Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Games for Good

Kids don’t just play games, they benefit from them.

In efforts to raise money for the United Nations Children's Fund, you can play a couple of online games that educate and fundraise for UNICEF. The game's website promotes an advocacy group that works on behalf of UNIFEF, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Through partnership, UNICEF and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF provide entertainment, opportunities for volunteers, fundraising outlets, and educational tools that function on behalf of children around the world.

The online games allow players help others via different missions related to promoting education, nutrition, clean water standards, better health practices, and sound responses to emergency situations. Players can challenge their friends and compete to see who is more successful in completing missions similar to the missions conducted by UNICEF in real life.

Check out UNICEF’s games and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Support children around the world. Learn about UNICEF. Play games for good!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Preparing Farmers for the battle against Climate Change

Lennart Bage, the President of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development, recently announced that the organization will spend $100 million in US dollars over the next five years to help farmers in Vietnam overcome the adverse effects of climate change.

The program will focus on improving the rural-investment environment, while developing rural businesses and expanding market access for the poor.

"The challenge is to define a comprehensive strategy. We have to know what the most important thing is to do first, what brings the most efficiency in cost/benefit as resources are limited," Bage said, adding that money needed to be spent on improving infrastructure, such as dams, roads and dykes.

Since 1993, IFAD has given Vietnam loans totalling to $163 million.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Launching of the "Hospitals Safe from Disasters" Campaign

The United Nations is teaming up with the World Health Organization and the World Bank to begin the global campaign, “Hospitals Safe from Disasters.” On January 25, 2008, the campaign was launched in Davos, Switzerland. The three main objectives of the program are:

  • To better protect the lives of patients, the health staff and the public by

reinforcing the structural resilience of health facilities;

  • To ensure that health facilities and services continue to function in the aftermath

of disasters; and

  • To better prepare and train health workers on preparedness plans that will keep

health systems operational when disasters strike.

“The cost of making hospitals safe is tiny,” says Salvano Briceño, director for the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR). “The most expensive hospital is the one that fails.” The campaign is expected to last for two years.

To learn more:

Read the Press Release from the UN/ISDR

Go to the UN/ISDR website

Friday, January 25, 2008

UN Sends Hollywood Hunk to Darfur

On January 18, actor George Clooney was designated by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, to raise awareness of the world body’s peacekeeping efforts. He set out to days ago to do just this.

George Clooney traveled to Sudan and Chad two days ago to promote peacekeeping efforts in the Darfur region of Sudan that has been plagued with ethnic conflict between Northern Sudan’s Arab and Muslim population and Southern Sudan’s Christian population. The Janjaweed, a paramilitary group funded by the Sudanese government, along with many Arab rebel groups allied with the Janjaweed, have been specifically attacking non-Arab villages and killing thousands of civilians.

It is thought that 200,000 have died so far from violence and health issues, including dehydration and starvation. Over two million have been displaced. Currently, there are approximately 240,000 refugees in Chad, which has resulted in violence along its Sudanese border. Most UN peacekeeping efforts have been halted by the Sudanese government, which is not interested in accepting international assistance for what they view as an internal problem.

Clooney has been active in his endeavors to bring an end to the emergency in Darfur. In 2006, he visited Darfur with his father. Also in 2006, along with Messenger of Peace, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Mr. Clooney spoke to Security Council members at an “Arria formula” meeting, whereby non-governmental actors can address the Council outside official sessions. Mr. Clooney also served as executive producer and narrator of a documentary last year entitled “Sand and Sorrow,” which follows activists as they stop in refugee camps along Sudan’s border with Chad and interviews experts on the crisis.

He will receive his designation and meet with countries contributing to UN peacekeeping efforts at the Organization’s Headquarters in New York on 31 January.

Other celebrity supporters for the UN include Angelina Jolie, who works for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a Goodwill Ambassador.

George Clooney travels to Chad for U.N. trip

Refugee situation in Chad precarious, but no return possible without security, says UNHCR

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Follow the Footsteps of the Famous

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared the famous actor, George Clooney, as the ninth United Nations messenger. On January 31, 2008, Clooney will receive his official position as an international peacekeeping promoter because his example, according to UN, Oprah, and many others, is worthy enough to follow.

After Clooney made great strides to campaign on behalf of refugees in Darfur, UN officials decided to use Clooney’s celebrity to help increase public awareness on Darfur and other international issues concerning peace, violence, and forced displacement.

Clooney has already worked with notable celebrities including Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Jerry Weintraub, and Brad Pitt to raise funds and publicize in the name of their charity organization Not on Our Watch.

This charity and many UN organizations are working to mitigate drastic realities in Sudan and other poverty stricken nations. Watch Clooney’s his heartfelt speech to United Nations, which he believes is crucial in promoting peace worldwide. Help organizations like UNDP-USA promote humanitarian efforts. Follow the footsteps of the famous and work on behalf of others.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Making the World Safe for Women

The United Nations has for a long time recognized the challenges and difficulties surrounding gender disparities in post-conflict areas. To make sure that women are involved and included in the development of their country, “gender officers” have become a regular part of the UN peacekeeping team, with the specific duty of making sure women’s voices are heard throughout the process.

