WHO, Health

World Breastfeeding Week

This week, as countries around the world celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, the United Nations calls on all stakeholders to support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.

A UNICEF-supported programme in the hospital teaches women how to care for their newborns.
Photo:UNICEF / Kate Holt
The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines can help stem the pandemic, but only if everyone, everywhere is inoculated as quickly as possible.

COVID-19 vaccine equality, ‘most pressing issue of our times’ – UN chief

5 August 2021 — The remarkable and rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines offers “great hope” that the devastating pandemic can be overcome, the UN chief told the first International Forum on...

Civilians in southern Syria ‘under siege’ – UN human rights chief

5 August 2021 — The top UN rights official once more sounded the alarm on Thursday over the plight of civilians in Syria, as intense fighting and indiscriminate shelling by Government forces and...

Somalia: Call for urgent action following ‘alarming’ 80 per cent rise in sexual violence

5 August 2021 — An “alarming” 80 per cent increase in sexual violence in Somalia, as documented in two recent reports by the Secretary-General, has been described as “appalling” by two UN Special...

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 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.

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.

SDG7 - affordable and clean energy
Affordable and Clean Energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

More from the
United Nations

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

Three girls with their backpacks on sitting in a classroom UNICEF, Éducation

$12.5 million grant for equitable education for Iraq

To support the Government of Iraq in its goals to achieve universal and equitable education – especially for forcibly displaced children and youth impacted by years of war and conflict – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) announced a new programme that will reach a total of 192,100 girls and boys. The initial US$12.5 million seed-funding grant will reach 36,500 children and youth, 60 per cent of whom are girls. The programme seeks to mobilize US$35.5 million in additional resources.  ECW is the United Nations global fund, administered by UNICEF, for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

Shot from above of two people walking with a stone band on the ground between them. IMF, Economic Development

Widening Gaps in the Global Recovery

The global economic recovery continues, but with a widening gap between advanced economies and many emerging market and developing economies, IMF reports. Growth prospects for advanced economies this year have improved by 0.5 percentage point, but this is offset exactly by a downward revision for emerging market and developing economies driven by a significant downgrade for emerging Asia. Faster-than-expected vaccination rates and return to normalcy lead to upgrades, while lack of access to vaccines and renewed waves of COVID-19 cases in some countries, notably India, lead to downgrades.

A rooftop with people performing with the Beirut Port as a backdrop. UNESCO, Culture

Li Beirut One Year On: Hopes of a city rising again

One year ago, a massive double explosion hit the port of Beirut. The human toll was heavy: more than 200 dead, more than 6,000 injured, 300,000 families left homeless. The capital’s neighbourhoods were devastated and disfigured for miles around, almost bringing down the cultural and artistic sector. UNESCO then launched the Li Beirut (For Beirut) initiative from across the port. The initiative aims to mobilize the international community to support the reconstruction of the city’s educational and cultural sectors. UNESCO continues carrying out restoration work of schools and cultural sites.

IFAD, Agriculture and Food

Rural voices

When it comes to the changes we need to make to our food systems, rural small-scale farmers are the on-the-ground experts. IFAD presents the people at the heart of our food systems.

UNDP, Science and Technology

The evolving digital divide

Digital technology is advancing at an incredibly rapid pace – but not evenly. UNDP supports digital livelihoods for women and measures the gender digital divide.

FAO, Natural Resources and the Environment

Communities flourish with forests

FAO and partners equip forest communities with the technical capacity and funds needed to address forest degradation and promote restoration activities, along with the Cambodian government.

UNHCR, Displaced Persons and Refugees

Refugee, weightlifter and nurse

From battling depression and homelessness to helping carry the Olympic flag into the Tokyo stadium for the Opening Ceremony, UNHCR presents weightlifter and refugee athlete Cyrille Tchatchet.

UNEP, Natural Resources and the Environment

How tourism can keep coastlines clean

On the Kenyan coast, a UNEP partner, the Watamu Marine Association, has developed a business model that keeps beaches clean, bringing together local communities and the tourism industry to collect, repurpose and recycle plastic waste. This small-scale circular economy has big potential and can be replicated anywhere in the world there is a coastal tourism industry, restoring coastlines and addressing the global issue of marine litter.

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

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" will build on the 12 commitments contained in the UN75 Declaration.

Watch and Listen

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

On the Kenyan coast, a UNEP partner, the Watamu Marine Association, has developed a business model that keeps beaches clean, bringing together local communities and the tourism industry to collect, repurpose and recycle plastic waste. This small-scale circular economy has big potential and can be replicated anywhere in the world there is a coastal tourism industry, restoring coastlines and addressing the global issue of marine litter.

Global call to action for a human-centred COVID-19 recovery

The world of work has been profoundly affected by the pandemic threatening livelihoods and the wellbeing of millions.  ILO sets out the world of work response to the COVID-19 crisis on how to build a human-centred future of work.

Follow the journey of a vaccine

WHO invites us to learn about the development of vaccines. From clinic trials and emergency use listing to production, transportation, storage and final administration by local health workers – follow the journey of a vaccine.

UN Podcasts

logo for No Denying It, the UN climate action podcast

Introducing No Denying It, the UN climate action podcast

Debuting August 26, 2021.

No Denying It, the UN climate action podcast, brings you the voices of young climate changemakers from across our warming planet. These activists, engineers, and entrepreneurs show us how we can make big changes - in our homes, our jobs, where we pray, and with our family and friends.

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcast , SpotifyCastboxGoogle Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Latest Audio from UN News

The United Nations in Pictures

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

Boats at sea against the backdrop of Ha Long Bay’s limestone pillars
Photo:UNDP Vietnam

The dragon’s jewels

According to Vietnamese legend, dragons descended from heaven to defend the Viet people, later becoming the pillars for which Ha Long Bay is famous. Despite being directly dependent on the health of Ha Long Bay’s rich ecosystem and biodiversity, the local tourism and fishing industries are major sources of pollution. To address this problem UNDP programmes support the local farmers’ association to mobilize coastal communities around Ha Long Bay to increase the rate of solid waste collection and treatment, while reducing the amount of plastic waste generated by local households.


a group of smiling school children in uniform
Photo:WFP/Irenee Nduwayezu

Japan’s contribution to schoolchildren diets in Burundi

Over 500,000 children in more than 700 schools receive daily school meals which include rice, maize flour, beans, and leafy greens through what is called homegrown school feeding. This is a form of resilience-building for communities facilitated by WFP, empowering communities with the agricultural skills and resources they need to become totally self-reliant – in growing crops they supply schools with the ingredients they need to facilitate a diverse diet for the children. In addition, Japan scaled-up assistance supplying schoolchildren with food of a different sort – fish!