Trade and Commerce, África, FAO

Expanding food trade within Africa

The African agricultural and food market is expanding quickly, and regional integration is also gaining momentum. The Framework for Boosting Intra-African Trade in Agricultural Commodities and Services, jointly developed by the African Union (AU) and the FAO, represents a paradigm shift from “business as usual” and translates the commitments undertaken by the AU into tangible programmes and actions to expand trade within the African Continental Free Trade Area. This provides an opportunity to not only boost trade, but also enhance food security in Africa.

The value of Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness industry is expected to more than triple to reach USD 1 trillion by 2030, compared to 2010.
A 12-year-old girl (right) who lives in a camp for displaced people in North Darfur State, Sudan, says she was raped by government soldiers.

Prevention is ‘only cure’ to end sexual violence in conflict, Security Council hears

14 April 2021 — “Prevention is the best and only cure” to stem the multiple, devastating and enduring consequences faced by survivors of sexual violence in conflict, especially as a brutal tactic...

Hundreds of millions of women living lives ‘governed by others’, UN report shows

14 April 2021 — Almost half of women in some 57 countries do not have the power to make choices over their healthcare, contraception, or sex lives, a new United Nations report launched on...

WHO and partners urge countries to halt sales of wild mammals at food markets

13 April 2021 — The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have called for countries to suspend sales of live wild mammals in traditional food markets, also known as “wet markets”, in...

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 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.

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.

participants in SDG media zone

The SDG Media Zone (6 to 8 April 2021) kicks off the 10th annual UN Youth Forum with conversations on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals as the world responds and recovers from the COVID-19 crisis. Under the theme, “The Future we Want,” the SDG Media Zone will look at some of the most defining issues affecting young people today—climate change, reducing inequalities and mental health.

SDG Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing with drawing of heart monitor line and heart


Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages


More from the
United Nations

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

young woman feeding ducks Health, Agriculture and Food, FAO

One Health

The health of animals, people, plants and the environment is interconnected. One Health is an integrated approach that recognizes this fundamental relationship and ensures that specialists in multiple sectors work together to tackle health threats to animals, humans, plants and the environment. The global impact and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a human health crisis caused by a virus passed from animals, highlights the need for coordinated action across sectors to protect health and prevent disruption to food systems. FAO promotes One Health in work on food security, sustainable agriculturefood safetyantimicrobial resistance (AMR), nutrition, animal and plant health, fisheries, and livelihoods.

medical worker processing COVID-19 tests Science and Technology, IAEA

IAEA's support for COVID-19 testing equipment benefits over 28 million people

At the request of governments from all over the world, the IAEA has delivered COVID-19 testing support and equipment to 286 laboratories in 128 countries and territories since March 2020 for the rapid and accurate detection of the disease. The IAEA assistance is to help countries boost their use of real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests – the most accurate and widely used nuclear-derived method to detect specific genetic material from pathogens, including viruses. The COVID-19 assistance is the biggest emergency operation in the IAEA’s history.

mother cuddling toddler Children, UNICEF

Is my child regressing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the crisis of care and learning. With the disruption of school, playdates with friends and other beloved routines, regressive behaviours (difficulty with skills your child had formerly mastered such as toilet training and sleeping, and difficulties managing their feelings of anger, sadness and anxiety) have become increasingly common. UNICEF spoke to Nancy Close, PhD, Associate Director of the Yale Program in Early Childhood Education, about what you may be experiencing with your children (from toddlers to university students) and how to – with kindness and understanding – get through it together.

Ageing, Health, WHO

Toolkit helps older adults get through pandemic

The “Living with the Times” toolkit contains illustrated posters with key messages for older adults on how to maintain their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Commemorating the 1994 genocide

2021 marks the 27th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, one of the darkest chapters in human history. See the virtual memorial ceremony.

Climate, UNEP

Renewables in Cities 2021

REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities.

Human Settlements, UN-Habitat

Launch of Her City

UN-Habitat helped launch Her City Toolbox, – an open-source digital platform that guides urban actors and decision makers in strengthening girls' participation in urban planning and design processes.

rural woman with cell phone Agriculture and Food, IFAD

Digital information service helps small-scale farmers respond to COVID-19

Access to accurate and timely information is crucial for farmers all around the world, and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many farmers rely on digital services, especially those delivered through platforms accessible via mobile phones, to access this information. But for many small-scale farmers in rural and remote areas, this kind of access remains a challenge. Last spring the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) created a mobile phone–based information service as a way to respond to the crisis and keep farmers better informed.

midwife with patient Health, UNFPA

Yemeni midwives help deliver hope during Ramadan

In 2020, UNFPA trained community midwives in villages and remote rural areas and established 170 home clinics by covering the costs of renovation, equipment like ultrasound machines, medicines and reproductive health supplies. A solar suitcase provides lighting, mobile phone charging and electronic fetal monitoring. Since opening her home clinic more than a year ago in the economically depressed neighborhood of Sawan, Rahma has helped more than 120 women. In addition to midwifery, she provides check-ups, family planning, minor surgery and first aid.   

