Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice

The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October) addresses the challenge of achieving social and environmental justice for all. The growing recognition of the multi-dimensionality of poverty means that these two issues are inseparably intertwined, and that social justice cannot be fully realized without aggressively rectifying environmental injustices at the same time. The participation, knowledge, contributions and experience of people living in poverty must be reflected in our efforts to build an equitable and sustainable world.

Clay cakes, sun-baked clay, butter and salt, have become a symbol of Haiti's struggles with extreme poverty and hunger.
Photo:UN Photo / Logan Abassi
In the middle of a hot day, rickshaw puller Raja Mia (in background with mask) takes a rest on the side of the street in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

COVID-19: ‘Little or no’ benefit from trials of anti-virals, says WHO 

16 October 2020 — Latest results from a UN-coordinated international trial on four COVID-19 therapeutic drugs, indicate that they have “little or no” positive impact on preventing deaths in...

LIVE: World Food Day

16 October 2020 — Hunger is rising, due to factors including conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, which is putting a strain on food systems that are already failing in many...

Invest in rural women, help them build resilience to future crises, urges UN chief

15 October 2020 — Rural women play a critical role in agriculture, food security and managing land and natural resources - yet many suffer from "discrimination, systemic racism, and structural...

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.

Act Now

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.

Decade of Action

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.

Thomas the Tank engine

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.

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

More from the
United Nations

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

Map of the world with arrows representing wind and colours representing air quality.

Climate change: Proof in numbers

UNEP’s novel World Environment Situation Room provides real-time data on fine particulate matter in the atmosphere from fires, informing scientists, policy-makers and citizens alike. The platform is a collaboration between the UN and Swiss firm IQAir, which operates its own air quality monitoring platform. At maximum zoom-out, it shows a map of the planet, with arrows depicting wind patterns and air quality areas represented by a shading system; green is good, yellow moderate, orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

A woman stands outdoors next to a blackboard with girls sitting on the floor facing her.

Girls’ education threatened by COVID-19

A UNESCO report released on the International Day of the Girl Child shows that 180 million more girls have enrolled in primary and secondary education since 1995. However, despite an increase across all levels of education, girls are still more likely to suffer exclusion than boys, and this is further exacerbated by the current pandemic. It therefore remains vital for governments to tackle persisting discrimination to achieve equality for the next generation of girls, argues the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report.

People wearing facemasks walk along the street.

Fiscal policy for an unprecedented crisis

With many still unemployed, small businesses struggling, and 80‑90 million people likely to fall into extreme poverty in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, it is too early for governments to remove the exceptional support. Yet many countries need to do more with less, given increasingly tight budget constraints. The IMF October 2020 Fiscal Monitor examines countries’ experiences managing the crisis and discusses what governments can do to save lives, reduce the impact of the recession, and revive growth and job creation.

App helps WFP navigate conflict

As of being recognized by the Nobel Prize committee, WFP shares part of their success. A leading geographic information system is instrumental in supporting operations and access negotiations.

Batman forever?

WIPO unveils the first of the new series of "Creative Economy Notes" exploring how character owners may trademark their characters in addition to protecting them under the copyright framework.

Afro-pop star for a green recovery

Kicking off her role as UNDP Goodwill, Yemi Alade will help shine a spotlight on the disproportionate impact of the health and socio-economic crisis on the poorest and most vulnerable people.

Support for your teen’s mental health

Whether you and your teen are getting along well or having challenges, UNICEF highlights how to help teens navigate tough times by always being there for them and showing love and support.

flooded area

As Climate Impacts Increase, UN Agencies Step Up Cooperation on Disaster Risk Reduction

A UN report published to mark the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on October 13, confirms how extreme weather events have come to dominate the disaster landscape in the 21st century. The report “The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019” registers a sharp increase of extreme weather events over the previous twenty years, with much of the difference explained by a rise in climate-related disasters. Globally, there were around 6,700 climate-related disasters including severe floods and storms in the time-period 2000-2019 compared to 3,600 climate-related disasters compared to the time-frame 1980-1999.

agricultural workers

Vulnerable workers hardest hit by COVID-19 fallout in fragile Arab states

Rapid assessments examining the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable workers and enterprises in fragile Arab states, show a significant reduction in jobs and incomes for both Syrian refugees and host communities. Limited financial capacities to cope with the crisis have led to a deterioration in living and working conditions of all workers, the assessments found. The studies, conducted by the ILO in collaboration with a range of development and humanitarian partners, show that Syrian refugees, informally employed workers, women and younger workers have been disproportionately affected by the crisis in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

city landscape

Making Small Island Developing States more climate resilient

Small Island Developing States don’t need to be told that climate change is real – they’re already seeing the impact. Many of these countries are only a few metres above sea level, leaving them vulnerable to and disproportionately affected by climate change-driven shocks and hazards. We must enable governments to make better-informed investment decisions when it comes to designing and building infrastructure that can withstand climate change-driven threats. UNOPS is helping countries like Saint Lucia to protect its people and infrastructure from the threat of climate change and build resilience to its impact.


Better data, better decisions, better forests

To take decisions, we need information – especially when we are trying to solve complex problems. Forests are home to most of the earth’s biodiversity, and they supply us with water, livelihoods and food. Reducing deforestation and managing the world’s forest resources sustainably is among the biggest challenges of our time. Just like the simple decisions we make every day, information is needed to make us aware of what is at stake and help us solve the problem. FAO provides countries with technical support and innovative tools to help them gather the data they need to monitor and protect their forests.

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.

young children smiling at camera

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

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.