Human Rights

United in our differences and our diversity

Living together in peace is all about accepting our differences. It is about listening to, recognizing, respecting, and appreciating one another to live in a peaceful and united way. The International Day of Living Together in Peace (16 May) also promotes international cooperation in solving international problems, including encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms without distinction of race, sex, language, or religion. The Day aims to uphold the desire to live and act together, while promoting peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity.

The release of doves is part of the observance of the United Nations International Day of Peace in Timor-Leste.
Photo:UN Photo / Martine Perret
Israeli police gather in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians are threatened with eviction.

De-escalation ‘an absolute must’ in Israel-Palestine conflict: Guterres

12 May 2021 — De-escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict is “an absolute must” said the UN Secretary-General on Wednesday, declaring that the mounting death toll, including children, was...

Top COVID probe urges bold overhaul of pandemic prevention measures 

12 May 2021 — A prestigious World Health Organization (WHO) appointed panel on Wednesday urged bold action to end the COVID-19 crisis, while also calling for the UN agency to be given greater...

Vaccine inequity posing ‘significant risk’ to global economic recovery: UN report

11 May 2021 — Although the outlook for global growth has improved, the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as inadequate progress on vaccination in poorer countries, are putting...

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.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth


Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all


More from the
United Nations

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

women with face masks waiting in line Health, Science and Technology, UNESCO

UNESCO supports lifting patent on vaccines

UNESCO's Director-General has welcomed the decision by the United States and many other countries to call for the lifting of patent protection on COVID-19 vaccines. This growing momentum comes in response to the joint appeal made by UNESCO, the WHO and the UNHCR to open up science and boost scientific cooperation. The idea behind Open Science is to allow scientific information, data and outputs to be more widely accessible (Open Access) and more reliably harnessed (Open Data) with the active engagement of all the stakeholders (Open to Society).

new mother attended by nurse Women and Gender Equality, Health, UNFPA

In crises mothers are asked to do the impossible

Mothers already shouldered tremendous financial, physical, emotional, and intellectual burdens before the onset of the pandemic. But now ‒ under increasing economic pressures, reduced access to health care, diminishing social support and growing unpaid care responsibilities ‒ many of these burdens have become crushing. All of this is taking a toll on the long-term health and welfare of mothers. Women have been disproportionately affected by pandemic-related job losses, and researchers are starting to see signs of rising stillbirths, maternal mortality and poor maternal health outcomes around the world. 

hands holding cocoa beans Agriculture and Food, IFAD

In Nicaragua, coffee and cocoa make life sweeter

Coffee and chocolate can do much more than give us a boost of energy in the morning. For the last seven years, the NICADAPTA project, financed by IFAD, has improved the incomes and quality of life of more than 45,000 families in Nicaragua through the sustainable development of coffee and cocoa production. NICADAPTA works closely with producer cooperatives and their members, many of them women and youth, to help them access lucrative coffee and cocoa markets and increase their resilience to climate change. 

Health, UNICEF


UNICEF asks you to help spread the word that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Join @UNICEF’s #Vaccinated campaign and share what getting a vaccine means to you.

Health, UNICEF

What you need to know about getting the vaccine

Tips on what you can do before, during and after you get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Human Settlements, UN-Habitat

#ClimateAction4Cities Campaign

UN-Habitat has launched a new campaign to inspire action in urban areas to prevent climate change and adjust to its ongoing or anticipated impact.

Food, UNEP

Food Waste Index Report 2021

The Food Waste Index covers the later stages of food’s journey – food waste – occurring at household, food service and retail level.

Kristin Riis Halvorsen Refugees, UNHCR

‘It’s a wonderful job, but I’d love not to do it’

Kristin Riis Halvorsen, UNHCR’s head of office in Tapachula, Mexico talks about how rewarding her job is, because it allows her to do something meaningful, but she also grapples with decisions about what the organization can and cannot do. "It would have been amazing to live in a world where no one was forced to leave their home," she says.

woman grinding nuts Migrants, IOM

From teenage widow to confident working mother

In a society like Afghanistan, traditional norms often make it difficult for women to access employment, get a loan or start a business. Yet, when women are given an opportunity, they make significant contributions to the growth and development of their families and their communities at large. This is the story of Sakina, who overcame the odds with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Illustration of interconnectivity. Transport and Communications, ITU

