UN counters pandemic-related hate and xenophobia   

As instances of hate speech, stigma, discrimination and xenophobia continue to rise as a result of COVID-19, the United Nations works to ensure that solidarity prevails during the pandemic. According to the IOM, stigmatization during crisis situations is not new. Migrants have often been scapegoated for endangering native populations. Therefore, efforts by the IOM include follow-up calls to migrant communities returning home to check on their wellbeing. Additionally, the UN has issued guidance to address COVID-19 related hate speech to also fight the virus of hate.

Thousands of jobless migrant workers from Myanmar return home from Thailand.
Photo:International Organization for Migration (IOM)
The protection of civilians is a key mandate for many United Nations peacekeeping operations including in the Central African Republic.

COVID-19: A ‘new and deadly threat’ for civilians caught up in violence

27 May 2020 — Innocent civilians trapped in violence now face “a new and deadly threat” from COVID-19, the UN chief told the Security Council on Wednesday, warning that the pandemic is “amplifying...

‘Lockdown generation’ of young workers will need extra help after COVID-19, urges UN labour chief

27 May 2020 — Further evidence of the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the global job market has emerged in a new study by the UN labour agency, which on Wednesday said that more than one in...

Women peacekeepers from Brazil and India share UN military gender award

25 May 2020 — For the first time, the UN Military Gender Advocate award has been awarded to two UN peacekeepers: Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo, a Brazilian Naval officer, and Major...

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 10: Reduced Inequalities


Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries


More from the
United Nations

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

WHO Headquarters

Explainer: WHO’s first-ever virtual World Health Assembly during COVID-19

As countries fight their own battles against the same virus, WHO’s presence has never been more essential. WHO works to connect the best minds from around the world to solve this crisis together. The Organization’s work is focussed on promoting the roles of evidence-based science, guided by the United Nations’ principles of neutrality, impartiality, human rights and equity. WHO is working to gather data and continue educating the world on the virus as the situation evolves

Woman wearing protective gear at testing site.

Broad, fast action to save lives and help countries rebuild

The World Bank is committed to help countries respond to the health emergency, contain economic damage, and start planning for long-term recovery. We have set up fast-track financing for COVID-19 response efforts and have these underway already in over 60 client countries. Through a combination of new projects, restructuring and emergency components of existing projects, and deployment of our disaster finance instruments, we expect our COVID-19 work to reach 100 countries.

Exterior of a museum

UNESCO concerned about the situation faced by world's museums

UNESCO and the International Council of Museums confirm that museums have been especially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 90% of them, or more than 85,000 institutions, having closed their doors. Nearly 13% of museums around the world may never reopen. The two studies were aimed at assessing the impact of COVID-19 on museums. They also aimed to find out how the sector had adapted to the pandemic and explore ways to support institutions in its aftermath.

Tea: a love that has stood the test of time

The drink most often chosen around the world after water, is tea, and each culture with its own tradition. FAO presents the world’s passion for the drink as it shows no sign of slowing.

Honeybees feel sting of viral disease

UNEP reports on chronic bee paralysis, a viral disease of honeybees. It can cause rare, but severe, symptoms, including colony loss. Trade in honeybees has increased its prevalence.

Engaging volunteers in health emergencies

As volunteers fill gaps to COVID-19 response, UN Volunteers promotes the distinctive strengths of volunteerism that can be applied across COVID-19 preparation, response and recovery.

Trust is the new currency

World Tourism Organization latest data shows restrictions in place in 100% of destinations. Without a strong and vital tourism sector, many millions of jobs and small businesses are at risk.

People wearing protective gear at pineapple-processing plant.

Response must target African agriculture and the rural poor

The African continent looks like it could be the worst hit from the economic fallout of the crisis: 80 million Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty if action is not taken. And disruptions in food systems raise the prospect of more Africans falling into hunger. Rural people, many of whom work on small-scale farms, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the crisis. IFAD therefore urges that the COVID-19 response address food security and target the rural poor.

Two kids on a bunkbed sitting up.

Indigenous refugees battle Coronavirus in Latin America

As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads through Latin America, the UN Refugee Agency is warning that many displaced indigenous communities are now dangerously exposed and at risk. National lockdowns have also ground to a halt many of their livelihood activities, such as farming, the selling of produce and handicraft production. UNHCR works with national governments to ensure COVID-19 prevention measures and assistance reaches remote areas where these groups have found safety.

