President of the General Assembly

An agenda for hope

The President of the 76th annual session of the General Assembly, H.E. Abdulla Shahid from the Maldives, who has been heading the UN body since September 2021, now shares his priorities for 2022. In his briefing to the General Assembly, the President discusses his priorities, centered around hope - the theme of his presidency. The five priorities, as laid out in his vision statement, are recovering from COVID-19, rebuilding sustainably, responding to the needs of the planet, respecting the rights of all and revitalizing the United Nations.

Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, addresses a meeting of the General Assembly.
Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one.

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Tonga volcano eruption: At least 3 dead, amid severe destruction

18 January 2022 — At least three people have died in Tonga following the massive volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami wave that hit over the weekend. Homes and other buildings across the...

COVID-19: WHO expresses hope worst of Omicron wave is over

18 January 2022 — Omicron continues to sweep the world, but cases seem to have peaked in some countries, which gives the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) hope that the worst of this...

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.

SDG wheel at Expo 2020 Dubai

The SDG Media Zone at the Dubai Expo takes place from 16 – 20 January 2022 at the UN Hub. Hosted by the United Nations in collaboration with the PVBLIC Foundation and media partners, the SDG Media Zone aims to take the conversation on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals out of the policy sphere and into the public discourse. Through a live format of interviews and panel discussions, the SDG Media Zone brings together UN principals, influencers, and industry leaders to talk about innovative solutions and initiatives that address global challenges, such as inequalities, climate change and gender disparity.

Act Now

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.

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.

goal 1: no poverty icon with silhouettes of people with children
 
Goal 1: No Poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

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United Nations

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

drawing of white board with sign NEW YEAR, NEW PLAN Economic Development, UNDP

New Year, New Plan

As the new year opens, the world is battling a global pandemic and confronting a planetary emergency. Both COVID-19 and climate change are contributing to rising inequality, conflict and fragility around the world. These interconnected challenges require integrated solutions. In 2022, UNDP puts its new Strategic Plan into action, grounded in our commitment to eradicating poverty and helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Here are some key moments to watch in the year ahead.

people in PPE holding up see-through tablet Science and Technology, ITU

Tech for COVID-19 and future outbreaks

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed significant areas of inequality and exclusion in the digital world, particularly for populations at risk. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published guidelines on how to ensure that digital information, services and products are accessible by all people, including persons with disabilities, during the pandemic. New and emerging technologies that leverage big data and artificial intelligence (AI) offer new ways of responding to and recovering from the pandemic.

father and son stand in their damaged home Displaced Persons and Refugees, UNHCR

Displaced Afghan families return to destruction

The end of the fighting in Afghanistan this summer meant this family could return to their house in Marja – a war-ravaged farming town in southern Helmand Province – after six years of moving between temporary dwellings. But the sight that greeted them on their return a few weeks ago was one of devastation. The entire back section of the house, located near a now-abandoned military base, had been reduced to a rubble-filled husk. There is hardly a building in the town that does not bear the scars of the conflict.

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Global economic outlook in 5 charts

After rebounding in 2021, global growth is expected to decelerate markedly in 2022, reflecting continued COVID-19 flare-ups, diminished fiscal support, and lingering supply bottlenecks.

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5 things you need to know about AI

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The Week of Sound

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Atomic Energy, IAEA

From soybeans to cancer treatment

Darmansjah Djumala, Indonesia’s Ambassador in Vienna, talks about Indonesia’s roles as both a recipient and a donor of the Peaceful Uses Initiative of the IAEA.

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

The UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020 arrived at a time of great upheaval and peril. To secure a world where everyone can thrive in peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet we need a multilateral system that is inclusive, networked and effective. "Our Common Agenda" builds on the 12 commitments contained in the UN75 Declaration.

Watch and Listen

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

17-year-old Luissana shows us what her school day in Peru looks like amidst COVID-19.

The striking parallels between HIV and COVID-19...

In the 2000s millions died waiting for the first ARVs until knowledge was shared, intellectual property barriers were overcome, and production was globalized. Yet for COVID-19 vaccines and many new HIV technologies that path is being blocked—and we are repeating mistakes of the past.

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People have eaten foraged insects and hydroponic crops for hundreds of years, but farming them is new. These technologies have huge potential to provide human food and animal feed all year round, and are more cost effective in places with limited resources. Farming them also protects the environment and climate, helps the economy, and provide jobs. Learn more.

UN Podcasts

podcast banner with an illustration of Baaba Maal

Baaba Maal: A Voice for Change

Creative Development with IFC - S1E2

Ever wonder what inspires world-renowned Senegalese musician Baaba Maal, the voice of Wakanda in #BlackPanther? IFC Managing Director Makhtar Diop asks him how music moves communities to take climate action.

In this episode of Creative Development with IFC, Makhtar talks with Baaba Maal about how music can help raise awareness of a changing climate, give voice to the issues that matter to people, and bring people together to make change happen. He also discusses his efforts to raise awareness for gender equality, and to combat desertification in the Sahel (in his role of UNCCD land ambassador).

Photo Credit: IFC

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Young women of African descent in class
Photo:©UNFPA/Alvaro Serrano

Disruptive Innovations for women and girls

The Youth Leadership School for young people of African descent in the Latin America and Caribbean region seeks to strengthen young people’s technical and entrepreneurial skills. Around the world, people are finding new ways to remove the barriers to fundamental rights. By blending tech solutions with the wisdom and knowledge of UNFPA’s network of partners, these innovations are changing lives, at scale. UNFPA is partnering with innovators to accelerate progress for women and girls. More in this collection of stories.

A man walks in the distance among dunes
Photo:©WFP/Alice Rahmoun

Dune-fixing in Madagascar: A line in the sand for extreme weather

The World Food Programme (WFP) is working on a sand dune-fixing project. Since 2017, WFP has helped fix 36,200 hectares of sand dunes in southern Madagascar. This involves planting three kinds of flora whose roots sink into the sand and stop dunes from moving. But sand and wind movements are not the only symptoms of extreme weather, worsened by climate change. The sea is changing and fishing conditions have deteriorated. WFP is considering extending this project to other coastal areas in the country.