the ILO directly.

World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO), through the Women's Health and Development (WHD) office, focuses on how health care providers can prevent violence against women and manage its consequences. Within the WHO, the Task Force on Violence and Health coordinates all work on violence being carried out by various WHO programs including WHD. The WHO addresses domestic violence, or interpersonal violence, through the Department for Injuries and Violence Prevention which was created in 2000.

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

The United Nations also maintains a close affiliation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental humanitarian organization. The IOM works in cooperation with national governments, the United Nations and with NGOs. The IOM has carried out a number of counter-trafficking activities in the CIS/CEE, including projects in Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan and Ukraine. The IOM conducts information campaigns and research on the issue of trafficking, and also provides services, such as counseling and reintegration, for victims of trafficking. The IOM also offers technical assistance to governments to strengthen their legal systems.


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