The bicycle has been in use for at least two centuries and is still going strong. It is simple, affordable, reliable, clean and climate-friendly and has become a symbol of sustainable transportation, as well as sport and recreation. This has been recognized by the UN General Assembly, which declared 3 June World Bicycle Day, to foster environmental stewardship and health. The UN welcomes initiatives to organize bicycle rides at the national and local levels as a means of strengthening physical and mental health and well-being and developing a culture of cycling in society.
The bicycle can serve as a means not just of transportation, but also of access to education, health care and sport.
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.
The right to safe drinking water and sanitation is rooted in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, United Nations resolutions and the Geneva conventions. It is a right that is as critical to the survival of children as food, medical care, and protection from attack. But from Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh to Ukraine to Yemen, crises have become increasingly protracted and conflict threatens interconnected urban service systems. To improve children’s access to clean drinking water, and to save lives in conflicts and crises, UNICEF calls for three major changes.
Financial backing from the GEF, FAO, UNEP and other international conservation partners has been set out to protect and restore mangrove species and safeguard the livelihoods of fish dependent communities in and around the Siné Saloum Delta. The programme, called the Coastal Fisheries Initiative, invests in restoring degraded mangroves so that they can retain their important role in balancing ecosystems. The Initiative is regenerating land and replanting large areas of mangroves, while also working with communities to rethink how they utilise and conserve them.
There is little information on the situation of older persons on the move in the Latin American region. This regional evaluation is the first one to make a comprehensive analysis on the intersectionality between ageing and human mobility. The current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is also analysed, including the worsening access to rights and services and the impact in their lives. With this report, HelpAge and UNHCR aim to cast light on the challenges and risks faced by older persons on the move so that actions are taken to ensure they are not left behind.
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.
The UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020 arrived at a time of great upheaval and peril. To secure a world where everyone can thrive in peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet we need a multilateral system that is inclusive, networked and effective. "Our Common Agenda" will build on the 12 commitments contained in the UN75 Declaration.
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.
The power of youth for peace and security
Young people are essential in promoting peace and security around the world. UN peacekeeping operations amplify the voices of the youth and ensure that they are included in planning and decision-making. They support young people in overcoming challenges, promoting gender equality and advancing progress. This year, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers (29 May) focuses on youth, peace and security. Young people are promoting peace and security – and UN peacekeeping is having an impact on the next generation.
Art and culture: African solutions for Africa's sustainable development
The 2021 Africa Dialogue Series (ADS) celebrates the continent’s identity, culture, history and achievements. It also brings together key stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities for Africa under the theme Cultural Identity and Ownership: Reshaping mindsets.
UN Free & Equal and IOM: Muhab’s story
Every human being deserves the freedom to simply be themselves, without facing violence and discrimination. Together we can create a future free from prejudice, where everyone truly belongs – no matter who they are, whom they love or where they come from. Help us spread these stories of determination and resilience by sharing our videos with the people in your life! Learn more
Budgeting for Gender Equity
New IMF research shows that women with young children, mothers, particularly less educated ones, have been the most adversely affected group during the pandemic.
Chrystia Freeland is Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and its first-ever female Finance Minister. In this podcast, Freeland and IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, discuss policies to help prevent the covid-19 pandemic from rolling back gains in women's economic opportunities, and how Canada has aligned its gender strategy with the budget process.
In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 690 million people — nearly 9 per cent of the world's population — still go to bed hungry each night. After nearly a decade of progress, the number of hungry people has slowly increased — driven by the twin scourges of conflict and climate change, and now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. WFP is the frontline agency responding to emergencies caused by conflict, climate shocks, pandemics and other disasters. There are 34 million people in three-dozen countries at the ‘emergency’ phase of food insecurity in 2021, just one step away from a declaration of famine. The greatest threat currently lies in Yemen and South Sudan. WFP urgently need US$5.5 billion to avert famine, chiefly through life-saving food and nutrition assistance.
The area surrounding the Yacuambi river basin located in the southern Ecuadorian province of Zamora-Chinchipe harbors some of the last remnants of primary forest between the Andes and the Amazon. A cooperative called APEOSAE (Small organic agricultural exporters of the Southern Ecuadorian Amazon) was born out of a desire to move from producers to entrepreneurs and to increase revenues and market access. It unites local farmers, many of whom are women and members of the indigenous Shuar and Saraguro Kichwa communities. They mainly cultivate organic coffee, cocoa and plantain. Jorge Kuji, an indigenous Shuar, is overlooking the drying process, considered the most important stage of coffee production since it affects the final quality of the product.