On 28 May 2020, Canada, Jamaica and the Secretary-General convened a High-Level Event to join forces with Heads of State and Government, international organizations, and other key partners to enable discussions of concrete financing solutions to the COVID-19 health and development emergency. To take stock and consider bold choices that now need to be made, a follow-up Meeting of Heads of State and Government is taking place on 29 September 2020. The overall objective of the meeting is to consider the menu of policy options developed over the last four months with the ambition of supporting Member States’ efforts in responding to and recovering from the current global crisis.
The ActNow campaign aims to trigger individual action on the defining issue of our time. People around the world have joined to make a difference in all facets of their lives, from the food they eat to the clothes they wear.
With just 10 years to go, an ambitious global effort is underway to deliver the 2030 promise—by mobilizing more governments, civil society, businesses and calling on all people to make the Global Goals their own.
Learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals! On our student resources page you will find plenty of materials for young people and adults alike. Share with your family and friends to help achieve a better world for all.
Everything the United Nations stands for and works for – peace, progress and human rights – has been shaken to the core by the coronavirus. As we strive to recover, international cooperation has never been more important. On its 75th anniversary, and amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will for the first time convene world leaders in a virtual format to seek solutions for a world in crisis. Several major events and the General Debate are expected to highlight action and solutions needed to secure healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all. Watch it unfold on UN Web TV. #UNGA
A family of livestock herders seasonally move their herds from one place to another, along with some 800,000 herders in Senegal and millions of others throughout the Sahel. It is a months-long journey that pastoralist populations often take with several families. In recent years long periods of drought, growing insecurity in some countries of the Sahel and restrictions on the movements of herds and herders have seriously disrupted traditional herd management methods. A World Bank- supported project aims to protect pastoral systems by improving resource management and animal health, facilitating access to markets, diversifying sources of income for pastoral households and managing conflicts.
The mountain gorilla population was threatened with extinction by poaching, disease and deforestation. Conservation measures involving local communities have led to a significant increase in the numbers of this iconic species.
When we go about our daily routines, most of us are unaware that beneath our feet lies an outstandingly diverse community of plants, animals and microbes that makes up our soils. Soils are more than just “dirt” - they’re a major reservoir of global biodiversity, supporting agriculture and food security, regulating greenhouse gas emissions and promoting plant, animal and human health. Without them our world wouldn’t be the same.
In the face of a deep global recession amid a still unchecked pandemic, the world needs a global recovery plan that can return even the most vulnerable countries to a stronger position than they were in before COVID-19, says UNCTAD`s Trade and Development Report 2020. According to the report, key to success will be tackling a series of pre-existing conditions that were threatening the health of the global economy even before the pandemic hit.
Egyptian football star Mo Salah and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi urged the world to ensure that COVID-19 does not block access to education for millions of young refugees. “We must make sure that all young people – including refugees – get an education,” said Salah, Ambassador for the Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR Instant Network Schools (INS) programme, which provides online tools and services in refugee camps.
The industrialized countries, making up less than 20 per cent of the global population, produce over half of the world’s manufactured goods. Emerging economy China churns out a further 30 per cent. Developing countries together produce less than 3 per cent. There is now a risk that, as a result of the ongoing economic shockwaves from the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap could widen even further.
The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN does this by working to prevent conflict; helping parties in conflict make peace; peacekeeping; and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish. These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective. The UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. The General Assembly and the Secretary-General play major, important, and complementary roles, along with other UN offices and bodies.
Protect Human Rights
The term “human rights” was mentioned seven times in the UN's founding Charter, making the promotion and protection of human rights a key purpose and guiding principle of the Organization. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought human rights into the realm of international law. Since then, the Organization has diligently protected human rights through legal instruments and on-the-ground activities.
Promote Sustainable Development
From the start in 1945, one of the main priorities of the United Nations was to “achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” Improving people’s well-being continues to be one of the main focuses of the UN. The global understanding of development has changed over the years, and countries now have agreed that sustainable development offers the best path forward for improving the lives of people everywhere.
Uphold International Law
The UN Charter, in its Preamble, set an objective: "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained." Ever since, the development of, and respect for international law has been a key part of the work of the Organization. This work is carried out in many ways - by courts, tribunals, multilateral treaties - and by the Security Council, which can approve peacekeeping missions, impose sanctions, or authorize the use of force when there is a threat to international peace and security, if it deems this necessary. These powers are given to it by the UN Charter, which is considered an international treaty. As such, it is an instrument of international law, and UN Member States are bound by it. The UN Charter codifies the major principles of international relations, from sovereign equality of States to the prohibition of the use of force in international relations.
