The Essential UN
Take a moment to learn about the UN. The United Nations remains an essential pillar of the international system, working around the world, around the clock, for peace, sustainable development and human rights. At a time when challenges are increasingly global, and our fates are inexorably intertwined, understanding the United Nations itself—its aims, workings and ideals—is more important than ever. The Essential UN website, provides a succinct and interactive way to quickly grasp the essentials of the Organisation through fast facts, short videos, information cards and fun quizzes.
United Nations: Resources for Students
Young people are the future of the world. Because the United Nations is working to make the world a better place now and in the future, it tries to help students understand its work and offers many resources to do this. On this page you can find direct links to Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Model UN, Voices of Youth, Focal Point on Youth, UNESCO Youth Forum.
UN Public Inquiries Unit
The UN Public Inquiries Unit responds to requests for information from the general public and produces fact sheets, brochures, and posters. These free materials are available online.
Global Issues on the UN Agenda
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. To its initial goals of safeguarding peace, protecting human rights, establishing the framework for international justice and promoting economic and social progress, in the seven decades since its creation the United Nations has added on new challenges, such as climate change, refugees and AIDS. While conflict resolution and peacekeeping continue to be among its most visible efforts, the UN, along with its specialized agencies, is also engaged in a wide array of activities to improve people’s lives around the world – from disaster relief, through education and advancement of women, to peaceful uses of atomic energy. This website offers an overview of some of these issues in depth, and links to other resources where you can get additional information.
Dag Hammarskjöld Library Research Guide – UN Information for Young People
This quick guide provides links to websites FOR youth, websites ABOUT youth, Model UN Resources and Model UN Books and Articles.
Dag Hammarskjöld Library Research Guide – Youth and Sustainable Development
This quick guide provides information on Youth at the United Nations, UN Youth Milestones, links to statistical resources, key UN documents, books and reports and UN resources.
UN Information Service (UNIS) Vienna – Teaching Resources
For teachers who want to teach their students about the work and goals of the United Nations, UNIS Vienna has several useful teaching resources available on the following topics: Peace & Security, Development, Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs, and International Law.
Selected Publications Available Online
The Essential UN (February 2018)
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. This authoritative reference provides a comprehensive introduction and overview of the work of the UN in key areas of international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights, and humanitarian action.
Basic Facts about the United Nations: 42nd edition
This comprehensive handbook designed for the general public explains the structure of the United Nations, how the Organization works, the main issues it addresses and its importance for people everywhere. In addition to setting out the various roles played by principle UN organs and related organizations, Basic Facts about the United Nations documents the Organization’s contributions to international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights, humanitarian action, international law and decolonization. Appendices contain current data on UN membership and peacekeeping operations, as well as contact information for UN information centres, services and offices. This latest edition, published in 2017, has been revised to take account of significant developments in the world and the Organization itself since 2014.
United Nations at a Glance (December 2012)
This simple, authoritative guide provides a starting point for readers who are new to the UN. In clear language, this book explains what the UN does, how the UN does it, who the actors are, and when historical milestones occurred. Illustrated with photos and stories from the field, the guide examines the work of the UN in international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights, and humanitarian action. As a resource to students and teachers alike, additional features include definitions of frequently used terms, rich statistics, questions and answers, and the building blocks of international law. For anyone who wants to learn more about the world’s foremost intergovernmental organisation, The United Nations at a Glance is the perfect place to start.
Growing Together: Youth and the Work of the United Nations (2008)
The brochure is an example of how the United Nations system and the young people it serves are growing together. By taking stock of UN system activities related to youth development, the brochure provides a chance to assess how effectively the United Nations system is responding to this important development challenge, and it helps to identify any gaps that may exist in our approach.
United Nations Chronicle
“The Youth Issue” (Vol. XLVII, No. 4, 2010):
“Education” (Vol. L, No. 4, 2013): http://unchronicle.un.org/issue/education/
…A must-read for every concerned world citizen, the United Nations Chronicle is a quarterly, easy-to-read report on the work of the United Nations and its agencies. Produced by the United Nations Department of Global Communications, every issue covers a wide range United Nations related activities: from fighting the drug war to fighting racial discrimination, from relief and development to nuclear disarmament, terrorism, and the world-wide environmental crisis.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In 2016, the Paris Agreement on climate change entered into force, addressing the need to limit the rise of global temperatures. Governments, businesses and civil society together with the United Nations are mobilizing efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. Universal, inclusive and indivisible, the Agenda calls for action by all countries to improve the lives of people everywhere. Explore this site to find out more about the efforts of the UN and its partners to build a better world with no one left behind.
