UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – July 2020


New UN websites & publications

UN in General

UN Card: 11 Facts
English: https://www.un.org/en/sections/about-un/un-card-11-facts/index.html
French: https://www.un.org/fr/sections/about-un/un-card-11-facts/index.html
Spanish: https://www.un.org/es/sections/about-un/un-card-11-facts/index.html
The 2020 edition of The UN Card brings an update to 11 actions of the UN that show in quantifiable terms how the daily work of the UN and its agencies affects the lives of people around the globe.

see also:
•  Photo Story “11 ways the UN makes the world a better place”:  https://news.un.org/en/gallery/644222
•  Reportage Photo : 11 façons dont l’ONU rend le monde meilleur : https://news.un.org/fr/gallery/404722

UN Charter Day – 26 June 2020
• English – UN marks 75-year milestone anniversary of founding Charter (26 June 2020): https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1067242
• French – San Francisco 1945 : la conférence qui changea le monde (26 juin 2020) : https://news.un.org/fr/story/2020/06/1071882
• Spanish – La Carta de la ONU cumple 75 años como pilar de la Organización en momentos convulsos (26 Junio 2020): https://news.un.org/es/story/2020/06/1476632
• Portuguese [BR] – Carta da ONU é guia para enfrentar desafios e corrigir fragilidades atuais (26 junho 2020): https://news.un.org/pt/story/2020/06/1718222

75 Years, 75 Documents
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library is presenting an exploration of 75 key documents that have shaped the United Nations and our world. The documents selected honour the historic breadth of the Organization’s work in the areas of peace and security, humanitarian assistance, development and human rights.

Mapping the Early History of the United Nations
Seventy-five years ago, on 26 June 1945, representatives of 50 nations signed the Charter of the United Nations in San Francisco. Seven years later, in 1952, the construction of the permanent headquarters in New York City was completed, and UN staff fully occupied the premises. The Archives and Records Management Section (ARMS) has launched a digital exhibit, to mark the anniversary of the Charter signing. It pegs the major milestones in the formation of the Organization to where it met, resided, and worked prior to the completion of the permanent headquarters.

Environmental Moments: A UN75 timeline
“In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, United Nations Environment Programme has compiled a series of snapshots overtime. We have served as an authoritative advocate for the global environment since 1972. Our aim is to inspire, inform and enable nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.”

Elections of the President of the 75th session of the General Assembly, non-permanent members of the Security Council and members of the Economic and Social Council

PGA Website
• Results of the Election Held on 18 June 2020: https://www.un.org/pga/74/2020/06/18/results-of-the-election-held-on-18-june-2020/
• Results of the Elections Held on 17 June 2020: https://www.un.org/pga/74/2020/06/17/results-of-the-elections-held-on-17-june-2020/

UN News Centre
• Kenya wins final contested seat on Security Council (18 June 2020): https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1066632
• Turkish diplomat elected President of historic 75th UN General Assembly (17 June 2020): https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1066562
• Présidence de l’Assemblée générale, Conseil de sécurité, ECOSOC : les résultats des élections à l’ONU (17 juin 2020) : https://news.un.org/fr/story/2020/06/1071192
• México ocupará un asiento en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU (17 Junio 2020): https://news.un.org/es/story/2020/06/1476162 
• Embaixador turco Volkan Bozkir será o próximo presidente da Assembleia Geral [BR] (17 junho 2020): https://news.un.org/pt/story/2020/06/1717222

Press Release
• General Assembly Elects Permanent Representative of Turkey Seventy-Fifth Session President, also Filling 18 Vacancies in Economic and Social Council (GA/12250, 18 June 2020): https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/ga12250.doc.htm
• L’Assemblée générale élit le turc Volkan Bozkir à sa présidence et fait entrer le Kenya au Conseil de sécurité au détriment de Djibouti (AG/12250, 18 juin 2020): https://www.un.org/press/fr/2020/ag12250.doc.htm

Report of the Secretary-General: Roadmap for Digital Cooperation (June 2020)

Report available in all official languages:
This era of rapid technological transformation has accelerated development at an unprecedented scale—and it has outpaced policymaking at the national, regional, and global levels. It is clear that we cannot reap the full benefits of the digital age and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without mobilizing the global cooperation and governance needed to mitigate its potential harms. The Roadmap for Digital Cooperation calls for the world to scale-up successful efforts and broaden partnerships and coordination. It is a call to connect the world by 2030, respect human rights online, and
protect the most vulnerable from the potential perils of digital technologies.
see also: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1066132

Dag Hammarskjöld Library Digitization Update – Marine Resources
The Dag Hammarskjöld Library has now digitized the complete documentation of the First International Technical Conference on the Conservation of the Living Resources of the Sea, consisting of technical and working papers, meeting records, and committee reports.