According to Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guéhenno, gender officers have “a unique opportunity to support women to pick up the pieces of their war-shattered lives, and to meaningfully embrace the opportunities that are presented for them to contribute to charting the future direction of their countries.”

Such efforts are implemented in country-specific ways. Efforts have ranged from increasing the number of women elected to public office in countries including Burundi and Afghanistan, supporting the adoption of “gender sensitive” laws to combat rape and other forms of gender-based violence, and encouraging the national police of countries such as Liberia and Somalia to recruit more female officers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Searching for tech solutions to world problems

The UN Development Program (UNDP) has partnered with The Tech Museum to search for innovative technologies that can help solve some of the worlds most pressing problems.

The Tech Awards were inspired by the State of the Future report put out by the Millennium Project (which is affiliated with the United Nations through the World Federation of United Nations Associations).

Past award recipients include:

  • An Indian doctor who engineers ingenious, low-cost technology to provide prosthetic limbs for amputees
  • A Chilean company that has developed a system using seaweed to keep salmon farms from polluting the oceans
  • A British firm that developed a quick, easy to use test for infectious diseases such as Chlamydia, hepatitis B, and Trachoma
  • An American business that has developed renewable energy production capabilities for rural areas
Learn more and nominate someone you know at

Monday, January 14, 2008


Environmental sustainability and ecologically friendly practices have been a hot topic of discussion among world leaders. As global climate change becomes a stronger public policy priority, the United Nations decided to declare this year, 2008, the International Year of Planet Earth.

This month, almost 100 countries will ratify their membership to adhere the UN General Assembly’s decision. These countries have decided to venerate the goals of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which include encouraging environmentally conscious actions.

The involved UN agencies and partner nations are teaming up with the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) to use the expertise of some of the brightest earth scientists worldwide. Help sustain and increase interest in planet-friendly affairs by learning more about the International Year of Planet Earth.

Big Supermarkets Shop Locally to Reduce Poverty

Thanks to the International Fund for Agricultrual Development, shoppers in Mozambique can now purchase local produce in Shoprite, the largest suppermarket chain in Mozambique.

As people around the world are starting to be more concerned with the carbon footprint of their food, eating locally produced food is becoming more important to consumers. This is a boon to small scale farmers in Mozambique who are getting back on their feet after years of conflict with the help of the United Naitons.

Click here to read more!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kids: THINK and then write about tolerance

Did you know that there is a UN agency that helps the mail you send from one country get to its destination in another?

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is committed to promoting communication among people by helping national postal services be better at delivering the mail AND creating mechanisms for the free flow of international mail.

Each year the UPU sponsors a letter writting contest for children around the world. The idea is to get children to think about an imporant issue facing our world and practice their writen communication skills. This year the contest asks children to write a letter explaining why the world needs tolerance.

Check out the contest website!

Email the US Postal Service to encourage them to participate (or if they do, to say so somewhere on their website)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Steaks and Stars in South Africa

The UN has declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy, paving the way for new opportunities in astronomical tourism.

After the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) teamed up in support of the new declaration, South Africa's Kevin Govender realized a shining opportunity. Because his nation is a prime location for viewing the southern hemisphere’s stars and planets, he and his South Africa star committee are planning events to attract tourists and astronomy aficionados from around the globe. These events will help South Africa fundraise and educate. They hope to do so by incorporating educational training and "bring and braai" celebrations under the night sky

Monday, January 7, 2008

Oil and Grain in the Midst of Pain

Sunday was no day of rest for the United Nations which spent the day transporting oil and grain to citizens of Kenya. After highly contested election results, many people in this East African Nation have taken the streets, contributing to national insecurity.

The United Nations, in conjunction with the Red Cross, has stepped up to mitigate the problems caused by the violence. They have moved in to provide oil and grain for the people of Mathare, a cluster of slums in the nations capital, after bursts of post-election instability.

Because of such strife in Kenya, 250,000 people have been displaced, 300-500 have died, and many local businesses have been stuck in a standstill. These disruptions have prevented citizens from accessing basic resources needed to maintain their usual day-to-day lifestyle.
In the midst of this painful situation, you can help those Nairobi.

To help continue the work of the United Nations and other transnational organizations, donate to groups such as the World Food Program or UNICEF. Your contributions will assist these agencies in providing oil, grain, and other resources to those in Kenya.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Promoting Potatos

Did you know that spuds can save lives? Yep, it is true... the carb laden potato that you shun in the name of weight loss has huge potential to deal with global hunger problems.

Why? The potato produces more nutritious food more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop - up to 85 percent of the plant is edible human food, compared to around 50% in cereals.

In honor of this humble nightshade plant (and its potential to help solve the global hunger crisis), the United Nations has declared 2008 to be the year of the potato.

Check out the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for more information on the International Year of the Potato! The video on the home page is quite informative, although a bit dry.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007: a year of climate change, political hot spots, and more!

Happy New Year from UN Good Works!

As we enter into 2008, we thought you might like to pause and take stock of some of the work that the UN has been engaged in throughout 2007. UN Television has put together a 15 mintue retrospective that can remind us all about what the world has been through this past year. Click here to download the video to your computer (you need Real Player to watch it).