Women and Gender Equality

The gender pay gap is estimated at over 20 per cent globally

Across all regions, women are paid less than men. The International Equal Pay Day (18 September) represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations commitment to human rights and against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls. This year’s observance focuses on encouraging efforts of key labour market actors to ensure that equal pay remains central to pandemic responses worldwide and to fully recognize the contributions of women to COVID-19 recovery.

Achieving equal pay is an important milestone for human rights and gender equality.
If no actions are taken, global emissions will continue to grow this decade. By 2030 they will increase by about 16.3 per cent compared to 2010 levels.

Paris climate deal could go up in smoke without action: Guterres

17 September 2021 — Unless wealthy nations commit to tackling emissions now, the world is on a “catastrophic pathway” to 2.7-degrees of heating by the end of the century, UN Secretary General...

Counting on youth, for an ‘equitable and sustainable world for all’

17 September 2021 — At a virtual event on Friday commemorating the International Day of Peace, the UN chief saluted the “voices, vision and commitment of young people in shaping a more peaceful...

From BTS, K-Pop heroes, to net zero: 5 things to look out for at UNGA 76

15 September 2021 — The 76th session of the UN General Assembly is due to begin on 14 September, and it will be very different from 2020’s fully virtual gathering. UNGA 76 will still be...

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 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.

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.

hands holding seedling

In addition to the General Debate, this year’s session of the UN General Assembly will kick off a series of international UN conferences in 2021, which are expected to highlight action and solutions that will ignite the transformations needed to secure healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all. 

camera view of media zone

As the world responds to end the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 remains a make-or-break year in the global effort to restore balance with nature, tackle the climate emergency, and attain a more equal and inclusive society. Join us for conversations that matter – underscoring the transformation and restoration needed to achieve the SDGs and the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement.

More from the
United Nations

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

animated video still of family moving Climate, Migration, World Bank

Millions on the move due to climate change

People pack up and leave their homes for many reasons – economic, social, political – and these drivers are often interconnected. A more complete picture of patterns of mobility must now include those moving due to climate change – a trend expected to increase over time - as people journey from one part of their countries to another. Over 216 million people could move within their countries by 2050 across six regions, according to the World Bank’s latest Groundswell report.

Afghan girls in school Éducation, UNESCO

What is at stake for education in Afghanistan

Since 2001 Afghanistan has made advances, according to a UNESCO report. The report found that the total number of enrolled students increased from around 1 million to 10 million learners. The number of girls in primary school increased from almost zero in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2018. In 2021, 4 out of 10 students in primary education are girls. Yet these critical gains for the country’s development are at risk and the right to education for all learners, especially girls, must be upheld in the face of a looming humanitarian crisis. 

hands holding plate of papayas Agriculture and Food, FAO

Farm aid must support environment and social goals

Global support to producers in the agricultural sector amounts to $540 billion per year, making up 15 percent of total agricultural production value. Yet 87 percent of this support is price distorting and environmentally and socially harmful. Reconfiguring agricultural producer support, rather than eliminating it, will help end poverty, eradicate hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture, foster sustainable consumption and production, mitigate the climate crisis, restore nature, limit pollution, and reduce inequalities.

Éducation, UNESCO

Keeping girls in the picture

Over 11 million girls may not go back to school after the COVID-19 crisis. Join UNESCO and members of the Global Education Coalition in the #LearningNeverStops campaign.

Health, UNFPA

Better maternal health outcomes – and sometimes a miracle

During a pregnancy complication at 7 months, Ami Campini was transported to the Regional Hospital of Buba, Guinea-Bissau and delivered a 1.3-kilogram baby girl via emergency Caesarean section. 

Trade and Commerce

From recovery to resilience

In 2021, the global economy will bounce back with growth of 5.3%, the fastest in nearly 50 years. The rebound is, however, highly uneven along regional, sectoral and income lines, according to UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report 2021.

Climate, UNDP

Keeping us cool

Malaysia is helping to protect the ozone layer by taking measures to control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it.

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

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.

Watch and Listen

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

People everywhere will join a new United Nations campaign, Keeping the Promise, to rally behind the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted in 2015 to set the world on a more equal and sustainable path.

The Hole

The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful universally ratified environmental treaties. Without which, it is estimated that the global ozone layer would have collapsed by the mid-21st century, with devastating environmental implications. Scientists estimate that the ozone hole is now expected to gradually close. But there is more to be done. The Kigali Amendment aims to phase-out so called HFC gasses. Compliance will avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming over this century.

UNEP brings us a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, with aerial footage courtesy of Human / GoodPlanet Foundation.


ITU Interviews: Geena Davis

Why does the portrayal of women scientists and engineers in films and in the media matter? Would you say that there's a conscious effort to change the numbers and images of women characters as scientists and engineers? What concrete actions can content creators put in place to support and promote strong female characters and role models? Geena Davis, Academy Award winning Hollywood actor, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and ITU's Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT, answers these questions in an exclusive interview with ITU.

UN Podcasts

Sam Mort poses for a photo with children

Keep Going for the Children of Afghanistan

"We took around seven children back to the UNICEF compound here in Kabul… there was a little boy called Mudares [... Mudares] said 'when I go up high, I feel I can reach the stars and I want one from my mother.' It was a reminder for us all just to keep going for the children of Afghanistan -- because if Mudares can look to the stars, we can all look to the stars and do better.” 

Sam Mort, UNICEF’s Chief of Communications in Afghanistan, speaks to Melissa from Kabul shortly after the Taliban’s takeover. Sam, along with other UN colleagues, has remained in Afghanistan to help the country’s people as they face a worsening humanitarian situation. She tells stirring stories of loss, reunification and reaching to the stars for hope.

“I see a bravery in Afghanistan's girls and women that I haven't seen anywhere else, because the fears and the threats are real and they acknowledge it. And they move forward,” she says. 

Latest Audio from UN News

The United Nations in Pictures

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

A boy stands cross-armed in front a damaged home
Photo:UNICEF / Haro

One month on, Haiti’s children grapple with a disaster

Early in the morning of 14 August 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, claiming more than 2,200 lives and injuring thousands more. The devastating earthquake also upended the lives of thousands of children. More than 700 schools were damaged or destroyed by the earthquake. For many children, part of the recovery process will require being able to return to school safely. UNICEF and partners are working to establish temporary classrooms until schools can welcome back children and teachers.

A man walks on a dirt path past a home in arid mountainous territory.
Photo:UNDP Afghanistan

97 percent of Afghans could plunge into poverty by mid 2022

Afghanistan teeters on the brink of universal poverty. As much as 97 percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line unless a response to the country’s political and economic crises is urgently launched, according to a rapid appraisal released today by UNDP. The UNDP study, which analysed four potential scenarios of escalating intensity and isolation, indicates that real GDP could contract by as much as 13.2 percent, leading to an increase in the poverty rate of up to 25 percentage points.