This week we take a look at what is in the agenda at some of the UN offices, agencies, other related bodies, and multilateral fora in Europe. With lockdown restrictions lifted, each country adjusing on a daily basis, UN bodies and committees are slowly resuming full-fledged activities.

The United Nations has its second largest office in Geneva, Switzerland, and agencies of the UN system, the World Health Organisation, the UN Agency for Refugees, and other humanitarian agencies have their headquarters here.

The Hague, in the Netherlands, is the seat of the International Criminal Court, and where several other UN bodies are hosted, including the International Court of Justice, and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute: Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (UNICRI).

This Monday, the International Court of Justice, wraps-up its public hearings, by video link, on the case Qatar v. United Arab Emirates, in The Hague, the Netherlands, on the preliminary objections raised by the United Arab Emirates concerning the Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Qatar v. United Arab Emirates).

The public hearings end today and take place at the Peace Palace, in The Hague, the seat of the Court, from 3 to 4:30 pm, CET.

In Geneva, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights starts its the Nineteenth Session of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention by the States Parties, from today to the 25th September, to review the progress made by countries on the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet 

UNICEF holds the meeting of its Executive Board, from 8 to 11 September 2020. The Executive Board is the governing body of UNICEF, providing intergovernmental support and oversight to the organization. 

On the agenda for Tuesday:

  • Adoption of the provisional agenda, and organization of work
  • Statements by the President of the EB and the ED of UNICEF. 
  • Dialogue on financing the UNICEF Strategic Plan, 2018–2021
  • Private Fundraising and Partnerships: financial report for 2019

UNICEF Executive Board Website 

When? Tuesday 8 September 10:00–1:00 AM 

Location? Zoom 

And last but not least the WHO, in Geneva, holds its regular press conferences on COVID plus kickstarts the Global Week for Action on Non Communicable Diseases, on Wednesday it launches the report on transfat elimination 2020, and on the 10th September it is Suicide Prevention Day. 

Most events are taking place virtually, of course. 

WHO Global Week for Action on NCDs

Noncommunicable diseases like heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, and diabetes kill 70% of the global population every year. This year’s theme is accountability to ensure that commitments made by governments, policy makers, industries, academia, and civil society become a reality. We all have a role to play in reducing the NCD burden globally and increasing health and equality.

IO’s in Europe | Facts and Figures: Geneva

Source: Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

38 international organizations in Geneva, 44 total in Switzerland

  • 177 states represented
  • 750 Non-governmental organizations (NGO)
  • 32,000 international civil servants, diplomats, and representatives of civil society
  • 4,600 + annual visits of heads of state and government, ministers and other dignitaries
  • 3,200 + meetings annually with a total of 207,000 delegates from all around the world

In the Netherlands 

Source: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Below you will find a list of all the international organisations (IOs) currently based in the Netherlands. The Netherlands focuses mainly on attracting:

  • IOs that tie in with the themes of peace, justice and security;
  • IOs that tie in with the 9 leading economic sectors included in the Netherlands’ ‘top sector’ policy;
  • IOs whose mandate is similar to those of IOs already located in the Netherlands.

International Courts and Tribunals

EU Organisations

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe 

United Nations System Organisations 

Other International Organisations

To Know More About UN Funds, Programmes, Specialized Agencies and Other Bodies of the UN System

Source: UN Website

The UN system, also known unofficially as the ‘UN family’, is made up of the UN itself and many programmes, funds, and specialized agencies, all with their own leadership and budget. The programmes and funds are financed through voluntary rather than assessed contributions. The Specialized Agencies are independent international organizations funded by both voluntary and assessed contributions.

Funds and Programmes


Headquarters: New York City, USA

The United Nations Development Programme works in nearly 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience so countries can sustain progress. As the UN’s development agency, UNDP plays a critical role in helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

The United Nations Environment Programme established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment.


Headquarters: New York City, USA

The United Nations Population Fund — UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.


Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

The mission of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.


Headquarters: New York City, USA

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.


Headquarters: Rome, Italy

The World Food Programme aims to eradicate hunger and malnutrition. It is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. Every year, the programme feeds almost 80 million people in around 75 countries.

UN Specialized Agencies

The UN specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations. All were brought into relationship with the UN through negotiated agreements. Some existed before the First World War. Some were associated with the League of Nations. Others were created almost simultaneously with the UN. Others were created by the UN to meet emerging needs.


