The legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons results from greater awareness and understanding of the humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons. In 2017, the General Assembly negotiations towards The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons included a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities. Banned activities include not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. After its adoption and ratification, the Treaty entered into force on 22 January.
"Good Defeats Evil" depicts St. George killing a nuclear dragon, created from fragments of decommissioned Soviet SS-20 and United States Pershing nuclear missiles.
The ActNow campaign aims to trigger individual action on the defining issue of our time. People around the world have joined to make a difference in all facets of their lives, from the food they eat to the clothes they wear.
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.
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.
Women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence; a future that’s sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all. UN Women advocates to include women at every table where decisions are being made. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day (8 March), “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.
Child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity. It harms children mentally, physically, socially, and morally. It interferes with their schooling, preventing them from attending or concentrating. It may involve them being enslaved, separated from their families, and exposed to serious hazards and illnesses. Child labour has decreased by 38% in the last decade. But, 152 million children are still in child labour. ILO calls to accelerate the pace of progress. Take Action! Everyone can make a difference.
Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost an entire year due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Furthermore, around 214 million children globally – or 1 in 7 – have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning. A UNICEF report notes that 14 countries worldwide have remained largely closed. Two-thirds of those countries are in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting nearly 98 million schoolchildren. UNICEF unveils ‘Pandemic Classroom’, calling to prioritise the reopening of schools.
With the help of partners, UNICEF has used blockchain technology to create a fund to raise donations of cryptocurrencies for its work. Beyond financial applications an UNCTADpaper points at blockchain’s potential towards sustainable development. UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2021 says frontier technologies such as blockchain could promote development if governments implement policies that maximize their potential benefits, while mitigating harmful outcomes. Otherwise, they could worsen existing inequalities, as has occurred with previous waves of technological change.
Nearly every business in the world has been affected by COVID-19. While one-fourth of companies saw sales falling 50 percent in October-January from pre-pandemic levels, a third said their sales increased or stayed the same. Capturing the impact of the pandemic on businesses, the World Bank analysis reflects the performance of more than 120,000 firms in over 60 countries. The assessment is expected to help inform recovery efforts. In developing countries, despite government programmes – businesses most affected by the shock – were the least likely to receive government support.
FAO’s Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS) programme provides agricultural and entrepreneurial training for young people in rural areas. These JFFLS programmes have been implemented in many countries around the world, focusing on providing vulnerable youth, especially in crisis and post-conflict contexts, with practical and commercial farming skills. Emmanuel was invited to take part in the training by an FAO Youth Coordinator. He was part of the first group of young people in CAR to go through the training, which took place in Boali, 95 kilometres away from Bangui.
Despite the growing recognition of the benefits of palliative care in humanitarian settings, its provision has largely been overlooked by the humanitarian sector. IOM began strengthening palliative care services in the Rohingya refugee camps in early 2020, prior to the the full-blown breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to integrate these essential services. Palliative care is a specialized medical field focused on providing relief for people living with a chronic or terminal illness. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both patients and caregivers.
The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN does this by working to prevent conflict; helping parties in conflict make peace; peacekeeping; and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish. These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective. The UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. The General Assembly and the Secretary-General play major, important, and complementary roles, along with other UN offices and bodies.
Protect Human Rights
The term “human rights” was mentioned seven times in the UN's founding Charter, making the promotion and protection of human rights a key purpose and guiding principle of the Organization. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought human rights into the realm of international law. Since then, the Organization has diligently protected human rights through legal instruments and on-the-ground activities.
Deliver Humanitarian Aid
One of the purposes of the United Nations, as stated in its Charter, is "to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character." The UN first did this in the aftermath of the Second World War on the devastated continent of Europe, which it helped to rebuild. The Organization is now relied upon by the international community to coordinate humanitarian relief operations due to natural and man-made disasters in areas beyond the relief capacity of national authorities alone.
Promote Sustainable Development
From the start in 1945, one of the main priorities of the United Nations was to “achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” Improving people’s well-being continues to be one of the main focuses of the UN. The global understanding of development has changed over the years, and countries now have agreed that sustainable development offers the best path forward for improving the lives of people everywhere.
Uphold International Law
The UN Charter, in its Preamble, set an objective: "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained." Ever since, the development of, and respect for international law has been a key part of the work of the Organization. This work is carried out in many ways - by courts, tribunals, multilateral treaties - and by the Security Council, which can approve peacekeeping missions, impose sanctions, or authorize the use of force when there is a threat to international peace and security, if it deems this necessary. These powers are given to it by the UN Charter, which is considered an international treaty. As such, it is an instrument of international law, and UN Member States are bound by it. The UN Charter codifies the major principles of international relations, from sovereign equality of States to the prohibition of the use of force in international relations.
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.
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 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.
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.
In 2020, the United Nations turned 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
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.
Video and audio from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
Making nature count
Since the beginning of time, we have treated nature as a free and endless provider of services. We hike in forests, swim in oceans and use its resources without a second thought. But even if we don’t pay for these goods and services, their value is far from zero.
A resilient recovery for the world’s poorest countries amidst COVID-19
Not long ago, the 74 poorest countries in the world were well on the path to a better, more prosperous future. But COVID-19 is threatening all that. Today, health workers, teachers, students, employees, scientists, women, men and many others are weaving stories of resilience in the midst of this crisis.
Covid-19 vaccines – what we need to know
As the world rolls out COVID-19 vaccines, many people are asking what to expect – in particular, are these vaccines safe? The answer is yes, but here’s a bit more information you may find useful.
Are you the Scorpion?
“Genocide is a human creation so there has to be a human solution to it. What the world hasn't learned is what to do about the response….The early warning is there [...] but response is extremely poor. For ‘never again’ to work, we need to invest energy in addressing the foundations that produce the people who end up becoming genociders.”
Measured purely by numbers and ratios, the picture of women’s and girls’ leadership globally is grim indeed. At the same time, women are not waiting for the doors to open. This exhibit features 13 extraordinary women leaders fighting for gender equality, whose words and stories inspired others to join “Generation Equality.” It presents women leading by example to change the places of power, end violence, stop climate change, and open opportunities for all women and girls. The exhibit is organized by UN Women in connection with International Women’s Day, 8 March.
Sometimes, that support comes from changing people's minds. Flavia Buitrón belongs to an organization of Quechua women in Peru that raises awareness of indigenous women's issues. The pandemic has laid bare many painful truths, not least how tough and isolating the road is when we go through difficult times alone. We’ve seen how working in solidarity is the way to reach where we are heading faster. This International Women’s Day, on 8 March, we celebrate the women supporting other women, even when their own burdens are great and growing. When women uplift other women, we all rise.
Angam, 7, has six brothers and sisters. She stopped going to school, because her family cannot afford schoolbooks, bags and uniforms. This portrait series was photographed in south Yemen in late 2020 by photographer Giles Clarke. It is the result of years of work documenting Yemen and the lives of those affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis. It highlights the resilience, strength and hope of the Yemeni people. They fled violence in search of safety. They lost their homes, family members, friends, neighbours. They live in makeshift shelters, not knowing when they'll be able to return home.
Women in Wakhan National Park supporting reforestation efforts. The forests close to the villages will decrease pressure on grazing areas in wildlife habitats. Globally, women are stepping to the fore against wildlife crime and corruption. Through positions they occupy in all walks of life – as influencers in their communities, frontline defenders and wildlife managers, government decision-makers, legislators, scientists, and business leaders - women are working to protect wildlife for the benefit of ecosystems, economies and people.