New UN websites & publications
UN in General
The pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of our world. It has laid bare risks we have ignored for decades: inadequate health systems; gaps in social protection; structural inequalities; environmental degradation; the climate crisis.
On Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.
In his speech “Tackling the Inequality Pandemic: A New Social Contract for a New Era”, the Secretary-General took aim at the various layers of inequality that are being exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He outlined the threat posed to our well-being and our future by historic injustices and current trends, from colonialism and patriarchy to racism and the digital divide, and made concrete recommendations for a more equitable, just and sustainable way forward in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Lecture in English: https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sgsm20179.doc.htm
Lecture in French: https://www.un.org/press/fr/2020/sgsm20179.doc.htm
German translation: https://www.un.org/Depts/german/gs/Nelson-Mandela-Rede-DUED-NY-final.pdf
2020 Future Possibilities Report
The inaugural “2020 Future Possibilities Report” provides some of the first guidelines and benchmarks on how governments can prepare for such rapid change and will contribute to the important debate around the shape and form of the future economy. The Report launch, organized by the United Arab Emirates and the “UN75: 2020 and Beyond initiative,” presents an analysis of six transformational trends – from connectivity to self-improvement spending to renewable energy – that governments and multilateral institutions must be prepared to react to and capitalize on as they progress toward the UN’s centennial in 2045.
Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) – new website
The UN-OHRLLS new website draws attention to urgent development challenges facing the countries under its purview and offer policy-based solutions. The site will be an information resource for data and analysis on how global trends – from COVID-19 to climate change, from trade to debt distress – are playing out in the world’s most vulnerable countries.
United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) – redesigned website
Version one of the newly redesigned UN Public Administration Network (UNPAN) website is now live. Established in 1999, UNPAN is a global network that connects relevant international, regional, sub-regional and national institutions and experts worldwide working on effective governance and public administration for sustainable development in line with Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNPAN is composed of 28 Members from across the world and its mission is to promote the global sharing of knowledge, experiences and innovative practices on governance and public administration issues. Comments are invited for UNPAN’s version two which will include a dynamic platform.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean (July 2020)
Recovery from the pandemic should be an occasion to transform the development model of Latin America and the Caribbean while strengthening democracy, safeguarding human rights and sustaining peace, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
see also: English – https://bit.ly/2Od4Qte
Spanish – https://bit.ly/3gFL8m0
Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Arab Region: An Opportunity to Build Back Better (July 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious fault lines and vulnerabilities in societies, institutions and economies all around the world. The Arab region, home to 436 million people, initially kept transmission and mortality rates lower than the global average but more recent trends are cause for concern, especially in light of fragmented health care and insufficient primary care in many countries. The pandemic has also magnified many decades-long challenges. These include violence and conflict; inequalities; unemployment; poverty; inadequate social safety nets; human rights concerns; insufficiently responsive institutions and governance systems; and an economic model that has not yet met the aspirations of all. The consequences of the pandemic are likely to be deep and long-lasting.
see also: English – https://bit.ly/3fURKx4
Arabic – https://bit.ly/32LqSf5
Policy Brief: COVID-19 in an Urban World (July 2020)
With an estimated 90 per cent of all reported COVID-19 cases, urban areas have become the epicentre of the pandemic. The size of their populations and their high level of global and local interconnectivity make them particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus. On the other hand, there is no evidence to suggest that density per se correlates to higher virus transmission. Cities can manage this crisis and emerge as the hubs of energy, resilience and innovation that make them such vibrant and appealing places for many to live. But this will take conscious policy choices, as this policy brief will show, particularly with respect to inequalities, local capacities and a green, inclusive recovery.
see also: English – https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/covid-19-urban-world
French – https://www.un.org/fr/coronavirus/covid-19-urban-world
Spanish – https://www.un.org/es/coronavirus/articles/covid-19-urban-world
Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on South-East Asia – July 2020
This policy brief examines how the eleven countries of South-East Asia are coping with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, focusing on the subregion’s socio-economic response and providing four sets of recommendations for a recovery that leads to a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive future.
see also: English – https://bit.ly/39DLtDL
French – https://bit.ly/309ppxs
Spanish – https://bit.ly/3gfrugZ
Policy Brief: Education during COVID-19 and beyond (August 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents. Closures of schools and other learning spaces have impacted 94 per cent of the world’s student population, up to 99 per cent in low and lower-middle income countries. Preventing a learning crisis from becoming a generational catastrophe requires urgent action from all. Education is not only a fundamental human right. It is an enabling right with direct impact on the realization of all other human rights. It is a global common good and a primary driver of progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a bedrock of just, equal, inclusive peaceful societies. When education systems collapse, peace, prosperous and productive societies cannot be sustained. In order to mitigate the potentially devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and stakeholders are encouraged to pursue the policy responses outlined in this Brief.
see also: English – https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/future-education-here
French – https://www.un.org/fr/coronavirus/future-education-here
Spanish – https://www.un.org/es/coronavirus/articles/future-education-here
Africa’s digital solutions to tackle COVID-19 (EIB / UNDP / BearingPoint)
The health, economic and social impact of COVID-19 across Africa continues to evolve with more than 12,000 deaths, in excess of 540,000 confirmed cases and the livelihoods of millions of Africans damaged. In recent weeks the European Investment Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and BearingPoint have analysed the impact of COVID-19 with policy makers and business leaders across Africa and identified digital solutions that can be shared to strengthen resilience and better address the impact of the pandemic. The new report published on 22 July 2020 by the EIB, UNDP and BearingPoint highlights how proven digital innovation can be replicated to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Africa. It also estimates investment required to implement such high impact solutions.
