UN Agencies in SA


Food and Agriculture Organisation

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

The agreement between South Africa and FAO was signed on 21st August 1997 in Pretoria by Dr Jacques Diouf, the Director General of FAO and the then Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Derek Hanekom.

Phone: +27 12 354 8536

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the first UN agency emerged out of the peace process after the First World War through the Treaty of Versailles in Paris (France) in 1919, during transformation from agrarian economies to the industrial revolution. It gave expression to the concern for social reform that ensuring lasting peace would only be achieved through social justice for all workers. The ILO is a rights-based organization with a tripartite partnership (government, labour and business) through which assistance is given via technical cooperation.

ILO Programme Towards the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour: www.child-labour.org.za
International Training Centre of the ILO: www.itcilo.org

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. With 125 member states, a further 20 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.

IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.

IOM’s regional office for Southern Africa is based in Pretoria, South Africa and caters to IOM activities in the entire SADC region. IOM also has offices in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and runs activities in Mauritius, Madagascar, Namibia and Swaziland.

In Southern Africa, IOM works in the following main areas:

  • Movements and Assisted Returns
  • Counter-Trafficking
  • Migration Health
  • Emergency and Post-Crisis Migration Management
  • Migration and Development
  • Migration Management and Policy


The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a department of the United Nations Secretariat, is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and in international human rights laws and treaties. The mandate includes preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights, coordinating related activities throughout the United Nations, and strengthening and streamlining the United Nations system in the field of human rights. In addition to its mandated responsibilities, the Office leads efforts to integrate a human rights approach within all work carried out by United Nations agencies. The Southern African Regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was established in 1998, initially, as a joint project of OHCHR and UNDP. The Office provides training, advisory services, and substantive support to Governments, Parliaments, and members of the judiciary, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations as well as UNCTs in the region. It covers fourteen countries of the Southern African Region: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) brings together the efforts and resources of ten United Nations system organizations. The UNAIDS secretariat in South Africa supports the national AIDS response through working closely with government, civil society and the business sector. The secretariat is led by a Country Coordinator, supported by a Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser, a Partnership Adviser and a team of support staff.

The secretariat coordinates and facilitates the work of the United Nations Theme Group on AIDS which through the joint UN Team on AIDS supports local partners across the country by providing technical assistance in programme planning, implementation, scale-up and evaluation. The Team comprises technical experts from 11 UN agencies in South Africa: the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank.

The Support to the national AIDS response:

  • Leadership and advocacy for effective action on the epidemic
  • Strategic information to guide efforts against AIDS
  • Tracking, monitoring and evaluation of the epidemic and responses to it
  • Civil Society engagement and partnership development
  • Mobilisation of resources to support an effective response.


United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nation’s (UN) global development organization with a normative global mission as a pro-poor development agency. UNDP leads the UN in system-wide coordination and connects partner countries to knowledge, experience and resource networks that build capacity for pro-poor growth and human development.

The UNDP Country Office in South Africa is a centre of development excellence and partner of choice, in promoting the achievement of South Africa’s Vision 2014, the Millennium Development Goals and beyond.


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded on 16 November 1945.  UNESCO functions as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues. The Organization also serves as a clearinghouse – for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge – while helping Member States to build their human and institutional capacities in diverse fields.  The UNESCO Multi-Sectoral Regional Office for Southern Africa is based in Zimbabwe and covers nine countries, including South Africa. In South Africa, UNESCO’s focus is on education for all; sexual and reproductive health; media freedom and development, especially community media, science, technology and innovation policies; as well culture and sustainable development.


United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. Its aim is to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees worldwide and to help resolve their problems. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country.

UNHCR opened its in office in South Africa in 1991, to assist with the return of South African exiles who had fled the country during apartheid. On 12 January 1996, the South African Government signed the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol and the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. By signing these international laws, the South African Government has committed itself and its people to protecting refugees, as required under these treaties.

Subsequently, and with the help of UNHCR and human rights non-governmental organizations, the South African Government drafted refugee law, specific to South African conditions. The Refugees Act was passed into law by Parliament in December 1998, thus paving the way for the national implementation of South Africa’s obligation to protect and assist refugees.

A refugee is defined as a person who owing to a well founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.

For further information, please contact UNHCR on:

Phone: +27 12 392 1600

United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)

The UNIC office in Pretoria was established in 1995, a year after South Africa’s first democratic elections. UNIC is today one of 18 United Nations agencies, funds and programmes present in South Africa, the majority of them based in the capital, Pretoria.

UNIC is the only UN entity in the country that reports directly to the Secretariat at United Nations Headquarters in New York and, while among the smaller UN offices in size, has a visible and active presence in the country.

As of the 1 January 2007, the office also assumed regional responsibilities to assist other UNICs in sub-Saharan Africa. With South Africa’s well-developed infrastructure, large national and international media presence, relatively well-resourced government departments, established academia, active civil society and an extensive diplomatic corps, Pretoria is a logical choice for such a hub.The new role will include lending substantive support to other UNICs on thematic and logistical issues, as well as, where necessary, policy guidanceand information outreach assistance.

Phone: +27 12 354 8506

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

We believe in every child’s right to protection, health and education – so they can grow up strong and free, learn and succeed in life. Not only because it’s morally right – but because UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations to promote children’s rights and hold governments to account for their responsibilities towards children. UNICEF works towards zero children going hungry, or dying from preventable causes. We strive for a South Africa in which no child suffers abuse or exploitation. Improving the quality of education and health care are priorities.


