The global crisis of COVID-19 has deepened pre-existing inequalities. Even under normal circumstances, the one billion persons living with disabilities worldwide are less likely to enjoy access to education, healthcare and livelihoods or to participate and be included in the community. As the world recovers from the pandemic, we must ensure that the aspirations and rights of persons with disabilities are included and accounted for in the post COVID-19 world. On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), let us all commit to work together and achieve this goal.
Modibo Sall, 10, teaches his 52-year-old father, Amadou, sign language. Modibo was born deaf. He lives in the village of Bouaké, in the centre of Côte d'Ivoire.
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.
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.
From 1-4 December, UNODC is hosting the Education for Justice (E4J) Global Dialogue Series. More than 35 online interactive panels will discuss how the international education community is working towards teaching justice and rule of law issues, with inspiration from innovative approaches from around the world to ensure that learning never stops even during a global pandemic. Join E4J and see how the UN and its partners are reimagining education for a more just world, and inspiring change together!
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, governments around the world have mobilized billions of dollars to save their economies. But there is another impending and devastating loss if we do not act: a lost generation of children. Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals is slipping backwards, and children continue to pay the steepest price. Without coordinated, global action to prevent, mitigate and respond to the effects of the pandemic, the consequences for children now, and for the future of our shared humanity, will be severe. UNICEF's six-point plan proposes a set of practical and concrete actions to reunite the world around a common cause: the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UNFPA collaborated with documentary photographer and visual artist Etinosa Yvonne on a multimedia storytelling project "Unheard Voices From Nigeria" for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The Abuja-based Etinosa interviewed, photographed, and filmed 16 women in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in northeastern Nigeria, a region afflicted by insurgent groups that have forced millions to flee their homes. For too long, the stories of these women—child marriage, domestic abuse, abduction and rape—have gone untold. Breaking the silence starts now. Each day through 10 December, one woman's story will be released.
Discarded electrical and electronic equipment (such as phones, laptops, fridges, sensors and TVs), known as e-waste, is a growing challenge, matching the growth of the information and communication technology (ICT) industry. There are currently more mobile cellular subscriptions on Earth than there are humans. E-waste contains substances that can be hazardous to human health and the environment if not dealt with properly – including mercury, cadmium and lead. Improper e-waste management can also contribute to global warming. The goal is a system in which all discarded products are collected and then the materials or components reintegrated into new products.
2020 will be a record low for refugee resettlement, UNHCR has warned. “We are dealing with a disappointingly low resettlement ceiling to begin with - a quota of less than 50,000 for the entire year - and this was further impacted by COVID-19 delaying departures and pausing some states’ resettlement programs,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs. According to latest UNHCR data, only 15,425 refugees were resettled from January to the end of September this year, compared to 50,086 over the same period last year. “Current rates point to one of the lowest levels of resettlement witnessed in almost two decades. This is a blow for refugee protection and for the ability to save lives and protect those most at risk,” said Triggs.
Half a century after its adoption, the UNESCO 1970 Convention against the illicit trafficking of cultural property is still a major instrument to stem this scourge. Over the last fifty years, the fight against this underground trade has intensified, and awareness of the moral damage caused by the plunder has grown. But the craze for these objects, the prices of which have skyrocketed; the leniency of sanctions, and the vulnerability of sites in conflict zones are all challenges that need to be addressed to curb the trafficking of what some call “blood antiquities”.
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.
Antimicrobial resistance is here and now
Every day, people are dying from infections that cannot be treated anymore. Our misuse and overuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials has led to an increase in microbes that are resistant to the medicines designed to kill them. The more antimicrobials we use, the more severe the threat of antimicrobial resistance becomes. FAO guides us against the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance affects us all.
Road Safety: World Day of Remembrance
In observance of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, WHO highlights the need to remember those who died; support those who survived; and take action to save lives on the world’s roads.
Donating goods overseas after disasters can be unhelpful and even harmful, and with the Pacific Cyclone season now in full swing, WFP has begun a campaign urging people to donate more responsibly.
Via the Donate Responsibly website, the user is taken on a journey to discover why donations of things like clothing and food, which are thought to be helpful, may in fact have the opposite effect.
UN News brings us the conversation between Julia Dean from the UN Country Team in Australia and Jo Pilgrim, Director of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country office in Fiji, which started with the question of what the most donated items were.
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
Photo:WFP / Mohammed Awadh
‘Dear people of the world’: Two girls in Yemen, two letters for Children’s Day
A generation of children in Yemen — where the WFP provides food assistance to more than 13 million people — are growing up knowing only war. Up to one in four children are acutely malnourished in parts of the country, which for more than five years has been in the throes of conflict. More than 2 million are out of school. To mark World Children's Day, WFP invited two girls from displaced families to explain in their own words what life is like for them. Elaf and Amina are survivors of an ongoing conflict.
Photo:UNICEF / Ijazah
The state of the world’s sanitation
Talking about toilets may be awkward, but we need to act now to eliminate open defecation. Everyone is entitled to sanitation services that are affordable and accessible, and provide privacy, dignity and safety. Meeting the goal of universal sanitation by 2030 is possible – with greater investment, sustained effort and increased rates of sanitation coverage. UNICEF features countries making rapid progress in access to sanitation, transforming lives, the environment, and their economies, all within one generation.
Photo:FAO / Haji Dirir
Floods, locusts and COVID-19; Somalia’s triple threat
Somalia has come a long way in the last few years. The economy has been growing steadily, government services are expanding and progress on constitutional reform and power-sharing arrangements are paving the way for long-term stability. It is now imperative that we respond at speed and at scale to the current triple crisis of flooding, locusts and disease. UNDP is directing new resources to meet the immediate threat of COVID-19, such as a communications campaign to reach millions with life-saving information.
Best of the 16 Days of Activism
Even before COVID-19 hit, violence against women and girls had reached pandemic proportions. During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence - from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November to Human Rights Day on 10 December - “Orange Events” take place around the world. UN Women brings us the best of collection of photos from 2014 to the present showcasing the passionate global advocacy and activism taking place all around the world each year during this time.