Menstruation is intrinsically related to human dignity. For millions, this most natural of the reproductive cycle functions can equate to abuse, stigma, missed opportunity and loss of dignity. To support menstrual health and hygiene, UNFPA has included thousands of kits as part of the humanitarian response to conflict and natural disasters. Menstrual Hygiene Day seeks to advance menstruation as a biological process and to eliminate feeling fear or shame or being exposed to more vulnerabilities. It also raises awareness of period poverty, or the inability to afford menstrual supplies.
Women produce menstrual pads as part of a pilot programme with a double impact: distributing hygiene products to people in need and giving women a chance to earn income.
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.
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.
The World Bank is working with countries on the preparation of $12 billion of new projects for the next 15 months to respond to the food security crisis. These projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects. In addition, the World Bank’s existing portfolio includes undisbursed balances of $18.7 billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
Tensions over trade, technology standards, and security have been growing for many years, undermining growth and trust in the current global economic system. Uncertainty around trade policies reduced global gross domestic product in 2019 by nearly 1 percent, according to IMF research. And since the war in Ukraine started, our monitoring indicates that around 30 countries have restricted trade in food, energy, and other key commodities. To restore trust that the rules-based global system can work well, we must weave our economic fabric in new and better ways.
According to new data from UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide rose towards 90 million by the end of 2021, propelled by new waves of violence or conflict in countries including Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the DR Congo. In addition, the war in Ukraine has displaced 8 million within the country this year, and more than 6 million refugee movements from Ukraine have been registered. At over 1 per cent of the global population, the overall figure is equivalent to the 14th most populous country in the world.
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.
South Sudan: A day in the life of a deminer | UN Peacekeeping
Salila Abdulai Wani is 1 of 37 women UNMAS deminers working with the UN mission in South Sudan, out of a total of 338 deminers. They are clearing sites of explosive ordnance so that others can have safe passage. Follow Salila's movements throughout a typical day in her life. The threat of explosive ordnance affects the daily life of communities, the mobility of peacekeepers and the delivery of humanitarian aid. Since the inception of UNMAS South Sudan in 2004, more than 1.2 million explosive ordnance have been destroyed. Join us in celebrating the International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2022.
Celebrating tea and tea farmers
The art of making tea dates back over 5,000 years to the Chinese Shang Dynasty. Today, globally, tea is the most popular drink, second only to water. Let's celebrate tea and the farmers who produce it!
#WomenForBees by UNESCO, Guerlain & Angelina Jolie in Cambodia
Angelina Jolie is joined in Cambodia by beekeeper Aggelina Kanellopoulou, a graduate from the 2021 cohort of the #WomenForBees Programme, to share her experiences and exchange best practices in beekeeping with the women.
Even Children of War Find Hope
“When I meet with children, I just see that there's always that glimpse of hope in their eyes and that drive to make a future for themselves.”
Bo Viktor Nylund has always been drawn to complex, difficult places. As the Representative of UNICEF in Syria, he is a passionate advocate for the rights of children growing up in one of the world’s most thorny and protracted crises.
Children continue to bear the brunt of Syria’s decade-old conflict, with millions of childhoods shattered through destruction, displacement, and death. Meanwhile, thousands of children of Islamic State fighters, some as young as 12, are being held indefinitely in camps in the country’s north. In this episode, Bo Viktor Nylund reflects on their grim plight and his determination to do right by every Syrian child hoping for a better future through education.
“The situation of the children who have been affiliated with Islamic State is basically a time bomb in the making.”
Akib Dahir, 27, arrived at the Gabi’as displacement camp with her eight children, after losing 180 goats and 15 camels to the drought. Her husband spends hours in the baking heat on an increasingly desperate hunt for pasture and water to keep their few remaining animals alive. “We are trying to save all we have,” she said. “The animals are almost worthless in the market. We can’t even feed our children.” The last three rainy seasons failed one after the other, blighting the lives and livelihoods of nearly 8 million people across and pushing eastern and southern areas of the country to the brink of famine. More than 286,000 people have been forced from their homes in search of survival as crops, livestock, and the hope of putting food on the table are all wiped out.
Tafo Mihaavo is the national network of local communities in Madagascar practicing customary natural resource management. Established in 2012, Tafo Mihaavo has more than 600 members who work in ecosystem safeguarding and restoration across 22 regions. Tafo Mihaavo has developed strategies on community natural resource management to enhance the legal recognition of local community rights. Indigenous peoples and local communities are environmental stewards of many of the world’s biodiversity and cultural hotspots. With the territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities accounting for approximately 32 per cent of ecologically intact global land, studies show that global biodiversity goals cannot be met without them.