Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox. It is celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people all around the world and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and other regions. Nowruz plays a significant role in strengthening the ties among peoples based on mutual respect and the ideals of peace and good neighbourliness. The International Day of Nowruz is celebrated every year on 21 March.
Daffodils blossom in the gardens of UN Headquarters in the first week of spring.
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.
Every day, through our actions, and in the way we lead, talk, question and act, we challenge norms, transform habits, change laws, take action and inspire others to create a world without gender-based discrimination. We are Generation Equality rising. In the throes of a global pandemic, how we act now matters more than ever. This International Women’s Day and as world leaders and activists prepare for the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering to invest and innovate for gender equality, we are mobilizing to bring change. Join us.
Ignoring nature imposes costs that have been in the trillions.” In a recent interview, UN Chief Economist Elliott Harris spoke about a ground-breaking change to national accounting that, for the first time, includes valuing nature in addition to more conventional economic measures. The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounting offers major scope for informing and improving decisions on economies, climate action and the protection of biodiversity.
Twelve months, twelve lessons from the pandemic: Facts save lives; Be fast, be global; Everything is connected; We are not all treated equally, and that needs to change; Progress can be precarious; Biodiversity is keeping us alive; Women’s leadership is needed more than ever; Many hands make light work – even if some are not human; Migrants are the future; The more we know, the more effectively we can act; The SDGs are more vital than ever; A crisis is also an opportunity.
UNESCO and Guerlain have launched a state-of-the-art female beekeeping entrepreneurship programme, “Women for Bees,” with activist Angelina Jolie, helping promote its twin objectives of women’s empowerment and biodiversity conservation.
Women are playing a lead role in tackling some of the planet’s biggest environmental threats, from climate change to species loss, to pollution. Meet seven extraordinary women who are using their powers to save the planet.
Charity Chimphamba, a Malawian small-scale trader, had a thriving business before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. In the wake of COVID-19, Ms. Chimphamba’s revenue fell by 60%, mainly due to higher costs of buying goods through transport companies and sourcing them locally. Ms. Chimphamba was among 131 small-scale cross-border traders, 120 of them women, who attended UNCTAD training workshops held in border towns of Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia in February.
“Help bonobos and bonobos will help you” – is a saying in the Kokolopori community deep in the Congo Basin rainforest. It refers to the bonobo, a species of great apes. Bonobos share nearly 99 percent of their DNA with humans. Smart, emotional, creative, with homo sapiens-looking physical traits, the bonobo can be described as the closest relative to humankind. Yet they are endangered. The Kokolopori community, at Vie Sauvage, has a model for how to save this important species.
COVID-19: A threat to progress against child marriage warns that school closures, economic stress, service disruptions, pregnancy, and parental deaths due to the pandemic are putting the most vulnerable girls at increased risk of child marriage. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, 100 million girls were at risk of child marriage in the next decade, despite significant reductions in several countries in recent years. In the last ten years, the proportion of young women globally who were married as children had decreased by 15 per cent, a gain that is now under threat.
Breast cancer survival rates in high-income countries far exceed those in low-income countries.The establishment of WHO’s new Global Breast Cancer Initiative follows a steady escalation in the recognition of breast cancer as a public health priority during the last decades. Through the Initiative, WHO, working in unison with other UN agencies and partner organizations, will provide guidance to governments on how to strengthen systems for diagnosing and treating breast cancer, which in turn is expected to lead to improved capacities to manage other types of cancer.
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 turned 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.
What it takes to lead
Throughout history and around the world, women have always displayed exemplary leadership. Yet on this day, despite women’s increased engagement in public decision-making roles, equality is far off. UN Women works around the world to enable more women to take their rightful seats at decision-making tables. This year, the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women will focus on women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
BTS reflect on learning to love themselves
Promoting self-esteem and well-being, BTS is renewing their commitment to the LOVE MYSELF campaign in support of UNICEF’s work to end violence and neglect. With school closures and physical distancing measures, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of supporting each other. UNICEF and BTS are committed to creating a kinder, safer and more connected world.
Meet a Very Humble Hero
The condom is a three-time hero. It is the only contraceptive that fights HIV, as well as sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies. The Global Fund and UNFPA ensure condom availability worldwide as the largest public sector procurers – shipping more than 3.9 billion male and female condoms to 122 countries around the world in just four years.
There is Hope
In this latest episode of Awake at Night, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation (WHO), shares her insights on how lessons from other infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV have shaped our response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The clinical scientist also discusses how new technologies have given us the possibility to control diseases in ways we’ve never had before.
"When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses do not respect borders."
During the early ‘90s, Soumya successfully raised funds to get antiretroviral drugs to families affected by the HIV epidemic. Many of their children are still alive today thanks to her work. In this fascinating interview, she explains her hopes for future generations who are now exposed to the intricacies and power of science to affect change.
This year, we celebrated the 2nd International Women’s Day during the COVID-19 health emergency. Globally, migrant women have been and continue to be frontline workers, pouring themselves into supporting their communities as healthcare staff, scientists, professors, and service providers – many working in essential services. Women are holding families and communities together as societal safety nets are threatening to unravel. IOM pays tribute to women’s leadership during the COVID-19 response as they continue to fight for a more just and equal world.
Progress and real development are only possible if all people have equal rights and opportunities to thrive. Education is a human right and an essential public service with lifelong consequences. Yet many girls still struggle to get an education. Girls in Khayelitsha, the largest informal township in Cape Town, South Africa, contend with severe poverty and acute risks of violence. With the backing of UN Women and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, sports and peer counselling are among the methods that help them cope, feel safe and stay in school.
WFP calls for emergency funds as delayed rains and COVID-19 restrictions push more than 1 million people into extreme poverty. With even local fruits becoming scarce, people on the brink of extreme hunger in southern Madagascar are surviving on leaves and insects—whatever they can get their hands on. Women have nothing to feed their babies except the fruit of red cacti growing by the roadside. WFP urgently needs US$35 million to address the growing food crisis. Children are the worst affected—most have dropped out of school to beg for food in the streets.
A Haitian-Italian fashion designer, Stella Jean, and Kyrgyz women work together to bring traditional designs to the international market. Being a part of an artisans’ group is a way for the women to produce more and therefore make extra income, sometimes even doubling and tripling their typical monthly wages. Over the past five years, this initiative, a project implemented by FAO, has collaborated with women producers’ groups in Kyrgyzstan. It has supported them in accessing wider markets through labels that tell the story of each product.