Beyond Recovery: Towards 2030 (UNDP)
English, French, Spanish & Portuguese: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/
The next phase of UNDP’s COVID-19 crisis response is designed to help decision-makers look beyond recovery, towards 2030, making choices and managing complexity and uncertainty in four main areas: governance, social protection, green economy, and digital disruption. It encompasses our role in technically leading the UN’s socio-economic response.
BOOST – Solutions for COVID-19 (new UNDP platform)
To tackle the long-term effects of Covid-19, UNDP Europe and Central Asia is launching BOOST, a regional acceleration program for social impact innovation. It will support emerging solutions in the region in the areas of digitalization, economy and health. BOOST will feature a series of challenges which address development issues related to: digitization, economy and wellbeing. These will be open for innovative solutions from private sector entities, research institutes, academia, and civil society organizations in the Europe and Central Asia region. Applicants will be able to apply for one or more challenges until early September 2020. Winning teams will have access to the UNDP-backed network of peers, funders, and experts and take part in an intensive six-month online аcceleration program, designed to prepare them to roll out their solutions. The program includes both workshops and individual mentoring sessions taught by experienced business, med-tech, social-tech, digital technologies and impact professionals. BOOST is a joint initiative by UNDP, the Slovak Ministry of Finance, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others. UNDP and partners will further support the scalability of effective and sustainable solutions across the Europe and Central Asia region.
Launched on 22 July 2020, the COVID-19 Law Lab initiative gathers and shares legal documents from over 190 countries across the world to help states establish and implement strong legal frameworks to manage the pandemic. The goal is to ensure that laws protect the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities and that they adhere to international human rights standards. The new Lab is a joint project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. Well-designed laws can help build strong health systems; evaluate and approve safe and effective drugs and vaccines; and enforce actions to create healthier and safer public spaces and workplaces. Critically, they are key to effective implementation of the WHO International Health Regulations: surveillance; infection prevention and control; management of travel and trade; and implementation of measures to maintain essential health services.
On 30 June 2020, UNHCR launched a global online platform on the protection impact of temporary measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including access to territory and national asylum systems.
Checklist for a Human Rights-Based Approach to Socio-Economic Country Responses to COVID-19
To help countries tackle the devastating social and economic dimensions of the pandemic, with a focus on at-risk groups, the UN issued the UN framework for the immediate socio- economic response to COVID-19 (SERF) in April 2020. The SERF sets out the strategy and blueprint for the UN’s urgent socio-economic response to countries and societies in the face of COVID-19. Organized by the five streams of work that constitute the SERF (Health First; Protecting People; Economic Response and Recovery; Macro-economic Response and Multilateral Collaboration; and Social Cohesion and Community Resilience), this checklist provides a non-exhaustive list of potential actions, tools, and resources to ensure a human rights-based approach to socio-economic country responses to COVID-19. This checklist was developed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Development Cooperation Office (UN DCO) as the secretariat for the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG).
#FAITH-IN-ACTION Guidance Documents
UNICEF, in collaboration with Religions for Peace (RfP) and Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI), has released a series of guidance documents to advise religious leaders and faith communities on how to address challenges brought about by COVID-19.
Hand in Hand geospatial platform (FAO)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched the Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform on 21 July 2020 with a large and rich set of data on food, agriculture, socioeconomics, and natural resources to help strengthen evidence-based decision-making in the food and agriculture sectors. The platform is a crucial tool for all efforts to build back better and create more resilient food systems post COVID-19. It boasts over one million geospatial layers and thousands of statistics series with over 4,000 metadata records, bringing together geographic information and statistical data on over ten domains linked to food and agriculture – from food security, crops, soil, land, water, climate, fisheries, livestock to forestry. It also includes information on COVID-19’s impact on food and agriculture. The platform can be used by anyone and its application will in turn help data-driven and evidence-based decision-making in food and agriculture.
How to Integrate Gender into Socio-Economic Assessments (UNDP)
The COVID 19 crisis is affecting everyone, but women and girls are being differently impacted and could face disproportionate economic, health and social risks. These gender-differentiated socio-economic risks must be recognized for an effective COVID-19 response and recovery. This in-depth checklist can be used to guide UNDP Country Offices, UN sister agencies, countries and other partners to ensure that key gender equality considerations are taken into account when conducting a Social and Economic Impact Assessment and Response. The checklist can be applied to both the on-going emergency and post-emergency COVID-19 scenarios.
IAP 2020 Report: Caught in the COVID-19 storm: women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health in the context of UHC and the SDGs
The COVID-19 pandemic could reverse decades of progress in women’s, children’s, and adolescent’s health—but it is possible to mitigate this slide with better data collection and accountability efforts, say world leaders who convened on 13 July 2020 at the launch of the 2020 report of the UN Secretary-General’s Independent Accountability Panel (IAP) for Every Woman Every Child (EWEC). The launch was a side event during the High-Level Political Forum, a core United Nations platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The IAP report presents an accountability framework with four pillars: commit, justify, implement, and progress. Concretely, it makes three recommendations for how to build on these pillars.
Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19 (UNICEF – Innocenti)
This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities. The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19, is extremely limited. There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities – such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income – leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.
Inter-Agency Standing Committee – Guidance Documents on COVID-19 Outbreak Readiness and Response
The IASC Principals, supported by the IASC’s Emergency Directors Group, are meeting regularly to assess the rapidly-evolving situation and determine necessary actions to urgently respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. To ensure that life-saving assistance is delivered to the most vulnerable people, the Principals have fast-tracked the release of critical guidance to support its members and the broader humanitarian community in emergency response and preparedness. They are committed to sustaining ongoing humanitarian operations to avoid further loss of lives and suffering and the aggravation of affected people’s vulnerabilities, while still prioritizing the provision of duty of care measures for staff.
Fourteen guidance documents have been developed jointly by a number of the IASC members and/or IASC Reference Groups, and are available in different languages:
- Interim Guidance on Scaling-up COVID-19 Outbreak in Readiness and Response Operations in Camps and Camp-like Settings (jointly developed by IFRC, IOM, UNHCR and WHO)
- Interim Briefing Note Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak (developed by the IASC’s Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support)
- Interim Recommendations for Adjusting Food Distribution Standard Operating Procedures in the Context of the COVID-19 Outbreak (developed by WFP)
- Interim Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools (jointly developed by IFRC, UNICEF and WHO)
- Interim Guidance on COVID-19: Focus on Persons Deprived of their Liberty (developed by OHCHR and WHO)
- Interim Technical Note: Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) during COVID-19 Response – Version 1.0 (developed by WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, IOM, OCHA, CHS Alliance, InterAction and the UN Victims’ Rights Advocate)
- Interim Guidance: Gender Alert for COVID-19 Outbreak (developed by the IASC Reference Group for Gender in Humanitarian Action)
- Interim Key Messages: Flexible Funding for Humanitarian Response and COVID-19 (developed by IASC Results Group 5 on Humanitarian Financing)
- IASC Interim Guidance on COVID-19: Emergency Response Preparedness Approach (developed by the Preparedness, Early Action and Readiness Sub-Group, IASC Results Group 1)
- IASC Interim Guidance on Public Health and Social Measures for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Operations in Low Capacity and Humanitarian Settings (developed by ICRC, IFRC, IOM, NRC, UNICEF, UN-HABITAT, UNHCR, WHO in consultation with IASC members)
- IASC Key Messages to Fast-Track Health and Aid Workers and Supplies at Borders and in Countries (developed by UNICEF and OCHA in consultation with the IASC members)
- IASC Interim Guidance on Localisation and the COVID-19 Response (developed jointly by IFRC and UNICEF in coordination with IASC Results Group 1- Operational Response Sub-Group on Localisation)
- IASC Proposal for a Harmonized Approach to Funding Flexibility in the Context of COVID-19 (IASC Results Group 5 on Humanitarian Financing)
- IASC Key Messages on Applying IASC Guidelines on Disability in the COVID-19 Response (Reference Group on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in consultation with IASC Results Group 2 on Accountability and Inclusion)
IOM COVID-19 Policy Papers
The dramatic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have further embedded public health concerns in questions of migration and mobility at large, revealing the critical need to rethink policies and practices. The following policy papers are currently available:
• Cross-Border Human Mobility Amid and After COVID-19 Summary
• Cross-Border Human Mobility Amid and After COVID-19
Pivoting to Inclusion: Leveraging Lessons from the COVID-19 Crisis for Learners with Disabilities (World Bank)
The world is faced with a global education emergency of unprecedented scale. According to estimates by the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic, at its peak, caused more than 180 countries to mandate temporary school closures, leaving 85 percent of the world’s learners out of school. Children with disabilities and their families, especially those living in poverty, face significant multiple vulnerabilities during this pandemic, including education, health, and social protection.
Policy Paper 41: COVID-19 is a serious threat to aid to education recovery
A new policy paper by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report shows that total aid to education reached its highest ever levels in 2018, the latest available year. However, it estimates that global aid is likely to decline by up to US$2 billion from 2018 to 2022 as a result of recession caused by COVID-19, entailing a 12% drop in international support for education. This means that without new measures, aid to education would only reach 2018 levels in 2024, which poses a serious threat to the recovery of education from the unprecedented disruption caused by the pandemic.
Recommendations for the Tourism Sector to Continue Taking Action on Plastic Pollution During COVID-19 Recovery
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has hit the tourism sector hard, putting more than 100 million jobs at risk; as countries begin to recover, new UN recommendations advise that the tourism sector builds back better, continuing its push to fight plastic pollution. The Recommendations were released on 22 July 2020 by the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. The recommendations are addressed to tourism stakeholders with the aim of supporting them to continue fighting plastic pollution during the COVID-19 recovery. The document illustrates how reducing the plastic footprint, increasing the engagement of suppliers, working closer with waste service providers, and ensuring transparency on the actions taken, can significantly contribute to a responsible recovery of the tourism sector. They further highlight the importance of cleaning and sanitation procedures as well as ongoing and transparent communication with both staff and guests during and after the pandemic.
