United Nations Organisation (UNO)

The United Nations Organisation was founded on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries determined to preserve peace through international co-operation and collective security. Today the UNO has 193 Member States, i.e. virtually all the nations of the world.  The organisation has a unique universality with regard to the subjects which it tackles, its members, its involvement in decision-making processes, its role in the drafting of international norms and standards and its international influence. 

OFCOM and the UNO

OFCOM represents Switzerland in relation to the themes which fall within its area of competency. In particular, OFCOM is active in the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), which is the focal point within the UNO for the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The CSTD is a functional commission of the UNO's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with its headquarters in Geneva. Switzerland is a member of this Commission and is represented jointly by OFCOM and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

Activities and structure of the UNO

Under the terms of the Charter of the United Nations, the international treaty which founded the Organisation, the four goals of the UNO are:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems and by encouraging respect for human rights;
  • to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

The United Nations have their principal seat in New York but they maintain an important presence in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.

The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) is a diplomatic conference centre and a body for disarmament and human rights.

The United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) is the headquarters for the activities of the United Nations in the areas of the fight against drugs, crime prevention and criminal justice, the peaceful uses of outer space and international commercial law.

The United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) is the headquarters for the activities of the United Nations in relation to the environment and human settlements. 

The UNO is linked within a framework of cooperation agreements to some fifteen independent organisations, termed “specialised agencies”, such as, for example, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Universal Postal Union (UPU) or UNESCO. These institutions are autonomous bodies created by intergovernmental agreements.

Endowed with a broad range of international competencies for economic, social and cultural matters, and in the areas of education, health and related questions, some of them pre-date the UNO itself.

In addition, several offices, programmes and funds of the United Nations under the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council work to improve the economic and social situation of the people of the whole world.

All these organisations have their own management bodies, budget and secretariat. They constitute, with the UNO, what is known as the system of the United Nations and together they provide technical aid and other forms of practical assistance in virtually all economic and social spheres.

Specialist staff
Last modification 30.12.2015

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