" The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinates programs aimed at solving health problems and the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health: it works in areas such as immunization, health education and the provision of essential drugs;
" The World Bank group provides loans andtechnical assistance to developing countries to reduce poverty and advance sustainable economic growth;
" The International Monetary Fund (IMF) facilitates international monetary cooperation and financial stability, and provides a permanent forum for consultation, advice and assistance on financial issues;
" The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sets international standards necessary for the safety, security, efficiency and regularity of air transport, and serves as the medium for cooperation in all areas of civil aviation;
" The Universal Postal Union (UPU) establishes international regulations for the organization and improvement of postal services, provides technical assistance and promotes cooperation in postal matters;
" The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) fosters international cooperation for the improvement and use of telecommunications of all kinds, coordinates usage of radio and TV frequencies, promotes safety measures and conducts research;
" The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) promotes scientific research on the atmosphere and on climate change, and facilitates the global exchange of meteorological data and information;
" The International Maritime Organization (IMO) works to improve international shipping procedures, encourages the highest standards in marine safety, and seeks to prevent marine pollution from ships;
" The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) promotes international protection of intellectual property and fosters cooperation on copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs and patents;
" The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) mobilizes financial resources for better food production and nutrition among the poor in developing countries;
" The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) promotes the industrial advancement of developing countries through technical assistance, advisory services and training;
" The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an autonomous intergovernmental organization under the aegis of the UN, works for the safe and peaceful uses of atomic energy;
" The UN and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the major entity overseeing international trade, cooperate in assisting developing countries' exports through the Geneva-based International Trade Centre.
"I want an understanding that will help my mission and make it successful"
United Nations Secretary General
Kofi Atta Annan, current Secretary General of the United Nations, is a native of Ghana -- at the time of his birth, still a British colony called the Gold Coast. He was born April 8, 1938, in Kumasi, the descendant of a prominent family of paramount chieftains of the Fante people.. Annan began his education at a Ghanaian university, then completed a degree in economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. He pursued graduate studies in Geneva at the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales. Again in the United States, Annan earned an M.S. in management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
By 1971, Annan had joined the United Nations.
His experience includes positions as Assistant Secretary General for Program Planning, Budget and Finance, head of human resources and security coordinator, director of the budget, chief of personnel for the High Commission for Refugees and administrative officer for the Economic Commission for Africa.
He was named Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations on March 1, 1993. In the peacekeeping post he did, however, take on a number of delicate and complex jobs. He was sent to Iraq to negotiate the release of hostages and the safe transport of a half-million Asian workers who had become stranded in that area. As representative of the UN Secretary General in Bosnia., he negotiated his way among the four powers who had intervened in Bosnia -- the United States, Britain, France and Russia.
On the evening of December 13, 1996, Annan was named Secretary General of the United Nations -- the first black African to hold the job.
In the future, Annan will grapple with the problem of gaining support for the United Nations from the organisation's sceptics, especially the U.S. Congress.
Membership and Presidency of the Security Council in 1998
Month Presidency Membership Term Ends
January France Permanent Member
February Gabon 31 December 1999
March Gambia 31 December 1999
April Japan 31 December 1998
May Kenya 31 December 1998
June Portugal 31 December 1998
July Russian Federation Permanent Member
August Slovenia 31 December 1999
September Sweden 31 December 1998
October United Kingdom Permanent Member
November United States Permanent Member
December Bahrain 31 December 1999
Brazil 31 December 1999
China Permanent Member
Costa Rica 31 December 1998
The United Nations was established in the aftermath of a devastating war to help stabilize international relations and give peace a more secure foundation.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded five times to the United Nations and its organizations.
Size: 437,072 sq. km
Location: Middle East
Population: 21.4 million
Leader: President Saddam Hussein
Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
Major Religions Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
Ethnic groups Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%
Growth rate 3.69%
Birth rate 43.07 births/1,000
Death rate 6.57 deaths/1,000
Fertility rate 6.41 children/woman
Male life expectancy 65
Female life expectancy 68
Infant mortality rate 60 deaths/1,000 live births
Unemployment rate N/A
Inflation Rate N/A
Gross domestic product (total value of goods and services produced annually) $41.1 billion (1995 est.)
Debt $50.0 billion (1989)
Defense spending N/A
Highways 45,554 km (1989)
President of Iraq