The 33-year-old Colombian pop star has worked as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. Her Barefoot foundation provides nutrition to more than 6,000 children in Colombia, and she is member of the ALAS foundation that advocates for children across Latin America.
At a small ceremony Wednesday in Geneva, U.N. labor chief Juan Somavia called Shakira a "true ambassador for children and young people, for quality education and social justice."
Shakira said in a statement Thursday that social, economic and environmental policies must focus on children and their education.
Shakira also spoke last month with President Barack Obama about U.S. policy on children.