Safeguard the health and rights of women and girls

As COVID-19 takes a staggering toll on people, communities and economies everywhere, not everyone is affected equally. Women, who account for the largest share of front-line health workers, are disproportionately exposed to the coronavirus. As countries are on lockdown and health systems struggle to cope, sexual and reproductive health services are being side-lined and gender-based violence is on the rise. On 11 July, World Population Day, the United Nations aims to raise awareness about the sexual and reproductive health needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls during the pandemic.

Viet Nam has expanded reproductive health services, including family planning, pre- and post-natal care and HIV prevention.
Photo:UNFPA/Doan Bau Chau
Brothers Ahmad (left), 7, and Saad, 5, carry a hygiene kit back to their tent in Fafin camp, northern rural Aleppo.

BREAKING: Security Council extends for one year, lifesaving cross-border aid to Syria 

11 July 2020 — On its fourth attempt this week, the Security Council has on Saturday, authorized for one year, cross-border humanitarian aid from Turkey into northwest Syria. 


COVID-19 cases worldwide hit 12 million

10 July 2020 — COVID-19 cases globally have more than doubled in the past six weeks, reaching 12 million on Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported.


Wildlife crime putting environment and health at risk: UN report

10 July 2020 — The COVID-19 pandemic shows how wildlife crime is a threat not only to the environment but to human health, according to a new UN report issued on Friday.


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.

#SDG Live

The first-ever virtual SDG Media Zone will be held on the sidelines of this year’s High-level Political Forum. As governments, civil society, businesses, and other sectors come together to take stock of the SDGs, we bring you expert voices, ideas and solutions for a sustainable recovery from COVID-19, focusing on the power of science and solidarity that can turn the tide and usher in a new era of transformative action for a healthier, more equitable and greener world.

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure


Goal 9: Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

More from the
United Nations

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

A woman chops meat in an open air market.

Preventing future pandemics

Ebola, SARS, Zika, HIV/AIDS, West Nile fever and now COVID-19 – some of the highest-profile diseases to emerge in the last several decades. And while they emerged in different parts of the world, their common thread is that they jumped between animals and humans. They are what scientists call “zoonotic diseases”. Now, a scientific assessment led by UNEP finds that unless countries take dramatic steps to curb zoonotic contagions, global outbreaks like COVID-19 will become more common.

A woman works on her phone while shopping in a market.

Digital financial inclusion boosts growth

The COVID-19 pandemic could be a game changer for digital financial services. Low-income households and small firms can benefit greatly from advances in mobile money, fintech services, and online banking. This digital financial inclusion can also boost economic growth. While the pandemic is set to increase use of these services, the IMF points out it has also posed challenges for the growth of the industry’s smaller players and highlighted unequal access to digital infrastructure.

A ship in the ocean.

The long journey home

2020 began as a normal year for the Dr Fridtjof Nansen, the only marine research vessel to fly the UN flag. The Nansen was meant to sail along West Africa, collecting data off the coast and in the deep-seas for its research into the state of marine resources and the health of our oceans. As the COVID-19 outbreak turned into a pandemic and more and more borders closed to stop the spread of the virus, FAO reports on the plan for the vessel and its crew to get back home to Norway.

First Person COVID-19 stories

COVID-19 has changed our world in ways we could not have imagined. Everyone has been affected and has a story to tell. The ILO shares the stories from people in the world of work.

Stateless, a new drama series

Cate Blanchett was inspired and impassioned by her work and experiences as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to shine a light on what loss of identity can mean.

COVID-19 and the SDGs

The pandemic presents both challenges and opportunities for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP highlights that the challenges we face cannot be dealt with in isolation.

The coronavirus cost on global tourism

An UNCTAD report shows the world’s tourism sector could lose at least $1.2 trillion, or 1.5% of the global gross domestic product, after four months of standstill due to the pandemic.

Close-up of various pills

Decreased access to HIV treatment

Seventy-three countries warned that they are at risk of stock-outs of antiretroviral (ARV) medicines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty-four countries reported having either a critically low stock of ARVs or disruptions in the supply of these life-saving medicines. This new WHO survey follows an exercise convened by WHO and UNAIDS which forecasted that a six-month disruption in access to ARVs could lead to a doubling in AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Flags of World Bank members

Updated country classifications by income level

The World Bank assigns the world’s economies to four income groups—low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries. The classifications are updated each year on July 1 and are based on Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. In each country, factors such as economic growth, inflation, exchange rates, and population growth influence GNI per capita. To keep the income classification thresholds fixed in real terms, they are adjusted annually for inflation. 

Rising violence against displaced in eastern DRC

UNHCR is alarmed at the increasing number of violent attacks on displaced civilians by armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). UNHCR is calling on the authorities to strengthen the presence of police, military forces with support of MONUSCO to improve the security situation. Over five million people have been uprooted by insecurity within the country’s borders, while nearly a million Congolese have sought safety in neighbouring countries as refugees.

