Violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19. As cases continue to strain health services, essential services, such as domestic violence shelters and helplines, have reached capacity. In the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), we all must commit to prioritize addressing this issue in our response to the crisis. UN Women provides up-to-date information and support to vital programmes to fight the Shadow Pandemic.
The UN joins hands with survivors, activists, decision-makers, and people from every walk of life, to shine a light on the need for better-informed responses.
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.
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections. FAO, WHO and partners, expanded the scope of the Observance, changing its focus from "antibiotics" to the more encompassing and inclusive term "antimicrobials". The week will be celebrated every year on 18-24 November starting from 2020. This year’s theme for the human health sector is “United to preserve antimicrobials".
World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children. This year, the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a child rights crisis. The costs of the pandemic for children are immediate and, if unaddressed, may last a lifetime. It’s time for generations to come together to reimagine the type of world we want to create. On 20 November, kids will reimagine a better world. UNICEF and partners are calling on governments to adopt a Six-Point Plan to Protect our Children. Use #WorldChildrensDay to join the conversation to reimagine a better future for every child.
In Palestine, it is widely understood that vulnerability to breast cancer can be hereditary. As a result, some women avoid getting screened because they fear a breast cancer diagnosis could affect their daughters’ marriage prospects. Women with breast cancer have also faced gender-based violence and abandonment. A recent UNFPA study showed that breast cancer stigma is a major cause of delayed detection and treatment.
WHO‘s Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer outlines three key steps: vaccination, screening and treatment. Successful implementation could reduce more than 40% of new cases of the disease and 5 million related deaths by 2050. This historic milestone marks the first time that 194 countries commit to eliminating cancer - following adoption of a resolution at this year’s World Health Assembly.
Global markets and spirits are up with the news that two COVID-19 vaccines have shown to be more than 90% effective in late-stage clinical trials. But while there is growing confidence that an end to the health pandemic is in sight, an UNCTAD report published today warns that a viable vaccine will not halt the spread of economic damage, which will be felt long into the future, especially by the poorest and most vulnerable.
Nuclear-derived tools supplied by IAEA in partnership with FAO play a critical role in researching, detecting, diagnosing and characterizing zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19. In recent discoveries, COVID-19 infections have been recorded to transmit from humans to minks and back to humans, showing that the virus quickly adapts to new hosts. Understanding such mutations is vital in the development of effective vaccines.
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.
Positive change through the power of theatre
As part of a project to improve policing and security in Nepal, forum theatre is helping bring communities together to discuss the injustices they face and explore what they can do about it.
Together against school bullying
Bullying in school is a serious issue, affecting one in three students worldwide. This animation follows the stories of three young victims of bullying across the world, revealing the negative consequences of bullying on educational outcomes, health and well-being. It also highlights practical actions all people can take to help stop bullying in school.
What will you do with water data?
Like water, data can shape the world. World Bank Water data aggregates thousands of datasets across organizations and countries to help decision makers develop policies based on solid evidence as well as help researchers better understand needs to formulate solutions. Data can help transform ideas into action, delivering a water-secure world for all. What will you do with water data? Get started at https://www.wbwaterdata.org.
All you have to do is your best
"Days go by. And you know that every single day is a day of somebody losing their lives, or their livelihoods. And so you say to them, no more time!"
Martin Griffiths is the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Yemen, a country that has been devastated by civil war, and which is experiencing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises with famine, very little medical care, and now the coronavirus pandemic. Working to end the six-year conflict there is only the latest challenge in his long career as a mediator and humanitarian worker, and while he admits to being impatient for results, he also describes himself as an optimist, even if only 10 percent of mediation efforts ever succeed:
"But that priceless moment, which I can only really associate with mediation, is to die for."
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
Coronavirus could push migrant workers and their families into hunger, UN agencies warn
A woman waits with her baby at a food distribution point in Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria. Families dependent on remittances — cash transfers from relatives working abroad — risk going hungry as coronavirus restrictions take their toll on migrants and displaced people. Most of the world’s 164 million migrant workers are in the informal sector — typically in low-skilled, cash-in-hand jobs in the agriculture, construction or service sectors — and disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Now, dwindling remittances — chiefly used to cover food and other essential needs — look set to drive up hunger, a study by the World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Migration (IOM) suggests.
Photo:UN Women/Helio Miguel
Hand over the mic: Women on the front lines of violence against women during COVID-19
“As a woman with a disability and through my work, I see that the biggest problem for people with disabilities [during the pandemic] is access to information and having their basic needs met. … The majority of people whom we interviewed revealed that they had experienced violence and discrimination from their family and community.” Norberta V. Soares da Cruz is a volunteer member of the EU-UN funded Spotlight Initiative National Civil Society Reference Group in Timor-Leste. “[We must] bring the concerns and voices of people with disabilities to discussions in the community and in government. Our voices matter. We are all in this together and we will overcome this together."
Proud camels and peaceful doves: gifts with meaning
Artisan Kapya Kitungwa holds a wooden dove, a version of which he made for Made51 at his workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. He hopes his workshop will grow and employ many others. UNHCR launched MADE51 in 2016 to help refugees earn money and to introduce refugee artisans to global markets. Many of the refugee communities had access to raw materials and the skills to create products but lacked support. MADE51 brought the refugees together with social enterprises that could help with marketing and logistical support as well as offer advice on consumer trends and design.
Distilling herbs with zero waste in eastern Serbia
Farmers harvest lavender on the Sanicula farm in Gornja Mutnica, Serbia. As well as lavender, other typical Mediterranean plants such as lemon balm, thyme and heather are organically grown. After the harvest season, these plants are distilled into essential oils which, due to their quality, are attractive for customers on the world market. Sanicula’s project “Innovative approach to the production of pellets from medicinal herbs”, has been awarded as one of the five best innovative and climate-smart solutions within the project “Climate Smart Urban Development”, implemented by UNDP.