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International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

Enforced disappearance has frequently been used as a strategy to spread terror within society; the feeling of insecurity generated is not limited to close relatives of the disappeared, but also affects their communities and society as a whole. UN Resolution A/RES/65/209 expresses a deep concern about the increase in enforced or involuntary disappearances, including arrest, detention and abduction, and it declares 30 August the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. The resolution also welcomes the adoption of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The Swedish teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg (centre), joins other young people for a school strike or demonstration outside the United Nations in New York on 30 August 2019.

Activist Greta Thunberg gets preview of UNHQ ahead of climate summit

30 August 2019 — Two days after disembarking from her carbon-free yacht in New York, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg paid a visit to UN Headquarters on Friday, after joining participants of...

More than half of world’s refugee children ‘do not get an education’, warns UNHCR

30 August 2019 — Refugee children in their millions are missing out on an education, the UN said on Friday, in an appeal to host countries to back more inclusive policies to prevent them from “...

‘Ground Zero’: Report from the former Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan

29 August 2019 — Every year on August 29, at the initiative of Kazakhstan, the UN and its Member States mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests. This year, the Day coincides with the 70th...

UN Sustainable Development Goals

17 Goals to transform our world

The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries — poor, rich and middle-income — to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

child walking towards sunset

The Member States of the United Nations meet at the General Assembly in New York to discuss the critical issues of global concern. World leaders will participate in discussions to boost action on climate change and accelerate progress on sustainable development. 


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.

children holding up books

Reading and learning are essential to children’s growth and development; stories can fuel their imagination and raise awareness of new possibilities. The SDG Book Club aims to encourage them to learn about the Goals in a fun, engaging way, empowering them to make a difference.

Icons of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals address the global challenges we face. Find out more and learn how they are all connected.

More from the
United Nations

Featured stories from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

Woman grating ginger at a produce market.

Recipe For a Healthy Life

Individuals, countries, decision makers and private businesses can all take action to promote healthy diets and achieve #ZeroHunger. Life choices: eat in company! Researchers have linked this with lower rates of obesity and eating disorders in youth. Diet choices: dietary guidelines provide advice on how to make sure you get enough nutrients to be healthy and prevent chronic disease. Planet choices: think about the environment, reduce your food print. Click here for FAO’s recipe to help everyone make healthy eating and Zero Hunger a way of life.

The 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference logo.

The 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference

The 68th Civil Society Conference: "Building Inclusive and Sustainable Cities and Communities" came to a succcesful close on August 28. The UN Secretary-General welcomed the focus of this year’s conference, noting that cities are well placed to help combat the global climate emergency and point the way towards sustainable, low-emission development. The Outcome Statement and Youth Climate Compact are vailable online. #UNCSC2019

Left: View of the UN Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases meeting hall. Right: a model displays Cameroonian-born designer Serge Mouangue’s fashions.

WIPO and the SDGs - The Impact of Innovation

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing concrete services to its member states, enabling them to use the intellectual property system to drive the innovation, competitiveness and creativity needed to achieve these goals. This recently launched page outlines the various WIPO services that create the conditions for innovation, competitiveness and creativity to thrive. It also highlights examples and stories of the individuals and communities benefiting from these services.

Asia-Pacific Climate Week (2-6 Sep)

This regional climate week in Bangkok, Thailand, aims to foster engagement between key players with a goal of addressing the climate emergency, and an opportunity for discussions from an Asian Pacific perspective. Register here.

The ABCs of Healthy Diets for Kids

Being healthy is everyone’s responsibility – including yours! Here are the different ingredients, or main food groups, that make up a healthy diet.

5 Ways to Reduce Our Reliance on Plastic

An estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently float in our oceans. Turn the tide! Our daily choices matter. From FAO, here are 5 ways to cut our dependence on macro- and micro-plastics.

beach cleanup

UNESCO Prizewinner Uses AI Tool to Detect and Collect Trash Worldwide

Not everything that looks like trash is trash. That was the fundamental challenge when a UNESCO prizewinner from Estonia, the Let’s Do It Foundation, had the idea to create an image-based trash detection system using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Midwife Imama (left) checks on Salma and her newborn in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Midwifery Dashboard

Midwives save lives; they could help avert roughly two thirds of all maternal and newborn deaths. Yet only 42% of people with midwifery skills work in the 73 countries where more than 90% of all maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths occur (see The State of the World’s Midwifery Dashboard).