Restarting Resilience: The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Inclusion in Europe (World Bank – EU Regular Economic Report 6)
European Union member states must continue to reinforce existing social protection and labor market support to shield the one in eight households that face extended income drops in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, says a new World Bank report. The report finds that nearly one in eight jobs are at risk even as countries have emerged from lockdown. The World Bank’s latest EU Regular Economic Report outlines priorities for countries to respond effectively to the impacts of COVID-19 on citizens’ incomes and labor markets. The rapid policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic has given economies the breathing space needed to maintain employment ties and has stemmed the immediate impacts on unemployment. The pandemic is hurting those who find it harder to move to socially distanced approaches of working, while workers who can pivot towards a home-based environment are less impacted.
Spotlight on gender, COVID-19 and the SDGs: Will the pandemic derail hard-won progress on gender equality? (UN Women)
COVID-19 has been declared a public health emergency of international concern and a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. This global threat to health security underscores the urgent need to accelerate progress on achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 and the need to massively scale up international cooperation to deliver on SDG 3. It also reveals what is less obvious, but no less urgent: how health emergencies such as COVID-19, and the response to them, can exacerbate gender inequality and derail hard-won progress not only on SDG 3 but on all the SDGs. This paper presents the latest evidence on the gendered impact of the pandemic, highlights potential and emerging trends, and reflects on the long-term impact of the crisis on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The paper begins by presenting key facts and figures relating to the gendered impacts of COVID-19 followed by reflecting on the health impacts of COVID-19 on SDG 3 targets. Then, the paper explores the socioeconomic and political implications of COVID-19 on women and gender across five of the Goals: SDG 1 (poverty), 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth), and 10 (reduced inequalities). The paper concludes by outlining policy priorities drawn from the evidence presented.
Temporary Basic Income: Protecting Poor and Vulnerable People in Developing Countries (UNDP)
The immediate introduction of a Temporary Basic Income for the world’s poorest people could slow the current surge in COVID-19 cases by enabling nearly three billion people to stay at home, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released on 23 July 2020. The report estimates that it would cost from $199 billion per month to provide a time-bound, guaranteed basic income to the 2.7 billion people living below or just above the poverty line in 132 developing countries.
see also: Transition Brief: https://bit.ly/3g9tDLl
UNICEF Innocenti Research Briefs
Innocenti Research Briefs are a newly-introduced series of short papers intended to provide the latest data, analysis, methods and information on a wide range of issues affecting children. The series addresses various sub-themes in a concise and accessible format, convenient for programme managers and decision makers.
The following COVID-19 related briefs are currently available:
- Does COVID-19 Affect the Health of Children and Young People More Than We Thought? The case for disaggregated data to inform action (15 July 2020)
- Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19 (9 June 2020)
- Digital Connectivity During COVID-19: Access to vital information for every child (10 June 2020)
- Digital Contact Tracing and Surveillance During COVID-19. General and child-specific ethical issues (3 June 2020)
- Parental Engagement in Children’s Learning: Insights for remote learning response during COVID-19 (8 May 2020)
- Promising Practices for Equitable Remote Learning. Emerging lessons from COVID-19 education responses in 127 countries (5 May 2020)
Women, ICT and emergency telecommunications: opportunities and constraints (ITU / ETC)
The joint report prepared by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), was launched at the High-level Dialogue: Women and emergency telecommunications: ensuring gender equality in building disaster resilience, which took place on 6 August 2020. In the wake of a disaster, women are more vulnerable and more likely to die than men. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls because they comprise an estimated 70% of healthcare workers, are over-represented in the informal economy, and take on most domestic work — three areas that compound pre-existing inequality.
UN/DESA Policy Briefs
DESA’s COVID-19 Portal features a series of policy briefs on COVID-19, which draw on unique expertise from around the Department. Since 10 June 2020, the following new briefs have been published:
- #82: COVID-19 and a primer on shock-responsive social protection systems
- #83: Recovering from COVID-19: the importance of investing in global public goods for health
Recover Better: Economic and Social Challenges and Opportunities (UN/DESA)
This new volume of essays from the UN High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs offers new guidance for rebuilding societies in a fairer, more inclusive way. The compilation provides outside-the-box thinking and new solutions to some of this era’s most pressing tests. The authors advance ideas on issues that include improving international tax cooperation, more equitable access to digital technological advances, and sustainable natural resource management that complement the broader recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding shared responsibility and global solidarity in responding to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19.
Responding to COVID-19 and Recovering Better (UN/DESA)
These policy briefs from UN DESA represent a series that ran from 1 April through June 2020 and aimed to complement and support the UN Secretary-General’s initiatives in response to COVID-19 and provide the detailed analysis and solid evidence needed for effective decision-making at global, regional and national levels. The briefs advised on a number of critical social and economic issues, including designing inclusive stimulus packages, preventing a global debt crisis, supporting countries in special situations, protecting the most vulnerable groups of people, strengthening the role of science, technology and institutions for effective response, and working together to build back better and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
The 2020 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
New figures released on 16 July 2020 show that before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, progress was being made in tackling multidimensional poverty, according to the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), a measure that looks beyond income to include access to safe water, education, electricity, food and six other indicators. Now that progress is at risk. The data, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), shows that 65 out of 75 countries studied significantly reduced their multi-dimensional poverty levels between 2000 and 2019.
