More women in peacekeeping means more effective peacekeeping. The theme for this year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers: “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace”, also marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. UN Peacekeepers are now facing one of their greatest challenges - supporting and protecting the people in the countries they are based in during the COVID-19 pandemic. Women peacekeepers are on the front lines implementing mission mandates while contributing as an integral part of the COVID-19 response.
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.
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.
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.
Urgent action is needed to safeguard the biodiversity of the world’s forests amid alarming rates of deforestation and degradation, according to The State of the World’s Forests. The report, produced by FAO and UNEP, shows that conservation of the world’s biodiversity is dependent on the way we interact with the world’s forests. The COVID-19 crisis has thrown into focus the importance of sustainably using nature and recognizing the link between the ecosystem’s and people’s health.
If you take care of the land, it will take care of you, says Tsefaye Kidane, a coffee farmer in southwest Ethiopia. When he took over the farm from his father, Kidane said the soil quality was poor and crops erratic, their irregularity exacerbated by the ravages of climate change and decades of land degradation. With support from the World Bank, Kidane has turned the situation around. He has addressed soil erosion with a host of measures, including terracing the steep landscape.
Vertical gardens and microgardens have enjoyed new popularity, which the COVID-19 pandemic may catalyze further. From high-tech urban facilities allowing vegetables to grow indoors or outdoors to tiny farming plots that fit in urban settings, both can offer high-yield opportunities to grow leafy green vegetables and other high-value food crops. FAO helps galvanize microgardens as a food and nutrition strategy for poor households vulnerable to malnutrition, among other projects.
A new report by WHO, UNICEF, and partners reveals that despite efforts to stop the harmful promotion of breast-milk substitutes, countries fall short in protecting parents from misleading information. Breastmilk saves children’s lives as it provides antibodies that give babies a healthy boost and protect them against many childhood illnesses. Agencies encourage women to continue to breastfeed during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if they have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
Uganda hosts 1.4 million refugees – more than 80,000 of them live and work in Kampala. Refugees who opt to live outside designated settlements are expected to be self-reliant and do not receive regular humanitarian assistance, in line with the government’s urban refugee policy. UNHCR tells the story of Mariney Karemere, a Congolese refugee who made and sold her handbags before the lockdown. The single mother of three now survives on food handouts from a community church.
Return to work policies should be informed by a human-centred approach that puts rights and international labour standards at the heart of economic, social and environmental strategies and ensures that policy guidance is embedded in national occupational safety and health systems. Two guidance documents for creating safe and effective return-to-work conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic have been issued by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
With more than 100 projects to develop a COVID-19 vaccine underway around the globe – eight of which have entered the clinical stage – hope is growing for a miracle breakthrough. But so is concern over who would and would not have access to the shot, if and when one is approved. UNCTAD and the WHO have teamed up to respond to the urgent call to boost local production of essential medicines in developing countries.
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.
2020 IAEW | Why Arts Education Matters
We all have an artistic soul. Arts education nurtures our imagination, creative and critical thinking and emotional resilience. Arts education paves ways for learning in both formal and informal settings, as well as for lifelong learning. At all ages, arts education fosters knowledge of arts, culture and heritage, and promotes appreciation for cultural diversity. Celebrate with UNESCO the 2020 International Arts Education Week from 25 to 31 May!
Human Trafficking in the context of COVID-19
Organized crime thrives in times of crisis. We must ensure COVID-19 does not provide new opportunities for human traffickers. During lockdowns, those in domestic or sex work are more exposed to violence and abuse. Migrants and seasonal workers face more precarious working conditions. Closed schools mean no access to education, shelter, and nourishment for children. Increased online learning and socializing exposes children to sexual predators and traffickers. During these times of emergency countries must #LeaveNoOneBehind
Refugees build robot sanitiser from LEGO to prevent Coronavirus in Jordan
Refugees at the Innovation Lab in Za’atari refugee camp have designed a robot prototype made from LEGO which automatically dispenses sanitiser so people don’t have to touch the bottle. Their aim is to help prevent coronavirus and contribute towards the global effort to control the disease.
Crisis-affected communities hold UN ‘in high regard’, says senior woman peacekeeper
Female Peacekeepers add an extra dynamic to teams in the field, breaking barriers that allow women civilians to describe what’s really going on inside their communities.
That’s the view of Major Fiona Bruce, from the Australian Defence Force, who served in the UN’s Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in both Lebanon and Syria.
In an interview ahead of UN Peacekeeping Day marked on 29 May, Major Bruce highlights the fact that people going through crisis and conflict still ‘view the UN in high regard’.
Julia Dean from our UN Australia Country Team, spoke to her online, and began by asking about her old daily routine, serving in Lebanon.
Lockdowns, school closures and social confinement are all having a big impact on children. The longer-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic pose a risk to their safety, well-being and future. UNICEF asked children from around the world to document their lives at home. From Egypt to Italy to India, these videos provide a glimpse into their world and how every child has a unique way of coping with the effects of coronavirus.
From mangrove to mountain: Building coastal resilience in Timor-Leste
Rehabilitating Timor-Leste's mangroves has been a key focus of the Coastal Resilience Program and since its inception in 2016, nearly 2,000 hectares of mangroves and wetlands have been conserved and restored on Timor’s north and south coasts. Local schools have mobilised their students in planting, to make them stewards of the forests and to educate them on the ecosystem's importance to their communities.
A pandemic allows for a “what if” moment: How to champion biodiversity as the world stands still
The Daxing’anling landscape encompasses a vast wilderness of cold temperate forest, un-tamed rivers and extensive wetlands, which support globally significant biodiversity.Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19, the United Nations had declared 2020 a ‘Super Year’ for biodiversity. The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, which is believed to have spilled over from wild animals to humans due to disturbance to natural systems, is telling us, loud and clear, that the way we live and design our societies is not sustainable. It's a valuable opportunity.
“Protect, Help, Explain”: UN Peacekeeping responds to COVID-19
Peace operations are supporting government-led efforts to both prevent and prepare for COVID-19 outbreaks at the country level. Under these new and complex conditions, peacekeepers continue to undertake vital work across missions to protect civilians, facilitate political processes, support disarmament, promote human rights and assist in the rule of law, while carefully applying critical mitigation measures such as observing social distancing and handwashing guidelines.