International Labour Organization
ILO was founded in 1919 and is the only surviving major creation of the Treaty of Versailles which brought the League of Nations into being and it became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.
The ILO formulates international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations setting minimum standards of basic labour rights: freedom of association, the right to organize, collective bargaining, abolition of forced labour, equality of opportunity and treatment, and other standards regulating conditions across the entire spectrum of work related issues.
ILO provides technical assistance primarily in the fields of vocational training and vocational rehabilitation; employment policy; labour administration; labour law and industrial relations; working conditions; management development; cooperatives; social security; labour statistics and occupational safety and health.
ILO promotes the development of independent employers' and workers' organizations and provides training and advisory services to those organizations. Within the UN system, the ILO has a unique tripartite structure with workers and employers participating as equal partners with governments in the work of its governing organs
The Ministry of Social Affairs deals with ILO-related affairs in Iceland and participates in ILO's work.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
In 1865 the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris and the International Telegraph Union (ITU) was established. New name came into effect on 1934 and since than ITU stands for International Telecommunication Union. ITU became a UN specialized agency under an agreement in 1947 and Iceland became a member of the ITU that same year. The headquarters of ITU have been in Geneva since 1948.
ITU's working environment has changed dramatically in the last years. Connecting computer technology and informational media to telecommunication and increased privatization of telecommunication are among the changes that the organization has been adapting to. The importance of international cooperation when it comes to allocating radio frequency, use of satellites and regularization of equipment has never been as high. The strategic plan for 2004 - 2007 is aiming to bidge the international digital divide by facilitating development of interconnected and interoperable networks and services. ITU also aids developing countries in the field of telecommunication.
ITU's main conference takes place every fourth year. ITU also organizes summits, seminars and exhibitions of various kinds. Biggest of these events is the World Telecom, that also takes place every fourth year, and is a major event by any standard, with a participation of tens of thousands, both from the private sector and from the official side.
World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization is the United Nations specialized agency for health. It was established on 7 April 1948. WHO's objective, as set out in its Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health is defined in WHO's Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
WHO is governed by 192 Member States through the World Health Assembly. The Health Assembly is composed of representatives from WHO's Member States. The main tasks of the World Health Assembly are to approve the WHO programme and the budget for the following biennium and to decide major policy questions. The Icelandic Ministry of Health takes an active part in the work of the Organisation. From 2003 to 2006 the Permanent Secretary of State for Health Mr. Davíð Á. Gunnarsson represented Iceland on the WHO Executive Board.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
WIPO is based on the Paris Convention of 1883 on the Protection of Intellectual Property in Industry and the Bern Convention of 1886 on the Protection of Literature and Art. The present convention only came into effect in 1970 and WIPO became a UN specialized agency 1974.
WIPO's role is to promote and protect intellectual property and international cooperation in that field. WIPO administers various international treaties and registers patents on intellectual property, dealing with different aspects of intellectual property, ranging from inventions and designs to literature and art. Patent registry fees are the base on which the organization is run, and member states only attribute partially to the budget. Assistance, aid and consulting to the developing countries is a major part of WIPO's work and is increasing.
Iceland is a member to most of the WIPO treaties and has ratified many of them in the recent years, partially due to obligations from the European Economic Area (EEA). The Icelandic Patent Office and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science deal with WIPO-related affairs in Iceland and attend meetings there.
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
WMO was founded in 1950, replacing international associations on meteorology that had been working from 1873. WMO became a UN specialized agency in 1951.
WMO's main role is to facilitate international cooperation on meteorological research and the exchange of information between meteorological offices.
WMO has diverse projects, at present, i.a. monitoring the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.
WMO's main conference takes place every fourth year. The Icelandic Meteorological Office attends meetings and participates in the work of WMO.