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UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – January 2022

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New UN websites & publications

UN in General

International Years, declared by the General Assembly for 2022

International Decades, declared by the General Assembly and starting in 2022

International Decade of Indigenous Languages
English: https://en.unesco.org/idil2022-2032
French: https://fr.unesco.org/idil2022-2032
Spanish: https://es.unesco.org/idil2022-2032


Member States’ Contributions for 2022

ST/ADM/SER.B/1038 (4 January 2022): Assessment of Member States’ advances to the Working Capital Fund for 2022 and contributions to the United Nations regular budget for 2022
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/ST/ADM/SER.B/1038

ST/ADM/SER.B/1039 (4 January 2022): Assessment of contributions by non-member States towards the 2022 expenses of the United Nations for their participation in United Nations activities
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/en/ST/ADM/SER.B/1039

see also: Ask DAG! Where can I find information on Status of Contributions of Member States to the UN budget? https://ask.un.org/faq/14431


2021 Year in Review

 

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

COVID-19-Response-Logo (English)

Tracking Universal Health Coverage: 2021 Global Monitoring Report (WHO / World Bank)
https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240040618
New evidence compiled by the World Health Organization and the World Bank shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to halt two decades of global progress towards Universal Health Coverage. The organizations also reveal that already before the pandemic more than half a billion people were pushed or further pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets, and that the pandemic is likely to make the situation worse. The findings are contained in two complementary reports, launched on International Universal Health Coverage Day, highlighting the devastating impact of COVID-19 on people’s ability to obtain health care and pay for it. In 2020, the pandemic disrupted health services and stretched countries’ health systems beyond their limits as they struggled to deal with the impact of COVID-19. As a result, for example, immunization coverage dropped for the first time in ten years, and deaths from TB and malaria increased. The pandemic also triggered the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, making it increasingly difficult for people to pay for care. Even before the pandemic, half a billion people were being pushed (or pushed still further) into extreme poverty because of payments they made for health care. The organizations expect that that number is now considerably higher.

Women and girls left behind: Glaring gaps in pandemic responses
https://data.unwomen.org/publications/women-and-girls-left-behind-glaring-gaps-pandemic-responses
This publication compiles and analyses the results of Rapid Gender Assessment surveys (RGAs) on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in 45 countries, produced by UN Women in partnership with national statistical offices, governmental entities, international partners, or private sector. The report confirmed uneven pandemic impacts for women on five key areas of concern: 1) participation in the workforce; 2) unpaid care and domestic work; 3) emotional and physical well-being; 4) access to goods and services; and 5) relief and social protection measures. The report also draws on the findings from the UNDP-UN Women Gender Response Tracker, which provides information on how countries are integrating gender equality in their policy responses. Country cases on how the RGA results have been used to inform critical gender-responsive policies and recovery plans to build back better are also provided in the report. A dashboard of indicators with harmonized, pooled estimates and corresponding microdata has also been created: https://data.unwomen.org/rga

 

Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

Basic Income – on data and policy (UNESCO)
https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000380169
This policy paper is concerned with the use of basic income as (a) an emergency response to weather the immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis, and (b) a standing policy tool to put countries on an inclusive track in the longer run. It discusses: – Basic income – core concept, interplays with the rest of the policy space, potential in different contexts; – Performance of basic income – policy trials, data that exists, and data that is missing; – Financing basic income – traditional, emerging, and mixed options; – Green basic income – connections with the climate and the equity agendas; – Adjacent and alternative ideas – policy instruments to consider in conjunction with basic income. Policy debates on basic income surge around the world. The Management of Social Trans-formations (MOST) programme and the UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab bring to the forefront analysis by leading experts, all to ground the debate in data and curb polarization on this emerging issue. The paper is designed for the benefit of knowledge-producers and policy-makers. The analysis and the recommendations are, therefore, tailored to the two stakeholder groups. This is a zero-paper publication. The content is mixed – text and audio – to cater to various content preferences and on-the-go consumption.

Climate Finance for Sustaining Peace: Making Climate Finance Work for Conflict-Affected and Fragile Contexts (UNDP)
https://www.undp.org/publications/climate-finance-sustaining-peace-making-climate-finance-work-conflict-affected-and
The vicissitudes of climate change can hit the hardest and be felt most profoundly in conflict-affected and fragile contexts which suffer high vulnerability and low investments in coping capacity and adaptation. While both are underpinned and delimited by climate finance ambition, little work has focused explicitly on contexts affected by conflict and fragility and their access to climate finance. This study sets out to address this and focuses on: trends in access to climate finance in conflict-affected and fragile contexts; gaps and opportunities to leverage the co-benefits of climate action for peace and security; strategies for mainstreaming climate-related security risks into climate finance; and recommendations to make climate finance work more effectively in contexts affected by conflict and fragility. A metadata analysis of 955 projects (US$ 14.4 billion) implemented in 146 countries, including 56 fragile states shows that conflict and fragility may affect access to and implementation of climate finance and its implementation may interact with drivers of fragility and insecurity. Qualiifying co-benefits or peace dividends may help incentivize much-needed investments, but Theories of Change also need to be reconstructed. Access to climate finance means ensuring climate finance reaches the last mile to support the most vulnerable contexts; those of which affected by conflict and insecurity may see insufficient climate finance and increased vulnerability which can exacerbate climate-related security risks. Thus, climate finance cannot be blind to conflict and fragility.

