Oceans and Marine Life

UN Ocean Conference 2022

The ocean is not just ‘the lungs of the planet’ but also its largest carbon sink - a vital buffer against the impacts of climate change. It nurtures unimaginable biodiversity and produces food, jobs, mineral and energy resources. However, the science is clear – the ocean is facing unprecedented threats as a result of human activities, and we need to act now. The UN Ocean Conference (Portugal, 27 June -1 July) will seek to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.

The ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, is the planet's largest biosphere, and is home to up to 80 percent of all life in the world.
Photo:Grant Thomas/Ocean Image Bank
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (right) speaks with youth advocates at the UN Ocean Conference’s Youth and Innovation Forum in Lisbon, Portugal.

Youth are the generation that will help save our ocean and our future, says UN chief

26 June 2022 — The world must do more to stop the dramatic decline in ocean health, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Sunday, urging young people gathered in Carcavelos, Portugal, for...

Overturning of Roe v Wade abortion law a ‘huge blow to women’s human rights’ warns Bachelet

24 June 2022 — Friday’s decision by the US Supreme Court which overturns the 50-year-old Roe v Wade judgement guaranteeing access to abortion across the United States, was described by the UN...

UN plan calls for real progress towards ending internal displacement crisis

24 June 2022 — With record numbers of people uprooted within their homelands due to conflict, disasters, the climate emergency and other tragedies, more must be done to end this crisis, UN...

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.

children holding up books

Reading and learning are essential to children’s growth and development; stories can fuel their imagination and raise awareness of new possibilities. The SDG Book Club aims to encourage them to learn about the Goals in a fun, engaging way, empowering them to make a difference.

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.

More from the
United Nations

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

Aerial view of a small uninhabited island with beaches and vegetation Climate Change, UNDP

Bluer, greener, better

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) don't have the luxury of time. They are on the frontlines of climate change, feeling the impacts first and most severely, even though they contribute less than 1 percent of global carbon emissions. Many SIDS have made strong political commitments to net-zero carbon emissions and a climate-resilient future. Against this background, Rising Up for SIDS, UNDP’s integrated SIDS offer, aims to respond to their most pressing needs, building resilience through climate action, boosting the blue economy and accelerating digital transformation.

Reem Abdellatif with a b inside a circle featured on her shoulder. Human Rights, Women and Gender Equality, UNFPA

Virtual violence is real violence

Attacks on female journalists have reached unprecedented levels. A recent UNFPA report noted that women journalists, human rights defenders, activists and leaders are disproportionately attacked, with public forums being used to threaten, harass and stalk, and to promote hate speech targeting them. “It’s chilling and sets a dangerous precedent for human rights violations,” said Reem Abdellatif, an Egyptian-American journalist who has endured abuse because of her profession.  Hate speech has been recognized by the United Nations as a major threat to peace and human rights.

Maftuna Mavlyanova walks as people around her clap. Human Rights, OHCHR

Towards a more diverse Kyrgyzstan

In 2010, the streets of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan experienced tragic events, residents would like to forget: an inter-ethnic conflict between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz that killed at least 426 people, burned down 2500 homes and forced thousands to flee. Today, nearly 28% of Kyrgyzstan’s population is composed of ethnic minorities but fewer than 5% of civil servants come from these groups. In the Osh and Djalal-Abad regions, an internship programme designed by UN Human Rights has expanded opportunities in the civil service for ethnic minorities, women and people with disabilities.

Oceans and Marine Life, Agriculture and Food, FAO

Technology helps fishers

Through an FAO project in Fiji, fishers learn how to access aquatic species further offshore and are given the skills and equipment they need to do it. It’s about building capacity and resilience.

Oceans and Marine Life, UNDP

10 questions with Ambassador Peter Thomson

Ahead of the UN Ocean Conference, UNDP checks in with the Special Envoy for the Ocean, who reminds us: “No healthy planet without a healthy ocean, and the ocean’s health is measurably in decline.”

Health, Science and Technology, WHO

Mobile app helps protect from dangers of the sun

The SunSmart Global UV app for mobile phones that provides localized information on ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels, has been launched by WHO, WMO, UNEP and ILO.

Finance, IFAD

12 reasons why remittances are important

Remittances continue to matter more than ever, particularly in rural areas where they count the most and provide opportunities towards rural transformation. IFAD presents 12 reasons why.

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" builds 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.

When fireworks sound like gunfire. When sirens sound like screaming. When slamming doors sound like dropping bombs. Refugees need solidarity and love to help heal the scars of war.

Say #NoToHate

Hate is action. Hate is words. Hate is hate. Say #NoToHate and join us to take action to claim your #bodyright.

Migrant remittances are a lifeline

Last year migrant workers sent $605 billion back home.

UN Podcasts

Melissa Fleming and Monique Sokhan are pictured in a recording studio

Not Here to Judge You

“It’s difficult because you’re wondering why others have died and you’re alive. And for those who did not survive […] I felt like having a responsibility somehow to do something that would make them proud of me.”

Monique Sokhan survived the Cambodian genocide, having fled the Khmer Rouge terror when she was just a small child. Now, working as Senior Protection Coordinator, at UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, she is still searching for answers about the atrocities that killed many of her family members.

Dedicating her life to humanitarian work, Monique soon found herself face to face with the very people who were responsible for killing her own family and friends. In this special bitesize episode, she reflects on her quest to understand the perpetrators of genocide, on reserving judgement, and on the unanswered questions that continue to haunt her.

Photo: ©UNHCR/Susan Hopper

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 men and a boy dressed as dandies
Photo:Ⓒ UNHCR/Hélène Caux

Exile with style

Francis Mbéré never thought he would enjoy life again after what he endured in his home country, the Central African Republic. But nine years after fleeing brutal attacks, he proudly parades the streets of his adopted hometown, Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo, with his friends and fellow “sapeurs.” The sapeurs are followers of a fashion and cultural movement known as La Sape – the Society of Ambiance Makers and Elegant People (Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes in French) – that gained popularity in the 1960s in Brazzaville and Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The movement was inspired by 19th century French dandyism. Francis strikes a pose outside his home, joined by his son Séverin and his friend Crèche, aka Parabola.

diver harvesting seaweed
Photo:Ⓒ SGP Belize/Randy Olsen

The Small Grants Programme’s 30th Anniversary

For the past thirty years, the Small Grants Programme (SGP) has been providing financial and technical support to civil society and community-based organizations on innovative community-driven initiatives that address global environmental issues – such as biodiversity loss, climate change mitigation and adaptation, land degradation, international waters, and chemicals and waste management – while improving livelihoods. SGP was sparked by the idea that the active participation of local communities in dealing with critical environmental problems holds the key to promoting effective stewardship of the environment and achieving sustainable development. Mariko Wallen harvests seaweed on her and Louis Godfrey's farm in Placencia, Belize.