Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women turns 40

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty on the human rights of women. The agreement provides an international standard for protecting and promoting women’s political, civil, cultural, economic, and social rights. As of October 2019, 189 countries have ratified it. A Committee consisting of 23 independent experts on women’s rights from around the world monitors the implementation of the Convention. They will convene in Geneva from 21 October until 8 November to asses progress and consider the reports submitted by the State parties.

Minara Begum, an outreach worker in Balukhali camp, Bangladesh, March 2018.
Photo:UN Women/Allison Joyce
Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief addresses the UN General Assembly (file)

Anti-Semitism ‘toxic to democracy’, UN expert warns, calling for better education

18 October 2019 — To counter anti-Semitism, which is “toxic to democracy” and poses “a threat to all societies if left unaddressed”, countries must invest more in education, the UN Special...

Yemen conflict: 'Fragile’ hopes rise, as violence decreases and life-saving humanitarian funding surges

17 October 2019 — There are “small signs” of hope for Yemeni civilians caught up in fighting, following a reduction in violence, coupled with a 20 per cent increase in funding for the UN’s...

Tuberculosis infections declining, but not fast enough among poor, marginalised: UN health agency

17 October 2019 — A staggering 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis (TB) last year, the UN health agency said on Thursday, in an appeal for far greater funding and political support to...

UN Sustainable Development Goals

17 Goals to transform our world

The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries — poor, rich and middle-income — to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.


The ActNow Climate Campaign aims to trigger individual action on the defining issue of our time. People around the world will be engaged to make a difference in all facets of their lives, from the food they eat to the clothes they wear.

Thomas the Tank engine

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.

children holding up books

Reading and learning are essential to children’s growth and development; stories can fuel their imagination and raise awareness of new possibilities. The SDG Book Club aims to encourage them to learn about the Goals in a fun, engaging way, empowering them to make a difference.

Goal 2: Zero Hunger
Zero Hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

More from the
United Nations

Featured stories from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

Woman in Katfoura, Guinea, collects the leaves of a moringa tree.

Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment and the Road to 2030: Agency for Climate Action

Rural women have unique knowledge, skills and experiences that are critical to promoting sustainable practices and combating the ill-effects of climate change. Economically empowered rural women, like those in Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Nepal and Niger mentioned in this article, are key to the success of families, communities and national economies. Through their labour, they are maintaining and improving their children’s education, household health, food security and nutrition, and are thus indispensable in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

diverse faces

Mapping the essentials for a dignified life

Our understanding of poverty has grown. We now know that is not just about being able to feed your family or pay the bills on time—it extends its reach to every aspect of a person’s life, blighting her education, health, as well as her future along with that of her children’s. Are children in school? Do families have healthcare? Do households have safe water, sanitation, and electricity? These are some of the factors that can illustrate multidimensional poverty, which looks at the different deprivations people face when they lack the essentials for a dignified and decent life.

The first UN Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, being filmed.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, are our common heritage and contain the primary records of the history of the 20th and 21st centuries. Unfortunately, that heritage is now endangered, because sound recordings and moving images can be deliberately destroyed or irretrievably lost as a result of neglect, decay and technological obsolescence. This year's celebration on 27 October urges us to Engage the Past Through Sound and Images, and recognizes the preservation efforts of the thousands of archivists, librarians and caretakers around the world, who care for these valuable collections.

Something to crow about in the Comoros

The Comoros imports about 70 percent of its food, and half of the people do not have enough to eat. With help from FAO, farmers have set up poultry groups and over 250 henhouses. 

1.3 billion reasons to #StopTheWaste

While one in nine people goes to bed hungry every night, one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Wasting food also increases greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to climate change.

Lone children face insecurity on Greek island

Children seeking asylum who have been separated from their parents say they face poor conditions and threats of violence at a reception centre on the Greek island of Lesvos.

Protecting whales to protect the planet

Whales are known for being the largest and most intelligent creatures in the ocean. Now, marine biologists have discovered that they also capture tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, a service with an economic value of US$1 trillion.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry at the press launch of the World Intellectual Property Indicators report.

Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs Reach Record Heights

Innovators across the globe filed 3.3 million patent applications in 2018, up 5.2% for a ninth straight yearly increase, according to WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report. Global trademark filing activity rose to 14.3 million, while that for industrial designs reached 1.3 million.