GDPFS Web Portal (WMO)
https://wmo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/7c3d45e5003a417988bad63e91ad8748
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has launched a new web portal to make key meteorological analyses and forecast products more readily accessible. The Web Portal is a one-stop page for the Global Data-processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS) Centres and integrates essential information, including their focal points and links to websites. The Web Portal is designed to achieve core functions on data discoverability and accessibility. The list of mandatory GDPFS products for each designated Centre is shown interactively, with direct links to the corresponding metadata records on the WMO Information System (WIS). It creates a seamless linkage between GDPFS and WIS, allowing all Members to quickly and easily discover information of GDPFS products on the WIS. The Web Portal also integrates direct links to inventories or open data servers of the Centres, if available, which provide Members with one more option to get GDPFS data. The various options offered by the Web Portal will greatly enhance data discoverability and accessibility of GDPFS products.

Handbook on Water Allocation in a Transboundary Context (UNECE)
https://unece.org/environment-policy/publications/handbook-water-allocation-transboundary-context
Which users may use how much water of a river, lake, aquifer or other source? For what purposes, where and when? These are the questions which a new Handbook on transboundary ‘water allocation’–which is the process and/or outcome of determining how different stakeholders use water–published under the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), UNECE, addresses. Over a period of 3 years, more than 100 countries, 70 international organizations, 20 river basin organizations were consulted on the Handbook’s development. A group comprising over 50 experts in this field met regularly and systematically analysed existing experiences on transboundary water allocation at the global level. They distilled criteria, good practices and solutions to deal with growing water scarcity around the globe. They learned from each other and improved their understanding of the benefits and challenges of utilizing water allocation in transboundary water cooperation. The Handbook was officially adopted at the ninth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention on 30 September 2021. The Handbook explains the various phases, benefits and challenges of transboundary water allocation, analyses global practice while highlighting notable practical examples, and guides interested States through the process of assessing its potential usefulness in their shared basins and implementation.

Health concerns among children deprived of liberty: policy brief (2021) (WHO/Europe)
https://bit.ly/3dJQ3TR
Whether it’s a prison, a refugee camp or an orphanage, there is no place in the world where children should be deprived of liberty. If children are kept in closed settings, the negative consequences for their physical health, mental health and cognitive development may be irreversible. This is one of the main messages of the latest WHO/Europe policy brief “Health concerns among children deprived of liberty”.

Levels and trends in child mortality: Report 2021
https://data.unicef.org/resources/levels-and-trends-in-child-mortality/
While the world was gripped by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, children continued to face the same crisis they have for decades: intolerably high mortality rates and vastly inequitable chances at life. In total, more than 5.0 million children under age 5, including 2.4 million newborns, along with 2.2 million children and youth aged 5 to 24 years – 43 per cent of whom are adolescents – died in 2020. This tragic and massive loss of life, most of which was due to preventable or treatable causes, is a stark reminder of the urgent need to end preventable deaths of children and young people. Data gaps remain a serious challenge to child mortality estimation and monitoring. Almost two thirds of low and middle income countries (97 out of 135) have no reliable mortality data in the past three years. And just 40 countries had high-quality national data for 2020 included in the estimation model, though national or subnational data were available for more than 80 countries or areas to help analyse excess mortality due to COVID-19.

Saving lives, spending less: the case for investing in noncommunicable diseases (WHO)
https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240041059
A new WHO report shows that close to 7 million deaths could be prevented by 2030 if low- and lower-middle-income countries were to make an additional investment of less than a dollar per person per year in the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs – including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and respiratory disease – currently cause 7out of every 10 deaths around the world. Yet their impact on lower income countries is often underestimated, despite the fact that 85% of premature deaths (between ages 30–69) from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries, making them a huge health and socioeconomic burden. The vast majority of those deaths can be prevented using WHO’s tried and tested NCD Best Buy interventions. These include cost effective measures to reduce tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, improve diets, increase physical activity, reduce risks from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and prevent cervical cancer. Keeping people healthy reduces health costs, increases productivity and leads to longer and healthier lives. The report focuses on 76 low- and lower-middle-income countries. It explains the NCD Best Buys and shows how every dollar invested in scaling up Best Buy actions in these countries could generate a return of up to US$ 7 – potentially US$ 230 billion by 2030.

