Road safety conference

Sweden is hosting the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety on 19–20 February 2020. The theme of the conference is Achieving Global Goals 2030. The event is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, and ministers from more than 80 countries are attending. Representatives of industry,  research and international organizations are also participating. The Conference is an opportunity for delegates to share successes and lessons from the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 and to chart future strategic directions for global road safety.

Traffic congestion in Kabul, a city with more than 400,000 vehicles on the road.
Photo:UN Photo/Nasim Fekrat
Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the International Conference on 40 Years of Hosting Afghan Refugees in Pakistan, in Islamabad.

World must ‘step up’, match Pakistan’s compassion for refugees, says UN chief

17 February 2020 — Pakistan’s solidarity and compassion for hosting Afghan refugees is a remarkable blueprint that the rest of the world should follow.  

In Pakistan, Guterres urges world to step up climate action, praises support to Afghan refugees

16 February 2020 — UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday began a three-day visit to Pakistan, recognizing the country’s decades of “outstanding generosity and solidarity” as one of the...

‘This is a time for facts, not fear,’ says WHO chief as COVID-19 virus spreads

15 February 2020 — The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday cautioned against panic over COVID-19 but also urged governments to step up their efforts to prepare for the virus,...

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.

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.

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.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities


Sustainable Cities and Communities

With the number of people living within cities projected to rise to 5 billion people by 2030, it’s important that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought by urbanization.

More from the
United Nations

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

smiling woman in field

Rural prosperity. Food. Resilience.

Today we stand at a critical juncture – historic progress in reducing hunger has stalled, poverty remains stubbornly entrenched in some areas, and inequality is rising, while climate change is an existential threat to our food systems. IFAD invests in the millions of rural people, who are most at risk of being left behind: poor small-scale producers, women, young people, indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups living in rural areas. During the period of its 12th Replenishment (2022-2024), IFAD is seeking to dramatically increase its impact to accelerate progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.

doctor examining patient

Tackling the world’s deadliest diseases for a healthy workforce and economic growth

Despite increases in life expectancy, the rise in chronic and non-communicable diseases has become a global threat. Every year across the globe, 15 million people die before age 70 from these diseases, which include cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and obesity. Obesity is one of the known risk factors for non-communicable diseases and a disease in itself. A new World Bank report “Obesity: Health and Economic Consequences of an Impending Global Challenge” sheds light on the growing obesity epidemic and its negative impacts. 

urban landscape illustration

The way we live now: Design for a prosperous and just urban life

It’s 2050 and 68 percent of the earth’s population—6.5 billion people—are urban. Well-managed cities are offering millions more people boundless cultural, social and economic opportunities. These are healthy, vibrant and equitable societies which have left no-one behind. And this was how one of them did it.

UN in History: The Kyoto Protocol enters into force

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. Currently, there are 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. It commits industrialized countries to limit and reduce greenhouse gases emissions.

Safer Internet Day

For Safer Internet Day, UNICEF teamed up with international cyberbullying experts, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to answer teenagers’ top questions about how to prevent and deal with online bullying.

Urban Food Actions

This platform provides access to a database of FAO and non-FAO resources related to urban food policies and programmes in: governance and planning, sustainable diets and nutrition, social and economic equity, food production and ecosystem management, food supply and distribution, food loss and waste.

Mission 1.5

Mission 1.5 aims to give 20 million people around the world the opportunity to have their say on ways to limit climate change that they want to see adopted by government leaders. Play and vote!

illustration of women scientists

Devoted to discovery: seven women scientists who have shaped our world

For centuries, women have made significant contributions to the field of science. They’ve discovered life-saving remedies, devised world-altering inventions, and produced far-reaching research, but in many cases their invaluable advances are minimized or neglected. For too long, the STEM fields have been shaped by gender biases that exclude women and girls. The gender gap in science, technology and innovation translates to missed talent, untapped discoveries and biased solutions. Here are just seven women scientists you need to know and celebrate.

award laureates

22nd L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Awards recognize five exceptional women researchers in the life sciences

This year, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards, which honour five exceptional women scientists from different regions of the world, recognize the achievement of women scientists in the field of life sciences: biotechnology, ecology, epigenetics, epidemiology and infectiology. Each of the five laureates will receive €100,000 at a ceremony on 12 March 2020 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. They are recognized alongside 15 Rising Talents, young women scientists from all over the world.

People wear face masks at China's Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.

Coronavirus global health emergency

This page brings together information and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations regarding the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was first reported in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak.

