UN in General
South-South Galaxy (UNOSSC)
A new digital tool launched on 19 March 2019, just ahead of the Second High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation, aims to strengthen the ways countries share their technology, to benefit developing countries. The “South-South Galaxy”, is a global knowledge sharing and partnership platform, officially launched in the city hosting the “BAPA+40” conference – the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires – by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). The project aims to give systematic and effective support to countries of the South, so they can connect, learn and collaborate with potential partners in the wider digital world.
SDG Book Club
The SDG Book Club opened its virtual doors in April 2019 and aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list of books from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.
Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
Brexit: Implications for Developing Countries (UNCTAD Research Paper No. 31)
A no-deal Brexit could damage smaller economies trading with the United Kingdom (UK), hit European Union (EU) exports hard, but bring substantial gains for China. New UNCTAD research shows the UK and its future trading partners need to expedite bilateral deals if they are to avoid the costs of exiting the EU without a deal. These costs are considerable, the research found, with the EU standing to lose out on $34.5 billion in exports to the UK. The second-biggest loser in the event of the UK’s no-deal departure from the EU would be Turkey, taking a $2.4 billion export hit. China, meanwhile, could gain an additional $10.2 billion in exports to the UK, with the second-ranked United States standing to add $5.3 billion through its exports to the UK.
2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report
Sixty-plus international organizations, led by the United Nations and including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and World Trade Organization, jointly sounded the alarm on 4 April 2019 in a new report, warning that unless national and international financial systems are revamped, the world’s governments will fail to keep their promises on such critical issues as combatting climate change and eradicating poverty by 2030. In their 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, the international organizations find some good news: investment has gained strength in some countries and interest in sustainable investing is growing, with 75 per cent of individual investors showing interest in how their investments affect the world. And yet, greenhouse gas emissions grew 1.3 per cent in 2017; investment in many countries is falling; and 30 developing countries are now at high risk or already in debt distress. At the same time, global growth is expected to have peaked at around 3 per cent. Changing the current trajectory in financing sustainable development is not just about raising additional investment, says the report. Achieving global goals depends on supportive financial systems, and conducive global and national policy environments. Yet the report warns that creating favorable conditions is becoming more challenging. Rapid changes in technology, geopolitics, and climate are remaking our economies and societies, and existing national and multilateral institutions — which had helped lift billions out of poverty — are now struggling to adapt. Confidence in the multilateral system has been undermined, in part because it has failed to deliver returns equitably, with most people in the world living in countries with increasing inequality.
Global Report on Food Crisis 2019
Approximately 113 million people in 53 countries experienced high levels of food insecurity last year, according to a new joint UN and European Union (EU) report released on 2 April 2019, which warns that these crises are primarily driven by conflict and climate-related disasters. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and EU “Global Report on Food Crises 2019”, shows that the number going chronically-hungry has remained well over 100 million over the past three years, with the number of countries affected, rising. According to the report, nearly two-thirds of those facing acute hunger come from just eight countries: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. And although there were 11 million fewer people believed to be in food crisis in 2018 compared with 2017, in 17 countries, acute hunger either remained the same or increased, the report indicates. Moreover, an additional 143 million people in another 42 countries are just one step away from acute hunger. Climate and natural disasters pushed another 29 million people into acute food insecurity in 2018, says the report, and that number excludes 13 countries – including North Korea and Venezuela – because of data gaps.
Health, Rights and Drugs: Harm Reduction, Decriminalization and Zero Discrimination for People who use Drugs (UNAIDS)
A report released by UNAIDS shows that despite a decline in new HIV infections globally, HIV incidence is not declining among people who inject drugs (1.4% worldwide in 2017). The report also shows that 99% of people who inject drugs live in countries that do not provide adequate harm reduction service coverage. The new UNAIDS report shows that of the 10.6 million people who inject drugs in 2016, more than half were living with hepatitis C and one in eight were living with HIV. It outlines that ensuring that comprehensive harm reduction services are available—including needle–syringe programmes, drug dependence treatment and HIV testing and treatment—will kick-start progress on stopping new HIV infections among people who use drugs.
Lessons for Today from Past Periods of Rapid Technological Change (DESA Working Paper No. 158, March 2019)
Abstract: “We provide a history of past periods of rapid technological change starting from the Indus-trial Revolution continuing up to today. We find that it takes decades for technological break-throughs to make a difference to the aggregate economy. The reason for this delay is that to realize the value of these breakthroughs requires complementary investments. Second, for good or for bad, government has played an important role in facilitating these transitions through both investments in physical infrastructure and legal reforms. We also emphasize that because technological breakthroughs are difficult to predict, the responses of governments are necessarily improvisational.”
Safety and Health at the heart of the Future of Work: Building on 100 years of experience (ILO)
Changes in working practices, demographics, technology and the environment are creating new occupational safety and health (OSH) concerns, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) released on 18 April 2019. Growing challenges include psychosocial risks, work-related stress and non-communicable diseases, notably circulatory and respiratory diseases, and cancers. The report is being published ahead of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which is marked on April 28th. It reviews the ILO’s 100 years of work on OSH issues, and highlights emerging health and safety issues in the world of work.
A Set of Proposed Indicators for the LGBTI Inclusion Index (UNDP / World Bank)
English, French, Spanish & Portuguese: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/hiv-aids/lgbti-index.html
In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNDP is leading efforts to develop an LGBTI Inclusion Index to measure development outcomes for LGBTI people and inform policies, programmes and investments for strengthening LGBTI inclusion and rights. This publication provides a set of 51 indicators in the areas of health, education, civil and political participation, economic empowerment, security and violence. UNDP, in partnership with the World Bank and key civil society partners undertook comprehensive consultations to develop and validate these indicators. The indicators are in line with the SDG global indicator framework and supported by explanatory notes, as well as references to potential data sources. The primary audience for this publication is policy makers, academics, data specialists, and civil society.
