Key Issues

Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

2015 marked the target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the start of the post-2015 development and climate processes, which ultimately aim to eradicate poverty, improve people’s lives, and rapidly transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy, are mutually reinforcing: when acted on together, they can provide prosperity and security for present and future generations.

International Peace and Security

By maintaining international peace and security, the UN makes all its work more effective, because by keeping the peace, the Organization can focus on solving global issues, instead of resolving conflicts.  Unfortunately, recent peace and security challenges in areas where the Organization has a limited presence have tested its ability to maintain the peace.  In areas where the UN has a presence, it has increasingly come under attack.

Development of Africa

The decolonization of Africa was a priority for the UN during the middle of the twentieth century.  Since then, the development of the continent has become the priority.  The UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have led to substantial progress, but much more work needs to be done before the hopes of the people of Africa can be fulfilled.

Human Rights

Promoting respect for human rights is a core purpose of the United Nations and defines its identity as an organization for people around the world. Member States have mandated the Secretary-General and the UN System to help them achieve the standards set out in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To do so, the UN System uses all the resources at its disposal, including its moral authority, diplomatic creativity and operational reach. Member States, however, have the primary responsibility for protecting human rights of their populations.

Humanitarian Assistance

The number of people affected by humanitarian crises has almost doubled in the past decade. The United Nations and its partners continue to respond to humanitarian needs and emergencies resulting from conflict and/or global challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), part of the United Nations Secretariat, brings together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies, by mobilizing and coordinating effective and principled humanitarian action, advocating the rights of people in need, promoting preparedness and prevention, and facilitating sustainable solutions.

Justice and International Law

The UN continues to promote justice and international law across its three pillars of work: international peace and security, economic and social progress and development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Nuclear, Chemical and Conventional Weapons Disarmament

Arms limitation and disarmament have been discussed and negotiated at the United Nations over the years.  This has resulted in arms treaties, conventions and resolutions that have helped lead to international action on nuclear and conventional arms disarmament.  In 2004, Security Council resolution 1540 imposed binding obligations on all States to adopt legislation to prevent proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery, and establish controls over related materials to prevent illicit trafficking. In 2013, the General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty regulating international conventional arms trade.

Drug Control, Crime Prevention and Counter-terrorism

Drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism are difficult issues to confront. The United Nations and the UN system have become a mechanism to mobilize resources and coordinate a response to each of these global problems.  

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