When many people think about the United Nations, they think of the Security Council and the General Assembly. Yet the work of the UN extends far beyond the assembly halls in New York City, impacting lives around the world.
Every day, in every corner of the globe, people tirelessly work to advance the mission of the UN: peace, progress, equality, and human rights.
Here are nine key numbers that provide a snapshot of the UN and its far-reaching work today:
The United Nations Charter entered into force on October 24, 1945 – 73 years ago – in the aftermath of terrible atrocities committed during World War II.
193 Member States comprise the United Nations today. The UN was formed by sovereign countries as a forum for cooperation on shared challenges. According to the UN Charter, membership is “open to all peace-loving States that accept the obligations contained in the United Nations Charter.”
In 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a declaration that outlines 30 fundamental rights and freedoms – such as the freedom of religion and the right to privacy – that belong to all human beings. Today, the declaration is generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law; however, human rights continue to be challenged in many parts of the world and must be protected.
In 2015, all 193 Member States adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve by the year 2030. This interconnected set of goals aims to eliminate extreme poverty, end inequalities, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
More than 100,000 UN peacekeepers currently serve in 14 peacekeeping operations worldwide to protect the most vulnerable and maintain peace and security. The peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was the most recent mission to end in March 2018 and played a key role in supporting Liberia’s transition to peace.
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) provides vital food assistance to more than 80 million people facing hunger in 80 countries. Although global efforts have reduced severe hunger in the last few decades, growing threats from conflict and climate change are undoing this progress.
UN agencies supply 45% of the world’s children with vaccines, saving 2-3 million lives each year from deadly childhood diseases like measles, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
The UN assists some 68.5 million women, men, and children forcibly displaced from their homes as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. According the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), displacement reached a record high in 2017 – more than the population of the United Kingdom.
The UN system, known unofficially as the “UN family,” is made up of the UN and several affiliated programs and funds, as well as 15 specialized agencies with expertise in important global issues – such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank. While these agencies are legally independent, they closely coordinate their work with the UN through negotiated agreements.
Of course, these numbers only capture a small snapshot of the UN’s transformational work across the globe. You can learn more here.
As our world becomes more globalized and interconnected than ever before, we must support the UN as our shared platform for solving challenges that transcend borders.
On October 24, UN Day, and every other day of the year, join us in thanking the UN for its work: http://bit.ly/2xTtPau.