Considering the current pandemic, South-South cooperation is more important than ever. Several countries of the global South have already demonstrated effective responses to COVID-19, so they can help other less developed to build more resilient societies during the crisis. In observance of the International Day of South-South Cooperation (12 September), the United Nations hosts a virtual event on 10 September at 9 a.m. EDT to reflect on the vital role of international solidarity towards the Sustainable Development Goals, while effectively responding to the global COVID-19 crisis.
Children washing their hands before the school feeding at Los Vados, Guatemala, as part of a school feeding program based on the FAO-Brazil Regional Cooperation Programme.
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.
United in Science 2020, the new multi-agency report coordinated by WMO, highlights the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change, which affects glaciers, oceans, nature, economies and human living conditions. It also documents how COVID-19 has impeded our ability to monitor these changes. Emissions are heading in the direction of pre-pandemic levels following a temporary decline caused by the lockdown and economic slowdown. The world is set to see its warmest five years on record – in a trend which is likely to continue.
Just after the world came together for the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, the Bank Group unveiled an ambitious Climate Change Action Plan to ramp up financial and technical support to developing countries to step up climate action. The World Bank Group committed to increasing climate finance from 20% of lending in 2016 to 28% by 2020. This target was exceeded each year for the last three consecutive years. In total, over the duration of the Action Plan, the Bank Group has delivered over $83 billion in climate finance.
The number of under-five deaths dropped to its lowest point on record in 2019 – down to 5.2 million from 12.5 million in 1990, according to new UN mortality estimates. Since then, however, surveys by UNICEF and WHO reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major disruptions to health services that threaten to undo decades of hard-won progress. Health check-ups, vaccinations and prenatal and post-natal care, are restricted due to resource constraints and general uneasiness with using health services due to fear of getting COVID-19.
A humanitarian crisis is taking place at sea and urgent action is needed to protect seafarers’ health and ensure the safety of shipping, warns IMO. It is estimated that more than 300,000 seafarers and marine personnel are currently stranded at sea and unable to be repatriated despite the expiry of their contracts. A similar number of seafarers have been unable to join ships and relieve them. This is due to restrictions imposed by several governments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eighteen people died and others wounded in an overnight attack in Cameroon close to the Nigerian border, where thousands of internally displaced people have sought safety. Insecurity in the Far North region continues. 2,000 residents have adjusted their routines in fear of attack, making their lives even harder. UNHCR provides protection and assistance with water, food, shelter and other items to more than 400,000 refugees in Cameroon, mainly from Nigeria and the Central African Republic.
Labour migration from Pakistan has steadily increased in recent decades and continues to improve family and community livelihoods. However, a lack of good information about safe migration, fair recruitment channels and related services is a key challenge for those interested in becoming migrant workers. ILO warns that without accurate information they can be vulnerable to deception and even abuse. Volunteers aim to ensure fair recruitment and safe migration for migrant workers from Pakistan.
Sumaka Japhet is a young rice seed cultivator and agricultural entrepreneur. In 2017, after finishing university, he heard about and joined the IFAD-supported project that gave him a start-up kit containing fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, as well as quality, certified seed – and those few items forever changed the way he cultivated rice. He also received technical support and training on rice seed production. Each growing season, he sold the seed and invested his earnings into the next.
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.
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.
On the Brink - Emissions Gap Report 2019
As the world strives to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, it is crucial to track progress towards globally agreed climate goals. For a decade, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report has compared where greenhouse gas emissions are heading against where they need to be, and highlighted the best ways to close the gap. Are we meeting goals of the Paris Climate Agreement?
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.
UN General Assembly 2020
The 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly opens this September, marking three quarters of a century of the Organization’s existence. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, climate crisis and rising inequality, world leaders convene to tackle the most pressing issues of the day. The 75th General Assembly session will be like none before it as countries aim to rise to unprecedented challenges and forge lasting solutions.
COVID-19 didn't stop climate change
There was a temporary decline in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by the COVID-19 lockdown and economic slowdown. But now, greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations are heading in the direction of pre-pandemic levels. The lockdown-related decline in emissions will not stabilize global warming. The global heating trend will continue. COVID-19 didn't stop climate change. There can be no delay in climate change action by all countries and sectors.
Closing dumpsites for better health
Some 330,000 premature deaths in the Americas are caused each year by pollution from open landfill dumpsites where waste is usually burned. In Latin America and the Caribbean there are thousands of dumpsites which are health hazards and which also contribute to climate change. Several countries are working to close them. Three countries have already have closed sites and replaced them with environment friendly sites: Mexico (in 2011); Nicaragua (in 2016), and Brazil (in 2018).
It’s time for a criminal probe into Yemen tragedy
All parties to the conflict in Yemen - and the humanitarian catastrophe that it has created – are responsible for terrible crimes which should be investigated by an international criminal probe.
That’s the message from rights investigator Melissa Parke; she’s part of a Human Rights Council panel which is calling for the Security Council to address what she calls a “pandemic of impunity”.
Here she is talking to UN News’s Daniel Johnson about the findings of the Group Of Experts’ latest report into the war-torn country.
Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.
All you need to know about air pollution
UNEP explains air pollution is the result of gas and particle emissions, and their chemical reactions with the atmosphere. It can be caused by natural sources like volcanic eruptions, sea spray and lightning. But the majority is caused by five types of human activity: household, industry, transportation, agriculture, and waste. Nine out of every ten people are breathing unclear air. Ultimately, around 7 million people die every year from diseases and infections related to air pollution – more than five times the number of people who die in road traffic collisions.
Conquerors, climate change and coronavirus
A woman riding a motorbike stands out against the desert-like landscape, as its engine roars. She’s heading home from a WFP emergency food distribution in the Department of Oruro, a six-hour drive from Bolivia’s capital, La Paz. Despite the dryness all around this area was until recently home to the country’s second-largest lake. Sitting at 3,700 metres above sea level, Lake Poopó’s saline waters used to cover an area of 2,530 km² — more than three times the size of New York City. By December 2015, however, the impact of climate change had caused the lake to dry up.
Creating new opportunities for home workers in Nepal
An EU-funded project to support Nepal’s informal sector workers hit hard by the COVID-19 prevention measures has provided them with work producing facemasks. Immediately after the COVID-19 lockdown, the UN-Habitat led project, Parya Sampada, was repurposed to support local women to make face masks and other personal protective equipment. Informal settlement workers lost their work stopping their source of livelihood and would have been left without an income due to the lockdown. Bidhya Narkami and 13 other members from the Bungamati community produce face masks and other material.
Photo:UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Quiet corridors but a full programme at virtual UNGA75
This month, there will be no bumping into presidents or the occasional global celebrity at UN Headquarters in New York. There will be no marvelling at the presidential motorcades and no “standing-room only” moments in the General Assembly. The Organization’s busiest time of the year is reimagined in the time of COVID-19. Most leaders will not be appearing in person and meetings are going virtual, but that’s not to say that the wheels of global diplomacy and sustainable development will not be turning at the usual speed. UN News brings us the five things to look out for at UNGA 75.