UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter: August 2023


New UN websites & publications

UN in General

Our Common Agenda: Policy Brief 9: A New Agenda for Peace
English: https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/our-common-agenda-policy-brief-new-agenda-for-peace-en.pdf
French: https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/our-common-agenda-policy-brief-new-agenda-for-peace-fr.pdf
Spanish: https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/our-common-agenda-policy-brief-new-agenda-for-peace-es.pdf

A/77/CRP.1/ADD.8 in English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/77/CRP.1/ADD.8

“Summary: The challenges that we face can be addressed only through stronger international cooperation. The Summit of the Future, in 2024, is an opportunity to agree on multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow, strengthening global governance for both present and future generations (General Assembly resolution 76/307). In my capacity as Secretary-General, I have been invited to provide inputs to the preparations for the Summit in the form of action-oriented recommendations, building on the proposals contained in my report entitled “Our Common Agenda” (A/75/982), which was itself a response to the declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations (Assembly resolution 75/1). The present policy brief is one such input.”

Previously issued policy briefs are available here:

Interactive Handbook of the Working Methods of the Security Council
The Handbook on the Working Methods of the Security Council, originally developed by the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, serves as a practical guide to the rules, practices and procedures of the Council. Powered by technology, this Handbook replaces prior versions published in hard copy which are available in the Reference documents section of this website. It is intended to be a new and enhanced contribution to better understand and implement the working methods of the Council as provided for in the notes by the President of the Security Council, the Provisional Rules of Procedure and the Charter of the United Nations.
There are 16 thematic tiles based on the sections of the Note by the President of the Security Council dated 30 August 2017 (S/2017/507) and the themes of the notes subsequently adopted in 2019 and 2021 under the auspices of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG). They offer easy access to the text of the notes which can also navigated in-depth via the search function.

Index to Proceedings
The “Index to Proceedings” celebrates 70 years. It is an annual guide to the proceedings and documentation of the Economic and Social Council, General Assembly, Security Council, and Trusteeship Council. Since the early years of the United Nations, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library has been committed to documenting institutional history and making it available by developing data-driven services and products.

UN System Chart – July 2023 version
English, French & Spanish: https://www.un.org/en/delegate/page/un-system-chart
The UN System Chart is a public information and non-exhaustive document, which reflects the structure of the Organization. This document is updated every two years by the Department of Global Communications, with the support of the Office of Legal Affairs and various other Departments in the Secretariat. The Chart is available in all six official languages. The next review process has been scheduled for 2025.


UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Selected Online Resources
This new backgrounder provides an overview of available websites of the UN system on this topic as well as links to recent conferences, events and selected UN publications and documents.


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

2023 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI): Unstacking global poverty: Data for high impact action (UNDP)
This report presents a compact update on the state of multidimensional poverty (henceforth referred to as “poverty”) in the world. It compiles data from 110 developing countries covering 6.1 billion people, accounting for 92 percent of the population in developing countries. It tells an important and persistent story about how prevalent poverty is in the world and provides insights into the lives of poor people, their deprivations and how intense their poverty is—to inform and accelerate efforts to end poverty in all its forms. As still only a few countries have data from after the COVID-19 pandemic, the report urgently calls for updated multidimensional poverty data. And while providing a sobering annual stock take of global poverty, the report also highlights examples of success in every region.

Beat the heat: protecting children from heatwaves in Europe and Central Asia (UNICEF)
Around half of children in Europe and Central Asia – or 92 million – are exposed to high heatwave frequency, according to an analysis of the latest available data from 50 countries published on 27 July 2023 by UNICEF in a new policy brief. This is double the global average of 1 in 4 children exposed to high heatwave frequency. The policy brief notes that children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of heatwaves, putting them at risk of serious illness including heatstroke. Infants and young children are most at risk during heatwaves as their core temperatures rise significantly higher and faster than adults. Heatwaves also affect children’s ability to concentrate and learn, putting their education at risk, the report notes. While children are uniquely vulnerable to the impact of heatwaves, most adults experience heat differently, making it hard for parents and caretakers to identify dangerous situations or symptoms of heat-related illness in children, putting children’s health at further risk.

