Realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to leave no one behind. The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy provides the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through all pillars of the work of the United Nations: peace and security, human rights, and development. Achieving transformative and lasting change on disability inclusion through the Disability Inclusion Strategy is a priority for the United Nations, including in times of crisis.
Primary school girls in Nalanda Bihar, India, using sign language to communicate in class.
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.
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.
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.
According to the ILO report, Youth and COVID-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being, 70 per cent of youth who study or combine study with work have been adversely affected by the closing of schools, universities and training centres. Despite the extreme circumstances young people are using their energy to mobilize and speak out in the fight against the crisis. According to the survey one in four have done some volunteer work during the pandemic.
In accordance with the recommendations from ICAO partnering with the aviation training arm of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, new training to enable the safe and secure restart of air operations is now available. Delivered in a virtual classroom, aviation training will be essential to ensure professionals across the industry have the ability to navigate and manage the complex and dynamic compliance and operational challenges during the recovery period of COVID-19.
Since COVID-19 struck, life has changed for entrepreneurs and businesses. Due to lockdowns and movement restrictions, smallholder farmers and rural businesses have been unable to access markets and sell produce or other products. FAO launched a youth engagement initiative, Coping with COVID-19: voices of young agripreneurs, to understand the impact of the outbreak on the businesses of young rural people and to know how to best support them during and after the pandemic.
UNESCO supports the social cohesion and resilience of communities suffering from years of armed conflict in central Mali. A new rehabilitation project will provide critical support to the rehabilitation of the World Heritage site of “Cliff of Bandiagara”, home to 289 villages spread over 400,000 hectares in the country’s Mopti Region. Through the safeguarding of the region’s cultural practices, the project will help reinforce the social fabric, and build peace among the communities of the Dogon country.
UNEP has created immersive digital experiences for its #WildforLife campaign. These four ecosystem-based “journeys” show the magic of interconnected natural systems and inspire people to take action to protect these distinct ecosystems. The first is Marine Journey. This aquatic adventure informs and inspires people to conserve coral reef, seagrass and mangrove ecosystems. The campaign aims at reversing trends such as two-thirds of oceans being significantly and negatively altered by human activity.
Crises have a way of urging people to develop new tools to help them resist disaster. IFAD-funded projects in north-eastern Brazil, carry on their work by using remote technical assistance to respond to participants’ questions and solve problems. Project staff also realized that the current situation presented an opportunity to gather some much-needed data: consistent data on project performance and the impacts of COVID-19. Due to the preventive measures, surveys were conducted using smartphones.
One of the most striking images of the coronavirus pandemic is the contrast between farmers dumping milk, smashing eggs, and ploughing vegetables back into the soil and consumers facing empty store shelves and long lines at food distribution centres. How is it possible to have over-abundance on one hand and scarcity on the other? The World Bank argues that the digital revolution can accelerate the shift towards a more sustainable food future by collecting, using, and analysing machine-readable data.
The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN does this by working to prevent conflict; helping parties in conflict make peace; peacekeeping; and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish. These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective. The UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. The General Assembly and the Secretary-General play major, important, and complementary roles, along with other UN offices and bodies.
Protect Human Rights
The term “human rights” was mentioned seven times in the UN's founding Charter, making the promotion and protection of human rights a key purpose and guiding principle of the Organization. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought human rights into the realm of international law. Since then, the Organization has diligently protected human rights through legal instruments and on-the-ground activities.
Deliver Humanitarian Aid
One of the purposes of the United Nations, as stated in its Charter, is "to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character." The UN first did this in the aftermath of the Second World War on the devastated continent of Europe, which it helped to rebuild. The Organization is now relied upon by the international community to coordinate humanitarian relief operations due to natural and man-made disasters in areas beyond the relief capacity of national authorities alone.
Promote Sustainable Development
From the start in 1945, one of the main priorities of the United Nations was to “achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” Improving people’s well-being continues to be one of the main focuses of the UN. The global understanding of development has changed over the years, and countries now have agreed that sustainable development offers the best path forward for improving the lives of people everywhere.