State of the World Population 2019: Unfinished Business; The Pursuit of Rights and Choices for All (UNFPA)
Interactive Report in English, French & Spanish: https://www.unfpa.org/swop-2019
The global reproductive rights movement that began in the 1960s transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of women, empowering them to govern their own bodies and shape their own futures. But despite the gains made over the past 50 years, since the establishment of UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, the world still has a long way to go before rights and choices are claimed by all, according to the State of World Population 2019, released by UNFPA on 10 April 2019.
WASH in Health Care Facilities: Global Baseline Report 2019
One in four health care facilities around the world lacks basic water services, impacting over 2 billion people, according to a new report released on 3 April 2019 by WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP). The WHO/UNICEF JMP report is the first comprehensive global assessment of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities. It also finds that one in five health care facilities has no sanitation service, impacting 1.5 billion people. The report further reveals that many health centres lack basic facilities for hand hygiene and safe segregation and disposal of health care waste. These services are crucial to preventing infections, reducing the spread of antimicrobial resistance and providing quality care, particularly for safe childbirth.
The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018 (WMO)
The 25th anniversary edition of this report shows how the physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels. The WMO climate statement includes input from national meteorological and hydrological services, an extensive community of scientific experts, and United Nations agencies. It details climate related risks and impacts on human health and welfare, migration and displacement, food security, the environment and ocean and land-based ecosystems. It also catalogues extreme weather around the world.
International Peace and Security
ACT TO PROTECT children affected by armed conflict
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, unveiled a new initiative on 2 April 2019 to generate greater awareness and action to improve the protection of children affected by armed conflict. Over the next three years, the campaign will seek to strengthen collaboration between the United Nations, civil society and the international community to support actions designed to end and prevent grave violations committed against children in times of conflict.
Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the subject “United Nations peacekeeping operations: women in peacekeeping”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2019/293
The Security Council held an open debate on 11 April 2019 on “United Nations peacekeeping operations: women in peacekeeping”. In order to help steer the discussions on the subject, Germany, the Security Council President for April, has prepared this concept note.
Concept note for the Security Council high-level open debate on the theme “Sexual violence in conflict”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2019/313
The Security Council held a high-level open debate on 23 April 2019 on the theme “Women and peace and security: sexual violence in conflict”. In order to help steer the discussions on the subject, Germany, the Security Council President for April, has prepared this concept note and information on the background and normative developments in the Security Council.
Toolkit on Digital Technologies and Mediation in Armed Conflict
The United Nations Department for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue launched this toolkit in April 2019. It is a resource that explores the opportunities and risks that digital technologies offer to the field of mediation in conflict analysis, engagement with parties, inclusivity and strategic communications and was developed following a request of the Secretary-General at the second meeting of his High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation in Helsinki in June 2018. The toolkit provides concrete examples of where digital technologies have been or are being employed and refers to a number of potentially useful technologies and applications. It is hosted on the Peacemaker website.
Modern Slavery Data Stories (UNU-CPR)
A new interactive data tool created by the UN University Centre for Policy Research, which shows a mismatch between where modern slavery occurs, and where governments are spending resources to address it, could help make a positive impact on policy debates surrounding the issue. The release of Modern Slavery Data Stories, a series of easily understandable animated graphics, provides detailed pictures of the ways that factors related to modern slavery have changed over time, and comes during a period when over 40 million people are living in slavery, more than ever before in human history. UN-led research shows that half of those enslaved are victims of forced labour in industries such as farming, mining and domestic service, while the rest are victims of sex slavery, forced marriage slavery and child slavery. According to the latest Global Slavery Index, published by the Walk Free Foundation, the three countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery are North Korea, Eritrea and Burundi.
Treatment of Conflict-Related Detainees in Afghanistan: Preventing Torture and Ill-treatment under the Anti-Torture Law (UNAMA / OHCHR)
In its latest report on the treatment of conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan published on 17 April 2019, the UN documents an encouraging reduction in the number of cases of torture since 2016 but notes its ongoing concern at the high number of detainees who continue to report torture and ill-treatment. The joint report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office, issued on the first anniversary of Afghanistan’s accession to the Convention Against Torture’s Optional Protocol, finds that nearly a third of conflict-related detainees interviewed provided credible and reliable accounts of having been subject to torture or ill-treatment. The report is based on interviews with 618 detainees held in 77 facilities in 28 provinces across the country between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018.
Justice and International Law
Women, Business and the Law 2019 (World Bank)
To gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination, this study examines ten years of Women, Business and the Law data through an index structured around economic decisions women make as they go through different stages of their working lives.
Nuclear, Chemical and Conventional Weapons Disarmament
Guides published by the UNSaferGuard Programme
Inadequately-managed ammunition poses the dual risk of accidental explosions of ammunition sites and diversion to illicit markets, resulting in humanitarian disasters and contributing to armed conflict, terrorism and crime. Against this backdrop, the United Nations has developed the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG) to provide interested stakeholders with practical, neutral, authoritative guidance on ammunition management. To promote the effective, safe and secure management of ammunition stockpiles and to make the IATG more accessible, the UN SaferGuard Programme publishes three practical support guides for applying the IATG:
- Critical Path Guide to the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines: https://bit.ly/2KchidQ
- A Guide to Developing National Standards for Ammunition Management: https://bit.ly/2FUhbPV
- Utilizing the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines in Conflict-Affected and Low-Capacity Environments: https://bit.ly/2FU33pw