Pollution and Waste

Five years of collaboration to reduce mercury pollution

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is the most recent global agreement to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of this chemical element. It is named after the bay in Japan where, in the mid-20th century, mercury-tainted industrial wastewater poisoned thousands of people leading to severe health damage that became known as the “Minamata disease”. Since it entered into force in 2017, 137 Parties have worked to control the mercury supply and trade, reduce the use, emission and release of mercury, raise public awareness, and build institutional capacity.

Ecuador promotes sustainable initiatives for the “jancheras”, the women that classify ore discarded by small-scale mining.
Photo:UNDP Ecuador / PNGQ
A baby is tested for malaria at a community health centre in Chad.

Millions more children to benefit from world’s first malaria vaccine: UNICEF

16 August 2022 — The pharmaceutical company GSK has been awarded a contract to produce the world’s first malaria vaccine so that millions more children will be protected against the killer disease...

UN HIV/AIDS advocate and ‘proud champion’ of women dies at 92

16 August 2022 — Nafis Sadik, who died on Monday at the age 92 was the first woman to ever head one of the UN’s major voluntarily funded programmes and leaves a rich legacy of contributions to...

WFP: First Ukrainian humanitarian grain shipment leaves for Horn of Africa

16 August 2022 — The first vessel transporting Ukrainian wheat grain to support humanitarian operations run by the World Food Programme (WFP) has left the port of Yuzhny, also known as Pivdennyi,...

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.

children holding up books

Reading and learning are essential to children’s growth and development; stories can fuel their imagination and raise awareness of new possibilities. The SDG Book Club aims to encourage them to learn about the Goals in a fun, engaging way, empowering them to make a difference.

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 8: Decent work and economic growth


Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all


More from the
United Nations

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

Population, UNFPA

Trail blazing toward a better future for women and girls

Cheymi Gallardo Sánchez became a mother at age 15. In 2019, Cheymi was invited to participate in UNFPA-supported youth activities in her community, and she soon attended a camp for young leaders from around the country. There she learned about sexual and reproductive rights issues, including the issue of teenage pregnancy, contraceptive methods and abusive relationships. Today, she works with Kabata Konana, a group of indigenous women leaders, to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights and challenge gender stereotypes.

car manufacturing by automated processes Climate Change, UNEP

As fuel prices rise, companies look to energy efficient solutions

With fossil fuel prices reaching record highs, companies around the world are focusing on energy efficiency to save money and reduce the emissions driving the climate crisis. Research shows that a safe future below 1.5°C requires the world to cut 30 gigatonnes greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) annually by 2030. Transport and buildings are among the largest contributors. Increasing energy efficiency, particularly industrial energy efficiency, can make a real difference in reducing our need for fossil fuels, according to UNEP.

a woman interacting with chickens in a chicken coup. Agriculture and Food, FAO

Indigenous women take the lead to improve food security

Proud of her land and community, Nila has always looked for new ways to contribute to its development.  An opportunity arose when FAO and partners implemented a joint programme called: Strengthening the bridge to development strategy to break the cycle of poverty at the local level with a gender and environmental approach. Nila worked hard to get involved in the programme and obtain the capital that allowed her to start a chicken farm. This support set Nila off with 25 chickens and four months later, she had quadrupled her stock.


Putting a human face on SDG data

Bringing Data to Life is an electronic flipping book that collects and showcases the faces and stories behind the data found in global figures on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Economic Development

Winners of the Equator Prize 2022

UNDP  announces the winners of the 13th Equator Prize, recognizing ten Indigenous peoples and local communities from nine countries for portraying their own local development goals.

Natural Resources and the Environment, Indigenous Peoples, IFAD

5 indigenous words about the environment

Indigenous peoples use language in a powerful way to describe Mother Nature. IFAD presents five unique words indigenous peoples use to describe the natural environment.

Humanitarian Aid, IMO

Maritime corridor to allow ships across Black Sea

IMO welcomed the signing of an initiative to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor to allow ships to export critical cargoes of grain and foodstuffs from Ukraine.

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" builds 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.

Find out with first-hand insights how Giga is transforming education at the local school G.S. Nyagihunika. Watch how Internet-connected laptops help local educators teach students and make the classroom experience more rewarding and how the benefits of school connectivity also extend to the residents of the Bugesera district.

Cooperation in agricultural development

South–South and triangular cooperation (SSTC) can play a catalytic role in accelerating progress towards the SDGs. A new publication provides a snapshot of FAO’s engagement in SSTC through three case studies.

Five facts about displacement in Ukraine

The International Organizaiton for Migration wants you to know five things about the people displaced by the war in Ukraine.

UN Podcasts


Blockchain reaction: The high cost of unregulated cryptocurrency

After two years of incredible gains, the prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have plunged in recent months; and more turbulence is likely, according to the UN trade and development agency, UNCTAD.

In its latest podcast, the Geneva-based agency is talking about cryptocurrencies with economist Marina Zucker of UNCTAD’s debt and development finance branch.

Are cryptocurrencies here to stay? Is it time for governments to regulate them? Tune in to hear Ms. Zucker spell out the risks and share her ideas about solutions.

Audio Credit: UNCTAD

Photo Credit: Unsplash/André François McKenz

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.

smiling mother with young child
Photo:WFP/Evelyn Fey

5 ways breastfeeding helps mothers and babies alike

At a time when at least one in three children aged under 5 is affected by malnutrition, breastfeeding remains a critical way to help babies and young children meet their nutritional needs. In responding to a global hunger crisis in a year of unprecedented needs, the World Food Programme supports breastfeeding across the world, supplying pregnant and breastfeeding women with specialized nutritious foods to prevent and treat malnutrition. WFP provides nutrition training to mothers and their communities on what is very literally a lifeline – breastfeeding helps to provide immunity against diseases, serving children well beyond their earliest days.

Mother and son

A second chance: released from juvenile detention and back in school

Mohammad Al-Amin was 14 years old when he was arrested. He had been accused of vandalism and was transferred to a child detention centre in the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. He was terrified. Al-Amin would go on to spend 9 months in detention. He was eventually released through a virtual court system that had been established by Bangladesh’s Supreme Court, with UNICEF’s support. Since Bangladesh’s first virtual children’s court was set up, more than 5,000 children have been granted bail and released from detention. The majority have been reunited with their families and so far, only two children have reoffended.