The work of the UN reaches every corner of the globe. Much of this work is carried out by UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies. These are part of the UN system but operate as independent bodies.
They cover a vast range of areas including promoting democracy, human rights, good governance, economic and social development, international health, refugee protections and disaster relief.
Like the UN itself, they have global responsibilities. However, separate charters, memberships, budgets and secretariats, as well as their own interests and constitutions result in constant coordination problems.
To add to the mix, the UN has associated with almost three thousand NGOs throughout its history, this means every year the UN works with hundreds of NGOs to undertake humanitarian tasks in the world’s conflict zones.
NGOs (like UNA NZ) also act as lobbying groups for various causes and together with experts and consultants are often referred to as the third UN.