The International Day of Sign Languages (23 September) is a unique opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. The Day also emphasizes the principle of “nothing about us without us” in terms of working with deaf communities. In 2020, the World Federation of the Deaf is issuing a Global Leaders Challenge. The challenge promotes the use of sign languages by local, national, and global leaders in partnership with national associations of deaf people in each country, as well as other deaf-led organisations.
Maleni Chaitoo, representative of the International Disability Alliance, addresses the meeting using sign language during the special event in observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (2015).
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.
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.
Everything the United Nations stands for and works for – peace, progress and human rights – has been shaken to the core by the coronavirus. As we strive to recover, international cooperation has never been more important. On its 75th anniversary, and amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will for the first time convene world leaders in a virtual format to seek solutions for a world in crisis. Several major events and the General Debate are expected to highlight action and solutions needed to secure healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all. Watch it unfold on UN Web TV. #UNGA
COVID-19 has taken more than 900,000 lives and infected more than 27 million people. The updated UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19 report provides an overview of the data, analysis, policy recommendations and concrete support that the UN has made available to cope with the health, socio-economic, humanitarian and human rights impacts of COVID-19. The report outlines the steps needed to save lives, protect societies and recover better. As the Secretary-General presented the report to the media he highlighted the importance of making a COVID-19 vaccine affordable and accessible for all.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint for fighting poverty and hunger, confronting the climate crisis, achieving gender equality and much more. At a time of great uncertainty, the SDGs show the way forward to a strong recovery from COVID-19 and a better future for all on a safe and healthy planet. Convened by the UN Secretary-General, the first SDG Moment of the Decade of Action is the curtain raiser to UNGA 75. It is a moment to consider the challenges we face in meeting the SDGs and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and set out what is needed to progress at scale.
A new UNESCO report highlights a sharp increase in the global number of protests during which the police and security forces violated media freedom. Between January and June this year, 21 protests around the world were marred by violations of press freedom, including protests in which journalists were attacked, arrested and even killed. The report suggests that a troubling new threshold has been crossed, revealing a growing threat to media freedom and freedom of access to information.
There is only one word to describe Mohtas Anwar Modier’s current mood – overjoyed. The 28-year-old Sudanese refugee arrived in Italy to advance his education. In June, he learned he received a scholarship to study at the prestigious Luiss University in Rome. The initiative, with support from UNHCR and partners, offers refugee students the opportunity to pursue their academic goals. For refugees like Mohtas, graduating from university is a triumph over the odds and an inspiration to others.
COVID-19 has had an oversized negative impact on migrant workers. Perhaps surprisingly, despite the bleak experience for foreign overseas workers during the pandemic, the effect on remittances—the flow of money they send back home—has, in many cases, proven resilient. But that trend may yet be upended. The predicament of migrant workers over the last few months has highlighted the pressing need—now greater than ever—to support them and their families back home. IMF offers some suggestions.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a drastic impact on the industrial sector of Ukraine. Approximately 700,000 small businesses in the service sector have closed - leading to the loss of between 3.5 to 4 million jobs. This is a particularly concerning figure given that Ukraine's small and medium-sized enterprises SME sector includes a high proportion of women-led micro-enterprises and female employees. In response, UNIDO joined partners in a new initiative to bolster the nation’s economic recovery.
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.
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.
On the Brink - Emissions Gap Report 2019
As the world strives to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, it is crucial to track progress towards globally agreed climate goals. For a decade, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report has compared where greenhouse gas emissions are heading against where they need to be, and highlighted the best ways to close the gap. Are we meeting goals of the Paris Climate Agreement?
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.
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
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.
10 years of championing women and girls
In 2010, the General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution to merge four parts of the United Nations system into UN Women. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary during the COVID-19 pandemic, the human rights of women and girls have more prominence, universality and more urgency than ever before. We thank all those who have made this journey with. We thank all those who support us with resources of all kinds, who work with us, walk with us, talk and tweet with us. We are proud to be the global champion and an ally for women and girls. We are ten years strong and ready for the next ten.
Climate Change Action Plan Delivers $83 Billion and Results
"...[P]eople living with HIV need to go to the clinic to collect their ARVs. Now many are afraid because they think they're going to catch Corona there. Others are prohibited because lockdowns include restrictions on movement. So we had to move in quickly to help governments to know how to apply public safety measures that don't take away the opportunity for people living with HIV and are vulnerable to seek their treatments. Then there's also human rights, that when public safety measures are applied evenly and forcefully that certain groups of people whose human rights are contested tend to suffer even more. So you found gay people, you found sex workers, you found people who inject drugs, transgender people, facing particular difficulties, more discrimination, more stigmatisation in the context of Corona."
Winnie Byanyima recently became the Director-General of UNAIDS, the UN organization leading the global effort to end HIV AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. Appointed in February, the start of her journey has been full on with the rise of COVID-19. She talks with USG Melissa Fleming, in this episode of Awake At Night, about what it's been like having to deal with the complexities of two pandemics at once and what she has learnt so far.
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
‘My family was destroyed’: Flash floods devastate community in Afghanistan
“We lost our house and all our belongings. Right now, we cannot even buy a box of matches. This food is very important for us and will help us survive.” To date, 15,000 people have received food in Parwan and four other Afghani provinces affected by floods, which came at a time when the country was already grappling with the impact of COVID-19. WFP plans to reach an additional 3 million people by the end of this year, who are affected by increasing food insecurity exacerbated by loss of jobs and income imposed by the pandemic.
Photo:UNDP Bangladesh/ICBA-AR Project
Giving vulnerable Bangladeshis the resources to cope with climate change
A densely populated, low-lying country dominated by floodplains, Bangladesh is exceptionally vulnerable to flooding. Long subject to frequent cyclones, extreme weather and storm surges, climate change is now supercharging those events. Meanwhile, rising sea levels are driving a slow onset disaster in salinization. In earlier days, river and pond water was safe to drink. Now, the water tastes salty, and residents feel abdominal pain all the time, often suffering from diarrhea, dysentery and jaundice. Find out how UNDP is supporting Bangladesh in battling these changes.
Fuel not Fire: from burning crop waste to bioenergy - Finding sustainable uses for crop waste in India and worldwide
The problem? Burning crop residues. Although it causes a variety of health issues and significantly raises levels of pollution, it is a common practice in India and many other countries around the world. The solution? Turn the crop residues into something useful, such as bioenergy. Through its Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) approach, FAO provides countries with the guidance, tools and support to implement bioenergy strategies in a sustainable way, with minimal impact on the environment. For example, residues from rice crops could be turned into compressed biogas and ethanol; new and more sustainable forms of energy.
A higher-yield rice variety moves Madagascar further on the path to self-sufficiency
Madagascar has a rich history of rice cultivation. Outside of Asia, Madagascar has the longest tradition of rice production, and this staple is cultivated in almost all districts of the country. In Madagascar, however, people earn less than US 1.90 per day on average, and the Malagasy population is severely affected by food insecurity, including food shortages. Domestic production of rice, for example, still does not meet the needs of the island, and the country has to rely heavily on imported rice to help ensure national food security. Through FAO’s South-South Cooperation project between China and Madagascar, participants are hoping that a better-yielding variety of rice will help ensure the country’s food security and reduce its reliance on imports of this staple.