The role of the United Nations goes beyond conflict resolution and relief efforts, its work is intertwined in the net that regulates, protects and enhances our everyday life.
The United Nations has been laying the groundwork for business by providing the “soft infrastructure” for the global economy by negotiating universally accepted technical standards in such diverse areas as statistics, trade law, customs procedures, intellectual property, aviation, shipping and telecommunications, facilitating economic activity and reducing transaction costs.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a United Nations specialized agency, has helped to spare millions of people from the calamitous effects of both natural and manmade disasters. Its early warning system, which includes thousands of surface monitors, as well as satellites, has made it possible to predict with greater accuracy weather-related disasters.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) working with Member States, have established standards for over 200 food commodities; for food labelling and description to ensure that the consumer is not misled; and regulations on food processing, transport and storage are followed.
United Nations 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. 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.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) protects the rights of creators and owners of intellectual property worldwide and ensures that inventors and authors are recognized and rewarded for their ingenuity.
The Universal Postal Union (UPU), another specialized agency of the United Nations and the primary forum for cooperation among the world’s postal services, helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to improve the quality of service for customers.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) brings together Governments and industry to develop and coordinate the operation of global telecommunication networks and services: from broadband internet to latest-generation wireless technologies; from aeronautical and maritime navigation to radio astronomy and satellite-based meteorology; from phone and fax services to TV broadcasting and next-generation networks.