Illustration of a baby being cared for by two adults.

New-borns get a stronger start to life in Ukraine

For nearly three decades, Ukraine has seen a steady decline in its population numbers. To address the issue, the government in partnership with UNOPS and UNICEF, launched a pilot project to provide the families of new-borns with a one-time ‘baby box’ that contains a range of essential items for infants. The provision of baby boxes helps ensure equal access to early childcare products based on universally accepted standards, during the critical first weeks of a child’s life.

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

Did you know?

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.

Watch and Listen

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

A healthy diet, a healthier world

Today there is a new nutrition reality. It is a reality where undernutrition (such as micronutrient deficiencies, stunting and wasting), overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and cancer now coexist in the same countries, communities, households and even individuals. This is what is called the double burden of malnutrition which impacts not only our health but also that of future generations, the health of our planet and our economies.

Africa Human Capital Plan: Game changers for investing in Africa's people

The Africa Human Capital Plan sets out clear targets and commitments to boost Africa's potential through its human capital. After just one year, the plan is well underway, helping African countries by empowering women, mobilizing technology and innovation, and building knowledge and partnerships.

Returning home

Over 43,000 individuals from approximately 100 countries are believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIL and other groups. Following ISIL’s loss of territory, approximately 11,000 individuals, mostly women and children, are stranded in camps in Syria and Iraq. Watch the story of Ali and his mother caught in a humanitarian and security crisis with no end in sight.

UN Podcasts

David Beasley inspects a storage facility with colleagues at hand.

Awake at Night: Never Ever Give Up

In this opening episode for Season 3 of Awake at Night, host Melissa Fleming speaks with David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, about his own experience being sick with COVID-19 and why people should listen to the science.  He also explains why the pandemic is causing a spiraling epidemic of hunger.

In Mr. Beasley's words, should the world fail to come together and invest in people everywhere, we may face a "famine of biblical proportions."

From his home in South Carolina, to Yemen, to Sudan and Ethiopia, Mr. Beasley shares candid moments of his journey in the world of humanitarian work, and his thoughts on why the UN is needed now more than ever.

Season three of Awake at Night is dedicated to the people at the United Nations who are at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Extraordinary stories from those who dedicate their lives to helping others.

More UN podcasts

The United Nations in Pictures

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

smiling mother holding baby and immunization card
Photo:UNDP India

11 ways the UN makes the world a better place

Each year the UN publishes a wallet-sized card, using ten simple examples, explaining how the global organization is helping to make the world a better place. This year – the UN’s 75th anniversary - an exceptional year by any standards, an eleventh was added -- leading the global response to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak. The UN also helps more than two million women a month globally go through pregnancy and childbirth complications in countries like India, and supplies vaccines to 50% of the world’s children, helping to save three million lives a year. See more ways the UN makes the world a better place.

fisherman holding large catch
Photo:Ildiko Hamos

Innovating for people and planet in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is one of the few countries in the world to have been spared the COVID-19 pandemic so far, with zero case recorded. But the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are spreading further than the virus itself. The fall in global travel is set to hit the island-nation hard, where travel and tourism are estimated to have contributed 45 percent of the GDP in 2018. Vanuatu is among the poorest nations in the world, which is compounded by its high vulnerability to climate change. However, the Government of Vanuatu is determined to turn this vulnerability into a strength through investing in renewable energy, which will support small businesses and livelihoods, from fishing to handicrafts production.

woman holding forest products
Photo:GEF/SGP Mexico

Communities and COVID

Doña Esther Canul, a member of a small ecotourism co-operative in the Mayan community of Miguel Colorado, is en route to Isla Aguada, a fishing community. This is a 2-hour drive for a very special purpose: Doña Esther is going to barter products from the Mayan forest for products from the ocean. The world has ground to a halt in ways few could have predicted, due to the impact of COVID-19 - a pandemic like no other in several decades. From Asia to Europe to Latin America, local communities and indigenous peoples around the world are responding to the effects of the pandemic in resilient and innovative ways to protect their communities and support one another. 

painting on lawn of two children drawing their ideal world together - a tree, a sun, a house, a string of people holding hands, and animals
Photo:UN Geneva

UN75: Switzerland gifts Saype artwork to Palais des Nations

Two children drawing their ideal world together - a tree, a sun, a house, a string of people holding hands, and animals - universal symbols recalling our common duty towards future generations: this is the subject of the brand new ephemeral monumental fresco by artist Saype in the park of the UN Headquarters in Geneva, Palais des Nations. “World of progress”, a gift from Switzerland for the 75th anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, signed on June 26, 1945, is a poetic, ecological and ephemeral work of 6,000 square meters showing us that building the world of tomorrow is a collective goal. It also recalls the theme of UN75, "Shaping our future together".