The Paris Agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Together, these climate actions determine whether the world achieves the long-term goals of the Agreement and reaches global peaking of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as soon as possible. Thereafter, countries will undertake rapid reductions on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
Under the Paris Agreement, 196 Parties have come together to transform their development trajectories so that they set the world on a course towards sustainable development.
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.
The Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) warned that the world risks new pandemics if we don’t change how we safeguard nature. Attended by thousands of online participants, including more than 1,500 delegates from 153 UN Member States, the Assembly also agreed on key aspects of the work of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), kicked off the commemoration of UNEP’s 50th anniversary and held leadership dialogues, where Member States addressed how to build a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world. In a political statement endorsed at the close of the Assembly, Member States reaffirmed UNEP’s mandate as the leading global environmental authority and called for greater and more inclusive multilateralism to tackle the environmental challenges.
Medical doctor Tefera Tewodros was among the first refugees to reach safety in East Sudan at the onset of the crisis last November in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Stunned by the sheer number of people streaming across the border, many sick or wounded, he realized he had to step up and help. He went to offer his support to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the Sudanese Commission for Refugees (COR) at the Hamdayet transit centre. The very next day he started volunteering at the health clinic, run by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society. Since then, he has been living and working at the health clinic in the border town of Hamdayet in Kassala state, where the majority of the 60,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in Ethiopia have sought safety.
In the area of Bamyan in central Afghanistan, whilst men do most of the farming, it is the women who take care of livestock. It tends to be a solitary activity, however, and women working together as a community, is uncommon in Afghanistan. The Household Food and Livelihood Security project funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation, aims to change this, bringing women together, boosting their knowledge and raising incomes not just for their own households, but for their whole community. The women livestock keepers participate and form bonds in group meetings, where they can exchange their views, share experiences and learn new techniques as well as keep in contact with their relatives or loved ones.
Digital labour platforms have increased five-fold worldwide in the last decade according to the ILO’s latest World Employment and Social Outlook 2021 report, presenting opportunities and challenges for workers and businesses and a need for international policy dialogue.
The 25 winning startups, selected by a jury made up of leaders from across the tourism sector, offer distinct solutions for advancing the SDGs. The winning startups will now be given expert support and backing to develop further.
The Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action aims to protect young people and adolescents, while recognising that they are invaluable partners in responding effectively to COVID-19 and its effects felt in societies across the globe.
The Champions Network is a diverse global network of individuals and leaders who are passionate about making food systems more sustainable and just. Members of the network will actively call for a fundamental transformation of the world’s food systems to drive progress toward all 17 SDGs.
For more than 57 years, the partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and IAEA has contributed to addressing global challenges, including food insecurity, climate change, animal/zoonotic diseases and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. The IAEA and FAO signed a revised arrangement, which upgrades their partnership and expands the horizons of their work.
A few developing nations are exhibiting stronger capabilities to use, adopt and adapt frontier technologies than their per capita GDPs would suggest, but most are lagging behind, according to an index of 158 countries in UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2021. Frontier technologies are those that take advantage of digitalization and connectivity. They include artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things, big data, blockchain, 5G, 3D printing, robotics, drones, gene editing, nanotechnology and solar photovoltaic.
The COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing a decade of hard-won gains in global efforts to provide nutritious food to the world’s most vulnerable children through a free daily meal in school. One in two schoolchildren, or 388 million children worldwide, were receiving school meals when the pandemic struck, the highest number in history, according to the State of School Feeding Worldwide report. By April 2020, 199 countries had closed their schools and 370 million children were suddenly deprived of what for many was their only nutritious meal of the day.
Today’s world is characterized by a dual monetary system, involving privately-issued money—by banks of all types, telecom companies, or specialized payment providers—built upon a foundation of publicly-issued money—by central banks. While not perfect, this system offers significant advantages, including: innovation and product diversity, mostly provided by the private sector, and stability and efficiency, ensured by the public sector.
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 turned 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.
