UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – January 2023


New UN websites & publications

UN in General

UNiting Against Hate podcast avatarUNiting Against Hate: A new series from UN Podcasts
What exactly is hate speech, how does it undermine human rights, and who is responsible for tackling it? UNiting Against Hate, a new series from UN Podcasts, discusses these issues with people who have directly experienced hate speech; and the activists and experts around the world who are working to counter it.

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United Nations Podcasts: A-Z

An updated and revised section on podcasts is now available in our UN Engagement Hub.


How can we reach gender parity at the United Nations by 2028? A collection of good practices to mark five years of the Secretary-General’s System-wide Strategy on Gender Parity (UN Women)
Since the launch of the System-wide Strategy on Gender Parity, entities across the United Nations have reached significant milestones, such as updated policies and practices to attract, recruit, and promote women, and improved work environments to support greater inclusion. This booklet celebrates those achievements and the progress made since 2017. It demonstrates how joint efforts in UN entities will bring about concrete results, better working environments, and gender parity and equality. The successes and good practices collected in this booklet have been submitted by Gender Focal Points across the UN System. The booklet is only a snapshot of the achievements and progress made throughout the System.

Greening the Blue Report 2022
Greening the Blue is a UNEP initiative to engage and support the UN system in the transition towards greater environmental sustainability in the management of its facilities and operations. The 2022 edition of the Report reveals the UN system accelerated efforts on environmental governance and environmental training in 2021. It highlights the 2021 environmental impacts of 307,000 personnel in 53 reporting entities across Headquarters, field offices and operations on the ground. It is composed of the 2021 data highlights, which are based on UN system-wide results, as well as more dynamic individual entity information that is provided by the Report’s data tables and entity-specific webpages. In alignment with Strategy for Sustainability Management in the United Nations 2020-2030, Phase I: Environmental Sustainability in the Area of Management, the Report provides UN system-wide and entity-level data on environmental impact areas: greenhouse gas emissions, climate neutrality, waste, air pollution, water and wastewater, and biodiversity. As well as management functions: environmental governance, procurement, and human resources.

United Nations Yearbook
The United Nations has published the sixty-ninth and final volume of the Yearbook of the United Nations, representing the most authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the Organization in 2015. Like all volumes beginning with the first (1946–47) edition, the 2015 Yearbook can be accessed freely and in full on the Yearbook website:
see also: United Nations Publishes Final Edition of United Nations Yearbook (PI/2307, 23 December 2022) – https://press.un.org/en/2022/pi2307.doc.htm


2022 Year in Review

Retour sur l’année 2022 (ONU Info)


Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

COVID-19 Response

Bridging the gap between ethics and decision-making in pandemics: Report of the WHO Pandemic Ethics and Policy Summit
This document presents a summary report of the WHO Pandemic Ethics and Policy Summit organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, 6 December 2021.

COVAX: Structure and Principles (WHO)
This document outlines the working structure and guiding principles for collaboration of COVAX, the Vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A). The working structure of COVAX continues to adapt to emerging needs and the changing trajectory of the pandemic. Some components of the pandemic response capabilities united under COVAX may eventually be integrated into regional, national and sub national health systems, routine immunization programmes and future global pandemic preparedness and response (PPR) structures. Therefore, the working structures outlined in this document continue to evolve and the document provides a snapshot of the COVAX ways of working in the first half of 2022.

Global spending on health: Rising to the pandemic’s challenges (WHO)
The results of the report clearly show that in 2020, a year dominated by the emergence of COVID-19 and its associated health and economic crises, governments around the world rose to the challenge. Sharp increases in government spending on health at all country income levels underpinned the rise in health spending to a new high of US $9 trillion (approximately 11% of global GDP). Government health spending generally increased and offset declines in out-of-pocket spending. Importantly, the rise in government health spending was part of a much broader fiscal response to the pandemic. In high income and upper-middle income countries social protection spending also increased sharply in as governments attempted to cushion populations from the economic impacts of COVID-19. In contrast to health and social protection, growth in education spending was relatively subdued. Countries face the further challenge of sustaining increased public spending on health and other social sectors in the face of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and rising debt servicing. This also includes the challenge of sustaining external support for low income countries, which is essential for reducing ensuring poverty, ensuring access to health services and strengthening pandemic preparedness.