GAR Special Report 2023: Mapping resilience for the Sustainable Development Goals (UNDRR)
Growing disaster risks and a confluence of shocks are creating domino effects across economies and undermining sustainable development on all fronts, according to a new report by the United Nations. A special edition of the Global Assessment Report (GAR 2023), released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) during the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, finds hard-won economic and development gains are in danger from the growing number of disasters with global warming the prime contributor. The GAR 2023 presents a new analysis mapping how disasters like drought are dramatically rising with knock effects on global food security, employment and education. Droughts have already resulted in two billion people now living under water stress and an 80% increase in the risk of crop failure and hunger in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. The impacts cascade onto the labour market as temperatures rise and it simply becomes too hot to work. Labour productivity is halved at 34°C and the equivalent of an estimated 80 million full-time jobs will be lost if the world surpasses 1.5°C of warming, pushing ever greater numbers of people into poverty. Heatwaves, often referred to as the ‘silent killer of climate change,’ are increasing and are among the most impactful of hazards, particularly in tropical and subtropical climates such as India. In 2020 UNICEF estimated that 820 million children were already exposed to heatwaves. Climate impacts also led to 920 million children being exposed to water scarcity in 2020, a major hazard driving displacement. Last year, extreme weather events, such as the Pakistan floods and the Horn of Africa drought, left 12 million children homeless, in countries with some of the world’s lowest literacy rates.

Global Climate Litigation Report: 2023 Status Review (UNEP)
The total number of climate change court cases has more than doubled since 2017 and is growing worldwide. These findings, published on 27 July 2023 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, show that climate litigation is becoming an integral part of securing climate action and justice.
The report is based on a review of cases focused on climate change law, policy or science collected up to 31 December 2022 by the Sabin Center’s US and Global Climate Change Litigation Databases. It is published a day ahead of the first anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s declaration of access to a clean and healthy environment as a universal human right. The report provides an overview of key climate litigation cases from the past two years, including historic breakthroughs. As climate litigation increases in frequency and volume, the body of legal precedent grows, forming an increasingly well-defined field of law.

Global Education Monitoring Report 2023: Technology in Education – A Tool on Whose Terms? (UNESCO)
The “2023 Global Education Monitoring Report” has just released a call for technology only to be used in class when it supports learning outcomes, and this includes the use of smartphones. The report shows that some technology can support some learning in some contexts, but not when it is over-used or inappropriately used. In particular, the use of smartphones can disrupt learning in classrooms. One study looking at pre-primary through to higher education in 14 countries found that it distracted students from learning. Even just having a mobile phone nearby with notifications coming through is enough to result in students losing their attention from the task at hand. One study found that it can take students up to 20 minutes to refocus on what they were learning once distracted. Removing smartphones from schools in Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom was found to improve learning outcomes, according to a study cited in the report, especially for students that were not performing as well as their peers.

The Human Cost of Inaction: Poverty, Social Protection and Debt Servicing, 2020–2023 (UNDP Development Future Series, July 2023)
Over the past three years, poverty rates in poor countries have surged, with the number of additional individuals living on less than $3.65-a-day reaching 165 million by 2023 according to a new policy brief from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The entirety of these additional poor live in low – and lower-middle-income economies, with the poorest 20% in low-income countries suffering the most with their incomes still below the pre-pandemic levels in 2023. In response to this crisis, the UNDP is calling for adaptive social protection and a “Debt-Poverty Pause” to redirect debt repayments toward critical social expenditures.

Long-term future trends and scenarios: impacts on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals: Report of the Secretary General (E/2023/89, 5 June 2023)
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/E/2023/89
“Summary: The present report serves to inform the discussions of the high -level segment of the Economic and Social Council in July 2023, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/305. It complements the report of the Secretary-General on the theme of the 2023 session of the Council (E/2023/78) and the report of the Secretary-General entitled “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: towards a rescue plan for people and planet” (A/78/80-E/2023/64). It looks beyond current crises and emergencies to reflect on long-term trends and scenarios with a view to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change objectives while leaving no one behind. Despite some positive developments, in a business-as-usual scenario, none of the Sustainable Development Goals would be achieved and development would be decisively unsustainable by 2050. Recent scientific and technological breakthroughs could become game-changers, but unprecedented levels of global cooperation and support would be required to make these new possibilities work for everyone. Recent Sustainable Development Goal pathways and sustainable development scenarios illustrate what would be needed in terms of globally coordinated policies and high-impact actions.”