Learning about sustainable development from an early age: The materials available on this page are for adults and youth alike – a fun and engaging way to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and what you can do to take action to make them a reality. Please download and share with your friends!
Resources on the Sustainable Development Goals: Access key resources on UNICEF and the SDGs, including tools to engage children and implementation guidance for countries
‘Go-Goals!’ SDG board game
To help teach children around the world about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a simple and child-friendly way, the UN Regional Information Centre’s staff in Brussels have launched the ‘Go-Goals!’ SDG board game, aimed principally at children aged 8-10. The game is designed as a do it yourself kit, all you need are a printer, a pair of scissors, some tape or glue, and you can start playing. Available in various languages.
The World’s Largest Lesson
(Founded by Project Everyone, in partnership with UNICEF)
The World’s Largest Lesson is global initiative aimed at bringing the SDGs to the classroom through lesson plans, videos, comics and other creative content – available freely and in a multitude of languages for educators to download, use or adapt for their classrooms. The inspiration behind the World’s Largest Lesson is that the SDGs must be brought down to local realities if they are to succeed in changing the world for the better by 2030.
Other UN Educational Websites & Programmes
United Nations Website
Model United Nations (MUN)
Model United Nations (MUN) simulations are popular exercises for those interested in learning more about the UN. It is estimated that more than 400,000 students worldwide participate every year in MUN at all educational levels – from primary school to university. Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts participated in MUN as students. But did you know that many MUNs do not follow the actual rules and practices used at the UN? That is why the UN Department of Global Communications decided to launch UN4MUN, an initiative to teach MUN teams how to bring their simulations more in line with the way the UN actually works.
Youth Delegate Programme
Participation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the United Nations agenda on youth. One form of youth participation at the United Nations is through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.
Disarmament Education: Resources for Learning (UN Office for Disarmament Affairs)
Information available: Reports of the Secretary-General; Peace and Disarmament Education Activities; Presentations & Slideshows; Publications; Podcasts; Films and Videos; Specialized Courses and Degrees; For Teachers and Students (Educational Resources, including lessons plans related to disarmament and non-proliferation for teachers and students); The UN System; Outside Resources.
The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme – Educational Materials
Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations – Educational Materials
International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015 – Kids and Youth
The Water Decade offers the opportunity for everyone to learn and get involved on water issues. In this section you will find different resources (games, videos, tales, etc.) that can help you to learn more about water and inspire you and those around you to take action. We also hope you will share your work with us so that we can also learn from you.
UN Funds, Programmes & Specialized Agencies
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – Children & Youth
Information available: Global Youth Biodiversity Network; Youth, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goals; Join the Green Wave: One School, One Tree, One Gift to Nature!; See the Bigger Picture; Children’s Portal on Farming and Biodiversity.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Educational Material on Food Waste Reduction
FAO is currently developing education material on the issue of food waste. The goal of this activity is to raise awareness among school children, teachers and staff and their related families and networks on food loss and waste issues and introduce good practices conducive to food waste reduction, with an expected long-term impact.
School Food & School Gardens
School children need a good diet in order to develop and grow well, be protected from disease and have the energy to study, learn and be physically active. They also need knowledge and skills to make good food choices and develop eating habits that will help keep them healthy throughout their lives. Through activities such as school gardens, school meals and education in food and nutrition, children, adolescents, and their families, can improve their nutritional well-being and develop good, life-long eating habits.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The IAEA offers a wide spectrum of education and training activities. These include face-to-face training courses and workshops, as well as online learning, fellowship programmes and schools on various nuclear-related topics.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) – Kids’ Zone
“All aboard the IMO kids’ zone” The kid-friendly website includes a specially-commissioned animation showing how IMO works to protect the marine environment and the atmosphere. By clicking on the colourful links, young people can learn more about IMO’s work. Topics include protecting the atmosphere; dealing with waste; clean oceans; invasive species; particularly sensitive sea areas; and protecting marine life from noise pollution.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) – Information and online learning activities about the IMF, money, and macroeconomics
This site has been created for intermediate, secondary, and college students. The IMF Centre for Students features games, interactive role-playing stories, and curricula about money, the IMF, global cooperation, and macroeconomics.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) – Not Just Numbers: An Educational Toolkit about Migration and Asylum in Europe
