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Assistance for development

The UN provides internally displaced children in Colombia with psychological counselling, basic education and hot mealsThe UN system works in a variety of ways to promote economic and social goals.

The mandates of the specialized agencies cover virtually all areas of economic and social endeavour. The agencies provide technical assistance and other forms of practical help to countries around the world. In cooperation with the UN, they help formulate policies, set standards and guidelines, foster support and mobilize funds. The World Bank, for example, provided $43 billion in development loans in fiscal year 2011 to nearly 100 developing countries.

Close coordination between the UN and the specialized agencies is ensured through the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), comprising the Secretary-General, the heads of the specialized agencies, funds and programmes, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Trade Organization.

The UN programmes and funds work under the authority of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to carry out the UN's economic and social mandate. The UN Development Group, comprising the UN operational programmes and funds, enhances overall cooperation.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN's largest provider of grants for sustainable human development worldwide, is actively involved in attaining the Millennium Development Goals. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is the lead UN organization working for the long-term survival, protection and development of children. Active in nearly 160 countries and territories, its programmes focus on immunization, primary health care, nutrition and basic education.

Boys and girls in developing countries worldwide enjoy access to education, thanks to the untiring efforts of the UN systemMany other UN programmes work for development, in partnership with governments and NGOs. The World Food Programme (WFP) is the largest international food aid organization for both emergency relief and development. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is the largest international provider of population assistance. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) works to encourage sound environmental practices everywhere, and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) assists people living in health-threatening housing conditions.

To increase the participation of developing countries in the global economy, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) promotes international trade. UNCTAD also works with the World Trade Organization (WTO), a separate entity, in assisting developing countries' exports through the International Trade Centre.