60 Ways the United Nations Makes a Difference


51Preserving historic, cultural, architectural and natural sites

UNESCO has helped 137 countries to protect ancient monuments and historic, cultural and natural sites and has negotiated international conventions to preserve cultural property and outstanding natural sites.

52 Facilitating academic and cultural exchanges

The United Nations, through UNESCO and the United Nations University, has encouraged scholarly and scientific cooperation, networking of institutions and promotion of cultural expression, including those of minorities and indigenous people.

53 Protecting intellectual property

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) protects the rights of creators and owners of intellectual property worldwide and ensures that inventors and authors are recognized and rewarded for their ingenuity. Protection of intellectual rights acts as a spur to human creativity, pushing forward the boundaries of science and technology and enriching the world of literature and the arts. By providing a stable environment for the marketing of intellectual property products, it also oils the wheels of international trade.

54 Promoting press freedom and freedom of expression

To allow all people to obtain information that is free of censorship and culturally diverse, UNESCO has helped to develop and strengthen the media and supported independent newspapers and broadcasters. UNESCO also serves as a watchdog for press freedom, publicly denouncing serious violations like the assassination and detention of journalists.

55 Turning slums into decent human settlements

Cities are now home to half of humankind. They are the hub for much national production and consumption ?economic and social processes that generate wealth and opportunity. But they also are places of disease, crime, pollution and poverty. In many cities, especially in developing countries, slum-dwellers number more than 50 per cent of the population and have little or no access to shelter, water and sanitation. UN-HABITAT, with over 150 technical programmes and projects in 61 countries around the world, works with Governments, local authorities and non-governmental organizations for innovative solutions for towns and cities. These include providing security of tenure for the urban poor, in turn used as a catalyst for investment in pro-poor housing and basic services.

56 Improving global postal services

The Universal Postal Union (UPU), the primary forum for cooperation among the world's postal services, helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail volume and to improve the quality of service for customers. The postal services of UPU's 190 member countries form the largest physical distribution network in the world, processing some 430 billion mail items each year.

57 Helping countries to cope with climate change

The UN helps developing countries to respond to the challenges of global climate change. Twenty-seven UN agencies have formed a partnership to deal comprehensively with the problem. For instance, the Global Environment Facility, which brings together the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme and the World Bank, funds projects in developing countries. As the financial mechanism of the Climate Convention, it allocates about $250 million per year in projects on energy efficiency, renewable energies and sustainable transportation.

58 Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities

The United Nations has been at the forefront of the fight for full equality for persons with disabilities, promoting their participation in social, economic and political life. The UN has shown that persons with disabilities are a resource for society, and is drafting the first-ever convention to advance their rights and dignity worldwide.

59 Improving global telecommunications

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) brings together Governments and industry to develop and coordinate the operation of global telecommunication networks and services. It has coordinated shared use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world and negotiated the worldwide standards that assure the seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband Internet to latest-generation wireless technologies, from aeronautical and maritime navigation to radio astronomy and satellite-based meteorology, from phone and fax services to TV broadcasting and next-generation networks, ITU continues to help the world communicate. Its work has enabled telecommunications to grow into a $1 trillion global industry.

60 Improving the plight of indigenous people

The United Nations has brought to the fore injustices against the 370 million indigenous people who live in 70 countries worldwide and who are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world. The 16-member Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, established in 2000, works to improve the situation of indigenous people all over the world in development, culture, human rights, the environment, education and health.

For more information on the Millennium Development Goals:


For more information on how the UN works for all:


<< Previous

60 Ways the United Nations Makes a Difference

[1 - 10] [11 - 20] [21 - 30]
[31 - 40] [41 - 50] [51 - 60]
UN Homepage