UN Messengers of Peace support the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire

After UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s cease-fire appeal issued by on 23 March, United Nations Messengers of Peace added their voices to entreat governments and armed groups to pull back hostilities and allow the creation of corridors for life-saving aid. As reports of the virus multiply in conflict zones, the likelihood of humanitarian catastrophe looms too large. Add your support by signing the online petition!

Messengers of Peace help focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations.
Photo:UN Photo
Nurses and healthcare workers outside at a hospital in New York City demand better protection against  the COVID-19 virus.

COVID-19 threatening global peace and security, UN chief warns

10 April 2020 — While the COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, its implications are more far-reaching and could threaten global peace and security, the UN Secretary-General...

Living apart, ‘we must stand together’ to battle coronavirus pandemic – UN rights chief

9 April 2020 — The COVID-19 pandemic is a “colossal test of leadership”, the top UN rights official said on Thursday, underscoring the need for “decisive, coordinated and innovative action from...

Put women and girls at centre of COVID-19 recovery: UN Secretary-General

9 April 2020 — Limited gains in gender equality and women’s rights made over the decades are in danger of being rolled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Secretary-General said on Thursday...

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 Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing with drawing of heart monitor line and heart

 

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

 

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United Nations

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

Test tube labelled COVID-19

5 reasons the world needs WHO to fight the COVID-19 pandemic

The World Health Organization has played a crucial role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, ever since the first cases were identified in Wuhan in December. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus outlined five ways the agency is leading the global response: helping countries to prepare and respond; providing accurate information; ensuring vital supplies reach frontline health workers; training and mobilizing health workers; coordinating the search for a vaccine.

Woman receiving bottle water.

UNESCO experts urge collective responsibility to protect vulnerable persons

UNESCO appeals to governments and the international community to take urgent action through international cooperation underlining the responsibility of rich countries to help poor nations.  In such emergencies, political decisions need to be grounded in science and guided by ethics.  Collective recognition of the emerging and growing vulnerabilities faced by many is necessary to ensure that health and social policy responses all around the world leave no one behind.

Power lines in the Republic of Korea

An early view of the economic impact of the pandemic in 5 charts

The economic consequences of the pandemic are already impacting the United States with unprecedented speed and severity. In the last two weeks in March almost 10 million people applied for unemployment benefits. Such a sharp increase has never been seen before, not even at the peak of the crisis 2009 crisis. Disruptions caused by the virus are starting to ripple through emerging markets. To overcome this pandemic, we need a global, coordinated health and economic policy effort.

What a difference some greens make

A FAO pilot project was launched in the Jalal-Abad region of Kyrgyzstan in 2017 with the aim of boosting not only livelihoods and income but also diets and nutrition. 

Refugees in the COVID-19 crisis

Displaced people and host communities all over the world are at heightened risk as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. The UN Refugee Agency and its staff support their actions.

Entrepreneurs act against COVID-19

Many young entrepreneurs in Tunisia have launched an appeal for mutual aid for the good of their community and initiated several projects to offer their assistance to health.

UNFCCC meets on climate technology

Climate technology experts met virtually last week to discuss how governments can green their economies and prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change.

People wearing masks wash their hands

Access to health services is key to saving refugee lives

UNHCR’s leading public health expert says prevention and inclusion must be at the heart of the response for displaced people, especially in areas with weak health services. The Refugee Agency is working to slow the spread of the corona virus, reduce its impact and save lives among the refugee population and internally displaced peoples. Most of the world’s 25.9 million refugees are hosted in developing countries, putting extraordinary strain on already fragile local health-care services.

man with face mask carrying bags on both shoulders

COVID-19 causes devastating losses in employment

The COVID-19 crisis is expected to wipe out 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020 – equivalent to 195 million full-time workers. Huge losses are expected across different income groups especially in upper-middle income countries (7 per cent, 100 million full-time workers). This far exceeds the effects of the 2008-9 financial crisis. The sectors most at risk include accommodation and food services, manufacturing, retail, and business and administrative activities.

woman using laptop and headphones

Coronavirus reveals need to bridge the digital divide

The global crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has pushed us further into a digital world, and changes in behaviour are likely to have lasting effects. A new analysis from UNCTAD maps the changing digital landscape. It looks at how a digitally enabled world is working for some, but not all equally. According to the analysis, the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions. However, it has also exposed the wide chasm between the connected and the unconnected.  

woman looking outside her window

Public services to ensure everyone can #StayAtHome

Local and regional governments shared their experiences, initiatives, and actions to support their communities facing the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on specific public services. The Live Learning Series, a UN-Habitat collaboration, addressed the housing crisis, and the measures that contribute towards successful #StayAtHome policies. Adequate housing is a matter of life and death at this moment and in the future. Without adequate housing, social distancing and hygiene are simply impossible.

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.

Quasai and her family of 9 are doing everything they can to keep the virus away. The UN and partners are working around the clock to mitigate the risks, but more resources are urgently needed.

Women on the frontlines of COVID-19

Millions of women in the health and social sector work tirelessly every day to care for all of us. Women make up 70 per cent of all workers in the health and social sector. Today, UN Women thanks you.

Guyana: Striving for Sustainable Wildlife

In recent years threats like increased accessibility, wildfires and new economic activities are compromising Guyana Rupununi’s rich biodiversity. Here’s their community struggle to maintain a healthy balance.

UN Podcasts

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Staying fit indoors: a paralympian’s perspective

Keeping fit is an important way to cope with the self-isolation measures imposed by many governments, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But how are elite athletes coping with being stuck indoors? 

On the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, Conor Lennon spoke to Brad Snyder, a multiple medal-winner with the US Paralympic team.

When they  spoke, Conor asked Brad about the importance of sport and exercise for everyone currently stuck inside for most of the day.

More UN podcasts

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United Nations meetings, events, and press conferences live and on demand

The United Nations in Pictures

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

Men in full hazmat gear and facial masks.
Photo:FAO

COVID-19: Our hungriest, most vulnerable communities face “a crisis within a crisis”

In countries whose medical systems are under-resourced, the health crisis could be compounded by a hunger crisis unless we act now to help. FAO explains how they are gearing to help with the challenges COVID-19 poses in vulnerable communities already coping with high levels of hunger due to pre-existing crises.

Two women, bent over a table, cut cloth to use for making facial masks.
Photo:UN Women/Tamara Savovic

Survivors of domestic violence sew face masks for those in the front line of COVID-19

In an undisclosed location in Sombor, Serbia, a survivor of domestic violence is putting the finishing stitches on face masks. She has made hundreds of these fabric masks since Serbia declared the COVID-19 epidemic in March.  She got support when she needed it most and now she is giving something back.

Indigenous people walking in a group in an open field.
Photo:UNDP Peru/Mónica Suárez Galindo

Peru embarks on a comprehensive approach to COVID-19

There are between 25,000 to 45,000 Indigenous Asháninka living in Peruvian forests. Potential economic and social impact of COVID-19 is still uncertain. There is no doubt that this will be more critical for people who were already in a vulnerable situation before, including indigenous and rural populations.

Mother wearing a facial mask gazes at her infant child.
Photo:UNICEF/UNI316644/Frank Dejongh

Protecting vulnerable children from coronavirus: An agenda for action

Without urgent action, the coronavirus health crisis risks becoming a child-rights crisis. UNICEF is calling for swift global action to: keep children healthy; make water and sanitation accessible; continue education; protect families; keep children from abuse; and protect refugee and migrant children.