Accelerating salt reduction in Europe: a country support package to reduce population salt intake in the WHO European Region (2020)
WHO/Europe published a new package to support countries in the European Region to reduce salt consumption. The package outlines some of the most advanced guidance to date on salt reduction policies and surveillance. The package is a rallying call for policy-makers to take action to reduce the alarmingly high levels of salt consumed in the Region. High salt consumption is a leading cause of raised blood pressure, which in turn is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the Region’s leading cause of death.
Cooling Emissions and Policy Synthesis Report (UNEP / IEA)
Coordinated international action on energy-efficient, climate-friendly cooling could avoid as much as 460 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – roughly equal to eight years of global emissions at 2018 levels – over the next four decades, according to the Cooling Emissions and Policy Synthesis Report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). Reductions of between 210 and 460 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-(CO2) equivalent emissions can be delivered over the next four decades through actions to improve the cooling industry’s energy efficiency together with the transition to climate-friendly refrigerants, according to the report. The report says countries can institutionalize many of these actions by integrating them into their implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Signatories to the Kigali Amendment have agreed to reduce the production and use of climate-warming refrigerant gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which has the potential to avoid as much as 0.4°C of global warming by 2100 through this step alone.
Development Policy and Multilateralism after COVID-19 (UN/DESA)
The global COVID-19 pandemic is plunging the world into a socio-economic and financial crisis of an unprecedented scale, in addition to the acute health crisis. Many of the gains achieved under the banner of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are under threat. The crisis has exposed and exacerbated vulnerabilities and inequalities in both developing and developed countries, deepening poverty and exclusion and pushing the most vulnerable even further behind. This is a watershed moment. A sustainable, equitable and peaceful future hinges on the right national and international policy decisions. This policy note assembles analysis by members of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP) and co-authors on different angles of the COVID-19 crisis and the challenges and opportunities it presents for development policy and multilateralism.
E-Government Survey (UN/DESA)
As the COVID-19 pandemic forces lockdowns, most countries and municipalities are pursuing digital government strategies, many with innovative initiatives – but vast numbers of people still do not have access to online services, according to the 2020 edition of the United Nations E Government Survey, released on 10 July 2020. The 2020 ranking of the 193 UN Member States in terms of digital government – capturing the scope and quality of online services, status of telecommunication infrastructure and existing human capacity – is led by Denmark, the Republic of Korea, and Estonia, followed by Finland, Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Singapore, Iceland, Norway and Japan. Among the least developed countries, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Cambodia have become leaders in digital government development, advancing from the middle to the high E-Government Development Index (EGDI) group in 2020. Mauritius, the Seychelles, and South Africa are leading the e-government ranking in Africa. Overall, 65 per cent of Member States are at the high or very high EGDI level.
Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched on 21 July 2020 the most comprehensive forestry assessment to date in an innovative and easy-to-use digital format. Available for public viewing, the Global Forest Resources Assessment report (FRA 2020) and its first-ever online interactive dissemination platform contain detailed regional and global analyses for 236 countries and territories. Users can now consult a comparable and consistent set of more than 60 forest indicators across countries and regions and download the requested data in a non-proprietary digital format. Monitoring of change over time is also possible in parameters such as forest area, management, ownership and use.
Industrialization as the Driver of Sustained Prosperity (UNIDO)
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has published this book focusing on how industrialization not only contributes to economic growth and infrastructure upgrading, but can also support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through the creation of jobs, improvements in working conditions, innovation, and the development of new and greener production technologies. Industrialization as the Driver of Sustained Prosperity was drafted under the editorial supervision of UNIDO Director General LI Yong. On the publication of the book, Li notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved into a major economic crisis and led to the loss of employment and incomes with a risk of reversing the progress the world has achieved on SDGs since 2015.
Primer for Cool Cities: Reducing Excessive Urban Heat – With a Focus on Passive Measures (World Bank)
Cities are getting hotter as a result of growing urbanization and global climate change. The negative impacts of temperature increases are significant and touch nearly every aspect of urban life. Protecting populations from extreme heat is one of the key resiliency and sustainability challenges of the twenty- first century. Successfully implementing measures to cool cities will lead to many benefits, including for health, well-being, productivity, air quality, and energy systems. Urban cooling solutions can be deployed in the short term to help mitigate the risk of rising urban air temperatures. This primer and its companion report, Cool City Case Studies: Reducing Urban Heat, provide practical, actionable guidance and examples for implementers, policy makers, and planners tasked with mitigating urban heat impacts.
Progress towards the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free targets: 2020 report (UNAIDS)
The latest report on the progress towards the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free targets shows that despite great progress made since the early days of the epidemic, the HIV response for children has fallen behind. Year after year, the bold target of eliminating new HIV infections among children is being missed and children are dying needlessly from AIDS-related illnesses—deaths that could be prevented with simple and cheap treatments if the children were diagnosed and treated in time. The Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free framework has three simple concepts. First, babies have a right to enter the world free from HIV. Second, through HIV prevention, children, adolescents and young women have a right to stay free from the virus. Third, children and adolescents who do acquire HIV have the right to be diagnosed, treated and cared for, so that they can remain AIDS-free.
Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Intersections between public health, intellectual property and trade – 2nd edition (WTO / WHO / WIPO)
On 29 July, the Directors-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the WTO presented a new edition of the Trilateral Study on Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation. Building on the first edition launched in 2013, the publication seeks to strengthen the understanding of the interplay between the distinct policy domains of health, trade and intellectual property (IP), and how they affect innovation and access to medical technologies, such as medicines, vaccines and medical devices. The second edition provides an improved, evidence-based foundation for policy debate and informed decision-making at a critical time for global health.
Renewed, Recharged and Reinforced: Urgent actions to harmonize and scale sustainable finance – Report of the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance to the European Commission
In a report released on 5 August 2020, 30 CEOs (chief executive officers) from prominent corporations around the globe — members of the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD) convened by the Secretary-General —identified more than 60 concrete measures to accelerate and scale up funding for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report focuses on six areas that are critical to the global sustainability agenda: addressing systemic sustainability risks, improving ESG data and scoring, globally conforming disclosure requirements, strengthening corporate governance, enhancing public-private sector partnerships and developing sustainable finance products and infrastructure.
SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework
The water and sanitation crisis is getting worse but it can and must be solved. Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) – ‘to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030’ – supports many, if not all, of the other 16 SDGs, particularly on health and disease prevention, education, food, gender equality, energy and climate change. However, we are alarmingly off-track. The challenges we face are unprecedented and growing. With only 10 years to go to achieve the SDGs, we need an immediate and integrated global response to rapidly improve progress on SDG 6. This is why the UN has launched the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework – a new, unifying initiative that involves all sectors of society to speed up progress by improving support to countries. It is part of the UN Secretary-General’s Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. The SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework aims to deliver fast results at an increased scale. The UN system and its multi-stakeholder partners, driven by country demand and coordinating through UN-Water, will unify the international community’s support to countries for SDG 6.
SDG Pulse (UNCTAD)
The coronavirus crisis is pushing critical economic, social and environmental development targets beyond reach, UNCTAD warned on 8 July as it launched the 2020 edition of its SDG Pulse. The organization’s online annual update tracking progress on a range of indicators of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) shows that poverty, inequality, the climate crisis, unsustainable production and other pressing challenges require even more urgent action due to COVID-19. The world only has 10 years left to achieve the goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to which more than 150 world leaders committed in 2015.
Satellite Account for Education and Training: Compilation Guide (UNECE)
The idea of viewing human knowledge and abilities as an asset and to estimate its value is not new but has gained more prominence in recent years. ln 2016, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) published the “Guide on Measuring Human Capital” with the objective of pursuing the conceptual development of human capital measurement and with a particular focus on developing experimental human capital satellite accounts. As a follow up to this work, the “Satellite Account for Education and Training: Compilation Guide” has been developed. lt establishes a framework for such a satellite account based on the expenditure related to education and training, discussing the methodology and the necessary data sources. The work was supported by pilot testing in 5 countries with different circumstances and organization of the education system. An important aim of the guidelines is to help countries construct internationally comparable satellite accounts and thus, lead to improved cost-based measurement of human capital.
State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020: Transforming Food Systems for Affordable Healthy Diets (FAO)
Report, Digital Report, In Brief – English: http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/2020/en/
In Brief – French: http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca9699fr
In Brief – Spanish: http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/2020/es/
More people are going hungry, an annual study by the United Nations has found. Tens of millions have joined the ranks of the chronically undernourished over the past five years, and countries around the world continue to struggle with multiple forms of malnutrition. The latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, published on 13 July 2020, estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years. High costs and low affordability also mean billions cannot eat healthily or nutritiously. The hungry are most numerous in Asia, but expanding fastest in Africa. Across the planet, the report forecasts, the COVID-19 pandemic could tip over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020. (Flare-ups of acute hunger in the pandemic context may see this number escalate further at times.)
Sustainable Development Outlook 2020: Achieving SDGs in the wake of COVID-19 – Scenarios for policymakers (UN/DESA)
Economic growth has slowed down dramatically and poverty is on the rise everywhere. Questions therefore have arisen whether these setbacks will have a permanent effect, jeopardizing progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste (FAO)
Video guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfCfXMgjaz8
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) unveiled on 29 July 2020 a comprehensive platform to help the global community step up action to reduce food loss and waste as the UN agency and partners call for increased efforts and gear up for the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste – to be marked for the first time on 29 September 2020. The platform brings together information on measurement, reduction, policies, alliances, actions and examples of successful models applied to reduce food loss and waste across the globe.
Women and Trade: The role of trade in promoting gender equality (WTO / World Bank)
he WTO and the World Bank launched the joint publication at a virtual event on 30 July. Gaining a better understanding of how women can benefit from trade is essential in ensuring that trade works for all and that its benefits are sustained in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and World Bank Managing Director Mari Pangestu. The publication features new data and analysis on how women benefit from trade in different ways to men in terms of wages, welfare gains and the quality and quantity of jobs available to them. It draws from a new dataset which, for the first time, provides labour data broken down by gender at the industry level for 72 countries. It also draws from the first database on explicit gender-related provisions in regional trade agreements.
