The anniversary of the adoption of the Genocide Convention on 9 December 1948, has become a day to honour the memory of the victims of genocide and to act for the prevention of this crime. This year, the focus is on youth, who are taking action to promote peace and prevent atrocities. The Convention places the obligation to prevent genocide primarily on States, but individuals and organizations across the world have been taking action to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence that includes the respect for diversity and nondiscrimination.
“My Friend Campaign” is an initiative started by a former political prisoner in Myanmar to counter hate and racism and to promote tolerance, non-discrimination, and friendship.
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.
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.
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.
New data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) reveal strong global growth in Internet use, with the estimated number of people who have used the Internet surging to 4.9 billion in 2021. The unusually sharp rise in the number of people online suggests that measures taken during the pandemic contributed to a 'COVID connectivity boost' that has brought an estimated 782 million additional people online since 2019, an increase of 17 per cent. However, ITU data confirm that the ability to connect remains profoundly unequal.
Before COVID-19, a different pandemic was already threatening the lives and well-being of people around the world: violence against women, impacting at least 1 in 3 women and girls. Now, a new report from UN Women, which brings together survey data collected in 13 countries across all regions, confirms the severity of the problem. Despite its persistent prevalence, violence against women is preventable. UN Women experts offer 5 recommendations for action.
The Internet can be a hateful, hostile place, particularly for women, girls, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities, who are more likely to have their images abused online. Online misogyny and violence is a widespread human rights violation. This is why UNFPA is launching bodyright, a brand new “copyright” for the human body. It demands that images of our bodies are given the same respect and protection online as copyright gives to music, film and even corporate logos. Claim your bodyright...and let’s end online violence.
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.
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.
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.
Better data to make every woman counted, visible and valued
Women and girls are often missing in data, and gender data production and use are often an afterthought. Gender data gaps are pervasive, hampering our ability to monitor progress. To fill these gaps, data must be disaggregated to better understand the lived reality of women and girls and capture intersecting inequalities. We need more and better data to make all women and girls counted, visible and valued. We cannot make progress on what we cannot, and do not measure. Data is an engine for change on gender equality. Find out more about UN Women's data work.
Be a Food Hero like the Trolls!
To build a happy and healthy world, the Trolls want you to become a food hero too, so #ActNow! For the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, the Trolls are joining forces with the United Nations, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Foundation to raise awareness of the important role of fruits and vegetables in creating a happy and healthy planet.
Oceans for sustainable development and peace
Oceans present a huge opportunity for (Blue) economic growth and employment for the region, if properly tapped into (maximizing benefits), and if properly managed (minimizing the challenges). For the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, UNESCO identifies an opportunity to optimally utilize Ocean’s substantial blue economy potential as a new frontier for development.
ISIL survivors can be assured of international support
Survivors of genocide and other atrocities committed by ISIL fighters in Iraq should rest assured that the international community supports them.
That’s the message from Christian Ritscher, head of UNITAD, the special UN team investigating these crimes.
While it might appear action is slow coming, he said there is no statute of limitations and crimes can be prosecuted “as long as at least one perpetrator is alive.”
Mr. Ritscher was in New York recently and spoke to UN News’s Abdelmonem Makki, prior to presenting the latest UNITAD report to the Security Council.
UNDP works with local communities in Indonesia’s Kalimantan forests to protect biodiversity and generate sustainable livelihoods. Recognising that naturally-dyed textiles are in high demand (and thus fetch higher prices) on international markets, weavers from the Ensaid Panjang village started a programme of forest rehabilitation and enrichment by planting and cultivating natural dye-producing plants. The KalFor project, which is supported by UNDP Indonesia and partners, bolsters the Government's program to preserve the remaining forests in Kalimantan that are outside state forest zones.
WFP donors – private individuals, and governments and their taxpayers – demand transparency and accountability but WFP also seeks to maximise value for money for their millions of beneficiaries. Since being named the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, WFP is driven, more than ever, to deliver programmes that are effective and high impact. This is crucial now, as conflict, climate crises, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs lead us into a global hunger crisis. Up to 811 million people are going to bed on an empty stomach. Yet WFP faces an unprecedented funding gap.