Work for peace
How does UN Geneva create peace?
To live up to the United Nations promise to save
future generations from war
, UN Geneva this year brought together leaders to discuss conflicts in Cyprus, Georgia and Syria.
 Every year since 2013, the Geneva Peace Talks take place on the International Day of Peace on 21 September. The peace talks, with the theme of “Building Bridges”, are meant to build a common understanding and to create solutions for more peaceful societies. This year, many influential speakers shared their personal stories about peace to inspire others and spark discussions on resolving conflict. Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, also shared his story. Listen to speakers’ stories at peacetalks.net. 
High-level events and visits
How does UN Geneva make a difference?
Throughout the year, UN Geneva hosts many events that change people’s lives. For example, the Conference on Disarmament meets with the aim to remove weapons of war.
The Human Rights Council meets to promote and protect human rights worldwide. The Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen gathered this year to raise money and supplies for the Yemeni people, who have seen conflict in their country for two years and face the largest food crisis in the world.   
In 2017, nearly two thirds of Yemenis – about 17 million people – did not have enough to eat. This year, UN Geneva welcomed ministers, Heads of State and other leaders, including the President of China, Xi Jinping, and the High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy for Refugee Issues, Angelina Jolie. Ms. Jolie discussed the necessity of multilateralism in a lecture at the Palais des Nations.
A sustainable workplace
Where does it all happen?
For over 80 years, the Palais des Nations has been a neutral place for leaders to meet and discuss major issues that affect the lives of people around the world.
To continue to efficiently host important meetings for the next 80 years, the Strategic Heritage Plan was developed to restore the buildings of the Palais des Nations and to make them more efficient and environmentally sustainable. Renovations will end in 2023.
The restored environmentally friendly buildings will have improved access for people with disabilities, will be safer for delegates and staff and will feature high-tech mechanical, audio-visual and technical systems.
The plan also calls for a new building, which will have six floors with space for at least 1,400 UN staff, plus offices, meeting rooms, technical rooms, support spaces, a coffee shop and two interior courtyards.
Human Rights
Protecting the rights of migrant children
Everyone, from babies to older people, enjoys the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Human Rights Council promotes and protects these rights around the world. The Council holds three sessions at UN Geneva each year, in March, June and September.
Migrant children suffer the most from violations of their rights, and many Human Rights Council discussions involve the rights of children. For example, a recent session of the Council featured a discussion of the rights of children in Syria, with a special focus on attacks on schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access to help innocent people in need.

The Council also deals with issues like homelessness among children; the rights of children with disabilities; the rights of children during adolescence; the rights of children to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts; and so on. 

Children, in fact, enjoy their own special rights. The Committee on the Rights of the Child addresses children in conflict, child trafficking and child slavery. The Committee is made up of 18 members elected by States every four years to monitor and report on the agreed children’s rights, under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Gender
Working towards gender equality
at UN Geneva and beyond
Sustainable Development Goal 5 aims to
“achieve gender equality and empower all women
and girls”.
In some parts of the world, women face barriers to education and getting the same jobs and pay as men.
Men and women should be treated equally in the workplace, but in many places, unconscious biases, sexist behavior and unequal treatment mean that women are often treated unfairly. Understanding this, UN Geneva created a gender policy to foster equality in its own office, listing gender-related goals and specific steps to achieve them. 2017 marked the first full year it was in place.
The UN Geneva International Gender Champions team, which advocates for gender equality, won the 2017 Secretary-General’s award for gender equality and parity, a recognition of the progress UN Geneva has made so far.
Support for SDGs
How does UN Geneva advance the SDGs?
Achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 is a priority for UN Geneva. The Goals are the Global “to-do list” for making our world safer, fairer and healthier. They focus on poverty, hunger, health and many other issues. To make sure we get there, UN Geneva has come up with initiatives to advance the SDGs:
• The SDG Lab was created in 2017 to bring together people from around the world to work together to find solutions for some of the world’s greatest challenges. 
• The SDG Studio invites leaders into the film studio to share stories of their important contributions to achieving the SDGs. One of the many guests this year was football superstar Neymar Jr., the Handicap International Ambassador. 
• Through a new training programme, UN Geneva staff are promoting SDGs to schoolchildren across the globe during their visits home.  
• The SDG Research Guide was created to organize the library’s huge amount of information around SDG topics. The Guide makes it easier for researchers, journalists, governments, businesses and society to easily find
what they’re looking for when making decisions related to the SDGs. 
• 170 Daily Actions to Transform Our World is a booklet that gives 170 concrete ways for people to achieve the SDGs in their own homes and communities. Achieving the SDGs depends on all of us taking action – both as individuals and as communities.
Disarmament
A world without weapons?
Chemical weapons killed more than
90,000 soldiers in World War I and injured more than
1 million people.
Eager to avoid a repeat of these horrors, in 1925 the Geneva Protocol was negotiated under the auspices of the League of Nations, which sought to prohibit countries from using chemical and biological weapons in international conflicts. 
In 1972, these rules were strengthened by agreement on the Biological Weapons Convention under the auspices of the UN in Geneva which banned countries from developing, making, and keeping biological weapons. In 1993, the Chemical Weapons Convention similarly banned chemical weapons. Today, the efforts to prevent and abolish the use of weapons of mass destruction continue in Geneva.​​​​​​​
Environment
Fighting climate change 
In November 2017, the Place des Nations
was filled with electric cars travelling
from Marrakech, Morocco, to Bonn,
Germany, for COP23, a UN conference on climate change.  
The drivers taking part in the rally travelled thousands of kilometres to emphasize the danger posed by climate change, which threatens to make other problems like poverty, disease outbreaks and armed conflict even worse. Thankfully, we have plans to tackle climate change: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. In 2017, we saw major progress as world leaders joined forces. 
Twelve mayors from some of the biggest cities on Earth, including Paris, Los Angeles, Mexico City and London, pledged to make their cities zero emission zones by 2030. 

Library and 
cultural events
More than just books...
The Library of the League of Nations was founded in 1919 and became the UN Geneva Library in 1946. The library has three core functions: 
  1. United Nations European Library: The library houses all United Nations      documents and many materials from specialized agencies and UN affiliates. 
  2. Coordinator of the Archives: The library keeps materials from UN Geneva history for future generations.
  3. Coordinator of the Cultural Activities Programme: The Library helped organize almost 100 cultural activities and events for UN staff and the public in 2017, led by Member States and international organizations. There were art and photo exhibitions, dance and music performances, film screenings, and a fashion show of traditional clothing. These events help foster respect for other cultures.

UN Geneva Library Hackathon
There are over 15 million pages of information in the League of Nations Archives. In 2017, the library started a five-year project to digitize the documents for two reasons:
  1. To be more inclusive and accessible to more people around the world, especially students and researchers 
  2 To preserve old documents for posterity
As part of this project, the library co-hosted the Geneva Open Libraries Hackathon. This event brought together computer experts to find a way to make the data of the League of Nations Archives more accessible to the public. The “hackers” made it possible for researchers to easily identify people in old photographs. 

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