How we can restore a better way of life after the pandemic
At the UN Environment Assembly leadership dialogue ministers and other high-level representatives are invited to announce concrete actions by their respective governments or organizations that will promote the environmental dimension of sustainable development in building a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world.
Quarantine can be a time for self-care and relaxation
During the COVID-19 pandemic you may be asked to quarantine. This may cause worry or anxiety, and this is normal So take this time to take care of you. Reconnect with loved one, watch movies, read books. Exercise, make crafts or catch up on things you haven't had time for. Ask family and friends or use delivery services to help you get groceries, medicine and other necessities. WHO recommends we take time for self-care and relaxation during a quarantine.
5 ways nuclear science helps cancer patients
Find out how nuclear science plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, from radiotherapy to radiopharmaceuticals to sterilising medical equipment. Cancer is one of the main causes of death worldwide. 10 million people die each year from cancer and the number is growing. More than one third of cancer cases can be prevented. Another third can be cured if detected. IAEA helps countries increase access to life-saving nuclear techniques.
I Believe in Humanity
"[In Yemen] the situation is quite desperate. We have probably two thirds of the population which relies on our humanitarian assistance for their daily survival. We have half of the health facilities that have been destroyed by five years of the conflict. We have one person out of eight which has been displaced by the conflict. And the result of all that -- on top of the coronavirus, which is not even the main concern in terms of communicable disease, because we have cholera, we have malaria, we have chikungunya, we have dengue fever."
This week’s guest on Awake at Night is Jean-Nicolas Beuze, Representative of the UN Refugee Agency in Yemen. Beuze discusses the disparity between the Western world's outlook and the harsh realities most of the Yemeni people face “The Western world worries about the Coronavirus. Yemen cannot even afford to worry about it because we have [several grave communicable diseases] plus, there is a famine.”
In a deeply personal interview about his career helping refugees and victims of torture, he describes being driven by the “denial of their human rights” and that “injustice was something I could not accept”. He also reveals fearing for the first time for his own loved ones who face the dangers of COVID-19 back home.
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
Photo:UN News / UN Photo / Albert González Farran
Joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission ends in Darfur
The UN and African Union peacekeeping mission in the Sudanese region of Darfur, UNAMID, officially closed 31 December 2020 after completing its mandate. It follows a peace deal between the Sudanese government and armed groups in Darfur, an agreement which the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres described as an “historic achievement”. The joint mission, the only one of its type, was established in July 2007 in the arid conflict-affected region in the west of the country. UNAMID’s central task was to protect civilians.
Photo:UNOCHA / Ivo Brandau
Solidarity amidst extreme hardship
In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), many communities have not known peace for more than two decades. Armed groups are causing massive forced displacements and acute humanitarian needs. There are 3.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces alone. These people were forced to flee their homes. OCHA brings us stories and images that provide a glimpse of how families in North Kivu and Ituri are supporting each other.
Photo:IOM / James Oatway
Hope and Beauty
IOM brings us stories of migration and courage. Beauty has learned to ignore stares from inquisitive eyes that she and her youngest daughter Hope attract as they walk along the streets of their Johannesburg suburb, Yeoville. But for little Hope, 8, it is not as easy. Hope was born without a right hand. Beauty considers it a miracle that Hope survived at all, because her twin was born severely deformed and died shortly after birth. When Hope was born, Beauty feared that she wouldn’t be able to walk or talk. But Hope exceeded all her mother’s expectations.
Photo:UNDP / Tamara Tschentscher
Turning the Tide
Over 90% of the world's trade goes by sea. Maritime transport is also the chief avenue used by smuggling networks, including for bulky, non-perishable illegal wildlife products such as ivory, pangolin scales, and timber. Until recently, traffickers using sea freight have faced minimum risks of their shipments being detected - or of themselves facing arrest - due to low awareness of wildlife trafficking, weak enforcement capacity and limited coordination among the many players involved in shipping. UNDP reports how this tide is about to turn...