Man handing face mask to woman sitting in the street.

Coronavirus vs. inequality

UNDP’s focus on inequality and poverty makes them uniquely positioned to help countries to prepare, respond, and fully recover from the pandemic. UNDP conducts quick assessments of the social and economic blowback from COVID-19, so governments can ensure urgent recovery measures and longer-term social protection, especially for the disadvantaged and marginalized. The US$30 million Rapid Response Facility provides funds within 72 hours, and more than 83 countries have benefitted.

Woman wearing a facemask handing out a plastic bag at a market.

Plug social protection gaps in developing countries

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed gaps in social protection coverage in developing countries, and recovery will only be sustained, and future crises prevented if they can transform their ad hoc crisis response measures into social protection systems, according to the ILO. While the virus does not discriminate between rich and poor, its effects are highly uneven. The brief also warns policymakers to avoid a singular focus on COVID-19 and not reduce access to care for other conditions.

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

Watch and Listen

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

A celebration of the incredible biodiversity in the national parks of Colombia, the host of World Environment Day 2020. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, home to over 51,000 species. To preserve them Colombia has over the last decade more than doubled the size of its protected areas.

WHO: A global response to a global pandemic

WHO is uniting across borders to speed up the development of tests, treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19, while continuing our work to promote health and serve the vulnerable. Now more than ever the world needs WHO.

COVID-19 Response: 5 Women on the Front Lines

Women are at the heart of care and response efforts for the #COVID19 pandemic. As front-line responders, health professionals, community volunteers, transport and logistics managers, scientists and more, women are making critical contributions to address the outbreak every day. UN Women is working to provide support to all women on the front lines of the fight against this pandemic.

UN Podcasts

ITU Podcasts: Technology for good

Technology for Good: Cybersecurity

COVID-19 has made the world a more challenging place than ever for many of us, but have all the physical precautions we are taking made us forget about keeping connected online in a safe manner? Listen to our exclusive technological expert interviewees share their stories and their views, in this latest episode of our new podcast series.

This podcast is the fourth episode of “Technology for Good”- an ITU podcast series that focuses on how technology is helping to shape the world around us. Listen now...and don't forget to like and subscribe to be the first to hear the next episode! Available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.

Any views and opinions expressed by interviewees in this series are expressed independently and are not linked to ITU.

More UN podcasts

The United Nations in Pictures

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

portrait of young girl
Photo:WFP/Marco Frattini

School feeding at home

Almost 1.6 billion children and youth in 197 countries are missing school as classes have been suspended to restrain the spread of COVID-19. Some 370 million among them are no longer receiving school meals — often the only meals they could count on. The goal of the ‘school feeding at home’ initiative is reaching vulnerable children to prevent the COVID-19 health pandemic turn into a hunger pandemic.

A lab specialist working at Central Public Health Lab in Yemen.
Photo:WHO/Omar Nasr

Yemen: COVID-19 through the eyes of a health-care worker

Just months after the start of the conflict, a mass exodus of health-care professionals occurred in Yemen. Doctors, midwives, nurses and surgeons fled to other countries seeking safety, and the communities formed worldwide are now known as the “Yemeni diaspora.” Despite this, a large group of health-care workers stayed behind, dealing with a plethora of outbreaks, emergencies and injuries. They are the backbone of Yemen’s health system, the unsung heroes in this war.

young children at a refugee camp

Deafening silence and uncertainty in Afghanistan

As parts of the country have locked down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the situation has become even more dire for internally-displaced children. Crowded living quarters, limited to no access to clean water and sanitation, and severely curtailed health care all increase the risk of the coronavirus spreading among displaced communities, yet all are a daily reality for many displaced Afghan families. UNICEF and partners are on the ground helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the devastation to these already fragile communities. 

women in national dress displaying plants
Photo:UNDP/Sarawak Biodiversity Centre

Our solutions are in nature

One way to protect biodiversity and ecosystems is to find symbiotic solutions that work for people and for the planet. An exemplar of such a win-win solution is found in Long Kerebangan, located in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Here indigenous communities are harvesting a local plant, Litsea cubeba for its essential oil to make a locally produced soap.