The Path that Ends AIDS: UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2023
Report: https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2023/global-aids-update-2023
Executive Summary: https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2023/global-aids-update-2023-executive-summary
This new report released on 13 July 2023 by UNAIDS shows that there is a clear path that ends AIDS. This path will also help prepare for and tackle future pandemics and advance progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The report contains data and case studies which highlight that ending AIDS is a political and financial choice, and that the countries and leaders who are already following the path are achieving extraordinary results. Botswana, Eswatini, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe have already achieved the “95-95-95” targets. That means 95% of the people who are living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 95% of the people who know that they are living with HIV being on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, and 95% of people who are on treatment being virally suppressed. A further 16 other countries, eight of them in sub-Saharan Africa, the region which accounts for 65% of all people living with HIV, are also close to doing so. The report highlights that HIV responses succeed when they are anchored in strong political leadership. This means following the data, science, and evidence; tackling the inequalities holding back progress; enabling communities and civil society organizations in their vital role in the response; and ensuring sufficient and sustainable funding. Progress has been strongest in the countries and regions that have the most financial investments, such as in eastern and southern Africa where new HIV infections have been reduced by 57% since 2010.

The Paths to Equal: Twin indices on women’s empowerment and gender equality (UNDP / UN Women)
This report highlights the global challenges faced by women and provides a roadmap for targeted interventions and policy reforms. The report introduces two new indices: The Women’s Empowerment Index (WEI) measures women’s power and freedoms to make choices, while the Global Gender Parity Index (GGPI) assesses gender disparities in key dimensions of human development. Combined, these indices offer a comprehensive assessment of countries’ progress in achieving gender equality.

Nelson Mandela SDG Quote Book (UN South Africa)
This booklet serves as a special tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the former President of South Africa, affectionately known as Madiba, in recognition of his enduring legacy and untiring fight for the freedom and welfare of humanity. It seeks to draw parallels between his unforgettable call to action speeches and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at the United Nations in 2015. The booklet strives to bring to life some of his sayings (before, during and after his 27 years in prison) by matching them with related SDGs as we reach the mid-point for reaching the currently off-track targets for people and planet.

Sand and Dust Storms Toolbox (UNCCD)
The frequency of sand and dust storms (SDS) is on the rise in various regions across the globe. This rise is attributed to factors such as human-driven climate change, desertification, land degradation, and persistent droughts. These storms occur when strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from dry, arid soils into the atmosphere. They often carry these particles long distances, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of kilometers. The effects of these storms are widespread and often devastating. The World Health Organization estimates that 7 million people die from poor air quality every year, which is at least partly attributed to dust. Sand and dust storms pose numerous threats to human health, disrupt livelihoods, and wreak havoc on the environment. Managing these impacts is a major challenge, as human activity, and desertification in one region can trigger sand and dust storms that cause significant damage in remote regions. Recognizing the urgent need for international cooperation to address SDS, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/77/294) on 8 June 2023, designating 12 July as the International Day to Combat Sand and Dust Storms. This day is intended to raise awareness of the link between health and sustainability in the context of SDS.
In line with the observation of the day, the UNCCD launched the new SDS Toolbox, a result of its collaboration with SDS Coalition partners. The SDS Toolbox provides tools, guidance and information which can be used to identify the sources of sand and dust storms, develop and implement management policy, plans and strategies, assess risks and vulnerabilities to SDS, understand how to observe, monitor, forecast and provide warnings of SDS and develop and implement ways to mitigate the impacts of sand and dust storms.