The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture: Systems at breaking point (SOLAW 2021) (FAO)
English, French & Spanish: https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb7654en
Digital report in English: https://www.fao.org/3/cb7654en/online/cb7654en.html
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched on 9 December 2021 a landmark report highlighting the worsening state of the earth’s soil, land and water resources and the challenges it poses for feeding a global population expected to near ten billion by 2050. The report says if we keep to the current trajectory, producing the additional 50 percent more food needed could mean water withdrawals for agriculture increasing by up to 35 percent. That could create environmental disasters, increase competition for resources, and fuel new social challenges and conflicts.

UN DESA Climate Review
https://bit.ly/DESAclimatereview
The document highlights the important work that UN DESA is doing to bring climate issues to the forefront of the Department’s activities and reinforce the synergy between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. With an introduction by Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, the report gives readers insight into the Department’s direction regarding climate and how UN DESA is integrating climate goals with social and economic policies that aim to reduce vulnerabilities, support those affected by climate change and create decent jobs. Notably, key ongoing policy work in the areas of forests and the ocean are gaining prominence. The Climate Review shows how the Department is working with Member States and partners on climate change and developing new and innovative ways to accelerate progress on the SDGs by developing tools to spur risk-informed decision-making, researching the need to build resilient cities, and studying the megatrends and the impacts these will have on our collective future. UN DESA will continue to provide thought-provoking research, analysis, and transparent and trustworthy data to further the development of policies that will have the greatest impact on mitigating the effects of climate change and enabling us to reach a zero-carbon world.

UN/DESA Policy Brief #121: Bringing the data community and policy makers together to ensure a world with data we trust
https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-121-bringing-the-data-community-and-policy-makers-together-to-ensure-a-world-with-data-we-trust/
Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the regional, national and local level require fit-for-purpose data with each data ecosystem stakeholder playing their part while working in harmony to achieve “a world with data we trust”. The Bern Data Compact for the Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched at the UN World Data Forum 2021 defines the global data ecosystem needed to use data effectively for people, planet, prosperity, and peace.

UN/DESA Policy Brief #123: Sandboxing and experimenting digital technologies for sustainable development
https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-123-sandboxing-and-experimenting-digital-technologies-for-sustainable-development/
The speed, complexity and new risks of technological development often present policy and regulatory challenges. Sandboxes and experiments have proven to be an effective catalyst in bridging policy or regulatory gaps. The promise of sandboxes and experiments allows evidence-based decision-making and adaptive deployment of digital technologies. It allows institutions and regulators to experiment and trial with digital technologies and innovations at the edge or even outside of the existing policy space and regulatory framework.

 

International Peace and Security

2021 Highlights of Security Council Practices
https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/highlights-2021
The Security Council branch at the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs have issued their online 2021 Highlights of Security Council Practices. This year’s edition builds on and enhances the revamped design launched in 2019 and provides a very interesting overview of the work of the Security Council in last year. The Highlights paper contains information about the work of the Security Council in 2021, covering the meetings and videoconferences held, the items dealt with, the decisions adopted, as well as those that were not adopted. It also mentions the Council’s mission to the Sahel, the first such visit since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the work of subsidiary Security Council bodies. This edition includes new areas of analysis for 2021, such as a greater focus on the themes of informal interactive dialogues and Arria-formula meetings and the increasing highlights of thematic topics or policy goals, such as in relation to women and peace and security.

Movements of people and the threat of ISIL and Al-Qaida terrorism in Europe: assessing the potential interplay (UNICRI)
http://unicri.it/Publication/Report-%20movements-people-threat-ISIL-Al-Qaida-terrorism-Europe
In April 2021, following concerns raised by some European countries, UNICRI launched a research initiative to explore, assess, and understand the potential interplay between regular and irregular movements of people and the threat stemming from ISIL and Al-Qaida inspired terrorism in Europe. The research also looked at the risks posed by returning and relocating Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs). The recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the potential massive exodus of Afghans have led to heightened security concerns in European countries and Turkey. Indeed, there is a high risk of possible infiltration of individuals linked to ISIL-K and Al-Qaida among those trying to leave the country. Given the current complex international security context and the various factors involved, the scope of the analysis has been kept intentionally broad. On the one hand, the report considers the impact of migration policies and border management regulations on the terrorist and extremist challenge stemming from ISIL and Al-Qaida. Specifically, it looks at the extent to which these prevent and/or monitor malicious actors to move throughout European territories (or to return to them). On the other, it focuses on the indirect effect that the socio-political environment of destination – be it the quality of reception conditions and/or the presence of anti-migrant sentiment and extreme right-wing activities – can have on the vulnerabilities of migrant communities, and hence ultimately, on creating a fertile ground for radicalization by ISIL and Al-Qaida supporters. Where relevant, the report highlights differences in treatment and policies vis-à-vis citizens and aliens. When it comes to people’s movements across external borders, states are mainly concerned by extra-European citizens’ movements. However, movements of nationals or residents are considered within the scope of this report, as intra-EU movements are also relevant for this analysis. The latter category of movement will also be considered in the context of the return (and/or relocation) of FTFs. The last section highlights specific recommendations and outlines programmatic interventions to be undertaken by UNICRI and partner entities in order to successfully address the identified priority issues.

