COVID-19 and indigenous peoples’ resilience

COVID-19 presents a new threat to over 476 million indigenous peoples living in 90 countries. In the Americas alone, more than 70,000 cases and 2,000 deaths have been reported among indigenous peoples. Since the outbreak, they have been seeking their own solutions and implementing preventive and protective measures. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples promotes these good practices throughout the world. The webinar on 10 August, 11am EDT, will present the impact of the pandemic on indigenous peoples and the innovative practices that can be leveraged to build back stronger.

The Bogotá Ministry of Health sent a Muisca nurse to Suba, in the north of Bogotá, Colombia, to check on the local Muisca indigenous population.
Photo:PAHO/Karen González Abril.
Beirut Port after an explosion on 4 August 2020.

Beirut blast: ‘The faster we act, the better we can reduce human suffering,’ says UN deputy chief

9 August 2020 — To help Lebanon overcome the tragedy and recover better, “we will need all hands on deck”, deputy UN chief Amina Mohammed told a virtual donors conference on Sunday, convened to...

On International Day, UN chief spotlights indigenous peoples’ resilience in face of COVID-19 pandemic

9 August 2020 — Inclusion and participation of the world’s 476 million indigenous peoples must be ensured in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and on the road ahead towards recovery, UN ...

Lessons of Nagasaki survivors should motivate the world to eliminate all nuclear weapons – UN chief

9 August 2020 — UN Secretary General António Guterres on Sunday marked 75 years since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki with praise for the hibakusha, the survivors, who transformed their decades-...

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.

hologram of human heart over mobile device

5G and human health

5G is the 5th generation of mobile technologies - an evolution from the previous generations of mobile technology: 2G, 3G and 4G. Mobile, or wireless, technologies - mobile phones, tablets and other wireless devices - have become basic communication tools of everyday life. For many on this planet, mobile is the primary — sometimes only — channel for accessing the Internet and the benefits it brings. 3G, 4G and 5G networks produce radio-frequency electromagnetic fields which are used to transmit information. ​​​With the introduction of mobile communication technologies, there has been some public concern about the potential health risks associated with the use of mobile phones and living near base stations. For all radio frequencies (0 to 300 GHz), international maximum levels are designed to avoid any adverse health effects.​​​​ ​​

Yiech Pur Biel

Refugee Olympian Yiech Pur Biel named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has appointed South Sudanese track and field athlete Yiech Pur Biel as their newest Goodwill Ambassador. A refugee, Pur was forced to flee the conflict in South Sudan in 2005, journeying alone to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya when he was only ten years old. Growing up in Kakuma, Pur devoted himself to athletic training despite the intense heat and basic facilities in the camp. He trained at the Tegla Loroupe camp in Nairobi, and began running competitively in 2015, before being part of the first Refugee Olympic Team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “It is a huge honour for me to be able to use my status as an athlete to help refugees and displaced people, to share my own story and those of other refugees like me and make sure that refugees all over the world have a voice," he says. 

Apande Dut, member of a female farming group

A shoulder to lean on for female farmers in South Sudan

“In the Dinka language, there is a saying: men eat first, then women, then children. But here we, as women, we eat beside the men.” Apande Dut smiles as she says this, sitting with a large group of women under the shade of a mango tree, shelling peanuts while nursing her children. The women are all members of a female-dominant farming group in the town of Rumbek, South Sudan. Up until 2018, both Apande and her fellow community member and friend, Agok, farmed on their own, but their farming knowledge was limited and with such difficult farming conditions, the food grown was never enough. Through sessions led by FAO, the group received agricultural tools, information and trainings on agronomy, as well as business skills that translated into higher production and diversification of their produce. 

Inspirational Black women you should know

Meet six black women, who are leaders and trailblazers in their countries and communities. 

Child Labour Convention achieves universal ratification

In an historic first, all 187 member States of the International Labour Organization (ILO) have ratified the ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

Tourism restarts

According to the latest analysis from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 40% of all destinations worldwide have now eased the restrictions they placed on international tourism in response to COVID-19.

Nominations open for UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award

The deadline for nominations is 17 August 2020. Up to five Scrolls of Honour will be awarded on World Habitat Day 2020 on 5 October, under the theme “Housing For All: A better Urban Future.”

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.

We all can do something against racism. You too. Join UNESCO and leading personalities from all over the world in denouncing mounting racial discrimination. UNESCO has been on the forefront of the fight against racism since its creation in 1945. In 1978, it adopted the Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice which reaffirms that “All human beings belong to a single species and are descended from a common stock. They are born equal in dignity and rights and all an integral part of humanity.”

COVID-19 pandemic and migrant workers

There are 164 million migrant workers around the world and they have been very impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. ILO poses the question: how can trade unions protect migrant workers during the COVID-19 crisis?

A day in the life of a #PlantHealth professional

During the International Year of Plant Health, FAO calls on plant health professionals to show the world how they operate to protect plants. These professionals can help raise awareness of plant health and those who work every single day to protect it.

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.

Woman walks with two boys while carrying a large log on her head.
Photo:UNDP Chad/Aristide Dingamdoum

UNDP powers health clinics in Chad

Based on its experience with the ‘Solar for Health” Initiative, UNDP, in partnership with the Chadian government, has financed 150 health centres in 23 mostly rural provinces. Solar photovoltaic systems were selected to supply health centres with a reliable source of energy and enable them to offer quality basic services, such as pre- and antenatal care for women, childbirth and medication storage, but also to help them respond adequately to public health issues such as malaria, and now, COVID-19.

A smiling boy sits on top of sacks on a truck bed.
Photo:WFP/Mohammed Awadh

WFP saves a massive stock of wheat from Yemen’s frontline

Yemen’s war has pushed millions of people towards ever-increasing levels of hunger. Fierce fighting raged in the port city of Hodeidah, the main entry for humanitarian food aid into Yemen. Shifting frontlines suddenly cut all access to the huge silo complex, from which WFP fed 8 million people every month to keep Yemen from famine. Last week, the last grain was transported out of the silos, ending the race against time to salvage the wheat and deliver it to the families who desperately need it.

Group of children wearing facemasks wave as they walk through a crosswalk.
Photo:© UNICEF/UNI344623/Fong/AFP

Heading back to school in the pandemic

An entire generation has seen its education interrupted. At the height of nation-wide lockdowns in April, approximately 91 per cent of the world's students in more than 194 countries were out of school. This has caused immeasurable disruption to the lives, learning and wellbeing of children around the world.  UNICEF is working together with governments and schools to keep children, particularly the most marginalized, learning and to not just reopen schools, but reopen better schools. 

Tree kangaroo on a branch.
Photo:UNDP/Tree Kangaroo Conservation

Papua New Guinea Junior Ranger Program strengthens conservation

UNDP implements a national project aiming to strengthen the management of protected areas throughout Papua New Guinea. In partnership with the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program and financed through GEF, the project provides a model to demonstrate how to protect nature, support community livelihoods and manage natural resources effectively. Site-level examples help to ensure conservation and sustainable management of natural resources while addressing threats to the ecosystem.