WTO Public Forum 2019

World Trade Report 2019

The 2019 edition of the WTO’s World Trade Report highlights that services have become the most dynamic component of international trade and that its role will continue to expand in the coming decades. It stresses the need to enhance cooperation in the international community to support this expansion.

cars in traffic

World Economic Outlook

The global economy is in a synchronized slowdown and the IMF is, once again, downgrading growth for 2019 to 3 percent, its slowest pace since the global financial crisis. The October World Economic Outlook is projecting a modest improvement in global growth to 3.4 percent in 2020. 

United Nations Headquarters

UN Regular Budget Liquidity Shortfall

The United Nations is facing a severe shortage of cash in the regular budget, and unless more Governments pay their annual dues, “our work and our reforms are at risk,” the UN chief António Guterres has warned Member States.

What we do

Due to the powers vested in its Charter and its unique international character, the United Nations can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, including:

Structure of the
United Nations

The main parts of the UN structure are the General Assembly, the
Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat. All were established in 1945 when the UN was founded.

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.

Learn more

The Middelgrunden Off Shore Windturbines located in the Øresund Straight separating Denmark and Sweden. UN Photo

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 at UN CSW63 Side Event - “Take the Hot Seat”. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

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.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is greeted on his visit to the Central African Republic

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.

Mansoor, 12, watches the virtual reality documentary ‘Clouds over Sidra’ with a big grin, outside a UNICEF-supported Makani centre in the Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees. Photo: UNICEF/Herwig

Digital technologies know no borders. They cut across boundaries, sectors and disciplines, opening up new opportunities which are transforming societies and economies, and helping achieve the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Did you know?

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.

Watch and Listen

Video and audio from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

Each year on Spirit Day, millions go purple to support LGBTQ youth. This Spirit Day, the United Nations is calling on everyone to take a stand against bullying. 

Orlando Bloom in Mozambique

Orlando Bloom saw it up close and personal: the right nutrition is simply life-changing for children in crisis.

Using nuclear science to improve animal breeding

With advances in genomics, it has become possible to estimate the breeding potential of an animal, simply by looking at its DNA – or genome map.

UN Podcasts

smiling children

Nobel-winning economist outlines simple and inexpensive steps to fight poverty

Low-cost initiatives such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and child de-worming programmes are proof that the world can take effective action to reduce poverty, a Nobel Prize-winning economist has said, as the world marks the International Day dedicated to its eradication. Michael Kremer, alongside fellow professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, is the recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics, for their research in fighting poverty.

More UN podcasts

Live Now

United Nations meetings, events, and press conferences live and on demand

The United Nations in Pictures

Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

portrait of a woman
Photo:© UNICEF/UNI212587/Tremeau

Chronic malnutrition affects about a third of children in the Likouala region. But ‘Maman Véronique’, as she is known in her village, was determined to understand what was happening and to change the fortunes of Mbandza’s children. What she has learned about nutrition is not only helping to keep her own baby healthy, but has allowed her to share potentially life-saving advice with other families, too.

Youth wearing clay masks at the Trench Town Ceramic and Arts Centre.
Photo:UNDP Jamaica/Talk Up Yout Media

In their raw, natural state, alabaster and clay can look like common rocks and soil. But in the hands of Jamaica’s artisans, their true colours emerge, and they are transformed into works of art. Pictured are youth wearing clay masks at the Trench Town Ceramic and Arts Centre. The centre, in west Kingston, recently received a US$5,000 grant as part of a programme implemented in partnership with UNDP.

Maximus, the dog in his owner's lap
Photo:WFP/Cindy López

Maximus arrived in Ecuador in July 2019 with a group of Venezuelan migrants, who crossed more than 2,600 kilometers by bus and on foot. Along the way they received food assistance from WFP. Max, as he is also called, walked between 15 and 20 kilometers daily, the same distance as the children also traveling with him. His owner made clothes for him from one of her blouses. Even so, Max suffered from the cold temperatures until they reached a shelter in Cali, Colombia.

baby playing with toy
Photo:© UNICEF/UN0275515/Albaba AFP-Services

The impact of conflict extends far beyond the frontlines. More than 29 million babies were born into areas experiencing armed conflict in 2018. UNICEF is working to protect them from trauma and toxic stress. The situation in Gaza remains particularly dire for children, including Reeam Aloush, seen here at one of UNICEF’s early childhood development centres in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City.