High-level Event: Tackling Covid-19 together through the ACT-Accelerator

The high-level event on the ACT-Accelerator, convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the governments of the United Kingdom and South Africa, and the World Health Organization on 30 September, will mark the progress that has been made in global collaboration towards ACT-Accelerator and particularly its COVAX Facility. The event aims to build stronger political consensus for a coordinated global response to COVID-19, and champion the importance and urgency of equitable access to new tools, especially effective vaccines. Ultimately, there needs to be a step-change in support for the ACT-Accelerator to deliver the tools needed to accelerate the end of the pandemic.

 

A team of scientists at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group is trialing a vaccine against the Coronavirus.
Photo:University of Oxford/John Cairns
Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly,  delivers closing remarks to the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-fifth session.

As historic virtual debate wraps, ‘our political leaders demonstrated their commitment to multilateralism,’ says UN Assembly President

29 September 2020 — For the first time in the history of the United Nations, global leaders were not able to meet in person for the General Assembly’s annual debate, but the 193-Member body’s...

Millionth death from COVID-19 ‘an agonizing milestone’: UN Secretary-General

29 September 2020 — With over one million lives now lost to COVID-19 globally, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said that while the “agonizing milestone” is a “mind-numbing figure”, the...

Nobel laureate Nadia Murad denounces lack of will to end sexual violence as a war tactic

28 September 2020 — With one in three women around the world affected by gender-based violence – a crime that skyrockets more than 200 per cent in conflict settings – Nobel laureate Nadia Murad...

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.

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.

Icons of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
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The 17 Sustainable Development Goals address the global challenges we face. Find out more and learn how they are all connected.

More from the
United Nations

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

General Assembly Hall

Follow the United Nations General Assembly UN75

Everything the United Nations stands for and works for – peace, progress and human rights – has been shaken to the core by the coronavirus. As we strive to recover, international cooperation has never been more important. On its 75th anniversary, and amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will for the first time convene world leaders in a virtual format to seek solutions for a world in crisis. Several major events and the General Debate are expected to highlight action and solutions needed to secure healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all. Watch it unfold on UN Web TV. #UNGA

A group of people line up tomatoes on top of a white tarp.

Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet.

This year we celebrate the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste thanks to FAO and UN Environment. It comes during the global COVID-19 pandemic, that has brought about a global wake-up on the need to transform and rebalance the way our food is produced and consumed. In a world where the number of people affected by hunger has been on the rise, tons of edible food are lost and/or wasted every day. Food loss and waste also depletes the natural resource base and generates greenhouse gases. Stop food loss and waste. For the people. For the planet.

pastoralist with his herd in the Sahel

Where Climate Change Is Reality

A family of livestock herders seasonally move their herds from one place to another, along with some 800,000 herders in Senegal and millions of others throughout the Sahel. It is a months-long journey that pastoralist populations often take with several families. In recent years long periods of drought, growing insecurity in some countries of the Sahel and restrictions on the movements of herds and herders have seriously disrupted traditional herd management methods. A World Bank- supported project aims to protect pastoral systems by improving resource management and animal health, facilitating access to markets, diversifying sources of income for pastoral households and managing conflicts. 

Uganda: Mountain gorillas shielded from threats

The mountain gorilla population was threatened with extinction by poaching, disease and deforestation. Conservation measures involving local communities have led to a significant increase in the numbers of this iconic species.

Virtual exhibit on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property

Visit the newly launched "WIPO: AI and IP, A Virtual Experience." Interactive elements include AI-created music, neural networks with human-like abilities and robotic artists, like the humanoid Ai-Da.

UN75 online photo exhibit

Last call for submission of photos (by 30 September) to celebrate the UN's 75th Anniversary under the theme "Shaping Our Future Together."

2020 hurricane season exhausts regular list of names

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is so active that it has exhausted the regular list of storm names. The Greek alphabet is now being used for only the second time on record.

handful of soil shaped like a heart

It’s alive! Soil is much more than you think

When we go about our daily routines, most of us are unaware that beneath our feet lies an outstandingly diverse community of plants, animals and microbes that makes up our soils. Soils are more than just “dirt” - they’re a major reservoir of global biodiversity, supporting agriculture and food security, regulating greenhouse gas emissions and promoting plant, animal and human health. Without them our world wouldn’t be the same.

homeless man

COVID-19: UNCTAD warns of ‘lost decade’ if countries adopt austerity

In the face of a deep global recession amid a still unchecked pandemic, the world needs a global recovery plan that can return even the most vulnerable countries to a stronger position than they were in before COVID-19, says UNCTAD`s Trade and Development Report 2020. According to the report, key to success will be tackling a series of pre-existing conditions that were threatening the health of the global economy even before the pandemic hit.

