The following organizations are often called part of the United Nations "family." The previous chapters have been concerned with the organs, programs, or funds of the United Nations that are directly governed by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council, and which have the Secretary General as their executive head. The following organizations all have their own separate member states, governing bodies, executive heads, and secretariats. While these organizations are bound to the UN by legal agreements, they are not governed directly by UN organs.

Most organizations in the system are related to the United Nations through legal agreements executed pursuant to Articles 57 and 63 of the Charter. A key purpose of these special agreements, as stated in Article 58, was coordination of activities in the pursuit of economic, social, and cultural objectives. However, some provisions have never been fully implemented.

The Specialized Agencies

The ILO, FAO, UNESCO and WHO all had predecessor organizations in the League of Nations but were re-established as part of the UN system between 1946–1994. UNIDO became a full specialized agency in 1985. Voting in the main governing bodies of these agencies is on the same one-nation-one-vote principle as in the United Nations.

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