The pandemic has compromised health care systems particularly in sexual and reproductive health. It also exposed and exacerbated gender-based inequities: gender-based violence increased under lockdown, as did the risk of child marriage and female genital mutilation as programmes to abolish these harmful practices were disrupted. On World Population Day (11 July), UNFPA stands against reactionary policy responses, which can be extremely harmful. The agency emphasizes that women must be empowered educationally, economically, and politically to exercise choice over their bodies and fertility.
A woman of the semi-nomadic herder community at Hustai National Park is seen with her child inside a ger, a traditional dwelling, in Tuv province, Mongolia.
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.
The UN High-level Political Forum is the largest annual gathering on progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The media-led conversations of SDG Media Zone +, focused on reimagining a more equal and fairer world, will capture local and regional perspectives, taking the SDGs into the public discourse, at a time of unprecedented paradigm shifts.
Years into civil war, millions of Yemenis are in desperate need of food, shelter and healthcare. Already the poorest country in the Middle East and North Africa, persistent conflict since 2015 has kept Yemen in a relentless state of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has further torn at the seams of thread-bare medical and social protection systems, intensifying the need for urgent action. Amidst this expanse of uncertainty, the stories of the Yemeni people are full of rebuilding, hope and resilience. Read the story of Hassan's family and others, who have been helped by the World Bank and its partners.
Today, more and more people are turning their ideas and imaginations into livelihoods. The creative economy is one of the world’s most rapidly growing sectors, contributing 3% of the global GDP. Creativity is also a renewable, sustainable, limitless resource that we can find anywhere around the world. As we face climate crisis and the pandemic, its potential to drive a human-centric, inclusive development has never been more relevant. From 6 to 16 July 2021, UNESCO will highlight the infinite possibilities of digital technologies in an immersive virtual reality exhibition, Korea: Cubically Imagined.
Developing countries whose economies depend on commodities must enhance their technological capacities to escape the trap that leaves most of their populations poor and vulnerable, says UNCTAD’s Commodities and Development Report 2021. About two thirds of developing countries were commodity dependent in 2019, meaning at least 60% of their merchandise export revenues came from primary goods, such as cacao, coffee, copper, cotton, lithium and oil. The report recommends identifying new sectors and designing targeted policies to promote innovation.
WFP buys more than three quarters of the food it delivers from developing countries and connects smallholder farmers, who produce most of the world's food, to markets in 35 countries. Find out more about the 2020 Peace Nobel Laureate.
The World Health Organization announced multiple commitments focused on ending gender-based violence; advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights; and supporting health workers as well as feminist movements and leadership.
A lack of ‘soft skills’ is limiting progress for farmers in many rural areas. These skills include the ability to share new knowledge, communicate clearly and collaborate with other food system actors, negotiate with buyers and engage in policy dialogue processes.
Hello Future is a UNDP video series exploring the trends shaping our world. From digitalization to inequality, to the climate emergency, to crisis response, we examine the critical issues facing humans and the place we call home, and what we must do if we're to get out of this century alive.
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.
Deliver Humanitarian Aid
One of the purposes of the United Nations, as stated in its Charter, is "to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character." The UN first did this in the aftermath of the Second World War on the devastated continent of Europe, which it helped to rebuild. The Organization is now relied upon by the international community to coordinate humanitarian relief operations due to natural and man-made disasters in areas beyond the relief capacity of national authorities alone.
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.
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.
The UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020 arrived at a time of great upheaval and peril. To secure a world where everyone can thrive in peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet we need a multilateral system that is inclusive, networked and effective. "Our Common Agenda" will build on the 12 commitments contained in the UN75 Declaration.
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.
40 Years of the AIDS response
It has been 40 years since the first reported cases of HIV and 25 years since the creation of UNAIDS. Take a look at the momentous moments of the past four decades. From HIV meaning a certain death to the spectacular progress made with treatment and prevention... It is time to act now and end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. It is possible.
Grover and Lucy Liu’s advice to parents
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up all sorts of new challenges for parents. Sesame Street’s Grover and UNICEF USA Ambassador Lucy Liu share tips on taking care of yourself and your little ones. Get more tips at UNICEF’s Parenting Hub, which brings together some of the world’s leading baby experts to help you with top tips and fun facts.
Restoration murals by SAM
With the support of over 80 prominent international street artists, Street Art for Mankind (SAM) curates and produces large murals, interactive exhibitions, and live performances around the world to bond communities and generations around human rights. Partnering with UNEP, SAM believes in the power of art to trigger social change.
Technology for good: Accessibility for all
People who identify as living with disability represent 15% of the world’s population, which is currently around 1 billion people. Within this population there exists a very wide array of disabilities encompassing physical mobility, autism and speech delays, persons who are deaf and hard of hearing, and persons with visual disability.
This episode explores innovations in the accessibility space developed by people living with disability who experienced and realised a need that was not being met and did something about it.
For decades we have relied on plastics to keep us safe, insulate our homes and make sure our food stays fresh. From cell phones to car parts, PPE to syringes, the use of plastic has made our lives easier. But when does plastic’s life come to an end? Plastic waste can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose, and even then, it just gets smaller and smaller. Yet of all discarded plastic so far, 12% has been incinerated, only 9% has been recycled, and the remainder has either been disposed of in landfills or released into the environment. This UN exhibit is organized by UNEP and partners.
Digital illiteracy has prevented many of the elderly and people living with disabilities in India from benefitting from technology. For them, both private-sector and government services still mean depending on a relative or a neighbour or trudging to a bank or government office and waiting in long queues. A partnership between UNDP and local government has helped not only impart digital but also financial literacy through the help of local volunteers. As a result, more than 20,000 elderly residents including people with disabilities, are now digitally literate in three cities of Odisha state.