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

A Double Burden: The effects of food price increases and currency depreciations on food import bills (UNCTAD)
The price of food has increased everywhere, reaching historic levels in 2022, as stated by the United Nations Global Crisis Response Group. This is a challenge for food security globally, but particularly for net food-importing developing countries. And unlike in previous food crises, they now face a double burden. They not only pay higher prices for the food they import, but the price increase is exacerbated by the depreciation of their currency vis-à-vis the US dollar. This erodes the fiscal space that many developing countries need to face the concomitant challenges of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and the climate emergency. This report assesses the potential effect of high prices of wheat and concurrent currency devaluations on the import bills of selected developing countries.

Decent Work in Nature-based Solutions
Twenty million jobs could be created by further harnessing the power of nature to address major challenges facing society, such as climate change, disaster risk, and food and water insecurity. Investing in policies that support Nature-based Solutions (NbS) would generate significant employment opportunities, particularly in rural areas, says a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Launched at the UN’s Biodiversity Conference, COP15, the report underscores the needs for a “Just Transition” – greening the economy in a way that is fair and inclusive, creating meaningful work opportunities and leaving no one behind. Nature-based solutions are defined by the UN Environment Assembly resolution 5/5 as “actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems which address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being, ecosystem services, resilience and biodiversity benefits.”

Environmental and Health Impacts of Pesticides and Fertilizers and Ways of Minimizing Them
Report in English, Summary for Policy Makers in English, French & Spanish: https://www.unep.org/resources/report/environmental-and-health-impacts-pesticides-and-fertilizers-and-ways-minimizing
The United Nations Environment Assembly in 2017 through Resolution 3/4 requested the Executive Director to present a report on the environmental and health impacts of pesticides and fertilizers and ways of minimizing them, given the lack of data in that regard, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other relevant organizations by the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly. The synthesis report, which was developed by the United Nations Environmental Programme in close collaboration and consultation with the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization, presents an assessment of both technical and policy related information at broader global context. Its overall goal is to provide the information base to enable other advocacy actions to be taken by stakeholders to minimize the adverse impacts of pesticides and fertilizers.

Equity within digital health technology within the WHO European Region: a scoping review
A new WHO/Europe study has found that digital health technologies are not accessible to all communities and areas in Europe equally, raising concerns over the equitable use of digital tools for health. The research shows that people with poor health are among the ones struggling the most in accessing these tools. The study was carried out jointly with the Public Health Data, Knowledge and Research Directorate of Public Health Wales. It summarizes the evidence from 2016 to 2022 on inequity in access, use and engagement with digital health technologies.

Mapping Environmental Risks and Socio-Economic Benefits of Planned Transport Infrastructure: A Global Picture
Environmental scientists have carried out the first standardised global review of the potential risks and benefits to people and nature from planned road and rail projects. The study reveals that holistic planning of major road and railway infrastructure can better protect nature, mitigate emissions and enhance economic benefit. Launched at the UN’s Biodiversity Conference (COP15) on 8 December 2022, the new report was produced by a team of experts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). Until now, there has not been a comparable global review of the ecological risks and economic benefits of planned transport infrastructure projects. Using novel methods and metrics, the researchers forecast the impact that large-scale transport infrastructure projects currently underway or planned in 137 countries will have on wildlife populations, carbon storage and nitrogen retention, in comparison to the anticipated boosts to jobs and countries’ GDP.

Mountain women of the world – Challenges, resilience and collective power (FAO)
Women play a key role in environmental protection and social and economic development in mountain areas. They are often the primary managers of mountain resources, guardians of biodiversity and keepers of traditional knowledge. Empowering rural women is crucial to eradicating hunger and poverty. Yet, due to discriminatory social norms, rural women still face more barriers than men in terms of access to strategic resources and the opportunity to raise their voices, which limits their potential as economic agents and resilience-builders. This publication highlights the stories and voices of mountain women, with a focus on rural areas and mountain tourism, and outlines a path forward to promote their empowerment and help them to realize their potential as agents of sustainable mountain development. It includes on-the-ground interviews with mountain women in eight countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Italy, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and the United Republic of Tanzania) and the results of a global survey. This study is published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, together with the Feminist Hiking Collective – a non-profit organization and transnational hub for feminist hikers, and a member of the Mountain Partnership. It marks the 2022 International Mountain Day theme, Women Move Mountains, and is also a contribution to the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development 2022.

