The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the interconnected nature of our world – and that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Only by acting in solidarity can communities save lives and overcome the devastating socio-economic impacts of the virus. In partnership with the United Nations, people around the world are showing acts of humanity, inspiring hope for a better future. This photo essay portrays the many examples of global solidarity, inclusive solutions, continued education for future leaders, working during lockdowns, and how everyone can make a difference.
Young indigenous Warao refugees from Venezuela wear masks distributed by the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR), in a shelter in Manaus, Brazil.
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.
The first-ever virtual SDG Media Zone will be held on the sidelines of this year’s High-level Political Forum. As governments, civil society, businesses, and other sectors come together to take stock of the SDGs, we bring you expert voices, ideas and solutions for a sustainable recovery from COVID-19, focusing on the power of science and solidarity that can turn the tide and usher in a new era of transformative action for a healthier, more equitable and greener world.
Ebola, SARS, Zika, HIV/AIDS, West Nile fever and now COVID-19 – some of the highest-profile diseases to emerge in the last several decades. And while they emerged in different parts of the world, their common thread is that they jumped between animals and humans. They are what scientists call “zoonotic diseases”. Now, a scientific assessment led by UNEP finds that unless countries take dramatic steps to curb zoonotic contagions, global outbreaks like COVID-19 will become more common.
The COVID-19 pandemic could be a game changer for digital financial services. Low-income households and small firms can benefit greatly from advances in mobile money, fintech services, and online banking. This digital financial inclusion can also boost economic growth. While the pandemic is set to increase use of these services, the IMF points out it has also posed challenges for the growth of the industry’s smaller players and highlighted unequal access to digital infrastructure.
2020 began as a normal year for the Dr Fridtjof Nansen, the only marine research vessel to fly the UN flag. The Nansen was meant to sail along West Africa, collecting data off the coast and in the deep-seas for its research into the state of marine resources and the health of our oceans. As the COVID-19 outbreak turned into a pandemic and more and more borders closed to stop the spread of the virus, FAO reports on the plan for the vessel and its crew to get back home to Norway.
Seventy-three countries warned that they are at risk of stock-outs of antiretroviral (ARV) medicines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty-four countries reported having either a critically low stock of ARVs or disruptions in the supply of these life-saving medicines. This new WHO survey follows an exercise convened by WHO and UNAIDS which forecasted that a six-month disruption in access to ARVs could lead to a doubling in AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
The World Bank assigns the world’s economies to four income groups—low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries. The classifications are updated each year on July 1 and are based on Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. In each country, factors such as economic growth, inflation, exchange rates, and population growth influence GNI per capita. To keep the income classification thresholds fixed in real terms, they are adjusted annually for inflation.
UNHCR is alarmed at the increasing number of violent attacks on displaced civilians by armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). UNHCR is calling on the authorities to strengthen the presence of police, military forces with support of MONUSCO to improve the security situation. Over five million people have been uprooted by insecurity within the country’s borders, while nearly a million Congolese have sought safety in neighbouring countries as refugees.
For nearly three decades, Ukraine has seen a steady decline in its population numbers. To address the issue, the government in partnership with UNOPS and UNICEF, launched a pilot project to provide the families of new-borns with a one-time ‘baby box’ that contains a range of essential items for infants. The provision of baby boxes helps ensure equal access to early childcare products based on universally accepted standards, during the critical first weeks of a child’s life.
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.
A healthy diet, a healthier world
A healthy diet, a healthier world
Today there is a new nutrition reality. It is a reality where undernutrition (such as micronutrient deficiencies, stunting and wasting), overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and cancer now coexist in the same countries, communities, households and even individuals. This is what is called the double burden of malnutrition which impacts not only our health but also that of future generations, the health of our planet and our economies.
Africa Human Capital Plan: Game changers for investing in Africa's people
The Africa Human Capital Plan sets out clear targets and commitments to boost Africa's potential through its human capital. After just one year, the plan is well underway, helping African countries by empowering women, mobilizing technology and innovation, and building knowledge and partnerships.
Over 43,000 individuals from approximately 100 countries are believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIL and other groups. Following ISIL’s loss of territory, approximately 11,000 individuals, mostly women and children, are stranded in camps in Syria and Iraq. Watch the story of Ali and his mother caught in a humanitarian and security crisis with no end in sight.
Awake at Night: Never Ever Give Up
In this opening episode for Season 3 of Awake at Night, host Melissa Fleming speaks with David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, about his own experience being sick with COVID-19 and why people should listen to the science. He also explains why the pandemic is causing a spiraling epidemic of hunger.
In Mr. Beasley's words, should the world fail to come together and invest in people everywhere, we may face a "famine of biblical proportions."
From his home in South Carolina, to Yemen, to Sudan and Ethiopia, Mr. Beasley shares candid moments of his journey in the world of humanitarian work, and his thoughts on why the UN is needed now more than ever.
Season three of Awake at Night is dedicated to the people at the United Nations who are at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Extraordinary stories from those who dedicate their lives to helping others.
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
11 ways the UN makes the world a better place
Each year the UN publishes a wallet-sized card, using ten simple examples, explaining how the global organization is helping to make the world a better place. This year – the UN’s 75th anniversary - an exceptional year by any standards, an eleventh was added -- leading the global response to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak. The UN also helpsmore than two million women a month globally go through pregnancy and childbirth complications in countries like India, and suppliesvaccines to 50% of the world’s children, helping to save three million lives a year. See more ways the UN makes the world a better place.
Innovating for people and planet in Vanuatu
Vanuatu is one of the few countries in the world to have been spared the COVID-19 pandemic so far, with zero case recorded. But the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are spreading further than the virus itself. The fall in global travel is set to hit the island-nation hard, where travel and tourism are estimated to have contributed 45 percent of the GDP in 2018. Vanuatu is among the poorest nations in the world, which is compounded by its high vulnerability to climate change. However, the Government of Vanuatu is determined to turn this vulnerability into a strength through investing in renewable energy, which will support small businesses and livelihoods, from fishing to handicrafts production.
Communities and COVID
Doña Esther Canul, a member of a small ecotourism co-operative in the Mayan community of Miguel Colorado, is en route to Isla Aguada, a fishing community. This is a 2-hour drive for a very special purpose: Doña Esther is going to barter products from the Mayan forest for products from the ocean. The world has ground to a halt in ways few could have predicted, due to the impact of COVID-19 - a pandemic like no other in several decades. From Asia to Europe to Latin America, local communities and indigenous peoples around the world are responding to the effects of the pandemic in resilient and innovative ways to protect their communities and support one another.
UN75: Switzerland gifts Saype artwork to Palais des Nations
Two children drawing their ideal world together - a tree, a sun, a house, a string of people holding hands, and animals - universal symbols recalling our common duty towards future generations: this is the subject of the brand new ephemeral monumental fresco by artist Saype in the park of the UN Headquarters in Geneva, Palais des Nations. “World of progress”, a gift from Switzerland for the 75th anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, signed on June 26, 1945, is a poetic, ecological and ephemeral work of 6,000 square meters showing us that building the world of tomorrow is a collective goal. It also recalls the theme of UN75, "Shaping our future together".