Peace and Security, Sports

Silence the guns, and let the games begin!

The Olympic Games have long exemplified the ideals of peace and goodwill among nations. As the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games get underway, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has issued a call for silencing the guns, saying: “People and nations can build on this temporary respite to establish lasting ceasefires and find paths towards sustainable peace.” Upholding a tradition started in 1994, the President of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, also made a solemn appeal to the UN Member States to observe the Olympic Truce.

The United Nations and the Olympic flags are raised at UN Headquarters.
Photo:UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Rescuers pull villagers from flood waters in Xingyang city in China's Henan Province.

Water-related hazards dominate list of 10 most destructive disasters

22 July 2021 — Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing global climate, water-related hazards top the list of natural disasters with the highest human losses in the past 50 years, according to a...

Revealed: Inequalities persist in HIV prevention, child treatment services

22 July 2021 — Nearly half of the 1.7 million children worldwide living with HIV were not on treatment last year, the UN programme leading the global fight against HIV and AIDS, UNAIDS, said in a...

Nelson Mandela: 'Synonymous with the fight for justice and equality'

21 July 2021 — Celebrating what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 102nd birthday on Wednesday, the UN deputy chief hailed the man who led the struggle that ended the racist apartheid system in his...

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.

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 Media Zone in Tokyo


Join us in the exchanges of ideas and experiences on how sport brings values and inspirations to contribute in accelerating and expanding the efforts to make our world a better place.

More from the
United Nations

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

baby receiving oral vaccine Health, UNICEF, WHO

Childhood vaccinations fall behind due to COVID-19

23 million children missed out on basic childhood vaccines through routine health services in 2020, the highest number since 2009 and 3.7 million more than in 2019. WHO/UNICEF data shows that a majority of countries last year experienced drops in childhood vaccination rates. Up to 17 million children – likely did not receive a single vaccine during the year, widening already immense inequities in vaccine access. Most of these children live in communities affected by conflict, in under-served remote places, or in informal or slum settings where they face multiple deprivations including limited access to basic health and key social services.

A group of happy children smiling and pointing at the camera. Finance, IMF

Seize the opportunity for a pro-growth, post-pandemic world

Since March 2020, governments have spent $16 trillion providing fiscal support amid the pandemic. Deficits are the highest they have been since World War II. This was absolutely necessary — IMF research indicates that if policymakers had not acted, last year’s recession, which was the worst peacetime recession since the Great Depression, would have been three times worse. The world lost $15 trillion in output as a result of COVID-19. The same energy that is being put into vaccination and plans for recovery spending also needs to be put into growth measures to make up for this lost output.

portraits of frontline workers Migrants, IOM

Frontline workers in the spotlight

Every day, in cities across Europe, frontline workers provide essential services to migrant communities in a challenging context. They play a vital role in the daily lives of many individuals and families by serving as a link between these communities and the host country. Who are these frontline workers? What do they do, what barriers do they face in their daily work, and how do they build trust and engage with the people they serve? How does their work impact their own lives? The UN Organization for Migration (IOM) got to know nine frontline workers from across Europe who shared their experiences.

Climate, UNDP

Equator Prize 2021

This year's prize honours trailblazing Indigenous and local solutions for people and planet, including the Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas del Territorio Cabécar Kábata Könana, in Costa Rica.

Agriculture and Food, FAO

The face of resilience in Afghanistan

With project funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund, FAO supported 37,200 smallholder farmers, including Khialy Gul, across 16 provinces of Afghanistan with an emergency wheat cultivation package.

Wildlife, UNESCO

Salonga National Park (DRC) removed from endangered list

The World Heritage Committee observed that the management of the park has been greatly improved and that bonobo populations remain stable.

Humanitarian Aid

Supporting victims of abuse

Seven projects in 2020 helped provide seed funding for income-generating activities to put victims on the path to sustainable economic empowerment and independence.

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" will build 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.

Calling all children and teens around the world! If you’re between the ages 5 to 19, FAO wants you to use your imagination and create a poster showing a food journey! There are many different kinds of journeys that food can take, some that guarantee a healthier future for people and the planet. Choose your favourite and be creative!

Let's talk about sex

Who decides whether or when you can have sex? Watch what people on the streets of Paris had to say and join the conversation. As the Generation Equality Forum drew leaders and activists from around the world, UNFPA highlights the critical importance of realizing bodily autonomy for all. 

Free the world of work from violence and harassment

The workplace should be safe for everyone, everywhere. The ILO Convention No. 190 aims to end all forms of violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence. The Convention focuses on restoring dignity and respect for all. Ask your governments to #RatifyC190.

UN Podcasts

Chats with STEMinists: Mothers in Science

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted women’s employment not only because they make up the majority of the hardest hit sectors but because mothers have been feeling more pressures at home due to lockdown measures and school closures.  Have a listen to Isabel Torres, co-founder and CEO of Mothers in Science, which aims to raise awareness of the career obstacles faced by mothers in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) and advocates for workplace equality and inclusion. UNDP’s Chats with STEMinists is a podcast series sharing conversations with people working to advance girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. 

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 woman and a man point at a blackboard
Photo:WFP / Arete / Fredrik Lerneryd

On the write track: Literacy training empowers women in DR Congo

Furaha, a participant in a literacy project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is among thousands of farmers trained by the WFP and FAO in techniques that increase yields. But it is her newfound ability to read, write and count that she says she’s most proud of.  Like many other women in the eastern parts of the DRC, torn apart by years of conflict, Furaha was not able to go to school.  Today she is the president of her savings-and-loans group and helps a lot of women. It is through such community bodies that the UN seeks to empower communities.

grass huts by a lake
Photo:UNEP / Duncan Moore

Climate change could spark floods in world’s largest desert lake

For years it appeared as though Lake Turkana, which sits in an arid part of northern Kenya, was drying up. Its main river inflows had been muffled by dams and many feared water levels were poised to drop by two-thirds, causing the lake to cleave into two smaller bodies of water. It was an African “Aral Sea disaster in the making” – where only 10 per cent remains of the original sea. But a new study from the UNEP predicts a far wetter future for Lake Turkana – and possibly a more perilous one for the 15 million people who live on its shores.