Youth Engagement for Global Action

This year’s International Youth Day highlights the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels, enrich national and multilateral institutions and processes. Moreover, the vast majority of challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change, require the participation of young people to be addressed effectively. Join #31DaysOfYOUth, a social media campaign celebrating young people. Help strike up a conversation about youth engagement for global action! Additionally, UN Women hosts a live event of dialogue and art.

Young people led millions around the world in marches demanding action on climate change days before the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019.
Photo:UN Women/Amanda Voisard
Girls at a school in Cambodia wash their hands using water from a school WASH facility.

Coronavirus and schools: Access to handwashing facilities key for safe reopening

13 August 2020 — Nearly 820 million children worldwide do not have basic handwashing facilities at school, putting them at increased risk of COVID-19 and other transmittable diseases, according to...

Amid COVID-19, UN commitment to peace ‘more urgent than ever’

12 August 2020 — COVID-19 threatens not only hard-won development and peacebuilding gains, but also “risks exacerbating conflicts or fomenting new ones”, the UN chief reminded the Security Council...

UN praises resilience and vision of younger generation, marking International Youth Day  

12 August 2020 — Commemorating International Youth Day, top UN officials have called on leaders around the world to “do everything possible” to enable young people to reach their fullest potential...

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.

Act Now

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.

Decade of Action

With just 10 years to go, an ambitious global effort is underway to deliver the 2030 promise—by mobilizing more governments, civil society, businesses and calling on all people to make the Global Goals their own.

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.

SDG 12: Sustainable consumption and production


Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

More from the
United Nations

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

Girl working at a desk in front of a computer.

Education disrupted for more than 70 per cent of youth

According to the ILO report, Youth and COVID-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being, 70 per cent of youth who study or combine study with work have been adversely affected by the closing of schools, universities and training centres. Despite the extreme circumstances young people are using their energy to mobilize and speak out in the fight against the crisis. According to the survey one in four have done some volunteer work during the pandemic.

Woman wearing facemask looks out at an airport runway.

Lockdown recovery course for aviation professionals

In accordance with the recommendations from ICAO partnering with the aviation training arm of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, new training to enable the safe and secure restart of air operations is now available. Delivered in a virtual classroom, aviation training will be essential to ensure professionals across the industry have the ability to navigate and manage the complex and dynamic compliance and operational challenges during the recovery period of COVID-19.

Woman wearing a facemask holds a carton of eggs.

Meet the young agripreneurs adapting to COVID-19

Since COVID-19 struck, life has changed for entrepreneurs and businesses. Due to lockdowns and movement restrictions, smallholder farmers and rural businesses have been unable to access markets and sell produce or other products. FAO launched a youth engagement initiative, Coping with COVID-19: voices of young agripreneurs, to understand the impact of the outbreak on the businesses of young rural people and to know how to best support them during and after the pandemic.

Supporting creators’ property rights

WIPO supports creators around the world in ensuring they are recognized and fairly remunerated for their work by increasing knowledge and awareness of their intellectual property rights.

World Food Day Poster contest

FAO calls out to all children and teens around the world! If you’re between ages 5 to 19, we want you to use your imagination and create a poster of your favourite food hero at work.

Youth working to end harassment

UN Women portrays Maya Tutton, who with her sister, started the Our Streets Now campaign against public sexual harassment, the most common form of violence against women and girls.

Digital rights in the COVID-19 era

OHCHR reports on human rights-centred recommendations, by a coalition of 50 cities worldwide, to guide leaders as they use digital technology in response to crises such as COVID 19.

a family at their new home

A right to adequate housing

Faced with a long-standing housing crisis, the metropolitan area of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, struggles to provide adequate shelter and protection for those most vulnerable. Stark inequalities are all too common throughout the congested area of 15 million people. Around 10 years ago, Angélica Pérez was evicted from her home. She and her family settled in the neighbourhood of Los Hornos. For nine years, the family lived in a one-room house, which was prone to flooding.  Together with Madre Tierra and the government of Argentina, UNOPS helped 20 families improve their homes, providing better living conditions for more than 100 people. 

a ranger in Kenya looks at evidence of poaching

Beyond tourism: investing in local communities to protect Africa’s wild spaces

For ten years, Dixon Parmuya has guided tourists on bush walks around Amboseli National Park in Southern Kenya. But since COVID-19 swept through Kenya in mid-March, the country’s tourism industry has dwindled, leaving many locals without jobs and animals without protection. Most of Kenya’s programmes to protect wildlife are funded directly by tourist dollars and with visitor numbers down, money for conservation is drying up, say experts. In Africa, UNEP is working closely with governments and partners to encourage wildlife-based economies – where local communities are central to protecting the wildlife areas they inhabit, for mutual benefit of both. 

young woman working on virtual screen

UNIDO’s response to COVID-19 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Aside from the obvious human and economic impacts, one of the remarkable aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the vacuum filled by digital technologies: ICTs have facilitated millions of people in working from home during lockdowns, maintaining contact with friends or family or even in analyzing whether a person may be potentially infected. The pandemic is also likely to have accelerated the process of digitalization of manufacturing, known as “the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” by shortening global value chains, increasing regional trade and mass customization, as businesses scramble to adapt to a “new normal” by mitigating risks. UNIDO is providing tailored-solutions to its Member States to help them recover and build inclusive, sustainable and resilient economies.

indigenous Warao family from Venezuela

UNHCR expands support to refugees and host communities in Brazil as COVID-19 takes its toll

Brazil has become the second worst affected country in the world, with nearly 83,000 confirmed deaths and a continuing increase in confirmed cases. Considered an epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America, the situation is taking its toll on the most vulnerable – including the poorest, indigenous populations and other native communities, as well as refugees. All have been disproportionately impacted. Brazil is host to more than 345,000 refugees and asylum seekers, for whom the consequences of the pandemic are especially harsh. As socio-economic conditions worsen among refugee and asylum seeker communities, UNHCR has been disbursing cash assistance to those most vulnerable.