World Wildlife Crime Report 2020: Trafficking in protected species (UNODC)
The World Wildlife Crime Report 2020 launched on 10 July 2020 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) emphasizes the threat that wildlife trafficking poses to nature and the biodiversity of the planet. The report highlights the trafficking of some wild species – pangolins, birds, turtles, tigers, bears and many more. When wild animals are poached from their natural habitat, butchered and sold illegally, the potential for transmission of zoonotic diseases – those caused by pathogens that spread from animals to humans – is increased.
World Youth Report 2020: Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda
Report & Executive Summary: https://www.un.org/development/desa/youth/world-youth-report/wyr2020.html
The Report seeks to contribute to the understanding of how youth social entrepreneurship can both support youth development and help accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. To do so, the Report first synthesizes the current discussion on social entrepreneurship and anchors it in the context of the 2030 Agenda. Chapter 2 of the Report then turns toward the situation of youth and examines weather youth social entrepreneurship can offer not only employment opportunities, but also support other elements of youth development such as youth participation. In the third chapter, the Report assesses the potential and the challenges of youth social entrepreneurship as a tool supporting the 2030 Agenda and youth development in its broadest sense. Finally, chapter 4 first examines how new technologies can be leveraged to address some challenges faced by young social entrepreneurs as well as further support youth social entrepreneurship in its efforts to advance sustainable development. This last chapter finally offers policy guidance to build enabling, responsive and sustainable national ecosystems for young social entrepreneurs.
International Peace and Security
Building for Peace: Reconstruction for Security, Sustainable Peace, and Equity in MENA (World Bank)
Tragic levels of death, destruction, displacement and disorder from ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen require a new approach focused on building — not rebuilding — to support transitions to sustainable peace. This is the key message of the new World Bank report funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Examining nearly a decade of reconstruction and peacebuilding approaches that have mostly been centered on top-down state-building, experts from the World Bank and BMZ joined efforts to take a fresh look at reconstruction, development and the transformation process to sustainable peace in the Middle East and North Africa region and beyond. The resulting report utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to develop a thorough understanding of how conflict is embedded within complex national, local and regional dynamics and political and economic power structures. This approach helps map a long-term vision for sustainable and inclusive peace, recognizing the tradeoffs and risks that policymakers and practitioners face to build after conflict.
Concept note for the high-level open debate on the theme “Conflict-related sexual violence: turning commitments into compliance”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/665
The Security Council held a high-level open debate on the theme “Conflict-related sexual violence: turning commitments into compliance” on 17 July 2020. The Security Council President for July, Germany, in collaboration with the Dominican Republic, has prepared this concept note.
Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the theme “Climate and security”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/725
The Security Council held an open debate, co-sponsored by Germany, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, the Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Viet Nam, at the ministerial level, on the theme “Climate and security” on 24 July 2020. The Security Council President for July, Germany, has prepared this concept note.
Concept note for the Security Council high-level open debate on the theme “Addressing the issue of linkages between terrorism and organized crime”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/764
The Security Council held a high-level open debate on the theme “Addressing the issue of linkages between terrorism and organized crime” on 6 August 2020. In order to guide the discussion on the subject, Indonesia, Security Council President for August, has prepared this concept note.
Concept note for the Security Council high-level open debate on the theme “Pandemics and the challenges of Sustaining Peace”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/765
The Security Council plans to hold a high-level open debate on the theme “Pandemics and the challenges of sustaining Peace” on 12 August 2020. In order to guide the discussion on the subject, Indonesia, Security Council President for August, has prepared this concept note.
COVID-19 and conflict: Advancing women’s meaningful participation in ceasefires and peace processes (UN Women / DPPA)
UN Women and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) launched this joint policy brief on 3 August 2020. In support of the Secretary-General’s call for a Global Ceasefire, the brief addresses the importance of women’s full, equal and meaningful participation to an effective pandemic response and to peace-making efforts. It also provides a preliminary analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on women’s participation in ceasefires and peace processes and offers a series of recommendations, including on “building back better”.
Fulfilling the Promise of Decolonization (DPPA Politically Speaking, 24 July 2020)
In much of the world, talk of colonialism conjures up images of a rapidly fading past. But the process of decolonization that marked so much of world history in the middle and latter parts of the 20th century is not yet over. As we approach the end of the Third (yes, third!) International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, let’s take a closer look at what the United Nations is doing to achieve its promise of decolonization.
Development of Africa
The African Continental Free Trade Area (World Bank)
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) represents a major opportunity for countries to boost growth, reduce poverty, and broaden economic inclusion, a new World Bank report has found. If implemented fully, the trade pact could boost regional income by 7% or $450 billion, speed up wage growth for women, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035. The report suggests that achieving these gains will be particularly important given the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, which is expected to cause up to $79 billion in output losses in Africa in 2020. The pandemic has already caused major disruptions to trade across the continent, including in critical goods such as medical supplies and food.
Human rights violations against women detained in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (OHCHR)
Women detained in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are subjected to multiple and serious human rights violations by State security and police officials according to a UN human rights report published on 27 July 2020. The report is based on 100 first-hand accounts by North Korean women who were detained in the DPRK from 2009 to 2019 after being forcibly returned. These women, who eventually managed to escape the DPRK, gave detailed interviews to UN Human Rights staff. Although traveling abroad is effectively prohibited in the DPRK, women embark on dangerous journeys looking for life-saving sources of income or a new life abroad. They often fall into the hands of human traffickers, ending up as cheap bonded labour or exploited sexually, and, at times, forced into marriage. Upon their return to the DPRK, these women are detained by the Ministry of State Security or the Ministry of People’s Security. They are often sentenced to imprisonment by State officials without a trial, or after proceedings that do not meet international norms and standards for due process and a fair trial. The report highlights that returnees, especially those who are labelled as “traitors”, including for attempting to reach the Republic of Korea (ROK) or contacting Christian groups, are systematically punished and subjected to a myriad of human rights violations.
