World Philosophy Day

Celebrated on the third Thursday of November, World Philosophy Day aims to foster philosophical analysis of major contemporary issues, so as to respond more effectively to the challenges confronting humanity today. The 2019 edition highlights the importance of philosophy in different regional contexts. The goal is to obtain regional contributions to global debates on contemporary challenges that support social transformations and to stimulate collaboration to address global issues, such as migration, radicalization, environmental change, or artificial intelligence.

A detail of the stained glass panel designed by Marc Chagall, installed in the UN General Assembly building.
Photo:UN Photo/Lois Conner
Displaced Syrians cook a meal on an open fire at Qah Camp, close to the Turkish border. (file)

Missile strike kills at least 12 civilians, including children, in Syria’s Idlib: UN humanitarians

21 November 2019 — Violence in Syria continues to kill and maim civilians with reports that missiles fired into settlements for people fleeing conflict in the country’s northwest on Wednesday...

Young activists do the talking as UN marks World Children’s Day

20 November 2019 — Children were both seen and heard in the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, World Children’s Day, during a celebration to commemorate 30 years since the adoption of a milestone...

‘Three-country crisis’ across central Sahel puts whole generation at risk, warns UN food agency

19 November 2019 — Violent attacks by extremists “almost every day” in the Sahel nations of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have displaced nearly one million people and caused emergency levels of...

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.


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.

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.

#WorldTVDay: Partnerships for the Goals

The shows and advertising we watch on TV and online have the power to shape our attitudes and behaviours. World TV Day is celebrated on 21 November each year in recognition of the impact television has on our lives and its potential to influence decision making.

SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation


Clean Water and Sanitation

Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this.

More from the
United Nations

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

child eating donut

The way we eat: the hidden costs of unsustainable food production

We need food, but the way we eat, particularly in developed nations, is killing both us and the planet. Diseases from meat and dairy-based diets are exploding, while more than 820 million people lack sufficient food. The way we produce our food is corroding a sustainable future. Industrial food production releases a quarter of all greenhouse gases. UNDP works across the globe, and at all levels of society, to encourage sustainable agriculture.

poultry farmers

Healthy animals, happy farmers!

The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, is causing a growing problem called antimicrobial resistance. Every time we use antimicrobials to treat infections - in people, animals and plants - these germs have a chance to adapt to the treatment, making those medicines less effective over time. These resistant germs can cross borders and continents, spreading between people, animals and the environment. Because of this, the world’s farmers have a key role in fighting antimicrobial resistance.

silhouettes of 3 women

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence: Generation Equality Stands against Rape

For the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, and under the umbrella of the Generation Equality campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign is calling upon people from all walks of life, across generations, to take our boldest stand yet against rape. It’s time to take a stand to dismantle rape culture.

Men’s health checklist

  • Have regular check-ups.
  • Reduce alcohol use.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat better.
  • Be more active.

I am Generation Equality: “I am a child born out of wartime rape”

Ajna Jusić, 26 years old, is the President of the Forgotten Children of War Association, a psychologist and a feminist from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Clinic helps refugees and Bangladeshis in pain

A physiotherapy clinic in south-east Bangladesh treats Rohingya refugees and their Bangladeshi hosts side by side. 

This is what it’s like for an Ebola survivor to go back to school

UNICEF is working with psychologists, teachers and students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help children reintegrate.

An ILO project renovates Arasapuram tank and provides paid work for local people.

Water is wealth for Sri Lankan farmers

The legacy of conflict combined with climate change brought drought and impending disaster to northern Sri Lankan farmers. An ILO project helped to restore water and put them back on the road to a more prosperous life.

Toilet built by IFAD under Market infrastructure development project in Bangladesh

Sanitation pays for itself

Access to clean water and sanitation reduce health care costs for individuals and society. With better health, people can invest more time in income-generating and social activities.

illustration: women and men stand in solidarity

16 ways you can stand against rape culture

Rape culture is the social environment that allows sexual violence to be normalized and justified, fueled by the persistent gender inequalities and attitudes about gender and sexuality. Naming it is the first step to dismantling rape culture. From the attitudes we have about gender identities to the policies we support in our communities, we can all take action to stand against rape culture.

ocean shore

Financing ocean protection

Our future depends on a clean and healthy ocean, where protection and sustainable use go hand in hand. The ocean is under threat from the effects of climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity and unsustainable use. To respond we need to build partnerships between government, industry, science and civil society, putting knowledge, technology and finance into action.  In Seychelles they're doing just that: financing ocean protection.

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.

