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.

Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year according to the World Health Organization.

Nine in 10 smokers start before they are 18 years old, warns WHO

29 May 2020 — Tobacco products continue to kill eight million people a year who get hooked via a $9 billion a year marketing strategy. That’s the warning from the UN World Health Organization (WHO...

COVID-19: Countries support ‘one-stop shop’ to share science and research

29 May 2020 — Thirty countries and numerous international partners have underlined the need to make tests, treatments and other technologies to fight COVID-19, available to people everywhere....

Peacekeepers exemplify ‘service, sacrifice and selflessness’, in face of pandemic

29 May 2020 — To honour the more than 3,900 women and men who have lost their lives under the UN flag since 1948, Secretary-General António Guterres laid a wreath at the Peacekeepers’ memorial on...

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.

Act Now

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.

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.

Thomas the Tank engine

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.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

 

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries

 

More from the
United Nations

Featured stories from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

Silhouette of a man among trees.

As world forests shrink, action is needed to safeguard biodiversity

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.

A man among coffee plants

Investing in nature pays off for people and biodiversity

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.

Man, woman and child in front of a garden on a balcony.

Responding creatively to crises with non-traditional farming

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.

Seychelles expands its protected ocean

A ‘blue’ economy implies some measure of alignment between economic development and the health of the ocean. UNDP helps Seychelles, consisting of about 115 islands, strike that balance.

Pandemics leave the poor farther behind

In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the IMF urges policymakers to use the opportunity to make fundamental changes to protect the most vulnerable when future shocks inevitably occur.

WIPO PROOF: protects creation

WIPO PROOF provides evidence of the creation process.  It provides a tool to protect the work of innovators and creators on the journey from concept to development to commercialization.

Free internet access for distance education

Mobile phone partners of UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition have stepped up to provide free access to online educational content for students affected by COVID-19 induced school closures.

Mother breastfeeding her baby

Call to stop harmful marketing of breast-milk substitutes

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.

Portrait of a woman.

Urban refugees face hunger in Uganda coronavirus lockdown 

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.

A worker cleans finished wood flooring in a factory in Zhejiang, China.

ILO issues guidance for safe, healthy, return to work during COVID-19

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).

pill in palm of hand

COVID-19 heightens need for pharmaceutical production in poor countries

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.

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

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

Did you know?

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.

Watch and Listen

Video and audio from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

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.

 

UN Podcasts

 Major Fiona Bruce, from the Australian Defence Force, who served in the UN’s Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO)

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.

 

More UN podcasts

The United Nations in Pictures

Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

girl playing with a ball at home
Photo:© UNICEF/UNI310880/Ahmad

Kids’ video diaries about life during COVID-19

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.

students plant mangrove seedlings
Photo:UNDP

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.

 

 

aerial view of wetlands
Photo:UNDP China

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.

A line-up of women peacekeepers
Photo:MINUSCA/Leonel Grothe

“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.