The World Food Programme is testing drones to beat hunger

Bots on the Ground

Enrica Porcari, head of the Technology division of UN World Food Programme (WFP), reflects on how the private sector and tech community must help ensure the 2030 Development Agenda stays on track in an age of receding multilateralism.

children playing

Representing Children: Then and Now

The Convention on the Rights of the Child turns 30. This most widely ratified human rights treaty in history explains who children are, all their rights, and the responsibilities of governments to protect and fulfil these rights. We take a look at some of these rights and representing children then and now.

What we do

Due to the powers vested in its Charter and its unique international character, the United Nations can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, including:

Structure of the
United Nations

The main parts of the UN structure are the General Assembly, the
Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat. All were established in 1945 when the UN was founded.

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.

Learn more

The Middelgrunden Off Shore Windturbines located in the Øresund Straight separating Denmark and Sweden. UN Photo

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 at UN CSW63 Side Event - “Take the Hot Seat”. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

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.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is greeted on his visit to the Central African Republic

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.

Mansoor, 12, watches the virtual reality documentary ‘Clouds over Sidra’ with a big grin, outside a UNICEF-supported Makani centre in the Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees. Photo: UNICEF/Herwig

Digital technologies know no borders. They cut across boundaries, sectors and disciplines, opening up new opportunities which are transforming societies and economies, and helping achieve the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Did you know?

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.

Watch and Listen

Video and audio from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

In Algeria soccer has triggered passions, capturing dreams and unifying nations. Rabah Arezki, Chief Economist of the World Bank's Middle East and North Africa region, shares 4 lessons that soccer can offer for economic development in Algeria.

Fostering Across Borders: unaccompanied migrant children film their stories (short)

Unaccompanied migrant children residing in Austria explore their experiences of living in family-based care and participate in a series of 5 filmmaking workshops to create a video on their views.

Targeting Toxins with Nuclear Techniques

Electron beams can be used to treat and destroy industrial pollutants. This video shows how scientists in Slovakia want to use this technology to clean a contaminated river

UN Podcasts

Dr. Valérie Masson-Delmotte

Land use ‘absolutely unsustainable’ but can be part of the solution, climate change expert insists

More than 100 leading scientists from all regions of the globe contributed to a major new UN report on the effects on climate change on land. One of those experts is Dr. Valérie Masson-Delmotte, and in an interview with UN News’s Daniel Johnson, she warns that although land use today is “absolutely unsustainable” for many reasons, it can also be part of the solution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

More UN podcasts

Live Now

United Nations meetings, events, and press conferences live and on demand

The United Nations in Pictures

Images from across the United Nations and our world-wide family of agencies, funds, and programmes.

Four photos of panoramic nature views entered in hopes of winning the WMO Calendar Competition.
Photo:© WMO

WMO 2020 Calendar Competition Finalists

After receiving over 1,100 amazing photos from all around the world, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has narrowed the shortlist down to 75 for the WMO 2020 Calendar Competition. WMO now needs YOU to vote for your favourite

Greta Thunberg stands at the front of the sailboat as she arrives in New York.
Photo:UN Photo/Mark Garten

Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Arrives in New York by Sailboat

Ms. Thunberg, 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, sailes into NY Harbor flanked by a fleet of 17 sailboats representing each of the SDGs on their sails. She embarked on a trans-Atlantic voyage on 14 August from Plymouth, England to NYC on a solar-powered, zero-emission racing boat, the Malizia II, to attend the Climate Action Summit.

Mike, who fled Burundi in 2015, works on a painting at the art centre.
Photo:© UNHCR/Anthony Karumba

Forging a Friendship Through Art

After fleeing his home for Rwanda, Burundian artist Mike Katihabuga has made a friend with fellow Rwanda artist Djamal Ntagara for life. Djamal’s art centre, Kanyaaburanga (‘a little beautiful place’), is where Mike found a space and a home for his creativity. The centre is open to artists from Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Anita Haidar with her daughter on World Children’s Day.
Photo:© UNICEF/Afghanistan/2019/Haidary

Hard Times Will Make You Stronger

Anita Haidary, a UNICEF Education Specialist in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, explains what’s it’s like to be a female humanitarian worker and how she got to do the job she loves. "At age 16, I opened a home-based teaching class for girls and women. It brought me great happiness to see young girls learn to write their name for the first time." Click here to read the full story.