A group of Jakun farmers gathers amongst some of their seedlings.

Stronger together: The power of farmers’ organizations

Small family farms make up 85 per cent of all farms worldwide, and smallholder farmers make up the majority of the world’s rural poor. To mitigate the challenges that come with working in isolation − and to increase profitability and productivity − these smallholders often form organizations. Working together makes it easier for small-scale farmers to access raw materials, reach larger markets and reduce costs. And when farmers thrive, other players in the food system benefit, too.

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.

Facing the extinction of 1 million plant and animal species, countries are working on a plan to stop biodiversity loss. A draft plan being developed under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity calls for urgent action to stop biodiversity decline. Combating climate change, reducing plastic pollution, halting the loss of nature and restoring ecosystems are all part of the draft plan. The goals and commitments to deliver on them are to be adopted later this year at the biodiversity conference in Kunming.

UNOPS: Building the future

Every day, when faced with the unexpected, people in all corners of the world adapt, persevere and show incredible strength. Imagine if the infrastructure that supports them was just as resilient? At UNOPS, we believe that resilient infrastructure is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – and ensuring that people, communities and nations can prosper now and in the future. Find out more about how UNOPS is helping to advance resilient infrastructure around the world.

Everyone included

Homelessness is one of the crudest manifestations of poverty, discrimination and inequality, affecting people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Globally, 1.6 billion people worldwide live in inadequate housing conditions, with about 15 million forcefully evicted every year according to UN-Habitat, which has noted an alarming rise in homelessness in the last 10 years.

UN Podcasts

Children take a group selfie.

Ignoring how children behave online is ‘sticking our heads in the sand’

The way children and teenagers behave online has profoundly changed, and if societies ignore the need to rethink child safety issues, then “we are sticking our heads in the sand”. That’s according to Neil Walsh, Chief of the Cybercrime and Anti-Money Laundering Section at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Highlighting the role of parents and caregivers in understanding and explaining the risks involved in using the internet, Mr. Walsh told UN News’s Elena Vapnitchnaia that it’s essential to “empower the kids”, enabling them to talk about what they feel and see online.

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.

Singer and co-founder of the ONE campaign, Bono, poses for a photo with youth leaders and activists.
Photo:Mission of Ireland/Kim Haughton

Call for Action to Meet the Unfulfilled Promise of Education for Girls

"The Drive for Five: A Call to Action to Educate Adolescent Girls" initiative is launched in the presence of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Singer and co-founder of the ONE campaign, Bono, and Chair of the Elders, Mary Robinson, were amongst the participants. More than 130 million girls worldwide are not in school!. The only way to reach gender equality is to start with gender parity in the education systems. Let's do it!

A panoramic view of migratory birds in flight at the Hubei wetlands.
Photo:UNDP China

Preserving the "Earth's Kidneys"

Wetlands are vital to the health of our planet. Like kidneys, which filter our blood to eliminate toxins, wetlands store, assimilate and transform pollutants before reaching the water table and waterways. They help control floods, mitigate droughts, naturally disinfect wastewater, and retain carbon. The Hubei province of China, known as the province of a thousand lakes, has 1.4 million hectares of wetlands. This territory serves as an 'ecological kidney' and also provides a habitat to 140 species of migratory birds. Human activity and climate change is threatening the territory. A UNDP project of wetland conservation is alleviating this threat.

A midwife strokes the forehead of a baby whilst the mother affectionately looks at the child.
Photo:WHO/Christine McNab

Bringing Midwifery Back to a Northern Canadian Community

Heather Heinrichs, a midwife, identifies as Métis tracing the descent of her family to the Métis Nation, one of the three distinct groups of Indigenous peoples in Canada. When she completed her 4-year midwifery degree, she began work with a midwifery service focused on care for Indigenous people in Toronto. She was struck by the gaps in access to health care for Canada’s Indigenous people. She saw the potential to improve outcomes by incorporating the strengths of culture and the long history of Indigenous women giving birth in their own communities, attended by experienced local women. Heather now works in remote Hay River in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

A child dressed in soldier attire sits on a tree branch in a forest with his back to the camera.

Stolen Childhoods

"Thomas" is 12 years old and a 'child soldier', or as defined in the Paris principles: “A child associated with an armed force or armed group”  (persons below 18 years of age who are, or who have been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity). Children associated with armed forces and armed groups have the same need to be loved, cared for, and to feel safe as other children. They have dreams about the future, they make jokes, they play football with the same intensity to win as children who have not been in an armed group. But they do have extraordinary experiences which will be with them for the rest of their lives.