United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) helps developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their fight against poverty and marginalization in today’s globalized world. UNIDO mobilizes knowledge, skills, information and technology to promote productive employment, a competitive economy and a sound environment.

As a specialized technical cooperation agency of the United Nations system, UNIDO focuses on policy advice, institutional capacity-building and technical assistance in the three following thematic priorities:

  • Poverty reduction through productive activities: addressing the cause of poverty not just the symptoms and supporting private sector development as engine of growth and employment creation.
  • Trade capacity building: addressing supply side constraints through quality programmes and industrial restructuring and upgrading.
  • Energy and environment: developing energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and encouraging cleaner production and water management. UNIDO assist also developing countries in the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.

As a global forum, UNIDO generates and disseminates knowledge relating to industrial matters and provides a platform for the various actors in the public and private sectors, civil society organizations and the policy-making community in general to enhance cooperation, establish dialogue and develop partnerships.

South Africa joined UNIDO as a member state in 2002. The UNIDO regional office was established in June 2006 in Pretoria.  Contacts in South Africa: 

Mr. Mohamed Eisa
Representative and Director – Regional Office
Office: 012 394 5463
Fax: 012 341 4283 E-mail: m.eisa@unido.org

Ms. Marjorie Chalungumana
Tel: 012 394 5463
Mobile: +27 82 529 8896
Email: m.chalungumana@unido.org

UNIDO: www.unido.org

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs, transnational organised crime, terrorism, and corruption. Set up in 1997, UNODC was formed from the consolidation of the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme by the UN Secretary-General to enable the Organisation to focus and enhance its capacity to address the interrelated issues of drug control, crime, and international terrorism in all its forms.

The UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSAF) was established the same year, and covers 11 countries in the Southern Africa region, namely: Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

UNODC is committed to achieving security and justice for all, by making the world safer from drugs, crime, and terrorism. To assist countries in achieving this goal, the UNODC ROSAF has developed a Strategic Programme Framework for the Southern African region, structured around six key objectives:

  • Strengthening legislative and judicial capacity of Southern African countries for the ratification and implementation of international conventions and instruments on drug control, organised crime, corruption, terrorism and money laundering;
  • Assisting Southern African countries in reducing illicit drug trafficking and in the control of precursor chemicals;
  • Enhancing the capacity of Government institutions and civil society organisations in the Southern African region to counter drug use and related HIV/AIDS amongst the youth and other vulnerable populations, particularly juvenile prisoners;
  • Enhancing the capacity of Government institutions and civil society organisations in the Southern African region to counter trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants, and the trafficking in organs;
  • Creating awareness about, and reducing domestic violence in Southern Africa in co-operation with civil society and Governments; and
  • To promote Victim Empowerment by improving coordination, building capacity and strengthening relations between government and civil society in order to improve services to victims, especially women and children.

For more information on UNODC, please contact us at:

Tel: 012 342 2424
Fax: +27 12 342 2356
Email: fo.southafrica@unodc.org
Web: http://www.unodc.org/southernafrica

UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to implement these standards. It stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas: increasing women’s leadership and participation; ending violence against women; engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes; enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality.

Web: http://www.unwomen.org

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established in 1972 by the United Nations to provide leadership, encourage partnerships in caring for the environment and promote environmental activities in the UN system. UNEP’s objectives are:  to ensure that natural resources are produced, processed and consumed in an environmental sustainable way. The aim of UNEP is to detach economic growth from unsustainable resource use and environmental degradation.

The UNEP in South Africa was established in 2009. The country was identified as a strategically important country to coordinate and support its activities in the Southern Africa region. The mandate of the office is to ensure coherence and coordination of the work of UN Environment and its strategic partners in South Africa in supporting the implementation of UN Environment’s Country Consolidated Programme Framework with South Africa (2017-2021)

The key priorities of the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) are: the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the adaptation of the climate change and mitigation and the domestication of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA)

The regional Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Africa  is based in Johannesburg, its offices was first established in 2016, it covers 25 countries within  Southern and Eastern Africa.

OCHA aims to reduce humanitarian suffering by coordinating effective and principled humanitarian action, advocate the rights of people in need and it comes up with sustainable solutions to deal with humanitarian issues.

The World Bank

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 185 member countries?the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each institution plays a different but supportive role in our mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes.

For more information on the World Bank, please contact us at:

442 Rodericks Road Lynnwood, 0081
P.O. Box 12629 Hatfield, 0028
Email: salibrary@worldbank.org
Tel: (27) 12 348 8895
Fax: (27) 12 348 1720/7
Website: www.worldbank.org/afr/za

World Bank Public Information Center

The South Africa Public Information Center (PIC) is located at the World Bank offices in Pretoria, South Africa. It also oversees Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, providing information services free of charge to the public.

The PIC’s objective is to promote an understanding of the World Bank’s operations and to share knowledge through the use of and easy access to Bank information such as research information. Much of this information is available through hard-copy collections and some documents are available free of charge online on the World Development Sources website.

Services for Persons with Disabilities

The PIC has Assistive Technologies that allow visually impaired persons to operate a computer independently, below are the different available resources:

Zoom text Screen Magnifier, which enlarges text in a computer
Desktop Video Magnifier Screen for persons with low vision, enabling easy reading of books and handwriting
Sara Scanner / Reader, that allows a blind person to read the contents of a screen.
Jaws Screen Reader, which converts a computer into a “talking computer” by reading web pages and documents aloud.

Opening Hours
Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 16:00 pm
Friday, 10:00 am – 13:00 pm