The UN family encompasses 15 specialised agencies, programmes and bodies.
The UN Funds and Programmes, together with the Specialised Agencies, lead the UN’s on-the-ground work towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Four Funds and Programmes have their headquarters in New York: UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN WOMEN. The UK sits on the Executive Boards of all four organisations in which we provide policy guidance and oversee their expenditure and results. The UK Mission works closely with the agencies to promote effective, efficient, and coherent development assistance and humanitarian aid and is committed to ensure maximum value for money from our contributions to multilaterals. In 2009/10 DFID spent £2.4Bn (37%) of its programme budget via multilateral organisations such as the UN Funds, Programmes and Specialised Agencies.
UN WOMEN is the brand new UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
UNICEF is the UN fund which leads on protecting the rights of children and young people.
UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.
UNFPA is the UN fund which works to reduce poverty through ensuring every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.
Six ways DFID and the agencies work to fight global poverty
UK aid and UN funds and programmes make a real difference on the ground by:
• DFID’s Malawi national fertilizer subsidy programme has been associated with a 25 percent increase total cultivation area. Maize production reached 3.2 million tons in 2007, ensuring self-sufficiency.
• Debt relief through Nigeria’s Virtual Poverty Fund was directed to agriculture and contributed to doubling agricultural production and farmers’ income.
• Abolition of school fees at the primary level contributed to surges of enrolment in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and Tanzania.
• Cambodia’s 100 percent Condom Use Programme contributed to twice as much condom use among sex workers. HIV prevalence declined from 1.2 to 0.7 percent between 2003 and 2008.
• Afghanistan’s Basic Package of Health Services focused on construction of health centres and hospitals, training of health workers, and large-scale vaccinations. Amidst conflicts, under-five mortality declined significantly between 2002 and 2004.
• South Asia’s Women Well-being, Work, Waste and Sanitation project trained women as sanitations facilities installers. It also allowed them to earn additional income.
Read more about how DFID spends its money here
Read what DFID’s Secretary of State, Andrew Mitchell, says about DFID’s work here