Agencies of the United Nations
To address the growing complexity of humanitarian crises, UNHCR has expanded the number and type of organizations it collaborates with for world peace and health.
The most important of the “sister” agencies are the World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Joint Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS).
UNHCR is also committed to working more closely with other agencies under the Delivering as One initiative, which aims to improve coordination of United Nations interventions in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and ‘environment. Furthermore, we have adopted the so-called cluster approach in the management of emergencies involving internally displaced persons (IDPs), an approach that envisages that different agencies play a leading role in their area of expertise by cooperating to assist those in need. UNHCR is playing a leading role in ensuring protection and housing, and in the management and coordination of camps.
United Nations Development Program
UNDP represents the United Nations global development network, an organization that works for development and that allows countries to have access to knowledge, experience and resources in order to help people build a better life. UNDP works in 166 countries, cooperating with them to find specific solutions to global and national development challenges. As countries develop their local capabilities, they draw on UNDP staff and our many partners.
United Nations Population Fund
Founded in 1969, the United Nations Population Fund is the main international source of assistance for populations. Nearly a quarter of all funds earmarked for developing countries go through this organization which operates in three main fields: reproductive health problems for men and women, including family planning; population and development; prevention of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS.
The organization signed a cooperation agreement with UNHCR on 30 June 1995 in order to assess the needs of refugees in terms of reproductive health; promote measures to prevent and ensure protection from sexual violence; and integrate information on AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases into UNHCR’s health services.
United Nations Children’s Fund
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, is the world’s leading agency for the defense of children’s rights. Established in 1946 to provide food and emergency health care to children in countries devastated by World War II, UNICEF has helped millions of vulnerable minors and mothers around the world.
The New York-based organization, winner of the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize, is present in at least 200 countries around the world. Today, UNICEF provides humanitarian assistance and development support to vulnerable children and mothers. The work focuses on five key areas: child survival and development; basic education and gender equality; protection of minors; minors with HIV / AIDS; advocacy and partnership for children’s rights.
Millions of the world’s forced migrants are children, a reality that makes UNHCR and UNICEF natural partners. In 1996 the two organizations signed a memorandum of agreement defining their relations.
The two sister agencies work together around the world, both in long-term situations involving refugees and in emergencies. Both promote the protection, health care and right to education of migrant children, including those who are refugees, internally displaced and stateless.
The two organizations work closely together especially in carrying out projects related to the protection of minors, access to safe water and sanitation, and access to education. Regarding the latter, UNHCR and UNICEF in 2007 launched a joint appeal to raise funds and thus allow tens of thousands of Iraqi refugee children in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon to go to school.
World Food Program
The World Food Program (WFP) is the United Nations agency at the forefront of the fight against hunger in the world, responsible for distributing food to millions of people in need, including refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees. In emergencies, it guarantees the distribution of food where necessary, thus saving the lives of people who are victims of war, civil conflicts and natural disasters.
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the main authority within the United Nations system in charge of directing and coordinating international health-related activities.
WHO has a mandate to prevent and eradicate epidemics and to improve the health, hygiene and environmental conditions of people worldwide. The organization also offers emergency medical assistance at the request of governments and provides services and facilities to groups with special needs.
United Nations Volunteers
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program promotes volunteer service in support of peace and development around the world. The UNV program is inspired by the belief that volunteering can contribute to the realization of development and the idea that everyone can devote time and energy to the affirmation of peace and development. With partners such as UNHCR, the UNV program promotes volunteer service, integrates it into development planning and mobilizes volunteers.
Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, and established in 1970, the UNV program is managed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Each year, the UNV program mobilizes over 7,500 volunteers for development projects and enables organizations working in development to connect with volunteers from around the world through the Online Volunteer Service. Volunteers are qualified professionals with at least two years of work experience behind them. They work in more than 130 countries and 80% of them come from developing countries.
Approximately 1,000 UNV volunteers work with UNHCR each year. To date they have worked as UNHCR members in numerous operations including those in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Colombia, Ecuador, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Sri Lanka and East Timor.