 

Development of Africa

Economic Development in Africa Report 2021: Reaping the potential benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area for inclusive growth (UNCTAD)
English & French: https://unctad.org/webflyer/economic-development-africa-report-2021
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could reduce COVID-19-induced growth contraction, poverty and inequality trends and spur sustainable and inclusive growth on the continent if stronger support measures targeting women, young traders and small businesses are implemented, according to UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2021 published on 8 December. The report shows that trade policies alone are unlikely to support inclusive economic growth on the continent. Other measures needed to increase potential distributional gains from regional integration and help ensure inclusive development are cooperation in promoting investment and competition policies, accelerating financing of infrastructure that facilitates rural-urban linkages and providing equal access to socioeconomic opportunities and productive resources. The AfCFTA, under which free trade officially commenced in January 2021, is one of the flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which includes various targets on sustainable and inclusive growth. Economic growth can only be inclusive if it reduces both poverty and inequality, the report says.

 

Human Rights

Addressing Anti-Semitism – new webpage
https://iwitness.usc.edu/sites/unesco
The USC Shoah Foundation and UNESCO launched a new webpage entitled “Addressing Anti-Semitism” in an online event on 14 December 2021. The webpage is designed as an interactive online tool to provide teachers and learners with resources and materials to learn about antisemitism and its consequence. It responds to increased antisemitic hate, conspiracy theories and prejudices both online and offline. UNESCO and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights (ODIHR) have jointly published a set of four training curricula to help teachers at different school levels and school directors to prevent and respond to antisemitism. The curricula suggest concrete ways to address antisemitism and counter prejudice in and through education, while promoting human rights, global citizenship education and gender equality. The webpage provides lesson resources and video-based testimonies that support these curricula, for different age groups and in six languages, as part of the USC Shoah Foundation’s world class IWitness platform.

 

Humanitarian Affairs

Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021: Statistics and Trends (AUC / FAO / UNECA)
English: https://www.fao.org/3/cb7496en/cb7496en.pdf
French: https://www.fao.org/3/cb7496fr/cb7496fr.pdf
Online interactive report in English: https://www.fao.org/3/cb7496en/online/cb7496en.html
A new, interactive digital report launched on 14 December 2021 shows that the number of hungry people in Africa continues to rise, spurred by conflict, climate change and economic slowdowns including those triggered by COVID-19. The African Union Commission (AUC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) launched the digital report as the latest update to their annual reporting on the state of food security and nutrition in Africa. Hunger on the continent has worsened substantially since 2013, the report states, and most of this deterioration occurred between 2019 and 2020. The situation is expected to have deteriorated further this year, with no easing of hunger’s main drivers. The three agencies behind the report are calling on African countries to heed the call for agrifood systems transformation.

Comparative Reintegration Outcomes between Forced and Voluntary Return and Through a Gender Perspective
https://returnandreintegration.iom.int/en/resources/kmh-research-study-study/research-study-2-comparative-reintegration-outcomes-between
Female migrants returning to their countries of origin had more difficulty than men reintegrating long-term into the community, an International Organization for Migration (IOM) study released on 21 December 2021 shows. Women reported more challenges in accessing employment and training opportunities, as well as health-care services, often following abuses and exploitation during their migration journey, according to research on factors affecting the sustainable reintegration of returnees. Coordinated by the EU-IOM Knowledge Management Hub (KMH) with the financial support of the European Union and conducted by the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance of Maastricht University, the study presents key findings of two combined research projects aimed at highlighting the differences in reintegration outcomes among returnees. The first study examines the impact of whether or not the return was voluntary, by analyzing the economic, social and psychosocial dimensions. A similar approach was adopted in the second study aimed at examining sex-based differences in reintegration outcomes and at better understanding gender-sensitive reintegration programming.

Global Migration Indicators 2021 (IOM)
https://publications.iom.int/books/global-migration-indicators-2021
This report provides a snapshot of international data across a range of migration topics that are relevant to policymakers, the public and others. This overview of key migration trends is of particular importance due to not only the migration-related aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, but also the very real risk of migrants being “left behind” due to the many challenges linked to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The 2021 Global Migration Indicators report summarizes recent migration trends based on periodically updated data on the Global Migration Data Portal. It is compiled by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre. This report is an update of the first Global Migration Indicators report in 2018, which can be found here, and also includes a new section on COVID-19 data relating to migration.

 

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