Uphold International Law
The UN Charter, in its Preamble, set an objective: "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained." Ever since, the development of, and respect for international law has been a key part of the work of the Organization. This work is carried out in many ways - by courts, tribunals, multilateral treaties - and by the Security Council, which can approve peacekeeping missions, impose sanctions, or authorize the use of force when there is a threat to international peace and security, if it deems this necessary. These powers are given to it by the UN Charter, which is considered an international treaty. As such, it is an instrument of international law, and UN Member States are bound by it. The UN Charter codifies the major principles of international relations, from sovereign equality of States to the prohibition of the use of force in international relations.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
Video and audio from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
These 20 young activists will inspire you to join the fight
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, young people across the world are demanding a fairer, more inclusive world for women and girls. From eradicating poverty and promoting decent work, to ending discrimination and violence against women, this new generation of changemakers is showing the world how to take action for gender equality. They are Generation Equality - watch to find out how you can join the movement too.
Can you imagine a world without plants?
To promote #PlantHealth among younger generations on the occasion of the International Year of Plnat Health, this video shows how plants sustain life on Earth, and what children can do to help protect plant health and the environement from pests and diseases.
No one is safe, until everyone is
Amid a global health crisis and widely varying government responses, a group of 16 former heads of states, ministers, eminent economists, and social scientists – offers a set of new solutions for governments to build back better, greener and fairer after COVID-19.
I Know How it Feels to Grow Up in Poverty
Zainab Bangura is the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi and worries for the health and safety of her staff and the populations they serve in the face COVID-19. Zainab began her career as a women's rights campaigner in her home country of Sierra Leone. Her reasons were personal: at age 12, her father, and Imam, wanted to marry her off to an older man. Her mother refused, insisting her daughter must be educated. Though extremely poor, her mother supported her through high school and Zainab earned scholarships to go to university in London. Returning home, she documented horrific atrocities during the civil war and then joined the government as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Health. As UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict from 2012-17, Zainab talks of the secondary trauma she felt after taking in the pain of countless accounts of rape inflicted on women and girls as a weapon of war in this latest episode of Awake at Night.
Yemeni residents repair their homes with help from UN-Habitat
These two sisters are happy that their house, which was destroyed by shelling that also killed their mother, has now been repaired. Their aunt, Mariam, with whom they live, says: “The walls and the roof fell off and the house had no doors nor windows. The roof could not protect us from the rain anymore and the house was not safe to live in. I felt helpless, I had no idea how to rebuild the house on my own and with no source of income.” Her house was rehabilitated as part of a UN-Habitat project funded by the Government of Japan that aims to mitigate the impact of conflict on the internally displaced and vulnerable communities in Al- Hudaydah Governorate, with a focus on women, children, elderly, and disabled persons.
Hundreds gather in Janakpur, Nepal in December 2019, months prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, to take part in a Women's March to call attention for the need to reclaim women’s rights and access to safe public spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a profound shock to our societies. In addition to the health crisis, it has disrupted education, livelihoods and social lives, increased care burden and led to rising levels of violence against women at home and in communities. Around the world, feminist youth and women’s organizations are combating misinformation through grassroots campaigns, volunteering to support the elderly and vulnerable populations, and inventing inclusive solutions.
Partnerships with indigenous communities enhance the management of Protected Areas in Malaysia
Endau-Rompin National Park safeguards one of the most extraordinary biological and cultural landscapes in Malaysia. Dating back over 248 million years, the forest at Endau-Rompin National Park is a pristine, waterfall-laden jungle teeming with wildlife and unique flora and fauna in one of the oldest rainforests in the world. The conservation of these protected areas is closely linked with the well-being of communities living within the park and those on the outskirts. In Endau-Rompin National Park, this means ensuring that the indigenous people, known as the Orang Asli are meaningfully integrated into the park management.
Photo:UNDP/SGP Costa Rica
Restoring an ecosystem in Costa Rica’s Jesús María River Basin
The Jesús María River Basin is located in Costa Rica’s Pacific region, and covers a diverse landscape comprised of forests, coffee plantations and fruit trees, mangroves, pastures, cash crops, water bodies, and urban areas. Through an integrated landscape approach farmers in the Jesús María River Basin are seeing the natural habitats of the area restored. They are simultaneously fighting erosion, halting soil degradation and helping solve some of the sedimetation that flows downstream when soil is eroded upstream. The planting of 54,000 trees, including fruit trees for income generation has provided farmers an opportunity to participate in local farmers markets, creating another income source.