Headquarters: Rome, Italy

The Food and Agriculture Organization leads international efforts to fight hunger. It is both a forum for negotiating agreements between developing and developed countries and a source of technical knowledge and information to aid development.


Headquarters: Montreal, Canada

The International Civil Aviation Organization develops standards for global air transport and assists its 192 Member States in sharing the world’s skies to their socio-economic benefit.


Headquarters: Rome, Italy

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, since it was created in 1977, has focused exclusively on rural poverty reduction, working with poor rural populations in developing countries to eliminate poverty, hunger and malnutrition; raise their productivity and incomes; and improve the quality of their lives.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The International Labor Organization promotes international labor rights by formulating international standards on the freedom to associate, collective bargaining, the abolition of forced labor, and equality of opportunity and treatment.


Headquarters: Washington, DC, USA

The International Monetary Fund fosters economic growth and employment by providing temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment and technical assistance. The IMF currently has $28 billion in outstanding loans to 74 nations.


Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

The International Maritime Organization has created a comprehensive shipping regulatory framework, addressing safety and environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, security, and efficiency.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The International Telecommunication Union is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies. It is committed to connecting all the world’s people — wherever they live and whatever their means. Through our work, we protect and support everyone’s fundamental right to communicate


Headquarters: Paris, France

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization focuses on everything from teacher training to helping improve education worldwide to protecting important historical and cultural sites around the world. UNESCO added 28 new World Heritage Sites this year to the list of irreplaceable treasures that will be protected for today’s travelers and future generations.


Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.


Headquarters: Madrid, Spain

The World Tourism Organization is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.


Headquarters: Bern, Switzerland

The Universal Postal Union is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. It helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The World Health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system. The objective of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health, as defined in the WHO Constitution, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The World Intellectual Property Organization protects intellectual property throughout the world through 23 international treaties.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The World Meteorological Organization facilitates the free international exchange of meteorological data and information and the furtherance of its use in aviation, shipping, security, and agriculture, among other things.

World Bank

Headquarters: Washington, DC, USA

The World Bank focuses on poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards worldwide by providing low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, and communications, among other things. The World Bank works in over 100 countries.

* International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are not specialized agencies in accordance with Articles 57 and 63 of the Charter, but are part of the World Bank Group.

Other Entities and Bodies


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations — UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank — and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — UNHCR protects refugees worldwide and facilitates their return home or resettlement.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research is a voluntarily funded autonomous institute within the United Nations. An impartial actor, the Institute generates ideas and promotes action on disarmament and security. UNIDIR brings together states, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and academia to work together — internationally, regionally and locally — to build and implement creative solutions that will benefit all states and peoples.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

An autonomous UN body established in 1963, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research is a training arm of the United Nations System, and has the mandate to enhance the effectiveness of the UN through diplomatic training, and to increase the impact of national actions through public awareness-raising, education and training of public policy officials.


Headquarters: Copenhagen, Denmark

The mission of the United Nations Office for Project Services is to help people build better lives and help countries achieve peace and sustainable development. UNOPS helps the UN, governments and other partners to manage projects, and deliver sustainable infrastructure and procurement in an efficient way.


Headquarters: Amman, Jordan

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has contributed to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees. It’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict. It reports only to the UN General Assembly.


Headquarters: Turin, Italy

The United Nations System Staff College is the learning organization of the United Nations system. It designs and delivers learning programmes for staff of the UN system and its partners. It helps the United Nations become more effective by fostering a common leadership and management culture across the system.

UN Women

Headquarters: New York City, USA

UN Women merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focus exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Related Organizations


Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization promotes the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (which is not yet in force) and the build-up of the verification regime so that it is operational when the Treaty enters into force.


Headquarters: Vienna, Austria

The International Atomic Energy Agency, is the world’s centre for cooperation in the nuclear field. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The International Organization for Migration works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.


Headquarters: The Hague, Netherlands

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997. OPCW Member States work together to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.


Headquarters: Bonn, Germany

The UNFCCC Secretariat (UN Climate Change) was established in 1992 when countries adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With the subsequent adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement in 2015, Parties to these three agreements have progressively reaffirmed the Secretariat’s role as the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The World Trade Organization is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements, and a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.


Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the only development agency that is fully dedicated to supporting the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Established in 1964, the ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

See also UN System Chart

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