Independence of the justice system and access to justice in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, including for violations of economic and social rights, and the situation of human rights in the Arco Minero del Orinoco region: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/44/54, 15 July 2020, Advance Unedited Version)
People working in the Arco Minero del Orinoco region in Venezuela are caught up in a context of labour exploitation and high levels of violence by criminal groups that control the mines in the area, according to a report released on 15 July 2020 by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The High Commissioner’s report, which is being presented to the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council, describes how the criminal groups – known locally as “sindicatos” – exercise control over a large number of mining operations in Arco Minero del Orinoco.
The report also examines broader justice issues in Venezuela and describes how the independence of the justice system has been considerably undermined by the insecurity of tenure of judges and prosecutors; the lack of transparency in the process of designation; precarious working conditions; and political interference. Decisions of the Supreme Court related to the opposition-controlled National Assembly have consistently given rise to concerns about political considerations prevailing over legal determinations.
Reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment: An ILO toolkit for journalist
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched a toolkit that aims to support the production of quality reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment issues, creating or strengthening networks of specialized journalists as well as building partnerships with those institutions who have the capacity and mandate to take forward media training and outreach. It includes a media-friendly glossary on migration, as well as concrete tips for improving media productions and story ideas.
The Toxic Truth: Children’s exposure to lead pollution undermines a generation of potential (UNICEF / Pure Earth)
Lead poisoning is affecting children on a massive and previously unknown scale, according to a new report launched on 30 July 2020 by UNICEF and Pure Earth. The report, the first of its kind, says that around 1 in 3 children – up to 800 million globally – have blood lead levels at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the level at which requires action. Nearly half of these children live in South Asia. The report is an analysis of childhood lead exposure undertaken by the Institute of Health Metrics Evaluation (IHME) and verified with a study approved for publication in Environmental Health Perspectives. It notes that lead is a potent neurotoxin which causes irreparable harm to children’s brains. It is particularly destructive to babies and children under the age of five as it damages their brains before they have had the opportunity to fully develop, causing them lifelong neurological, cognitive and physical impairment.
Violence and injuries in Europe: burden, prevention and priorities for action (2020) (WHO Europe)
A new report from WHO highlights that violence and injuries are a leading cause of death in all countries of the WHO European Region, regardless of economic status. In the time that it takes to read this news item, 2 people will have died a violent and traumatic death in the Region. These deaths occur on streets, in homes, at schools, and in the places where we work and play, both in isolation and when families are together. The stark reality of violence and injuries in the Region is that almost 500 000 people are killed each year from causes including falls, road traffic injuries, drowning, burns, poisoning, interpersonal violence and suicide. But deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. Behind these grim statistics lies an even greater magnitude of nonfatal injuries across the spectrum of severities, placing a huge burden on health and hospital services.
‘On this journey, no one cares if you live or die’: Abuse, protection, and justice along routes between East and West Africa and Africa’s Mediterranean coast
Thousands of refugees and migrants are dying, while many are suffering extreme human rights abuses on irregular journeys between West and East Africa and Africa’s Mediterranean Coast. A new report released on 28 July 2020 by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) at the Danish Refugee Council details how most people taking these routes suffer or witness unspeakable brutality and inhumanity at the hands of smugglers, traffickers, militias and in some cases even State officials.
UNV Knowledge Portal on Volunteerism
On 13 July, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme launched an online portal on volunteerism. The UNV Knowledge Portal on Volunteerism brings together global, regional and national data and evidence on volunteerism. It is part of UNV’s commitment to fill knowledge gaps on volunteering for the 2030 Agenda.
The portal covers different areas of evidence across three sections:
- Volunteering Database: featuring comparable cross-country data on the measurement of volunteer work and legal framework that exists on volunteering;
- Evidence Library: providing deeper dives into thematic and context-specific issues, especially improving the accessibility of evidence produced in the global South; and
- Knowledge Exchange: facilitating spaces to deepen knowledge-sharing among stakeholders
Drug Control, Crime Prevention and Counter-terrorism
Global Study on Firearms Trafficking 2020 (UNODC)
Report in English, Executive Summary in English & Spanish: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/firearms-protocol/firearms-study.html
Pistols are the world’s most seized type of firearm, making up around 39 per cent of the total number of firearms seized worldwide, while almost all flows of inter-regional firearms trafficking can be traced back to a point in Northern America, Europe, and Western Asia. As firearms are often involved in violence, particularly in homicide, they are also a major human security concern. The Global Study on Firearms Trafficking 2020 compiles the most comprehensive data on firearms trafficking to date and was published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 15 July 2020. It is a vital source for law enforcement and policy makers to reduce the damage caused by the illicit circulation of firearms.
Newsletter Archive: https://unric.org/en/unric-info-point-library-newsletter-archive