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Essential UN_EN
The Essential UN website

Take a moment to learn about the UN. The United Nations remains an essential pillar of the international system, working around the world, around the clock, for peace, sustainable development and human rights. At a time when challenges are increasingly global, and our fates are inexorably intertwined, understanding the United Nations itself—its aims, workings and ideals—is more important than ever.  The Essential UN website, provides a succinct and interactive way to quickly grasp the essentials of the Organisation through fast facts, short videos, information cards and fun quizzes.

Yemeni child
World Humanitarian Day (19 August)

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world. Around the world, conflict is exacting a massive toll on people’s lives. At the same time, health and aid workers – who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence – are increasingly being targeted. For WHD 2017, humanitarian partners are coming together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget.

A family having a meal in Kyrgyzstan.
United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016 - 2025)

Norway has become the first country to establish an action network as part of the United Nations (UN) Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025. The Global Action Network on Sustainable Food from the Ocean for Food Security and Nutrition calls for higher priority to be given to fisheries and aquaculture in efforts to improve global food security. This action network is a direct follow-up of the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025. 

In the Spotlight

Alison Smale is the Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, United Nations Department of Public Information.
Alison Smale

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Alison Smale, a British journalist, to head the Organization's Department of Public Information as Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. Chief of Bureau of The New York Times in Berlin since 2013, Ms. Smale brings to the position almost 40 years of journalism experience gained in an international career that has included holding some of the most prestigious posts in the profession. 

The UN System at Work

Dr. Shayan and midwives Kobra Azizi and Tahira Nazari are three of the four health staff who operate the helpline.
United Nations Population Fund

A midwifery hotline that offers emergency support has been set up in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s maternal mortality rate is the highest in the region. According to a joint United Nations report, women in the country have a 1 in 52 chance of dying from pregnancy-related causes. The Midwifery Helpline offers much-needed assistance. Dr. Rona Abidi Shayan, a gynaecologist, runs the hotline with three expert midwives. They work in shifts to provide support around the clock, every day of the week.

The UN System 

SDG Goal 15 - life on land

Did you know?

Unclean water and poor sanitation are the leading cause of child mortality.  Find out more in Global Issues: Water
Africa’s population is the fastest growing in the world.  Find out more in Global Issues: Population
There are 5 nuclear-weapon-free zones in the world.
Global Issues: Human Rights

Worth Watching


UN in Pictures

Queery, a two-year old Labrador and Explosive Detection Dog searches luggage and cargo at the UNMISS Juba Aviation Terminal in South Sudan.
Bolt from the Blue by Ivan Stulic is 1 of 50 finalists chosen for the WMO Photo Calendar Contest.
UN Children’s Fund Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere, interacts with children at a UNICEF-supported Child Friendly Space in Tripoli, Libya.
 Lion Cub in Nairobi National Park, Kenya
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