As Pride events are celebrated virtually around the world, the United Nations continues to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people, who are among the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care discrimination, based on sexual orientation and gender identity, has been extensively documented. This discrimination can elevate the risk for LGBTI people from COVID-19. A guidance published by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), identifies many challenges LGBTI people face during the crisis and sets out key actions in the context of the pandemic.
Due to stay-at-home restrictions, many LGBTI youth are confined in hostile environments.
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.
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.
The first-ever virtual SDG Media Zone will be held on the sidelines of this year’s High-level Political Forum. As governments, civil society, businesses, and other sectors come together to take stock of the SDGs, we bring you expert voices, ideas and solutions for a sustainable recovery from COVID-19, focusing on the power of science and solidarity that can turn the tide and usher in a new era of transformative action for a healthier, more equitable and greener world.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has spelled disaster for the island of Haiti in many ways. The impact on health and the medical system was the first enormous challenge, but the economic impact was a close second. Many businesses ground to a halt and agricultural work decreased, as many farmers were required to stay home because of the containment measures implemented by the Haitian Government. The honey business was one of the very few exceptions to this rule. For Hilarion and the 30 other local beekeepers in the Bonbon Beekeepers Association, they noticed that there was marked increase in demand for their honey, due to its wide use in traditional Haitian medicine.
The number of working hours lost across the world in the first half of 2020 was significantly worse than previously estimated, while the highly uncertain recovery in the second half of the year will not be enough to go back to pre-pandemic levels, even in the best scenario, and risks seeing continuing large scale job losses, warns the International Labour Organization (ILO). According to the ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work: 5th Edition there was a 14 per cent drop in global working hours during the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to the loss of 400 million full-time jobs.
For the first time in living memory, Asia’s growth is expected to contract by 1.6 percent—a downgrade to the April projection of zero growth. While Asia’s economic growth in the first quarter of 2020 was better than projected in the April World Economic Outlook—partly owing to early stabilization of the virus in some—projections for 2020 have been revised down for most of the countries in the region due to weaker global conditions and more protracted containment measures in several emerging economies.
Since March 2020, Guatemala has recorded more than 600 COVID-19 deaths and over 11,000 infections. Amidst this crisis, indigenous women have continued to use their voices, knowledge and capacities to assist their communities and adapt their livelihoods. To build back better, their needs and concerns, but also their leadership must be placed at the centre of COVID-19 recovery plans. Boosting indigenous women’s entrepreneurial abilities can be transformative for them and their communities, and by extension, the entire country.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced a massive rise in the number of hungry people it plans to assist around the world, as the devastating socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic push millions more people into food insecurity in low- and middle-income countries. “The frontline in the battle against the coronavirus is shifting from the rich world to the poor world,” said David Beasley, WFP’s Executive Director. “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos. Without it, we could see increased social unrest and protests, a rise in migration, deepening conflict and widespread under-nutrition among populations that were previously immune from hunger.”
Since COVID-19 hit Afghanistan, it has posed a dreadful dilemma for the Afghan nomads, the Kuchis, get sick or go hungry. IFAD tells the experience of the Kuchis, who normally make a living by herding sheep, goats and camels around the country. Under lockdown, that lifestyle has become very difficult to maintain. For most people, the lockdown measures greatly reduce their exposure to the virus. But for the Kuchis, they pose the danger of blocking their usual trade of livestock and dairy products – and without trade, they have no income and face a shortage of food.
Behind the counter of her small convenience store in a rundown neighbourhood of Tripoli, northern Lebanon, 35-year-old Kawkab Mustafa keeps a list of debts owed to her by customers she has allowed to buy goods on credit. In recent months, the list has grown so long she needs four separate notebooks to record all the entries. UNHCR shows us how the arrival of COVID-19 and restrictions to contain its spread in March have brought further misery to both Lebanese locals and Syrian refugees, leaving many unable to work and pushing them closer to the brink of destitution.
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.
Join UN Women in speaking up and taking action for a future without violence against women.
Play your role in ending violence against women
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and Academy-Award winning actor Nicole Kidman raises awareness on ending violence against women during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Join UN Women in speaking up and taking action for a future without violence against women. Everybody has a role to play. Find out more and see what you can do.
Together, we can help the world recover better
The COVID-19 crisis is taking a grim toll on human lives across the globe. Although the complete impact is yet to be fully comprehended, the risk the pandemic is exposing for gains made towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is becoming evident. What this global emergency is also revealing, is that these 17 goals are, in fact, our best option to recover better and to overcome similar crises in the future.
A UNEP partner has rescued sloths for more than a decade.
Save our Sloths
Habitat loss and fragmentation is a major threat to sloths. In Panama, a biodiverse country, a UNEP partner has rescued sloths for more than a decade. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic is hampering efforts to protect the species.
‘God forbid’ COVID-19 reaches Syria’s camps
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Syria are in the low hundreds, but it is only a matter of time before the disease reaches those sheltering in camps in the war-torn country.
That’s according to the World Health Organization’s Dr Akjemal Magtymova, who’s the UN health agency’s representative in Syria.
She’s been speaking to UN News’s Daniel Johnson from Qamishli in the northeast of the country, where she’s just visited Al Hol camp, that’s home to tens of thousands of youngsters caught up in the more than nine-year conflict.
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
Photo:UN Women/ Ramzi Haidar/ Dar Al Mussawir
When fathers share the care
As COVID-19 impacts parents around the world, sharing the care work is critical. UN Women shows us the example set by a Palestinian couple living in a refugee camp in Lebanon. In a community that views men who share domestic and care work as a sign of weakness, Mahmoud Charary stands out as an exception. Both parents consider themselves as primary caregivers. Yet Malak, mother to their one-year-old girl, works long hours on the front line of the pandemic, leaving Mahmoud to care for their daughter.
Closed borders and restrictions on movement pose unprecedented challenges to the way UNHCR responds to emergencies. Some of the lessons learned by supporting displaced communities to confront the COVID-19 pandemic include the feelings of uncertainty we are all experiencing right now. Obviously, the experience of refugees is much more extreme than what we are going through — but the notion of sudden change in the way a person lives, and works is something this crisis will help us to understand better.
Photo:UNDP Guatemala/Carolina Trutmann
Transforming food and agriculture
For smallholder farmers struggling to feed their families, resilient agriculture and smarter food systems can support nations in preparing, responding and recovering to multiplying crises, including climate change, plagues of locusts, and COVID-19. Working with national governments, over 40 international organizations, donors, and UN Agencies, such as UNDP, envision transforming food and agriculture to be more resilient, equitable, inclusive, and environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
Photo:UNDP/ GEF Small Grants Programme
Using South-South Cooperation to replicate nature-based solutions
Shared solutions, shared among communities through South-South cooperation and supported by UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme, increase local communities’ livelihood opportunities, help protect the environment, increase access to health and education, and inspire social inclusion across borders. "South-South cooperation is a powerful tool as we advance, together, towards the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfil the promise to leave no one behind”, acknowledges UN Secretary-General António Guterres.