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.
Reading and learning are essential to children’s growth and development; stories can fuel their imagination and raise awareness of new possibilities. The SDG Book Club aims to encourage them to learn about the Goals in a fun, engaging way, empowering them to make a difference.
The SDG Media Zone at the UN Ocean Conference takes place from 27 June – 1 July 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. The SDG Media Zone aims to take the conversation on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals out of the policy sphere and into the public discourse. Check out the SDG Media Zone programme and stay tuned for conversations that matter.
Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, reflects on the positive actions we can take this year at a series of international meetings related to the ocean, including the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. In an article for UN Chronicle, he says we can all play a part in halting the decline in the ocean’s health: "Let us all commit to reforming our relationship with Nature to one of respect and balance. And let us do this for our children and grandchildren, so that they may live the secure lives we wish for them on a healthy planet."
Between 2005 and 2020, the United Nations verified over 266,000 grave violations against children committed by parties to conflict situations across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. The data comes from a new UNICEF report – 25 years of children and armed conflict: Taking action to protect children in war. This figure is a fraction of the violations believed to have occurred, as access and security constraints, and the shame, pain, and fear that survivors suffer often hamper the reporting, documentation and verification of grave violations.
Sexual violence in conflict settings remains widespread and systematic, a recent report by the United Nations Secretary-General found, fuelled by “rising inequality, increased militarization, reduced civic space and the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons, among other factors.” Conflict-related sexual violence – which includes assault, rape, forced marriage, trafficking, sexual slavery, forced sterilization, forced abortion other forms of sexual coercion – is used to instill fear, pain, suffering and censorship in its targets.
According to a new Education Cannot Wait study, the number of crisis-affected children and adolescents who need education support is estimated at 222 million - much higher than a previous estimate and an alarming trend.
World Cities Report 2022: Envisaging the Future of Cities seeks to provide insights into the future of cities based on existing trends, challenges and opportunities, as well as disruptive conditions, including the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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.
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.
The largest ocean reef restoration project in the Americas
UN News reports on Colombia’s vibrant undersea world, with over a thousand square kilometres of coral reef awaits those who take the plunge. Yet this improbable marine wonder is in danger. Scientists, local experts, passionate activists, and islanders are sounding the alarm about the deterioration of one of the richest ecosystems in the Caribbean Sea, even as they work together on innovative ways to restore it. The One Million Coral for Colombia project initiated by the Colombian Government in 2021 aims to plant one million coral fragments and restore 200 hectares of coral reef by 2023.
Why the ocean matters
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly; and 40 other guests, among them Cody Simpson, explain why the oceans matter for the 2022 UN Ocean Conference. The ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, is the planet's largest biosphere, and is home to up to 80 percent of all life in the world. It generates 50 percent of the oxygen we need, absorbs 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions and captures 90 percent of the additional heat generated from those emissions.
Reproductive rights are human rights
Data show that restricting access to abortion does not prevent people from seeking abortion, it simply makes it more deadly. As UNFPA’s 2022 State of World Population report reveals, nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended, and over 60 per cent of these unintended pregnancies may end in abortion. A staggering 45 per cent of all abortions are unsafe, making this a leading cause of maternal death. Almost all unsafe abortions occur in developing countries, and UNFPA fears that more unsafe abortions will occur if access to abortion becomes more restricted.
Believe in the Power of Change
“We don't have to be naive, but we have to believe in change, because change has happened. And we can make it happen again.”
Despite monitoring multiple global crises, Rebeca Grynspan has never lost her faith in the power of change. As Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), she is assessing the impact of the war in Ukraine on cash-strapped countries still reeling from the pandemic.
"Rebeca, you recently wrote that we're facing a perfect storm of crises, climate change, the COVID 19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine. What does that mean?" "It means to lose in one year, 20 years of progress [...] that whatever progress you did in poverty in two decades, you lost it in one year."
The trio of crises – climate change, COVID-19, and the war in Ukraine – are setting global development by decades, with vulnerable countries worst affected by global food and energy shortages. In this episode, Rebeca Grynspan reflects on these setbacks, their disproportionate impact on women, and why the world can never give up on the promise of development.
Nafasova Mukaddas is helping to create a sustainable future, literally, one stitch at a time. She has been involved in sewing clothes for the past five years, and her services are in great demand as the next-closest seamstress is 37 kilometres away. She and her husband were able to access small grants through the UNDP-supported, GEF-financed project. The project operates with the understanding that to protect significant biodiversity across the country, work to support local communities is a necessity.
In 2021, extreme weather events and natural hazards cost the world US$ 343 billion in economic losses. Of these losses, only 40 percent were compensated by an insurance policy. When families can't afford insurance, they have few coping strategies available when disasters strike. In a sudden emergency such as a flood, families can be forced to make tough choices, such as selling assets and livestock. Insurance from WFP helps families to buy food, meet their immediate needs and rebuild their lives.