60 Ways the United Nations Makes a Difference
 

 



41Handing down judicial settlements in major international disputes



By giving judgments and advisory opinions, the International Court of Justice has helped settle international disputes involving territorial issues, diplomatic relations, hostage-taking, the right of asylum and economic rights, among others.



42Improving global trade relations



The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has helped developing countries to negotiate trade agreements and to win preferential treatment for their exports. It has negotiated international commodity agreements to ensure fair prices for developing countries, improved the efficiency of their trade infrastructure and helped them in other ways to diversify their production and to integrate into the global economy.



43Promoting economic reform



The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have helped many countries improve their economic management, provided temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance-of-payment difficulties and offered training for government finance officials.



44Promoting stability and order in the world's oceans



The UN has spearheaded an international effort to regulate the use of the oceans under a single convention. The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which has gained nearly universal acceptance, provides for the first time a universal legal framework for all activities on and under the oceans. The Convention lays down rules for the establishment of maritime zones, the determination of national maritime jurisdiction, navigation on the high seas, the rights and duties of coastal and other States, the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment, cooperation in the conduct of marine scientific research, and conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources.



45 Improving air and sea travel



UN agencies have been responsible for setting safety standards for sea and air travel. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has contributed to making air travel the safest mode of transportation. In 1947, when 9 million travelled by air, 590 were killed in aircraft accidents; in 2004 the number of deaths was 420 out of the 3.3 billion airline passengers. Likewise, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has helped to make the seas more secure. Statistics show that shipping is becoming safer and is improving its environmental credentials. Ship losses are falling, fatalities are decreasing, pollution incidents are down, total oil pollution is down, and air pollution and pollution from sewage are being tackled ?all while the amount of cargo carried by sea continues to increase.



46 Tackling illicit drugs



The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has worked to reduce the supply of, and demand for, illicit drugs, on the basis of the three UN conventions on drug control, as well as to address the social and health consequences of drug abuse, including the drug-related spread of HIV/AIDS. It works by assisting law enforcement agencies, and supporting community-based drug prevention and treatment programmes, as well as initiatives that have helped poor farmers to reduce their reliance on illicit crops by assisting them to shift towards legal and sustainable livelihoods.



47 Combating international crime



The UN Office on Drugs and Crime works with countries and other organizations to counter transnational organized crime with legal and technical assistance to fight corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, as well as by strengthening criminal justice systems. It has played a key role in helping to develop and put into practice relevant international treaties.



48 Promoting decent work



The International Labour Organization (ILO) has put into practice standards and fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced labour, the abolition of child labour and the elimination of workplace discrimination. Employment promotion, social protection for all and strong social dialogue between employers?and workers?organizations and Governments are at the core of ILO activities.



49 Improving literacy and education in developing countries



Seventy-six per cent of adults in developing countries can now read and write and 84 per cent of children attend primary school. The goal is now to ensure that all children complete a full course of primary school by 2015. Programmes aimed at promoting education and advancement for women helped to raise the female literacy rate in developing countries from 36 per cent in 1970 to 70 per cent in 2000. The goal is now to ensure that all girls complete primary and secondary school by 2015.



50 Generating worldwide commitment in support of children



From El Salvador to Lebanon and from the Sudan to the former Yugoslavia, UNICEF has pioneered the establishment of "days of tranquillity?and the opening of "corridors of peace?to provide vaccines and other aid desperately needed by children caught in armed conflict. The Convention on the Rights of the Child has become law in 192 countries. Following the 2002 UN special session on children, 190 Governments committed themselves to a time-bound set of goals in the areas of health, education, protection against abuse, exploitation and violence and the struggle against HIV/AIDS.

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