Spotlight on SDG 6 – From commodity to common good: A feminist agenda to tackle the world’s water crisis (UN Women)
This paper aims to review the state of gender equality in Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) and showcases how a gender perspective can inform and strengthen the discourse around SDG 6 acceleration. The paper emphasizes the need for a feminist approach to addressing the global water crisis, one that recognizes the important role women play in their communities as the main collectors, protectors, and managers of water. The latest data and projections on the gender and water nexus presented in the paper reveal that the human rights to water and to sanitation are far from realized for many women and girls globally. The paper calls for women’s equal representation in leadership and decision-making and draws a clear connection between social justice, ecological rights, and women’s rights. The case studies and examples throughout the paper reveal the essential role women have played in the global movement to transform indigenous values and local ecological knowledge into enforceable ecological rights. Pressing data gaps and measurement challenges, along with evidence-based, action-oriented policy recommendations, are also captured and discussed in the paper. This paper is part of the “Spotlight on the SDGs” series.

The UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation
Persisting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical turbulence and high inflation continue to challenge international trade. Despite these global disruptions, countries are continuing to move towards a seamless and efficient trading environment by simplifying and digitalizing formalities in international trading. According to the fifth United Nations Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation covering 161 countries, progress has been observed in more efficient trade facilitation with the overall implementation rate of general and digital trade facilitation measures increasing by more than six percentage points between 2021 and 2023. The global average implementation rate currently stands at 68.7 per cent. The highest implementation rate is seen in developed economies (85.3 per cent), followed by countries in South-East and East Asia (76.6 per cent). Pacific Islands have the lowest implementation rate (42.3 per cent).
In the UNECE region, average trade facilitation implementation increased from 76 per cent in 2021 to 80 per cent in 2023. Implementation rate is highest for those measures that are also included in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. The 2023 UN Global Survey covers 48 countries in the UNECE region, with the addition of four new countries: Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia and Turkmenistan.

Urban Flood Risk Handbook: Assessing risk and identifying interventions (World Bank)
This Urban Flood Risk Handbook: Assessing Risk and Identifying Interventions is a roadmap for conducting an urban flood risk assessment in any city in the world. It includes practical guidance for a flood risk assessment project, covering the key hazard and risk modeling stages as well as the evaluation of different flood-mitigating infrastructure intervention options and management of the project. The Handbook has been developed based on lessons learned from implementing urban flood risk assessments around the world in a diversity of contexts. It is intended for a wide variety of practitioners: project managers, city officials, and anyone else interested in conducting a strategic study of a city’s flood risk and developing potential solutions for it. We expect this Handbook to contribute to the understanding of urban flood risk, make this specialized knowledge more accessible to a wider public, and support the process of building cities that are not only capable of withstanding floods but also provide safe, inclusive, and sustainable environments for all their residents.

Working Without Borders: The Promise and Peril of Online Gig Work (World Bank)
Report in English, Overview in English, French & Spanish: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/40066
Jobs are crucial for individual well-being. They provide a livelihood and, equally important, a sense of dignity. They are also crucial for collective well-being and economic growth. Over the past decade, technology has fundamentally shifted traditional work patterns, creating new ways in which work is contracted, performed, managed, scheduled, and remunerated. New business models, digital platform firms, are allowing the effects of technology to reach more people more quickly, bringing economic opportunity to millions of people who do not live in industrialized countries or even industrial areas, simply with access to broadband and a digital device (World Bank 2019). Digital labor platforms play a role in the process of structural transformation especially by triggering organizational and occupational transformations, for example, by enhancing labor productivity and formalization in service sectors (Nayyar, Hallward-Driemeier, and Davies 2021). New forms of work, known as gig jobs, enabled by digital platforms, have now gained momentum (Eurofound 2020).

A world of debt: A growing burden to global prosperity (UN Global Crisis Response Group)
Half of humanity lives in countries that are forced to spend more on servicing their debt than on health and education, which is nothing less than a development disaster, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on 12 July 2023. According to this new report by the UN Global Crisis Response Group, a total of 52 countries – almost 40 per cent of the developing world – are in “serious debt trouble”, Mr. Guterres said, backing calls for them to receive urgent fiscal relief. Last year global public debt reached a record $92 trillion, of which developing countries shoulder 30 per cent – a “disproportionate amount”, the UN chief stressed. He warned that 3.3 billion people suffer from their governments’ need to prioritize debt interest payments over “essential investments” in the Sustainable Development Goals or the energy transition.

