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United Nations Truce Supervision Organization Commander visits Post in Golan Heights.
Photo:UN Photo/Hanne Olafsen

About the UN

The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945. Currently made up of 193 Member States, the UN and its work are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.


More about the UN

The World We Want - 75 photos curated from more than 50,000 images from over 130 countries in response to the Secretary-General’s call to hear directly from the peoples of the world about their priorities for the future.

 
António Guterres

In the end, it comes down to values [...] We want the world our children inherit to be defined by the values enshrined in the UN Charter: peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity.

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
 
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The central mission of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security. That is why nations created the UN in 1945 in the aftermath of World War II’s devastation. The UN works to prevent conflict, helping parties in conflict make peace, and deploying UN peacekeepers. It helps nations and people create the conditions to allow peace to take hold and flourish, undertaking activities that are most effective when they reinforce one another and are inclusive. Read more about UN Peacekeeping.

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Climate change is the defining issue of our time. There is still time to tackle its many challenges and rapidly increasing impacts – but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society. Now is the moment to act. Read more about Climate Change.

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The international community relies on the United Nations to coordinate humanitarian relief in emergencies beyond the relief capacity of national authorities alone. Whether caused by natural or man-made disasters, this life-saving work is a core goal spelled out in the UN Charter: “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 World War II, helping to rebuild devastated countries in Europe. It continues this work alongside countries and peoples around the globe today. Read more about Humanitarian Work.

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WHO intervenes during health crises and responds to humanitarian emergencies. It works to quickly identify outbreaks and stop diseases from spreading. And it helps to prevent chronic diseases and to achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. WHO’s staff of medical doctors, public health specialists, scientists, epidemiologists and other experts are at work on the ground in most of the world’s countries. They advise ministries of health on technical issues and provide assistance on prevention, treatment and care services throughout the health sector. Read more about Global Health.

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Events

World Humanitarian Day 2022

On 19 August 2003, a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Five years later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day (WHD). Each year, WHD focuses on a theme, bringing together partners from across the humanitarian system to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers. For this year’s WHD, we show the importance, effectiveness and positive impact of humanitarian work.

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Do you master this topic? Test your knowledge with this UN Women’s quiz and its 5 questions. If you get all the questions right... Congratulations! You are a pro. If not, don't worry. There are always ways to learn more about the connection between gender inequalities and climate change.

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Given the key role of language in shaping cultural and social attitudes, using gender-inclusive language is a powerful way to promote gender equality and eradicate gender bias. This website compiles resources to help United Nations staff navigate this issue. Check it out!

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International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.