Secretary-General António Gutteres has renewed his call for an immediate global cease-fire of 23 March to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He provided an update on the broad international support with which this appeal has been greeted, the response by conflict parties in a number of situations of armed conflict and the efforts on the ground by United Nations representatives and other actors to press forward and try to consolidate fragile advances towards laying down weapons. The UN Messengers of Peace have added their support. "We need to do everything possible to find the peace and unity our world so desperately needs to battle COVID-19," Mr. Guterres emphasized in his renewed appeal.
Secretary-General António Guterres briefs reporters in New York.
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.
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.
The General Assembly declared 4 April as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action to protect people in countries where mines and explosives constitute a serious threat to the lives of the civilian population. For over 20 years, the work of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has been driven by the needs of civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarians affected by the threat of explosive hazards. UNMAS continues its work during COVID-19.
As a result of their online meeting on open science, UNESCO calls on governments to reinforce scientific cooperation and integrate open science in their research programmes to prevent and mitigate global crises. Participants from ministries in charge of science from 122 countries, joined the European Commissioner for Innovation, the African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, and the WHO’s Chief Scientist, among others to address open science in the context of COVID-19 response.
Unlike other economic downturns, the fall of output in the COVID-19 crisis is not driven by demand. The role of economic policy is hence not to stimulate demand, at least not right away. Rather, IMF proposes policy have three objectives: to guarantee the functioning of essential sectors, to provide enough resources for people hit by the crisis, and to prevent excessive economic disruption. The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis like no other, calling for an increased role for the public sector.
UNDP makes a call to action to the international community to think beyond the immediate impact of COVID-19. Income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion in developing countries. With an estimated 55 per cent of the global population having no access to social protection, these losses will reverberate across societies, impacting education, human rights and basic food security and nutrition. Working in close coordination with the WHO, UNDP is helping countries to prepare for, respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing particularly on the most vulnerable.
Although the number of reported and confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection among refugees remains low, over 80 per cent of the world’s refugee population and nearly all the internally displaced people live in low to middle-income countries and need urgent support. Many refugees live in densely populated camps or in poorer urban areas with inadequate health infrastructure and WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – facilities. Prevention in these locations is of paramount importance. The UN Refugee Agency detailed a series of measures it is taking in its field operations.
World Bank teams make significant progress on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the health impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, a major global recession is expected. The World Bank is finalizing projects in 60 countries under the $14 billion Fast Track Facility. Additionally, Board approval is expected to provide grants, credits and loans of $2 billion covering a wide range of developing countries. In parallel, proposed financing for operations that will help prevent, detect, and respond to the public health threat posed by COVID-19 will expedite emergency efforts.
Barbados fishing industry representatives and United Nations agencies have drafted a strategy to increase the value of the island’s tuna exports. If fully implemented, it could dramatically boost revenue from tuna exports, from US$303,000 in 2015 to $7.5 million in 2027. The project – a joint endeavour between UNCTAD, the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – addresses the different aspects of the national fishing industry where improvements are needed to transition from unprocessed to processed tuna exports.
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.
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.
Birth at a time of COVID-19: Iran's midwives save lives
Giving birth is never an easy experience. At a time of COVID-19, the experience can be even more fraught. Iran's midwives are helping pregnant women, new mothers and their babies - reassuring women, handling difficult deliveries and saving lives. Let's celebrate them and all midwives in this, the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
COVID 19: Bold action can curb the economic fallout
Empty streets, shuttered shops, overflowing hospitals. The entire world is at war with an invisible enemy – the novel coronavirus. While social distancing saves lives, it drags down the global economy and threatens jobs. The World Economic Situation and Prospects Monthly Briefing by UN DESA found that the COVID pandemic could shrink world economic output by 0.9 per cent in 2020, instead of growing 2.5 per cent, as previously projected. By comparison, the world economy contracted by 1.7 per cent during the global financial crisis in 2009.
UN Chamber Music Society Performance to provide solace during pandemic
In this unprecedented time, it is more important than ever for people to remain in contact. Although we must be physically apart, we can still come together to enjoy the beauty and power of music. Through this performance the UN Chamber Music Society pays tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. This performance is in solidarity and support to all those who are affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and especially the most vulnerable among us: the elderly, the sick, those without reliable healthcare, and those on the edge of poverty.
Bulk of developing world faces hardship, as virus exacerbates economic frailty
Six billion people – that’s the bulk of the developing world – look set to suffer from the economic impact of the new coronavirus pandemic, the UN trade and development organization, UNCTAD, says.
Even before the disease hits the most vulnerable countries on the planet – those that rely on exporting their raw materials – the UN body says that there were clear signs late last year, that 2020 was going to be a very tough year.
In an interview with UN News’s Daniel Johnson by Skype, UNCTAD economist Richard Kozul-Wright outlines how a radical plan worth a staggering $2.5 trillion, could help avoid some of the worst financial consequences of COVID-19.
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
Outer Islands; Inner Sanctum
The Republic of Seychelles is facing a perfect storm: on one hand, government and industry increasingly see the ocean as an important source of economic growth; on the other, they are tasked with countering the existential threat the ocean faces. But this challenge has resulted in a success worthy of celebration - the government announced a landmark achievement: protecting 30% of the country’s ocean territory. Increasing the country’s marine protection means that a major portion of the natural world will be significantly safeguarded to encourage sustainable development and to adapt to the effects of climate change.
Photo:IOM 2020/Olivia Headon
Light and Safety: What Electricity Can Mean for Displaced Families in Yemen
“We called her Amal — it means hope,” Aisha says. Forced to flee their home in Yemen because of fighting, Aisha now lives near Marib city with her husband and his extended family, including parents, aunt and uncle, as well as both couple’s children. One of the larger displacement sites in Marib, Al Rumaylah hosts around 400 families. Like many displacement sites, Al Rumaylah could be a scary place at night, without electricity and light. The IOM partnered with the Director-General of ECHO to respond to a call from the displaced community for support with their electrical system.
COVID-19: ‘Children in the front line’
Should COVID-19 get a foothold in countries like Sudan or Yemen, the World Food Programme (WFP) says the consequences will be catastrophic. In February, WFP delivered 14,000 metric tons of food to 2.2 million of Sudan’s population of 40 million. “Malnourished children under-5 whose immunity is compromised by infections and other medical complications are on the front line,” he says. “Their parents by default are then at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.” In this article, two WFP nutrition experts advise how to protect the most vulnerable during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Don’t Allow the Coronavirus to Open Up Another Front
What started as a health crisis due to COVID-19 could turn into a food crisis. Preventing a food crisis is key to maintaining the strength to fight back. Much like the health response, the effort to keep food systems working requires multisectoral and multilateral action, and a combination of finance, technology, science, human resources and policy support. IFAD’s mission is to invest in small-scale producers and rural people to improve their livelihoods and resilience. Small farms could be even more important now in ensuring food security for both rural and urban people.