51 through 60

51 Generating worldwide commitment in support of children

From Afghanistan to Lebanon and from the Sudan to the former Yugoslavia, UNICEF has pioneered the establishment of “days of tranquillity” and the opening of “corridors of peace” to provide vaccines and other aid desperately needed by children caught in armed conflict. The Convention on the Rights of the Child has become law in 193 countries. Following the 2002 UN special session on children, 190 Governments committed themselves to a time-bound set of goals in the areas of health, education, protection against abuse, exploitation and violence and the struggle against HIV/AIDS.

52 Preserving historic, cultural, architectural and natural sites

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has helped 137 countries to protect ancient monuments and historic, cultural and natural sites. It has negotiated international conventions to preserve cultural property, cultural diversity and outstanding cultural and natural sites. More than 850 such sites have been designated as having exceptional universal value.

53 Facilitating academic and cultural exchanges

The United Nations, through UNESCO and the United Nations University, has encouraged scholarly and scientific cooperation, networking of higher education institutions and promotion of cultural expression, including for minorities and indigenous people.

54 Encouraging creativity and innovation

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) promotes the protection of intellectual property rights and ensures that all countries are in a position to harness the benefits of an effective intellectual property system. Intellectual property, which at its core is a mechanism designed to recognize and reward inventors and creators for their ingenuity while safeguarding the public interest, helps to promote development and create wealth. The incentives built into the intellectual property system act as a spur to human creativity, pushing forward the boundaries of science and technology and enriching the world of literature and the arts.

55 Promoting press freedom and freedom of expression

To allow all people to obtain information that is free of censorship and culturally diverse, UNESCO has helped to develop and strengthen the media and supported independent newspapers and broadcasters. UNESCO also serves as a watchdog for press freedom, and publicly denounces serious violations like the assassination and detention of journalists.

56 Turning slums into decent human settlements

Cities are now home to half of humankind. They are the hub for much national production and consumption—economic and social processes that generate wealth and opportunity. But they also are places of disease, crime, pollution and poverty. In many cities in developing countries, slum-dwellers number more than 50 per cent of the population and have little or no access to shelter, water and sanitation. The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), with over 150 technical programmes and projects in some 50 countries, works with Governments, local authorities and non-governmental organizations to seek innovative solutions for towns and cities. These include providing security of tenure for the urban poor, which is in turn a catalyst for investment in housing and basic services for the poor.

57 Providing local access to a global network

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) facilitates the exchange of international mail and develops social, cultural and commercial communications between peoples and businesses with up-to-date postal services and products. Some 660,000 post offices around the world form one of the most extensive networks in the world, facilitating the transfer of information, goods and money. The Internet and new technologies have opened new opportunities for postal services, especially in the area of e-commerce, as goods ordered online still cannot be sent electronically. The post remains a critical bridge between physical, digital and financial operations and a key partner for global development.

58 Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities

The United Nations has been at the forefront of the fight for full equality for persons with disabilities, promoting their participation in social, economic and political life. The UN has shown that persons with disabilities are a resource for society, and has negotiated the first-ever treaty to advance their rights and dignity worldwide: the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in 2008.

59 Improving global telecommunications

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) brings together Governments and industry to develop and coordinate the operation of global telecommunication networks and services. It has coordinated shared use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world and negotiated the global standards that ensure the seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband Internet to the latest-generation wireless technologies, from air and sea navigation to radio astronomy and satellite-based meteorology, from phone services to TV broadcasting and next-generation networks, ITU is committed to connecting the world. Its work has enabled telecommunications to grow into a $1.3 trillion global industry.

60 Improving the plight of indigenous people

The United Nations has brought to the fore injustices against the 370 million to 500 million indigenous peoples who live in some 90 countries worldwide and who are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world. The 16-member Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, established in 2000, works to improve the situation of indigenous peoples all over the world in development, culture, human rights, the environment, education and health.