Footballer Mohamed Salah

Don’t let COVID-19 pandemic derail refugee education

Egyptian football star Mo Salah and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi urged the world to ensure that COVID-19 does not block access to education for millions of young refugees. “We must make sure that all young people – including refugees – get an education,” said Salah, Ambassador for the Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR Instant Network Schools (INS) programme, which provides online tools and services in refugee camps.

smiling factory worker

What industrialization means for well-being – and why it matters

The industrialized countries, making up less than 20 per cent of the global population, produce over half of the world’s manufactured goods. Emerging economy China churns out a further 30 per cent. Developing countries together produce less than 3 per cent. There is now a risk that, as a result of the ongoing economic shockwaves from the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap could widen even further. 

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.

The world is full of food heroes – from farmers to drivers, shop assistants, food bank or government representatives – who despite various challenges, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, work hard to make sure that food makes its way from farms to our table. Let’s celebrate their great efforts this World Food Day. If you’re between ages 5 to 19, we want you to use your imagination and create a poster of your favourite food hero at work for the FAO World Food Poster contest.

#AccessToInfoDay 2020

To launch the 2020 International Day for Universal Access to Information and its themes, UNESCO organizes the high-level online panel, “Access of Information – Saving lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope!,” set to take place online at 8:00 a.m. EDT on 28 September. Join the high-level panel and the series of webinars from 28-30 September discussing the vital role of access to information in saving lives in times of crisis.

Nations United: Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times

Nations United is a special, first of its kind film, created by the United Nations on its 75th Anniversary and to mark five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the midst of a pandemic radically transforming our world, the UN tells the story of the world as it is, as it was, and as it could be. It focuses on the solutions and action we need to tackle poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change.

UN Podcasts

Mark Lowcock, speaks to displaced women.

Awake at night: Possible to Escape

"One of the things I hold on to is most people on the planet have escaped from those problems, as the generations have passed. And when you're confronting the next bleak, horrible event, holding on to the fact that it's possible to escape…is invaluable.”

In the latest episode of Awake at Night, Melissa Fleming interviews Mark Lowcock, Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who leads global humanitarian relief efforts for the UN. Mark's optimism has sustained him throughout his 30-year career delivering aid to people suffering from war, poverty and famine.

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.

Two young girls doing ballet moves in their bedrooms.
Photo:UNDP/Nichole Sobecki/VII for National Geographic

The far-reaching fallout of COVID-19

UNDP’s Photoville exhibit, in New York City shines a spotlight on the pandemic’s effects as it sweeps over the rich and the poor—from the deserted streets of the mighty economic engine of New York City, to the so-called “Sewage Slum” of Nairobi, where some of the world’s most vulnerable people face even more hardship. The full exhibition will display at the Photoville Exhibit at Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City, 15 September through 29 November 2020.

People in an audience holding hands.
Photo:UNFPA / Nairobi Summit

Promises to keep: Meeting the Nairobi Summit commitments

The Nairobi Summit made bold commitments to transform the world by ending all maternal deaths, the unmet need for family planning and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030. UNFPA and partners, keep the rights and choices of women and girls during a decade of action. The Summit engaged youth and grassroots advocates, with heads of state and policymakers about how to realize the rights and health of all people. 

A man holds a smiling baby up in the air.
Photo:© UNICEF/UNI344638/Pouget

Reimagine: A better world for every child

For the 75th United Nations General Assembly, taking place from 15–30 September 2020, UNICEF brings us updates from our team and Executive Director. Check back to follow UNICEF as we put a spotlight on child rights, COVID-19, education and distance learning, gender, young people, climate change, humanitarian action and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The side of a mountain with farming terraces.
Photo:IOM / UNDP Iraq /Claire Thomas

Six Years After Sinjar Massacre, Support and Services are Vital for Returning Yazidis

Six years after ISIL overran Sinjar City in Iraq, causing thousands to flee, 200,000 Yazidis remain displaced.  IOM has been active in Sinjar, providing a range of services to conflict-affected communities. The Organization addresses some of the major obstacles to return by investing in livelihood opportunities and improving access to basic services and housing to returning households.