Afghan health worker Health, UNDP

Tackling TB amidst a global crisis

Vulnerable people around the world affected by tuberculosis (TB) cannot wait any longer for quality testing, treatment and care. According to the Stop TB Partnership, COVID-19-related disruptions for TB services have reversed nearly 12 years of progress against the deadly infectious disease. Marginalized groups, such as refugees and mobile populations with limited access to health care, are bearing the brunt of these overlapping crises. UNDP is working to address the urgent threat of TB and remove barriers to care and prevention among Afghan refugees.

Man carrying plastic water containers. Natural Resources and the Environment, UNCTAD

Global plastic trade 40% bigger than previously thought

Global trade in plastics tops a whopping $1 trillion each year, or 5% of total merchandise trade. This is 40% higher than previous estimates and involves virtually all nations. The fresh insights into the massive extent of plastics in world trade have emerged from a new UNCTAD research paper, “Global trade in plastics: insights from the first life-cycle trade database.” The study is the first attempt to map and quantify global trade flows across the entire life cycle of plastics – from raw inputs to final products and waste.

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" will build on the 12 commitments contained in the UN75 Declaration.

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.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on all our lives - but it’s affected some of us far more profoundly than others. That’s why WHO is urging all countries to take steps to build a fairer, healthier world.

COVID-19 heroes of the road

The road transport industry has been badly hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Truck drivers are keeping global freight chains moving but have found themselves the victims of COVID-19 restrictions. Urgent action by governments, social partners and road transport supply chain parties is critical, to address the industry’s decent work and liquidity concerns.

Dr. Jane Goodall

Together with 6 youth representatives, Dr Jane Goodall, DBE is patron of the 50th Anniversary of the UNESCO-MAB programme. UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme was created in 1971 with a vision: promote a sustainable connection between people and nature.

UN Podcasts

Aboubacar is crouching amidst a group of children. All are holding their hands up.

Good people have always a smile on their face

“As long as they are treated in hospital, you see them communicating. And as soon as they get out of the hospital, they are pointing a gun at each other.”

Aboubacar Kampo is UNICEF’s Director of Health Programmes, but he has also worked as a physician and surgeon in some of the world’s most complex emergency zones, from Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this episode of Awake at Night, Abou shares with Melissa Fleming his experiences from the ER wards of Chad, where the government is forced to share beds between the rebel forces. He also recounts the harrowing story of Irene, a victim of rape and violence in Liberia. Abou’s life-changing work is proof that, even in areas facing gross atrocities, we can see the good side of human nature.

“The one thing that we learn with complex emergencies is that the condition of the peoples is always the same. In Liberia, they have been fighting a war for more than 10 years... [but] ...if you meet the local population, as poor and as deprived as they may be, they still share a meal with you.”

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.

worker in Nigeria
Photo:UNDP Nigeria/Bridget Jangfa

The case for a green economy

It has been an immensely challenging year for governments, which have been scrambling to contain the spread of the virus while also managing the economic fallout, supporting workers, and ensuring continuity of schooling for children. At the same time, the climate crisis has not gone away, nor has the soaring gap between rich and poor. In fact, these existing challenges have been magnified by the pandemic. Despite the gloom, there’s some good news; with the right choices, governments can address all of these crises at once, by making the transition to low-carbon, green economies. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that the move to low-carbon, greener economies has the potential to create 60 million jobs by 2030.

Syrian couple with baby
Photo:WFP/Jessica Lawson

‘Conflict of sounds and smells’: A blind couple in Syria look to a better future

Rania and Abdallah’s story is inspiring. It reminds us all that even in a city’s darkest moments there are people who stubbornly refuse to give up and let tragedy define their lives. Instead, they are doing everything possible to build a better life for their son. They are among 4.8 million people in Syria that WFP reaches with assistance each month. Abdallah was born blind while Rania has 1 percent vision. Their son is not visually impaired. The couple have lived in Aleppo throughout the conflict and today receive WFP support for their basic needs. While many families mourn the loss of Aleppo’s beauty, having seen the city they love destroyed, Rania and Abdallah paint a shocking picture of enduring a conflict through what they’ve heard and sensed. 

boat made of recycled plastic
Photo:UNEP/Stephanie Foote

Flipflopi shows value of creating circular economy for plastics

For much of the last three weeks, the Flipflopi, a dhow made from recycled plastic, including a helping of old sandals, has been calling into ports across Lake Victoria. The crew of the 10-metre-long vessel is on a mission to raise awareness about a tide of plastic choking Africa’s biggest lake – and to demonstrate that trash can be turned into treasure. A recent report by UNEP and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that 27 per cent of plastic waste in Kenya is collected and, of that, only 7 per cent is recycled in the country. The problem is global. Humanity’s penchant for producing cheap plastic products, using them, and then throwing them away, has created a global pollution crisis that is threatening the natural world and human livelihood.

fishermen with net
Photo:UNDP Viet Nam/Tran Vinh Nghia

Limited debt relief eligibility for developing economies

Bold new mechanisms are urgently needed to help low- and middle-income countries address crippling debt, sharply worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening vital investment to tackle poverty and climate change for years to come, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says in a new report. The report, Sovereign Debt Vulnerabilities in Developing Economies, analyses debt vulnerability across 120 low- and middle-income economies to identify which are most at risk. It classifies 72 economies as “vulnerable,” of which 19 are “severely vulnerable.” Based on measures of sustainable debt thresholds and ratios, it concludes that debt vulnerabilities for these countries will likely remain elevated for years and not return to pre-pandemic levels before 2024-2025.