YOUTH2030: A Global Progress Report
Youth participation in global decision-making processes must be the norm and not the exception, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on 19 July 2023. “I will continue to stand with you as we shape a more prosperous, equal and resilient future for all,” he said in a video message to launch his latest “Progress Report on Youth”.  The world is facing multiple and far-reaching crises, including conflicts, climate change, poverty, inequality and discrimination, he said, and “nobody has a greater stake — and more bold solutions to offer — than young people.”
Five years ago, the UN launched a strategy to guide joint action with and for young people through the end of the decade. The third progress report on the Youth2030 strategy was launched during an event on the margins of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development underway at UN Headquarters. Mr. Guterres said the report reveals encouraging results, with 55 UN entities and 131 UN Country Teams actively supporting youth programming with governments and civil society around the world . “We are establishing a new United Nations Youth Office in the UN Secretariat to advance advocacy, coordination, and accountability for and with young people,” he added.  “And we are committed to doing even more.”


International Peace and Security

Concept note for the Security Council briefing on the theme “Artificial intelligence: opportunities and risks for international peace and security”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2023/528
As President of the Security Council for the month of July 2023, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland organized a briefing on the theme “Artificial intelligence: opportunities and risks for international peace and security”, on 18 July 2023. In order to guide the discussions on this topic, the United Kingdom has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the Security Council high-level open debate on famine and conflict-induced global food insecurity
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2023/560
During its August presidency of the Security Council, the United States will hold an open debate on famine and conflict-induced global food insecurity on Thursday, 3 August 2023. In order to help to steer the discussion on the subject, the United States has prepared this concept note.

Information Integrity to Sustain Peace during Electoral Processes (UNDP)
This report is dedicated to the first Sustaining Peace during Electoral Processes project research topic, which explores the prevention of election violence and its linkages to information integrity. The purpose of this report is to gain a better understanding of the pertinent dynamics and to bolster the design of programming to support the information ecosystem around elections. In aid of this, UNDP sought information through a number of channels, in a review of the relevant literature, a series of regional consultations, expert meetings and a survey. While it concludes there remains no single panacea to the ills that information pollution brings upon elections, it identifies a number of recommendations to facilitate information pollution programming around elections.

Pacific Climate Security Assessment Guide
This comprehensive guide is an essential component of the implementation of the Boe Declaration Action Plan, providing Pacific countries with invaluable tools to analyze regional climate security trends and develop appropriate responses to mitigate climate-induced security risks at the national level. The guide has been developed by the Pacific Islands Forum in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under the UN Peacebuilding Fund funded “Climate Security in the Pacific” project, jointly implemented by UNDP and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Key technical contributions involved the think tank Adelphi, Council of Regional Organization of the Pacific (CROP) agencies and members of the Pacific Climate Security Network. The guide identifies five key pathways of climate security in the Pacific, shedding light on climate change’s impacts on various aspects, including: livelihoods and the Blue Economy, Land, food, water and health security, disasters and the erosion of resilience, mobility trends and Maritime boundaries, sovereignty and regional stability.

Youth Participation to Sustain Peace during Electoral Processes (UNDP)
This report was drafted in the context of the Sustaining Peace during Electoral Processes project to summarize the findings of an inclusive research process aimed at better understanding the connection between youth participation, electoral processes and the prevention of violence. The purpose of this report is to lay out challenges and opportunities for electoral-related programming involving youth, with a specific focus on programmatic entry points for the promotion of youth participation to sustain peace during electoral processes. The findings have been informed by an extensive consultative process, including regionally focused and youth specific consultations and a youth survey with over 1000 responses, alongside a literature review to assess the current state of play in terms of policies and research that informs programming.


Human Rights

Human rights in the digital era: Learnings on local governance from pilots in Europe
UN-Habitat, in collaboration with the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, Eurocities and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) with funding from the Open Society Foundations, has launched this technical report with outcomes and tools developed as part of the Digital Rights Governance Project in Europe. The project team worked with local governments in Brussels, Dublin, Sofia and Tirana, and focused on technical support to uphold people-centered digital transformation strategies, policies and projects anchored on the promotion and protection of human rights in the digital context of cities. The project team worked with local governments in Brussels, Dublin, Sofia and Tirana, and focused on technical support to uphold people-centered digital transformation strategies, policies and projects anchored on the promotion and protection of human rights in the digital context of cities.