A Geographical Indication (GI) is a label used on goods that have a specific geographical origin, highlighting their unique local features, history or distinctive characteristics. Parmigiano-Reggiano and Colombian coffee are famous examples. GI initiatives empower farmers to preserve and promote their territory and ensure their access to markets. GIs help create jobs, while preserving food heritage, local know-how and biodiversity. They also contribute to dietary diversity.

100 Years of Maternity Protection

100 years ago, the ILO adopted the first-ever international standard on maternity protection. Since that Convention, the definition of maternity protection has expanded and its importance has become more widely appreciated – including as an essential element in achieving the SDGs of good health, gender equality, decent work and economic growth. But, despite this progress, many mothers and mothers-to-be still face serious challenges in the workplace. Find out if your country ratified the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183).

Changing Climate, Changing Tides

“There used to be so much fish, but things are changing.” Roza, a fisherwoman, has worked for over 20 years in the Danube river basin. In the last decade, rising temperatures and lower water levels are forcing Roza to question the changing nature of her job. Increase in extreme weather events is causing more frequent flooding and a decline in the water quality. These changes are especially tough on laborers who depend on nature to make a living. UNDP and GEF are supporting the government of Serbia to find new, cost-effective and socially inclusive solutions to address the challenges of climate change.

UN Podcasts

Meinolf Schlotmann, Police Commissioner of UNSOM, poses for the camera in the audio booth.

Important ‘lessons learned’ could help other UN missions: Somalia police chief

Somalia could provide valuable "lessons learned for other mission set ups," according to the UN police commissioner there. In New York for UN Police Week, Meinolf Schlotmann, Police Commissioner of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said that the country is on "a very positive trajectory." 

He spoke of the close collaboration between UNSOM officers and their counterparts in the African Union Mission in the country (AMISOM), saying the two were working on the ground 'shoulder-to-shoulder." He began by telling Liz Scaffidi about the current situation in Somalia.

More UN podcasts

Live Now

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.

A man stands in an open space and draws an abstract face on a school black board.
Photo:© IOM/ Monica Chiriac

Art Summer Camp for Youth in Niger

“When I was five, I started to draw with a piece of coal because we were too poor to afford pencils. At the time, I didn’t even know what drawing meant.” says Seyni Hima, co-founder of the NGO Art Monde. The workshop "Art Vacances," organized by Seyni’s local NGO, is meant as an educative space through visual arts for Nigerian youth and an opportunity to explore the children’s hidden talents. More than anything, the art summer camp is intended as a place of sharing and exchange between young people from different social backgrounds.

A woman wearing bright yellow stands in a lush green tea mountainous filed, holding a basket where she stores the tea leaves she plucked.
Photo:© UNICEF/UNI213237/Rudakubana

Tea and Day Care in Rwanda

When you sip your next green tea, you might stop to take in the aroma of the leaves. Chances are, you won’t be thinking about a small family in the hills of Rwanda. This is a story of work and leaving no child behind. High up in the mountains of Rwanda’s Western Province, Josephine Nyirakarenga works on a tea plantation in one of the hardest-to-reach areas, 2,400 metres above sea level. She was often late since she had to care for her twin children before heading to work. Not any more, thanks to the UNICEF-supported day care centre on the plantation.

Nuns and monks, with shaved heads and dressed in crimson robes, sit in organized rows as they look ahead in unison.
Photo:© UNFPA Bhutan/Nilanjana Bose

Bhutan's Changemakers in Crimson Robes

"There was a time when I would be menstruating and didn’t know what to do," said one of the Anims [nuns] and Lopens Gelongs [monks] in Bhutan who have taken charge of their own lives and bodies, empowered by the education they've received. They were some of the most venerable people in the kingdom. Today, they are agents of social change. They talk about issues one may generally not associate with spiritual leaders: menstruation, gender-based violence (including sexual violence), and the right to be who they want to be. Buddhism is linked with the lives of people in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Spiritual leaders, Anims, and Lopens play a large role in framing people's mindsets and beliefs. 


An elderly man smiles ear to ear while tending to sheep with his grandson who is hugging one as large as himself.
Photo:© UNDP Armenia/Jodi Hilton

Caught in the Cross Fire, Armenia's Border Communities Reinvent Themselves

Traditionally, it was known as the "Little Switzerland of Armenia." Nowadays, the existing insecurity affects every aspect of life in borderline communities of the Tavush region. Most families left. Those who remain are resilient. Instead of despairing over an uncertain future, they are taking control. Farmers, workers, mayors decided to team up, their meetings quickly evolving into a breeding ground of ideas. They proposed retrofitting greenhouses with modern drip irrigation, buying tractors, and restoring schools and cultural centers. Projects financed by UNDP were chosen based on their potential for success and spread to neighboring communities. This and more in Voyages' Issue#3: Boundaries.