unicon Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Most of us have heard about United Nations peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. But the many other ways the UN affects all our lives are not always so well known. This website takes a look at the United Nations — how it is set up and what it does — to illustrate how it works to make the world a better place for all people.

UN Headquarters in New York where 192 countries meet to achieve consensus on solving global problems.

UN Headquarters in New York where 193 countries meet to achieve consensus on solving global problems.

Photo credit: UN/ Joao Araujo Pinto

The UN is central to global efforts to solve problems that challenge humanity. Cooperating in this effort are more than 30 affiliated organizations, known together as the UN system. Day in and day out, the UN and its family of organizations work to promote respect for human rights, while also promoting gender equality and the advancement of women, protecting the environment, fighting disease and reducing poverty. UN agencies define the standards for safe and efficient air travel and help improve telecommunications and enhance consumer protection. The United Nations leads the international campaigns against drug trafficking and terrorism. Throughout the world, the UN and its agencies assist refugees, set up programmes to clear landmines, help expand food production and lead the fight against AIDS.

In September 2000, Member States, represented at the highest level — including 147 Heads of State and Government — expressed their collective vision in the Millennium Declaration. They set out measurable goals in every area of UN endeavour — the Millennium Development Goals. In September 2008, world leaders renewed commitments to achieving those Goals by 2015 and set out concrete plans and practical steps for action.