The International Anti-Gender Movement: Understanding the Rise of Anti-Gender Discourses in the Context of Development, Human Rights and Social Protection (UNRISD)
This working paper interrogates the ways anti-gender, or “pro-family”, actors and organizations are using the frameworks and language of “development” to advance arguments and policies that restrict the rights of LGBTIQ+ people and seek to limit how sexual and reproductive health and rights are understood. Backed by transnational support and funding, these actors and organizations are deploying an increasingly sophisticated narrative repertoire and using mainstream knowledge validation tools to disseminate anti-gender messages in a range of global development spaces, including the UN system. These developments render anti-gender messaging harder to refute and call for research-based feminist and queer-inclusive visions of gender equality and women’s rights, considering several critical dimensions outlined in this working paper. This publication was commissioned by the Gender Justice and Development programme as part of an ongoing inquiry into the growing backlash against progress in gender equality and rights. UNRISD working papers made available online to stimulate discussion and critical comment.

LGBTIQ+ Equality and Rights: Internal Resource Guide (UN Women)
This internal resource guide seeks to provide guidance to UN Women in advancing its focus on the human rights of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, and sex characteristics (SOGIESCs) in its global gender equality agenda. It provides the basis for integration of diverse LGBTIQ+ perspectives across UN Women’s areas of work and considers how this can be taken forward. It builds on efforts to frame positioning and institutionalize a strategic approach to LGBTIQ+ equality and rights work at UN Women that is comprehensive, systematic, and innovative. The resource guide is prepared in the format of a living internal document, intended for internal audiences, and is not intended as public guidance. It provides key terminology and definitions, an executive summary, key messages, and a conceptual framework to support operationalization, which is centred on the key principles of inclusivity, intersectionality, specificity, and evidence. To support operational considerations, it shares examples and case studies of UN Women’s activities in a diversity of contexts.

“No End in Sight”: Torture and ill-treatment in the Syrian Arab Republic 2020-2023: Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/53/CRP.5, 10 July 2023)
The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria has released a new report that covers the continuing widespread and systematic patterns of torture and ill-treatment, including enforced disappearances, in detention facilities in Syria between 1 January 2020 and 30 April 2023, and is being released as a conference room paper to the ongoing fifty-third session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.The report is based on 254 interviews conducted by the Commission between 2020 and April 2023, including over 200 who experienced and/or directly witnessed torture or ill-treatment in relation to detention in facilities run by Government authorities or non-State armed groups. A further 42 were secondary interviews with e.g. medical practitioners, others working with survivors of torture and ill-treatment and family members of detainees. The Commission also reviewed corroborating video and photographs, medical and other relevant documentation.

Sanctions Research Platform
The UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights, Alena Douhan, announced on 9 August 2023 the launch of the “Sanctions Research Platform”. The platform is a comprehensive online repository of resources and research related to the issue of unilateral sanctions and their impact on human rights.  It is designed to serve as an independent reference tool for collecting, researching and analysing global sanction data. The platform is open and available to anyone interested in or working on issues related to sanctions and their impact, with no access or usage restrictions. It contains resources in all six official UN languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

Tackling violence against women and girls in sport: A handbook for policy makers and sports practitioners
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most pervasive human rights challenges in the world today and is rooted in gender inequality, discrimination, and harmful cultural and social norms that emphasize men’s superiority over women and normalize violence toward women. Sport both responds to and shapes the society in which we live – particularly with respect to norms around masculinity and gender, which in turn influence the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours of men and women, boys and girls, both on and off the playing field. Sport has been an environment for some of the most egregious cases of sexism and VAWG. Yet it has also demonstrated tremendous potential to foster gender equality and address the conditions at the root of VAWG. UN Women, UNESCO and the Spotlight Initiative have developed this Handbook to facilitate informed and constructive conversations about how we can work together to address VAWG in sport. This Handbook aims to create a shared understanding of the problem, offer practical tools for addressing VAWG in sport and propose areas for effective collaboration. This Handbook is aimed at sports practitioners and policy makers wishing to address VAWG in sport.

