"To silence the guns, we must raise the voices for peace"

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.
Photo:UN Photo/Mark Garten
Mahmoud, who has autism, is holding the letter he was asked to find at the resource room in Egypt.

COVID-19 should not herald rollback in rights for people with autism: UN chief

2 April 2020 — The rights of persons with autism must be taken into account in efforts to address the COVID-19 coronavirus: “a public health crisis unlike any other in our lifetimes”, the UN...

Low-skilled workers, developing countries at risk of steep economic decline as coronavirus advances

1 April 2020 — The global economy could shrink by up to one per cent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may contract even further if restrictions on economic activities are extended without...

COVID-19 effect casts cloud over weather alert accuracy: UN sky watchers

1 April 2020 — UN weather experts warned on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic risks disrupting key forecasting services, including early warning alerts around the world.

...

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.

Thomas the Tank engine

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.

SDG Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing with drawing of heart monitor line and heart

 

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

 

More from the
United Nations

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

Two deminers at work in Western Sahara.

Together for Mine Action

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.

Group of scientists in a lab

UNESCO mobilizes cooperation in science to face 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.

A view of an almost empty Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

IMF explains economic policies for the COVID-19 war

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.

Home school with a virtual ocean dive

UNEP partner, Ocean Agency, invites parents and children to experience the ocean and its astounding life forms from their homes. Remote diving is the new remote working.

Robot delivery vehicles for Wuhan hospital

In a Wuhan hospital, a UNIDO partnership set unmanned vehicles to transport medical supplies, deliver meals for doctors and patients, and complete other emergency tasks.

UN partners with WhatsApp to give COVID-19 information

The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub provides simple, actionable guidance for health workers, educators, and other users that rely on WhatsApp to communicate. 

Accessible Books Consortium (ABC)

The Accessible Books Consortium, a WIPO partnership, aims to increase the number of books worldwide in accessible formats and to make them available to people who need them.

Unemployed taxi drivers during the Ebola crisis, Liberia 2014.

COVID-19 threatens to ramp up inequality

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.

Venezuelan refugees and migrants practice using hand sanitizer

UNHCR: Staying and delivering for refugees amid COVID-19

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 Group President David Malpass

World Bank takes important steps in response to COVID-19

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.

tuna fish

Barbados bets on tuna to boost the value of fish exports

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.

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.

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.

UN Podcasts

Two men sitting side by side are chatting in a recording studio.

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

More UN podcasts

Live Now

United Nations meetings, events, and press conferences live and on demand

The United Nations in Pictures

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

Turtle crawls on sandy beaches
Photo:ICS/Annabelle Cupidon

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.

A man crouches to reach the eye level of his daughter and exchanges a warm smile with her.
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.

Women wearing masks, white coats and head protection are packing meat.
Photo:WFP/Mohammed Nasher

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.

Woman holding a bunch of plants and wearing a straw hat poses for a photo.
Photo:©IFAD/Francesco Cabras

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.