“Not Just Numbers” is a toolkit about migration and asylum in the European Union produced by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The toolkit has been designed to help teachers and other educators engage young people in informed discussion on this important subject. It is suitable for teaching young people between the ages of 12 and 18 and is available in 24 EU Member States in 20 languages.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) – Training and Education Materials
This series consists of publications and multimedia resources aimed at supporting general human rights education efforts. It includes guidance material on the World Programme for Human Rights Education and related methodological and reference tools.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children – Children’s corner
In this pace you can find information about my work and the work of other colleagues on violence against girls and boys, like you and your friends! You can also find drawings, information on ways to present and complain about violent situations you may experience or know about and a version of the study hat led the UN to choose me to work together with politicians, religious leaders, teachers and, most importantly, children on violence against children.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – Teaching about Refugees (Teaching Resources & UNHCR teachers’ toolkit)
With forced displacement reaching historic levels, schools all over the world are welcoming increasing numbers of refugee children. Teachers are facing new challenges in making sense of forced displacement and its complexities. With refugees and migrants regularly making headlines in the media and the internet bustling with information on the topic, explaining the situation of refugees and migrants to primary and secondary school children has become part of many educators’ daily work. In addition, training and guidance for teachers with refugees in their classrooms is not always based on best practice, and is not always easily available. This UNHCR portal offers resources to help teachers create a welcoming environment for refugee pupils and to help explain the meaning of refugee, asylum, migration and statelessness to school children aged 6 – 18.
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – Education and Outreach
Enhancing understanding of the work and mandate of the OPCW through education materials for students, educators, civil society, and policymakers.
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – Youth Corner
The UNECE has developed a series of games that offer a fun way for children of all ages to learn more about how the United Nations and the UNECE work and the goals they strive to achieve. This section offers several interactive puzzles, quizzes, and games that challenge, inform and entertain.
UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)
To help educational planners to learn and / or share their knowledge, IIEP publishes thematic websites:
- Planipolis, the portal of national education plans and policies and key education frameworks and monitoring reports
- IIEP Learning Portal
- The UNESCO HIV&Health Clearing House
- Etico, the portal on ethics and corruption in education
- Education for safety, resilience and social cohesion
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future
This is an UNESCO programme prepared for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). It provides professional development for student teachers, teachers, curriculum developers, education policy makers, and authors of educational materials.
UN Environment (UNEP)
Protecting the planet is everyone’s responsibility. Get involved. Invest in a better future.
Current campaigns: Beat Pollution, Breath Life, Champions of the Earth, Clean Seas, Lead Paint, Think.Eat.Save, Wild for life, World Environment Day.
Education & Environment
UN Environment is working with over 800 universities and partners such as the Scout Movement and the gaming industry to support their communities of millions of young people to learn and act in support of the environment. This newly design programme also seeks to inspire the next generation of young leaders by offering them programmes to participate in, courses to learn from in addition to exploring how a new era of Green Collar Jobs for youth can be created.
Global Marine Litter Information Gateway – Kids Against Marine Litter
Several agencies and organizations working with the issue of marine litter (marine debris) offer educational material and special activities for children. The overall purpose of these efforts is to make children familiar with the marine environment, make them care about it and understand the consequences of abusing it. The educational programmes are about waste management in general and/or about marine litter in particular. A few examples of programmes and activities targeting children/students (and their teachers) are given here.
Young Champions of the Earth
Young Champions of the Earth is a forward-looking prize designed to breathe life into the ambitions of brilliant young environmentalists. Each year, six young people – one from each global region – will be named Young Champions of the Earth. These winners receive seed funding, intensive training, and tailored mentorship to help them bring their big environmental ideas to life.
Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (UNEP/ASCOBANS)
Welcome to ASCOBANS Kids! On this website you will find lots of information on whales, dolphins and porpoises. Here you can learn about their characteristics, anatomy, behaviour and more. We are also preparing a selection of games and activities that will be available in this website very soon, so please come back and tell all your friends! For the moment you can participate in our Harbour Porpoise Naming Competition or send us your artwork to have it displayed in the Virtual Sea.
You probably love whales, dolphins and porpoises as much as we do, but unfortunately, these fascinating animals are at risk due to human activities such as fishing, pollution or noise. ASCOBANS is an organization dedicated to saving the whales, dolphins and porpoises of Northern Europe. We do this by convincing governments to protect their seas and all the marine life living in them. You can also help to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises, explore our website to learn how!
United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC)
UN Climate Change has launched a new campaign to encourage all types of climate action, no matter how big or small, on the part of citizens around the world.
