Agriculture and Food

The stage for global food systems transformation

The UN Food Systems Summit serves as a historic opportunity to empower all people to leverage the power of food systems to drive our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and get us back on track to achieve all 17 SDGs by 2030. As a people’s and a solutions summit, it recognizes that everyone, everywhere must take action to transform the way the world produces, consumes, and thinks about food. The Summit will culminate with actionable commitments by heads of state and government and other constituency leaders. Follow it with its virtual platform on 23 September starting at 9:00 a.m. EDT.

Through an FAO-supported programme Guatemalan Ixil women apply good practices in food handling and preparation, hygiene and health.
Photo:FAO / Luis Gustavo Sánchez Días
Progressively more acute droughts in Somalia have prompted people to move – undermining food security and leaving women vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

UN chief: Window to avert devasting climate impacts ‘rapidly closing’

23 September 2021 — No region is immune to climate disasters the UN chief told the Security Council on Thursday, warning that “our window of opportunity” to prevent the worst climate impacts is “...

20 years after Durban Declaration, racism reverberates in ‘echo chambers of hate’

22 September 2021 — Two decades after a landmark declaration was adopted to eradicate racism, discrimination continues to “permeate institutions, social structures and everyday life in every...

Afghanistan’s healthcare system on brink of collapse, as hunger hits 95 per cent of families

22 September 2021 — Afghanistan’s health system is on the brink of collapse, the head of the World Health Organisation, WHO, warned on Wednesday, while on the streets of Kabul, the hunger families...

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.

hands holding seedling

UNGA High-Level Week 2021

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. 

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.

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.

The profile of a woman using a head veil UNFPA, Women and Gender Equality

Afghanistan: On the ground delivering for women and girls 

The progress Afghanistan has made in increasing freedom and rights and dramatically lowering maternal mortality must not be erased or eroded. UNFPA is on the ground in Afghanistan working with its partners to ensure access to life-saving reproductive health and protection services at community, village and district levels and in camps. Guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, UNFPA is committed to delivering in Afghanistan, with our response grounded in our mission to uphold the rights of girls and women.

A gloved hand holds up the tablet. UNESCO, Culture

The 3,500-year-old Gilgamesh Tablet returned to Iraq

UNESCO celebrates a significant victory in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural objects as one of the oldest literary works in history is formally handed back to Iraq by the United States of America. In addition to this exceptional piece, the US Government facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 17,000 artefacts to Iraq which were discovered to have been looted in recent decades. The “Gilgamesh Tablet”, also known as the “Gilgamesh Dream Tablet”, is believed to have been looted from a museum in Iraq following the conflict in that country in 1991.

Bees on a honey comb FAO, Agriculture and Food

“Busy” bee-ing a Food Hero in Dominica

In 2013, Busy found out about FAO’s beekeeping course through one of his friends and decided to register to gain deeper knowledge and take his business to the next level. FAO’s three-week course armed him with critical information on the practical aspects of beekeeping, including building beehive boxes and mounting frames. With a strong determination, passion and “know-how”, Busy worked diligently in every aspect of the beekeeping trade, including planting trees and even encouraging his neighbours to grow vegetation so the bees could pollinate and collect nectar.  

Energy, UNDP

Powering the future

The clean energy revolution has begun. How quickly and fairly it happens, and who will benefit from it, is the greatest challenge of our time. What we do next will shape the destinies of generations to come.

Human Settlements, UNEP


The UN Environment Programme, the Global Environment Facility and partners have launched UrbanShift – a new global initiative to improve lives and transform cities into green and liveable spaces that address climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Atomic Energy, IAEA

Preparing for Zoonotic Outbreaks

The obvious lesson from the pandemic is the lack of global preparedness. The IAEA dedicated its Scientific Forum to investigate how nuclear science can further help the world to prepare for future zoonotic outbreaks.

Employment, Health

2 million people die from work-related causes each year

The first WHO/ILO global estimates on disease and injury in the workplace outline the level of preventable premature deaths due to exposure to work-related health risks.

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.

Swiss-French artist Saype (Guillaume Legros) presents his giant ephemeral landart painting entitled "World in Progress II" at UN Headquarters, New York. The artwork, representing two children drawing and building with origami their ideal world, covers 11'000 square meters (118'000 sq ft) and is produced with biodegradable paints made from natural pigments such as charcoal and chalk. It constitutes the second step of a project started at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva in 2020. The project is supported and gifted by Switzerland to the U.N. to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the organization and the launch of “Our Common Agenda.”

UN building lights up with images of siphonophores

The Interspecies Assembly, a public art project commissioned by ART 2030, a non-profit organization which unites art with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - the world’s blueprint for a healthier, safer and more equal future - will project the filmwork, Vertical Migration, onto the northern façade of the 39-storey UN Secretariat building. The filmwork, to be projected 8pm to 11pm EST from 21 to 24 September, was created by SUPERFLEX, a Danish art collective.

Act now for safe and respectful childbirth - World Patient Safety Day 2021

World Patient Safety Day 2021 is dedicated to safe maternal and newborn care recognizing the significant burden of avoidable harm caused by unsafe care particularly around the time of birth. Every woman has a right to a positive childbirth experience. WHO calls on stakeholders to ‘Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!’

UN Podcasts

water tap

Jane Goodall Introduces Xiaoyuan "Charlene" Ren

In the fifth episode of the UN climate action podcast No Denying It, United Nations Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, known for her groundbreaking scientific work studying chimpanzees, interviews Xiaoyuan "Charlene" Ren.

Ms. Ren is the founder of MyH20, a network that collects drinking water data to help find solutions to improve water quality across China. Globally, two billion people lack access to safe drinking water, a figure that will only go up as infrastructure struggles to keep pace with new climate change-related weather patterns.


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.

traditional farmer in Kenya
Photo:UNDP Kenya

Fed up: How changing the way we eat can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals

Food is so much more than what we put into our bodies. At a human level it’s a deeply important part of our culture and history, tied to our sense of self, family and community. The food system has evolved considerably, from traditional methods that reflected location and culture to decentralized food chains with increased carbon demands. A new approach to supporting farmers is needed after a UNDP, FAO and UNEP report showed that agricultural subsidies cause market distortions that disadvantage small farmers, like this one in Kenya.

family at site of burned down home
Photo:© UNFPA Yemen

Rising from the ashes: A Yemen family's new home

In July 2021, the Al-Ashur family tent burned down in the Om Elhadage internally displaced persons camp in Marib, home to 150 people. The Al-Ashurs – a grandfather, two parents and 7 children – had come to the camp when fighting near their home close to the front lines intensified, forcing them to leave. The family slept in the open air until a UNFPA-led Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) team, while distributing emergency relief, volunteered to help rebuild the family’s temporary home, completing it in 48 hours.