A toilet is not just a toilet. It’s a life-saver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker. Whoever you are, wherever you are, sanitation is your human right. And yet, today, 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation. World Toilet Day is celebrated on 19th November every year to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and expand access to safe toilets. How can anyone lift themselves out of poverty without sanitation? We must expand access to safe toilets and leave no one behind.
Students, members of the Health Brigade outside the latrines of Dikolelayi Primary School in Kananga, Kasai-Occidental province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 2018.
The ActNow Climate Campaign aims to trigger individual action on the defining issue of our time. People around the world will be engaged to make a difference in all facets of their lives, from the food they eat to the clothes they wear.
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.
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.
As much as half of the world’s work is unpaid. And most of it is done by women. This imbalance not only robs women of economic opportunities. It is also costly to society in the form of lower productivity and forgone economic growth. It follows that a fairer allocation of unpaid work would not only benefit women, but would also lead to more efficient work forces and stronger economies. An IMF study finds that unpaid work declines as economic development increases particularly because there is less time spent on domestic chores.
They may be small, but they are mighty. Wreaking havoc on crops, locusts are one of the oldest migratory pests in the world and a serious threat to agricultural production and food security. FAO’s eLocust3 is a handheld tablet and custom app that records and transmits data in real time via satellite to the national locust centres and to the Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS) in Rome. FAO’s around-the-clock monitoring of data and satellite imagery allows for the creation of forecasts up to six weeks in advance.
Persons with disabilities should have a representative voice, chosen by persons with disabilities themselves, in every platform that has an impact on their interests, for they are best positioned to identify their own needs and the most suitable policies for meeting those needs. At the start of the current session of the UN General Assembly, the UN Chronicle asked Gopinathan Achamkulangare of the Joint Inspection Unit of the UN System about the current state of accessibility within the United Nations system and the prospects for addressing the situation comprehensively.
Food losses occurring between harvest and retail sale, also known as post-harvest losses, are a key challenge undermining food security and income generation in many developing countries and one that IFAD is committed to alleviate.
Many people are not aware of just how much plastic is hidden in their beauty and personal care routine. Switch to plastic-free packaging where possible, pledge to stop using products that contain hidden plastics, and demand change from the beauty brands that use them excessively.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization together with the United Arab Emirates, present this special platform to share information, exchange knowledge and tell the human stories related to inclusive and sustainble industrial development.
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.
In 2020, the United Nations turns 75. UN75 aims to build a global vision for the year 2045, the UN's centenary; to increase understanding of the threats to that future; and to drive collective action to realize that vision. #Join the Conversation #Be the Change
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.
Do you know where your food comes from?
A Geographical Indication (GI) is a label used on goods that have a specific geographical origin, highlighting their unique local features, history or distinctive characteristics. Parmigiano-Reggiano and Colombian coffee are famous examples. GI initiatives empower farmers to preserve and promote their territory and ensure their access to markets. GIs help create jobs, while preserving food heritage, local know-how and biodiversity. They also contribute to dietary diversity.
100 Years of Maternity Protection
100 years ago, the ILO adopted the first-ever international standard on maternity protection. Since that Convention, the definition of maternity protection has expanded and its importance has become more widely appreciated – including as an essential element in achieving the SDGs of good health, gender equality, decent work and economic growth. But, despite this progress, many mothers and mothers-to-be still face serious challenges in the workplace. Find out if your country ratified the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183).
Changing Climate, Changing Tides
“There used to be so much fish, but things are changing.” Roza, a fisherwoman, has worked for over 20 years in the Danube river basin. In the last decade, rising temperatures and lower water levels are forcing Roza to question the changing nature of her job. Increase in extreme weather events is causing more frequent flooding and a decline in the water quality. These changes are especially tough on laborers who depend on nature to make a living. UNDP and GEF are supporting the government of Serbia to find new, cost-effective and socially inclusive solutions to address the challenges of climate change.
Important ‘lessons learned’ could help other UN missions: Somalia police chief
Somalia could provide valuable "lessons learned for other mission set ups," according to the UN police commissioner there. In New York for UN Police Week, Meinolf Schlotmann, Police Commissioner of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said that the country is on "a very positive trajectory."
“When I was five, I started to draw with a piece of coal because we were too poor to afford pencils. At the time, I didn’t even know what drawing meant.” says Seyni Hima, co-founder of the NGO Art Monde. The workshop "Art Vacances," organized by Seyni’s local NGO, is meant as an educative space through visual arts for Nigerian youth and an opportunity to explore the children’s hidden talents. More than anything, the art summer camp is intended as a place of sharing and exchange between young people from different social backgrounds.
When you sip your next green tea, you might stop to take in the aroma of the leaves. Chances are, you won’t be thinking about a small family in the hills of Rwanda. This is a story of work and leaving no child behind. High up in the mountains of Rwanda’s Western Province, Josephine Nyirakarenga works on a tea plantation in one of the hardest-to-reach areas, 2,400 metres above sea level. She was often late since she had to care for her twin children before heading to work. Not any more, thanks to the UNICEF-supported day care centre on the plantation.
"There was a time when I would be menstruating and didn’t know what to do," said one of the Anims [nuns] and Lopens Gelongs [monks] in Bhutan who have taken charge of their own lives and bodies, empowered by the education they've received. They were some of the most venerable people in the kingdom. Today, they are agents of social change. They talk about issues one may generally not associate with spiritual leaders: menstruation, gender-based violence (including sexual violence), and the right to be who they want to be. Buddhism is linked with the lives of people in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Spiritual leaders, Anims, and Lopens play a large role in framing people's mindsets and beliefs.
Caught in the Cross Fire, Armenia's Border Communities Reinvent Themselves
Traditionally, it was known as the "Little Switzerland of Armenia." Nowadays, the existing insecurity affects every aspect of life in borderline communities of the Tavush region. Most families left. Those who remain are resilient. Instead of despairing over an uncertain future, they are taking control. Farmers, workers, mayors decided to team up, their meetings quickly evolving into a breeding ground of ideas. They proposed retrofitting greenhouses with modern drip irrigation, buying tractors, and restoring schools and cultural centers. Projects financed by UNDP were chosen based on their potential for success and spread to neighboring communities. This and more in Voyages' Issue#3: Boundaries.