Pulse Check on Digital Learning (UNICEF)
Report in English, Executive Summary in English, French & Spanish: https://www.unicef.org/reports/pulse-check
This UNICEF report – released on 13 December 2022 – reveals stagnation in access to digital learning made during the COVID-19 pandemic, as one-third of nationally developed platforms have entirely shutdown, are outdated, or no longer fully functional, limiting learning approaches to help schoolchildren recover their education. When planned and facilitated effectively, quality, inclusive, and equitable digital learning opportunities can complement other learning approaches and help schoolchildren catch up on what they missed during the pandemic and the pre-existing learning crisis, according to the report. The report examines the current state of digital learning by focusing on five vitals, including policies and financing, platforms and content, teachers and school leadership, digital literacy and holistic learning opportunities, with the aim of transforming education systems. It also features the first-ever mapping of 471 national platforms in 184 countries by UNICEF and EdTech Hub.

Sharing Economy and its Effects on Housing Markets (UNECE)
A UNECE study on the sharing economy and its effects on housing markets shows how the massive emergence of temporary rental accommodation through platforms such as AirBnB has changed living habits in cities, and highlights a range of policy and regulatory approaches that can be taken to balance socioeconomic benefits and negative impacts, including on housing affordability. The study surveyed 43 cities in 17 UNECE member countries such as Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, London, Paris, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm, and Vienna. Spanish and Italian cities constituted almost half of all major destinations included in the study, with 10 cities included from each country. The concept of sharing or collaborative economy when applied to the housing sector involves sharing space in exchange for part of the housing costs. Renting out residential space, whether it is the whole house or part of it, over a short-term period is considered a sharing activity in the housing sector. Popularized by sharing platforms such as AirBnB, such models offer a flexible and efficient way of doing rental transactions.

UNESCO Guidance for the World Heritage ‘No-Go’ Commitment: Global standards for corporate sustainability
On the Occasion of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), UNESCO has issued new guidance for the corporate sector to ensure that their operations do not put World Heritage at risk. UNESCO World Heritage sites may often face pressures from harmful mega-projects and industrial activities. Around 140 UNESCO World Heritage sites in 80 countries over the last three decades have reported impacts from mining, oil and gas and large hydropower projects, among others. As humanity’s legacy to future generations, UNESCO calls on companies to protect World Heritage by refraining from undertaking or funding harmful industrial or other large-scale projects that could negatively impact the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage sites. The guidance, issued on 8 December, aims to provide companies with standardized, industry-wide guidance to protect all UNESCO World Heritage sites in their diversity, in the present and in the future. The guidance complements the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre for assessing the impact of projects on UNESCO World Heritage sites published earlier this year. Initially pioneered by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) in 2003, more than 50 companies and industry associations have now endorsed policies to safeguard UNESCO World Heritage sites in various sectors, including in extraction, hydropower, finance and insurance. These policies are commonly known as the World Heritage ‘no-go’ commitment.

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 146: Why safe, orderly and regular migration matters for sustainable development
Respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, benefit migrants and countries alike. Addressing the adverse drivers and structural factors that hinder people from building and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in their own countries and communities can reduce the pressure to migrate.

UN DESA Policy Brief No. 147: Old age inequality begins at birth: life course influences on late-life disability
Improving working conditions and access to quality education across the lifecycle can help reduce inequality in health outcomes among older adults. Expanding healthcare coverage and addressing the social determinants of health are also vital.

UNU Technical Report: Mediterranean wildfires – Interconnected Disaster Risks 2021/2022
In summer 2021, drought and low humidity combined with record-breaking heat of up to 48.8°C (119.8°F) led to fire outbreaks across the Mediterranean countries, killing more than 100 people and burning more than 620,000 ha of land in July and August. As forests are often fiercely protected areas, the common approach to wildfire management in the Mediterranean is to extinguish every fire as it appears, but counterintuitively this supports the formation of “mega-fires” that burn beyond our capacity to control. Fires are not yet seen as integral to ecosystem functioning, and the management of fires and fires are often disconnected. This technical background report for the 2021/2022 edition of the Interconnected Disaster Risks report analyses the root causes, drivers, impacts and potential solutions for the Mediterranean wildfires through a forensic analysis of academic literature, media articles and expert interviews.

Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World (ILO)
Reduced working hours and more flexible working time arrangements, such as those used during the COVID-19 crisis, can benefit economies, enterprises and workers, and lay the ground for a better and more healthy work-life balance, according to a new ILO report, released on 6 January 2023. The report looks at the two main aspects of working time; working hours and working time arrangements (also called work schedules) and the effects of both on business performance and workers’ work-life balance. It includes a range of new statistics covering hours of work, both before and during the COVID-19 crisis. The study, which is the first to focus on work-life balance, found that a substantial portion of the global workforce are working either long or short hours when compared to a standard eight-hour day/40 hour working week. More than one-third of all workers are regularly working more than 48 hours per week, while a fifth of the global workforce is working short (part-time) hours of less than 35 per week. Informal economy workers are more likely to have long or short hours. The report analyses different working-time arrangements and their effects on work-life balance, including shift work, on-call work, compressed hours and hours-averaging schemes. It cautions that the benefits of some of these flexible arrangements, such as better family life, may be accompanied by costs including greater gender imbalances and health risks.


International Peace and Security

Concept note for the Security Council briefing on the theme “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: global counter-terrorism approach – principles and the way forward”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2022/906
India, the Security Council President for the month of December 2022, held a briefing on 15 December 2022 on the theme “Global counter-terrorism approach – principles and the way forward” in connection with the item entitled “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”. This background note intended to guide the discussions on the topic was prepared.

Responding to conflict-related sexual violence against boys associated with armed forces and armed groups in reintegration programmes
Strengthening responses to conflict-related sexual violence against boys deprived of their liberty in situations of armed conflict
On the occasion of the United Nations Human Rights Day 2022, the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, in collaboration with the All Survivors Project (ASP), published two documents on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) that shed light on how this grave violation specifically impacts boys. These publications developed a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity of vulnerabilities based on sex and gender to better inform prevention and response programmes. Indeed, CRSV against girls, boys, and all children continues to be vastly underreported, and the research documents highlighted how little is known about the firsthand experiences of boys affected by CRSV. The documents underline how boys can face specific vulnerabilities to sexual violence and may be afflicted by grave violations differently from girls, including when detained. Recommendations on how child protection strategies can consider this issue to improve CRSV prevention and response for all children were also provided.

Paris Principles Operational Handbook
Children as young as eight are still at risk around the world from the unlawful recruitment by armed forces or armed gangs despite a landmark agreement 15 years ago in Paris to combat the use of children in conflict, organisations including Save the Children and UNICEF warned on 12 December 2022. The child rights agencies, along with the government of France and other members of the Paris Principles Steering Group (PPSG) – formed after the Paris Principles and Commitments were agreed in 2007 – are now launching new guidance to tackle the issue. The Paris Principles Operational Handbook provides comprehensive guidance on the Paris Principles for child protection specialists, government officials and other practitioners working to prevent and respond to the recruitment and use of children by armed actors.


Human Rights

General comment No. 26 (2022) on Land and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/GC/26, 22 December 2022, Advance unedited version)
Introduction: Land plays an essential role for the realization of a range of rights under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Secure and equitable access to, use of and control over land for individuals and communities can play an essential role in eradicating hunger and poverty and guaranteeing the right to an adequate standard of living. Sustainable use of land is essential to ensure the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and to promote the right to development, among other rights. In many parts of the world, land is not only a resource for producing food, generating income, and developing housing; it also constitutes the basis for social, cultural and religious practices and the enjoyment of the right to take part in cultural life. At the same time, secure land tenure systems are important to protect people’s access to land as a means of guaranteeing livelihoods and avoiding and regulating disputes.

Violence and harassment at work: a practical guide for employers (ILO)
This guide focuses on the general principles in the prevention and management of violence and harassment at work, with reference to the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 206), 2019. It includes, among others, guidance on what is considered violence and harassment in the world of work, examples of common violence and harassment at work, legal framework and employers’ responsibilities, why employers need to take action, how to address, prevent and respond to violence and harassment including by developing and implementing enterprise-level policy, as well as risk management with sharing of good practices and examples.