Teaching to prevent atrocity crimes: a guide for teachers in Africa (UNESCO)
Education is essential in addressing violent pasts and preventing atrocity crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. However, teaching about these topics is challenging. UNESCO’s survey in six African countries has shown that teachers recognize the importance of such education but do not always feel adequately prepared for its proper delivery. They are worried that raising the topic in the classroom will have adverse effects and lead to further division rather than cohesion. To support African educators, UNESCO and the United Nations (through its Department of Global Communications) have published this new guide, UNESCO’s first resource on the topic with a regional focus. It offers background information about the problem and practical advice on suitable teaching practices and approaches tailored to existing curricula frameworks. Developed in partnership with the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), this publication aligns with the global priorities of the United Nations and UNESCO to promote peace and sustainability in Africa.


Humanitarian Affairs

Lives on hold: Intentions and Perspectives of Refugees and IDPs from Ukraine #4, July 2023 (UNHCR)
As the full-scale war on Ukraine reached a 500-day mark, an absolute majority of Ukrainians displaced as refugees abroad or inside the country report still express a hope and intention to return home, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)’s latest survey reveals. Seventy-six per cent of refugees surveyed by UNHCR in EU countries and Moldova and 82 per cent of internally displaced Ukrainians plan or hope to return permanently, according to this study. With active hostilities ongoing, taking lives and damaging civilian homes and infrastructure, only about 15 per cent plan to return in the next three months and intend to stay in their current location, either abroad or in safer areas in Ukraine. Hopes to return are higher (71%) among refugees who found temporary protection in countries neighbouring Ukraine, compared to those hosted in other European countries (57%). Since their displacement, over a third of refugees (39%) and 50% of internally displaced people have been able to travel back to their home regions for short-term visits, which help people maintain connections with their families and communities and make informed decisions about the conditions of their eventual return. According to the findings, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, Kyiv and Kharkiv regions, as well as Kyiv city, were identified among the top areas of intended return. While safety and security were cited as the main factors preventing displaced people from returning home now, access to basic services, housing, employment and livelihoods were named as enablers facilitating return.


Justice and International Law

Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction
On 19 June 2023 in New York, the United Nations adopted a historic agreement aiming to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction which cover over two-thirds of the ocean. Building on the legacy of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, this groundbreaking agreement significantly strengthens the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in over two-thirds of the ocean. It provides an essential framework for cross-sectoral cooperation between and among States and other stakeholders to promote the sustainable development of the ocean and its resources and to address the manifold pressures it faces. The effective and timely implementation of this Agreement will make crucial contributions to achieving the ocean-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

WTO Dispute Settlement: One-Page Case Summaries, 1995–2022
The WTO has issued a new print edition of “WTO Dispute Settlement: One-Page Case Summaries”, a biennial publication providing succinct summaries of every panel and Appellate Body report adopted by the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) up to the end of 2022. It also includes summaries of panel reports circulated to WTO members — and published on the WTO website — which have not yet been adopted by the DSB as they remain subject to pending appeals.


Nuclear, Chemical and Conventional Weapons Disarmament

The United Nations and Disarmament amid COVID-19: Adaptation and Continuity (UNODA Occasional Papers – No. 40, July 2023)
The COVID-19 outbreak posed an unprecedented challenge to intergovernmental disarmament institutions and processes. This publication offers an extensive review of relevant developments at the United Nations, particularly in the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as in the disarmament machinery and other disarmament bodies and processes. After comparing the varying responses to the pandemic, the author considers whether the outbreak should serve as a catalyst for rethinking and changing multilateral working methods or rules of procedure.

The United Nations Disarmament Yearbook
This comprehensive reference guide on global disarmament, non-proliferation and arms-control efforts, is now available in a new, graphically enhanced preview edition. Developed to share key findings from the Yearbook in a concise and accessible format, the updated publication provides a succinct exploration of disarmament-related developments and trends from 2022, highlighting achievements and challenges amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and other threats to international peace and security. The Disarmament Yearbook will now be made available in its entirety on its dedicated website. That website will become home to the publication’s complete, in-depth review of 2022 when it is released later in 2023.


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