On the Brink - Emissions Gap Report 2019
As the world strives to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, it is crucial to track progress towards globally agreed climate goals. For a decade, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report has compared where greenhouse gas emissions are heading against where they need to be, and highlighted the best ways to close the gap. Are we meeting goals of the Paris Climate Agreement?
The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. All 193 Member States of the UN are represented in the General Assembly, making it the only UN body with universal representation.
The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members (5 permanent and 10 non-permanent members). Each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
The Economic and Social Council is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as implementation of internationally agreed development goals.
The Trusteeship Council was established in 1945 by the UN Charter, under Chapter XIII, to provide international supervision for 11 Trust Territories that had been placed under the administration of seven Member States, and ensure that adequate steps were taken to prepare the Territories for self-government and independence.
The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its seat is at the Peace Palace in the Hague (Netherlands). It is the only one of the six principal organs of the United Nations not located in New York (United States of America).
The Secretariat comprises the Secretary-General and tens of thousands of international UN staff members who carry out the day-to-day work of the UN as mandated by the General Assembly and the Organization's other principal organs.
Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it. There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society.
Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is essential to achieve peaceful societies, with full human potential and sustainable development.
While global poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 2000, one in ten people in developing regions still lives on less than US$1.90 a day — the internationally agreed poverty line, and millions of others live on slightly more than this daily amount.
In 2020, the United Nations turns 75. UN75 aims to build a global vision for the year 2045, the UN's centenary; to increase understanding of the threats to that future; and to drive collective action to realize that vision. #Join the Conversation #Be the Change
As the world’s only truly universal global organization, the United Nations has become the foremost forum to address issues that transcend national boundaries and cannot be resolved by any one country acting alone.
Video and audio from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
The world is full of food heroes – from farmers to drivers, shop assistants, food bank or government representatives – who despite various challenges, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, work hard to make sure that food makes its way from farms to our table. Let’s celebrate their great efforts this World Food Day. If you’re between ages 5 to 19, we want you to use your imagination and create a poster of your favourite food hero at work for the FAOWorld Food Poster contest.
To launch the 2020 International Day for Universal Access to Information and its themes, UNESCO organizes the high-level online panel, “Access of Information – Saving lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope!,” set to take place online at 8:00 a.m. EDT on 28 September. Join the high-level panel and the series of webinars from 28-30 September discussing the vital role of access to information in saving lives in times of crisis.
Nations United: Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times
Nations United is a special, first of its kind film, created by the United Nations on its 75th Anniversary and to mark five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the midst of a pandemic radically transforming our world, the UN tells the story of the world as it is, as it was, and as it could be. It focuses on the solutions and action we need to tackle poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change.
Awake at night: Possible to Escape
"One of the things I hold on to is most people on the planet have escaped from those problems, as the generations have passed. And when you're confronting the next bleak, horrible event, holding on to the fact that it's possible to escape…is invaluable.”
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
Photo:UNDP/Nichole Sobecki/VII for National Geographic
The far-reaching fallout of COVID-19
UNDP’s Photoville exhibit, in New York City shines a spotlight on the pandemic’s effects as it sweeps over the rich and the poor—from the deserted streets of the mighty economic engine of New York City, to the so-called “Sewage Slum” of Nairobi, where some of the world’s most vulnerable people face even more hardship. The full exhibition will display at the Photoville Exhibit at Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City, 15 September through 29 November 2020.
Photo:UNFPA / Nairobi Summit
Promises to keep: Meeting the Nairobi Summit commitments
The Nairobi Summit made bold commitments to transform the world by ending all maternal deaths, the unmet need for family planning and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030. UNFPA and partners, keep the rights and choices of women and girls during a decade of action. The Summit engaged youth and grassroots advocates, with heads of state and policymakers about how to realize the rights and health of all people.
For the 75th United Nations General Assembly, taking place from 15–30 September 2020, UNICEF brings us updates from our team and Executive Director. Check back to follow UNICEF as we put a spotlight on child rights, COVID-19, education and distance learning, gender, young people, climate change, humanitarian action and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Photo:IOM / UNDP Iraq /Claire Thomas
Six Years After Sinjar Massacre, Support and Services are Vital for Returning Yazidis
Six years after ISIL overran Sinjar City in Iraq, causing thousands to flee, 200,000 Yazidis remain displaced. IOM has been active in Sinjar, providing a range of services to conflict-affected communities. The Organization addresses some of the major obstacles to return by investing in livelihood opportunities and improving access to basic services and housing to returning households.