What is the Right to a Healthy Environment?
The recent recognition by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council of the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a powerful new tool to address the human rights impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and ensure rights-based environmental action. This Information Note, co-authored by UNDP, OHCHR, and UNEP, unpacks the elements and importance of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment and outlines how diverse stakeholders can play an active role in making the right a reality for all.


Humanitarian Affairs

Conflict in Ukraine: Key evidence on risks of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants – UNODC Research Update December 2022
The latest update of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) research brief on risks of migrant smuggling and human trafficking related to the war in Ukraine shows a highly dynamic context of forced displacement. First issued in March 2022, one month after the war broke out, UNODC has now published an update to reflect the latest data and analysis of the current situation. The forced displacement context related to the war in Ukraine encompasses ongoing internal displacement, cross-border displacement, mobility between transit and hosting countries, and returns. The number of people who have fled Ukraine and been registered abroad since the outbreak of conflict has reached over 8.13 million. Of these, 7.86 million are recorded as being in European countries.

Global Compact on Refugees: Indicator Framework (December 2022)
This second edition of the Global Compact on Refugees Indicator Framework caps a process of technical refinement led by UNHCR, following the release of the first GCR indicator report and its consideration at the High-Level Officials Meeting in December 2021. The GCR indicator framework, first published in July 2019, is the backbone of the biennial GCR indicator report supporting assessment of progress towards the objectives of the Global Compact and its cross-cutting ambition to operationalize the principle of burden- and responsibility-sharing.


Global Victim-Perpetrator Synthetic Dataset
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 7 December 2022 released the first publicly available dataset linking the profiles of trafficking victims and perpetrators whilst preserving the anonymity and privacy of survivors. The dataset is made possible by state-of-the-art technology developed in partnership with Microsoft Research and provides first-hand information on the relationships between victims and perpetrators. The nature of the victim-perpetrator relationships represents a valuable source of insight to better assist survivors and prosecute offenders. By making this information openly and safely available for the first time, IOM and Microsoft Research aim to share this technique with humanitarian actors worldwide to improve the production of privacy-preserving data and accelerate evidence-based policy in the fight against human trafficking. The Global Victim-Perpetrator Synthetic Dataset is available on the Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC) data hub – the first global data portal on human trafficking. This dataset includes IOM case data from over 17,000 victims and survivors of trafficking identified across 123 countries and territories, and their accounts of over 37,000 perpetrators who facilitated the trafficking process from 2005 to 2022.


Justice and International Law

Audiovisual Library of International Law – New Miniseries on International Criminal Law by Professor Paola Gaeta
Questions related to the crime of genocide are discussed, such as:
• What is the legal meaning of genocide?
• Can ethnic cleansing constitute per se an act of genocide?
• How to prove the existence of genocidal intent?
• How is it possible to prove that the murdering of a member of a protected group, the killing of a member of a religious group, for instance, is genocide? How can one prove that through this act of killing the perpetrator was, in fact, aiming at destroying the group in whole or in part?

Policy on the Crime of Gender Persecution (ICC)
“Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim A.A. Khan KC Publishes Policy on the Crime of Gender Persecution: Today (7 December 2022), I am launching the new Policy on the Crime of Gender Persecution that will guide my Office in its fight against impunity for sexual and gender-based crimes. With this initiative, I believe we are taking a significant stride towards fulfilling my promise to address sexual and gender-based crimes in a more systematic and effective way. … This new Policy takes a comprehensive approach to sexual and gender-based crimes that may amount to the crime against humanity of persecution on the grounds of gender (gender persecution). It recognises all of its victims, namely women, girls, men, boys, including/and LGBTQI+ persons. It also recognises that acts or crimes of gender persecution may include, but are not always manifested as, forms of sexual violence or any physical violence or physical contact. They may include psychological abuse. They may also take forms other than physical injury to persons, including acts such as cultural destruction or confiscation and prohibition of education for girls.”


Nuclear, Chemical and Conventional Weapons Disarmament

IAEA Nuclear Safety and Security Glossary
In nuclear safety and security, what is meant by a cliff edge effect? What is cloud shine? And how does it differ from ground shine? This new glossary, available in print and digitally, explains these and more, collecting definitions and explanations of technical terms used in the IAEA safety standards and nuclear security guidance in a single publication, and providing information on their usage to promote consistency in the use of terminology.


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