General Assembly

Follow the UN General Debate

The 76th general debate of the UN General Assembly, which offers Member States the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to multilateralism, opens on 21 September at 9 a.m. in New York and will take place through 27 September. This year, the debate will be conducted in a hybrid fashion, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Heads of State or Government may elect to either deliver their statement live from the podium in the General Assembly Hall, or have a delegate introduce their pre-recorded statement. Watch the debate live and join the conversation #UNGA!

The President of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, and the Secretary-General António Guterres (at right) during the opening of the 76th session of the General Assembly.
Photo:UN Photo/Evan Schneider
As schools slowly reopen in parts of Afghanistan, it is important to ensure that both girls and boys are able to return safely.

Afghanistan: ‘Palpable’ fear of ‘brutal and systemic repression’ of women grows

21 September 2021 — Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month, they have made some commitments to uphold human rights. However, their subsequent actions have “sadly contradicted”...

Restore trust and inspire hope, UN chief says in message to UNGA76

21 September 2021 — With humanity on the edge of an abyss, and moving in the wrong direction, the world must wake up, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his keynote address to the UN...

World leaders, BTS, join Guterres in call to get SDGs back on track 

20 September 2021 — The world “is challenged like never before”, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday, but the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) still offer a roadmap to get...

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.

hands holding seedling

UNGA High-Level Week 2021

In addition to the General Debate, this year’s session of the UN General Assembly will kick off a series of international UN conferences in 2021, which are expected to highlight action and solutions that will ignite the transformations needed to secure healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all. 

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.

camera view of media zone

As the world responds to end the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 remains a make-or-break year in the global effort to restore balance with nature, tackle the climate emergency, and attain a more equal and inclusive society. Join us for conversations that matter – underscoring the transformation and restoration needed to achieve the SDGs and the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

More from the
United Nations

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

animated video still of family moving Climate, Migration, World Bank

Millions on the move due to climate change

People pack up and leave their homes for many reasons – economic, social, political – and these drivers are often interconnected. A more complete picture of patterns of mobility must now include those moving due to climate change – a trend expected to increase over time - as people journey from one part of their countries to another. Over 216 million people could move within their countries by 2050 across six regions, according to the World Bank’s latest Groundswell report.

Afghan girls in school Éducation, UNESCO

What is at stake for education in Afghanistan

Since 2001 Afghanistan has made advances, according to a UNESCO report. The report found that the total number of enrolled students increased from around 1 million to 10 million learners. The number of girls in primary school increased from almost zero in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2018. In 2021, 4 out of 10 students in primary education are girls. Yet these critical gains for the country’s development are at risk and the right to education for all learners, especially girls, must be upheld in the face of a looming humanitarian crisis. 

hands holding plate of papayas Agriculture and Food, FAO

Farm aid must support environment and social goals

Global support to producers in the agricultural sector amounts to $540 billion per year, making up 15 percent of total agricultural production value. Yet 87 percent of this support is price distorting and environmentally and socially harmful. Reconfiguring agricultural producer support, rather than eliminating it, will help end poverty, eradicate hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture, foster sustainable consumption and production, mitigate the climate crisis, restore nature, limit pollution, and reduce inequalities.

Éducation, UNESCO

Keeping girls in the picture

Over 11 million girls may not go back to school after the COVID-19 crisis. Join UNESCO and members of the Global Education Coalition in the #LearningNeverStops campaign.

Health, UNFPA

Better maternal health outcomes – and sometimes a miracle

During a pregnancy complication at 7 months, Ami Campini was transported to the Regional Hospital of Buba, Guinea-Bissau and delivered a 1.3-kilogram baby girl via emergency Caesarean section. 

Trade and Commerce

From recovery to resilience

In 2021, the global economy will bounce back with growth of 5.3%, the fastest in nearly 50 years. The rebound is, however, highly uneven along regional, sectoral and income lines, according to UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report 2021.

Climate, UNDP

Keeping us cool

Malaysia is helping to protect the ozone layer by taking measures to control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it.

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.

As world leaders meet during the annual United Nations General Assembly to discuss global challenges, including the need to restore balance with nature and tackle the climate emergency, the organization’s iconic building will light up with images of marine species in an effort to symbolize the relationship between humans and the world’s rich biodiversity. The Interspecies Assembly, a public art project commissioned by ART 2030, a non-profit organization which unites art with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - the world’s blueprint for a healthier, safer and more equal future - will project the filmwork, Vertical Migration, onto the northern façade of the 39-storey UN Secretariat building. The filmwork, to be projected 8pm to 11pm EST from 21 to 24 September, was created by SUPERFLEX, a Danish art collective.

BTS - "Permission to Dance" performed at the United Nations General Assembly

BTS, the award-winning K-Pop boy band and Special Presidential Envoy for Future Generations and Culture of the Republic of Korea, performed at the UN in New York at the SDG Moment convened by Secretary-General António Guterres on the eve of the opening of the High-level Week dedicated to accelerating action on the SDGs. 

Keeping the Promise for Sustainable Development

People everywhere will join a new United Nations campaign, Keeping the Promise, to rally behind the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted in 2015 to set the world on a more equal and sustainable path.

UN Podcasts

Sam Mort poses for a photo with children

Keep Going for the Children of Afghanistan

"We took around seven children back to the UNICEF compound here in Kabul… there was a little boy called Mudares [... Mudares] said 'when I go up high, I feel I can reach the stars and I want one from my mother.' It was a reminder for us all just to keep going for the children of Afghanistan -- because if Mudares can look to the stars, we can all look to the stars and do better.” 

Sam Mort, UNICEF’s Chief of Communications in Afghanistan, speaks to Melissa from Kabul shortly after the Taliban’s takeover. Sam, along with other UN colleagues, has remained in Afghanistan to help the country’s people as they face a worsening humanitarian situation. She tells stirring stories of loss, reunification and reaching to the stars for hope.

“I see a bravery in Afghanistan's girls and women that I haven't seen anywhere else, because the fears and the threats are real and they acknowledge it. And they move forward,” she says. 

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 boy stands cross-armed in front a damaged home
Photo:UNICEF / Haro

One month on, Haiti’s children grapple with a disaster

Early in the morning of 14 August 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, claiming more than 2,200 lives and injuring thousands more. The devastating earthquake also upended the lives of thousands of children. More than 700 schools were damaged or destroyed by the earthquake. For many children, part of the recovery process will require being able to return to school safely. UNICEF and partners are working to establish temporary classrooms until schools can welcome back children and teachers.

A man walks on a dirt path past a home in arid mountainous territory.
Photo:UNDP Afghanistan

97 percent of Afghans could plunge into poverty by mid 2022

Afghanistan teeters on the brink of universal poverty. As much as 97 percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line unless a response to the country’s political and economic crises is urgently launched, according to a rapid appraisal released today by UNDP. The UNDP study, which analysed four potential scenarios of escalating intensity and isolation, indicates that real GDP could contract by as much as 13.2 percent, leading to an increase in the poverty rate of up to 25 percentage points.