Despite progress, Americas region grapples with urban/rural Internet gap

Across the Americas, only about half of households in rural areas have a home Internet connection, compared to nearly three quarters of those in urban areas, according to the latest study on regional digital trends by the ITU. The last of six regional preparatory meetings for the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) brought policy makers and experts together to take stock of digital challenges and opportunities.

medical worker holding up vaccine vial Economic Development, UNCTAD

Building post-pandemic resilience through science, technology and innovation

The United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development convenes from 17 to 21 May, bringing together UN leaders, led by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, scientists, including a Nobel laureate, and other experts to explore how new technologies can contribute to a sustainable and resilient COVID-19 recovery for all.

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.

Watch and Listen

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

Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of malnutrition in the world where over 50 per cent of children under five are stunted. Many children do not get enough nutritious food, and often came to school hungry. IFAD teamed up with WFP and FAO to set up a food chain that enables local farmers to provide fruit and vegetables for school meals.

Waffles and Mochi at the Youth Summit Dialogue

Waffles and Mochi deliver opening remarks at the Global Youth Summit Dialogue 2021 - Good Food For All. Gathering youth voices from around the world, invites a curated group of 100 youth for a discussion on the future of our food systems.

Working together to improve millions of people’s lives

UNOPS, together with the European Union, supports peace, empowers local communities, advances gender equality, and helps promote climate action. Watch to discover more about the partnership with the EU.

UN Podcasts

Dr. Roderico Ofrin

UN has ‘all hands on deck’ across India to help save lives amid deadly COVID surge

The United Nations has deployed all the personnel and resources at its disposal to help Indians deal with the deadly surge in COVID-19 that has seen more than 300,000 reported new cases per day, for almost two weeks now, and left many hospitals overwhelmed.

That’s according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) India Representative, Dr. Roderico Ofrin, speaking exclusively to UN News, who told Anshu Sharma that tried and trust methods of bringing down the numbers would surely work, if India can get “ahead of the game”.

With vaccination now open to all over 18, and 165 million already inoculated, he said that shots were only part of the solution, to bringing the multiple factors that have fuelled the surge, under control.

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.

A group of girls perform on an outdoor stage.
Photo:MINUSMA / Marco Dormino

Empowering Youth as Agents of Peace

This month, leading up to the International Day of UN Peacekeepers (29 May), we’re recognizing the significant role of youth in shaping and sustaining peace efforts. “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security,” highlights the invaluable contributions from local youth and young peacekeepers in realizing international peace and security. While portraying youth as peaceful advocates for change, this photo essay captures empowered moments of hope, development, and peace of youth across the globe.

Portrait of Sajer Khalil
Photo:UNDP / Claire Thomas

Iraq - A New Era

ISIS may have been driven out of Iraq, but the country continues to grapple with the scars of decades of war and political instability. COVID-19 has added another layer of hardship upon many households. It is in this context that another unfolding crisis is threatening to derail the nation’s recovery and development: climate change. In spite of ongoing fragility, Iraq is backing international efforts such as those of the UNDP and partners, while setting itself on a new path that is helping in transitioning to cleaner sources of energy.

Portrait of Zoila Dolores Piedra Guamán
Photo:UN Women / Jerónimo Villarreal

Restoring a fragile ecosystem in the face of climate crisis

Women in Ecuador have stayed in the Páramo, an ecosystem in the Andes, despite the threats that desertification, overgrazing and other human activities pose to their sustenance. With funding from the Municipality of Madrid, UN Women is working with the provincial government to improve the resilience of communities in Azuay through a comprehensive intervention that includes women-led sustainable agricultural production. The project is also dismantling gender stereotypes and empowering women to contribute to decision-making processes.

A group of mostly women dig half-mood shapes in the soil.
Photo:WFP / Evelyn Fey

Acute hunger at five-year high

At least 155 million people in 55 countries faced acute hunger in 2020 — 20 million more than 2019, according to figures from the 2021 Global Report on Food Crises. This marks a five-year high for people facing life-threatening food insecurity, accompanied by a breakdown in livelihoods. Published by the Global Network Against Food Crises — an alliance of government agencies and NGOs, including the WFP, the report highlights the lethal combined impact of conflict, extreme weather, and economic shocks, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.