A central element of the #Climattitude campaign is a fun quiz, which allows users to discover their own personal climate footprint making use of the UN carbon footprint calculator.
Youth for Climate Action
The world needs leadership on climate change and young people are stepping up to the challenge! Learn how young people, together with the UN system, are playing a key role both in the intergovernmental climate change negotiations and in their communities – helping all of us change the way we live and do business.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
UNICEF Kid Power Ups get your kids active and saving lives with every dance move they make. Each time your group completes a Kid Power Up track, they unlock a packet of RUTF to treat a child with severe acute malnutrition. The more your kids dance, the more lives they save!
Voices of Youth
Voices of Youth offers inspiring, original insight and opinion from across the globe – from young people, for young people. Did you ever ask yourself, where are all the young people who actually do give a damn? Well, they’re right here. Countering disheartening headlines about today’s young generation, the Voices of Youth community proves that young people ARE making a difference, each and every day. But making a difference doesn’t have to be boring – we bring you fresh and honest views and stories, written and filmed by our unbeatable international youth bloggers. Want to be part of our pool of youth bloggers? Do it! Anybody is welcome to write, film, comment and engage in discussions – let’s go!
Top 10 Cartoons for Children’s Rights
Cartoons for Children’s Rights is a UNICEF broadcast initiative that aims to inform people around the world about children’s rights. The effort has forged partnerships with many well-known animation studios that have developed more than 80 half-minute public service announcements based on the articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Each PSA illustrates a right described in the global rights treaty, such as ‘Freedom from Child Labour’ or ‘Protection from Neglect’. All the spots are non-verbal, in order to get the right message across to everyone, regardless of language. The spots have aired on more than 2,000 television stations globally.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – Education for Justice
The Education for Justice (E4J) initiative seeks to prevent crime and promote a culture of lawfulness through education activities designed for primary, secondary and tertiary levels. These activities help educators teach the next generation to better understand and address problems that can undermine the rule of law and encourage students to actively engage in their communities and future professions in this regard. A set of products and activities for the primary and secondary levels is being developed in partnership with UNESCO.
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) – Information for Students
On this page is listed all information of relevance to students, including on the Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education, fellowships and internships within the Office.
Universal Postal Union (UPU) – International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People
Millions of young people all over the world, up to age 15, have participated in the annual International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People at the national and international levels since its launch in 1971. The competition is an excellent way of encouraging literacy in children and young people. It develops their skills in composition and the ability to express their thoughts clearly. The contest also makes them aware of the important role postal services play in our world.
Youth and the World Bank Group
What can you do to end poverty? The World Bank Group wants to empower young people and together contribute to its twin goals: ending poverty and investing in opportunity.
World Food Programme (WFP) – School meals
Every day, countless children across the globe turn up for school on an empty stomach, which makes it hard to focus on lessons. Many simply do not go, as their families need them to help in the fields or around the house. For all of them, having food at school every day can mean not only better nutrition and health, but also increased access to and achievement in education. It is also a strong incentive to consistently send children to school.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – Publications for Young People
WIPO has produced a range of publications aimed at young people and schools. These publications are designed to foster the creativity and inventiveness of future generations, while at the same time raising awareness about the value of intellectual property (IP).
World Meteorological Organization – WMO for Youth
This website dedicated to children and teens answers frequently asked questions you may have about weather, climate and water. It is also a starting point for a better understanding of how these affect every aspect of your daily life. Information on weather, climate and water is vital for protecting our environment and for making the planet safer for us all, especially for future generations.
World Trade Organization (WTO) – Students and young professionals
Explore this page to find out more about the work of the WTO, opportunities for students and young professionals, and how trade is relevant to you and your country.
Fact sheets, background material and other related information resources can also be found on the website for UN observances declared by the General Assembly: https://www.un.org/en/sections/observances/international-days/index.html
Following please find a selection of International Days focusing on children and youth:
11 February – International Day of Women and Girls in Science
23 April 2020 (fourth Thursday of April) – International Girls in ICT Day [ITU]
15 May – International Day of Families
4 June – International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
12 June – World Day Against Child Labour
12 August – International Youth Day
5 October – World Teachers’ Day
11 October – International Day of the Girl Child
20 November – Universal Children’s Day
Further information is often available on the websites of UNICEF’s national committees: https://www.unicef.org/about/structure/index_natcoms.html
The UN on Social Media
This site lists the Official UN Social Media accounts.
UNRIC Social Media
The UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC) provides social media updates in 13 languages.
not an official document – for information only