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.

young children smiling at camera

In 2020, the United Nations turns 75. UN75 aims to build a global vision for the year 2045, the UN's centenary; to increase understanding of the threats to that future; and to drive collective action to realize that vision.  #Join the Conversation #Be the Change

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.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, young people across the world are demanding a fairer, more inclusive world for women and girls. From eradicating poverty and promoting decent work, to ending discrimination and violence against women, this new generation of changemakers is showing the world how to take action for gender equality. They are Generation Equality - watch to find out how you can join the movement too.



Can you imagine a world without plants?

To promote #PlantHealth among younger generations on the occasion of the International Year of Plnat Health, this video shows how plants sustain life on Earth, and what children can do to help protect plant health and the environement from pests and diseases.

No one is safe, until everyone is

Amid a global health crisis and widely varying government responses, a group of 16 former heads of states, ministers, eminent economists, and social scientists – offers a set of new solutions for governments to build back better, greener and fairer after COVID-19.

UN Podcasts

A helicopter transports a wounded health worker and others, while Dr. Michael Ryan helps tend to him.

We need to save more lives

In the latest episode of Awake at Night, Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Programme for WHO, speaks about giving up on dreams of becoming a trauma surgeon after breaking his spine in a car crash in Iraq. He was held hostage there while working in a hospital during the first Gulf War. That experience set him on the path to WHO, with a specialism in infectious diseases. "[Y]ou were either a surgeon or a good infectious disease doctor, because that seemed to be the two things a doctor could make a difference with, in many developing country environments." Today, he is leading the team responding to the international containment and treatment of COVID.

"The info-demic can be just as damaging as the pandemic itself, because if people aren't getting the right information, if they're not able to trust that information, and then we have a problem. There's no point having solutions to offer people if they don't hear about them, or they don't believe in them," said Michael (Mike) Ryan.

Latest Audio from UN News

The United Nations in Pictures

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

Two girls pose for a picture outside their newly reconstructed home.
Photo:© UN-Habitat

Yemeni residents repair their homes with help from UN-Habitat

These two sisters are happy that their house, which was destroyed by shelling that also killed their mother, has now been repaired. Their aunt, Mariam, with whom they live, says: “The walls and the roof fell off and the house had no doors nor windows. The roof could not protect us from the rain anymore and the house was not safe to live in. I felt helpless, I had no idea how to rebuild the house on my own and with no source of income.” Her house was rehabilitated as part of a UN-Habitat project funded by the Government of Japan that aims to mitigate the impact of conflict on the internally displaced and vulnerable communities in Al- Hudaydah Governorate, with a focus on women, children, elderly, and disabled persons. 

women's march in Nepal
Photo:© UN Women/Uma Bista

In Focus: International Youth Day

Hundreds gather in Janakpur, Nepal in December 2019, months prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, to take part in a Women's March to call attention for the need to reclaim women’s rights and access to safe public spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a profound shock to our societies. In addition to the health crisis, it has disrupted education, livelihoods and social lives, increased care burden and led to rising levels of violence against women at home and in communities. Around the world, feminist youth and women’s organizations are combating misinformation through grassroots campaigns, volunteering to support the elderly and vulnerable populations, and inventing inclusive solutions.

view of the canopy walk over a river

Partnerships with indigenous communities enhance the management of Protected Areas in Malaysia

Endau-Rompin National Park safeguards one of the most extraordinary biological and cultural landscapes in Malaysia. Dating back over 248 million years, the forest at Endau-Rompin National Park is a pristine, waterfall-laden jungle teeming with wildlife and unique flora and fauna in one of the oldest rainforests in the world. The conservation of these protected areas is closely linked with the well-being of communities living within the park and those on the outskirts. In Endau-Rompin National Park, this means ensuring that the indigenous people, known as the Orang Asli are meaningfully integrated into the park management.

women at market
Photo:UNDP/SGP Costa Rica

Restoring an ecosystem in Costa Rica’s Jesús María River Basin

The Jesús María River Basin is located in Costa Rica’s Pacific region, and covers a diverse landscape comprised of forests, coffee plantations and fruit trees, mangroves, pastures, cash crops, water bodies, and urban areas. Through an integrated landscape approach farmers in the Jesús María River Basin are seeing the natural habitats of the area restored. They are simultaneously fighting erosion, halting soil degradation and helping solve some of the sedimetation that flows downstream when soil is eroded upstream. The planting of 54,000 trees, including fruit trees for income generation has provided farmers an opportunity to participate in local farmers markets, creating another income source.