COVID-19 Response

COVID-19-Response-Logo (English)

UN Response to COVID-19
English: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/UN-response
French: https://www.un.org/fr/coronavirus/UN-response
Spanish: https://www.un.org/es/coronavirus/UN-response
The COVID-19 pandemic is more than a health crisis; it is an economic crisis, a humanitarian crisis, a security crisis, and a human rights crisis. This crisis has highlighted severe fragilities and inequalities within and among nations. Coming out of this crisis will require a whole-of-society, whole-of-government and whole-of-the-world approach driven by compassion and solidarity. The UN Secretary-General has launched the UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19 to save lives, protect societies, recover better.

United Nations Comprehensive Response to COVID-19: Saving Lives, Protecting Societies, Recovering Better (June 2020)
Seventy-five years after the last world war, the world has found itself yet again in a global battle. This time, all of humanity is on the same side against coronavirus disease, or COVID-19. The pandemic has swiftly taken hundreds of thousands of lives, infected mil- lions of people, upended the global economy and caused pervasive fear for the future.
The United Nations mobilized early and comprehensively, leading on the global health response, continuing and expanding the provision of lifesaving humanitarian assistance, establishing instruments for rapid responses to the socio-economic impact and laying out a broad policy agenda for action on all fronts. It has also provided operational support to governments and other partners around the world.
see also: https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sgsm20142.doc.htm

Policy Brief: The World of Work and COVID-19 (June 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world of work upside down. It is having a dramatic effect on the jobs, livelihoods and well-being of workers and their families and on enterprises across the globe, particularly the small and medium sized. While certain sectors and industries have successfully moved online, pointing the way towards exciting innovations in the world of work, millions of workers have lost their livelihoods and many more – especially women who are concentrated in highly exposed sectors – remain at risk. As with so many aspects of this pandemic, the impacts are falling disproportionately on those who were already in precarious circumstances and who can least absorb the additional blow.
see also: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/world-work-cannot-and-should-not-look-same-after-crisis

UN Response to COVID-19 – Policy Briefs
As part of the response, the UN Secretary-General is issuing policy briefs to provide ideas to governments on how to address the consequences of this crisis. The English versions have been published in the current and in previous issues of this newsletter. Below please find an overview of the available translations:



  • Documento de políticas del Secretario General sobre la COVID-19y las personas en movimiento: https://bit.ly/2BqZ3gO
  • La COVID-19 y losderechos humanos: En esto estamos todos juntos (Abril de 2020): https://bit.ly/2VyfBuf
  • La deuda y la COVID-19: Una respuesta global solidaria (17 de abril de 2020): https://bit.ly/2YLB4ls
  • Responsabilidad compartida, solidaridad mundial::Responder ante las repercusiones socioeconómicas de la enfermedad por coronavirus de 2019 (Marzo de 2020): https:/bit.ly/3e5zpMa
  • Informe de políticas: Una respuesta a la COVID-19 inclusiva de la discapacidad: https://bit.ly/38egYmY
  • Informe de políticas: Las repercusionesde la COVID-19en los niños: https://bit.ly/2CP9k6R
  • Informe de políticas: Las repercusiones de la COVID-19 en las mujeres y las niñas: https://bit.ly/38lkHPS
  • Documento de políticas: Efectos de la COVID-19 en África (20 de mayo de 2020): https://bit.ly/2NHfJ6q



COVID-19 and child labour: A time of crisis, a time to act (ILO / UNICEF)
Millions more children risk being pushed into child labour as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which could lead to the first rise in child labour after 20 years of progress, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF. According to the brief, child labour decreased by 94 million since 2000, but that gain is now at risk. Children already in child labour may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions, the report says. More of them may be forced into the worst forms of labour, which causes significant harm to their health and safety.

COVID-19 in African Cities: Impacts, Responses and Policies
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic crippling economies the world over and set to trigger into motion Africa’s first recession in 25 years, the Economic Commission for Africa and its partners teamed-up to produce a new report which proposes several interventions to promptly and effectively address COVID-19 challenges on the continent at the urban level. The report analyses the current situation within the African continent and efforts channeled at mitigating the global pandemic within the context of cities in the region. Produced by the ECA, UN Habitat, UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG), African Development Bank (AfDB), and Shelter Afrique, the report, which was virtually launched on 16 June 2020, proposes responses for short, medium and long-term interventions to be led by national and local governments with the support of international and regional development Institutions.

COVID-19-related Trafficking of Medical Products as a Threat to Public Health (UNODC)
The sudden increase in demand for medical products to address the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an expansion in the trafficking of substandard and falsified products, according to research published on 8 July 2020 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The virus has further highlighted the shortcomings in regulatory and legal frameworks aimed at preventing the manufacture and trafficking of such products, the research brief points out. Organized criminal groups have exploited uncertainties surrounding the virus by filling the gap in the demand for medical products that are in short supply with sub-standard and falsified products. The falsification of medical products bears significant risks for public health as products may not properly treat the disease and may facilitate the development of drug resistance. Criminal groups have also quickly adjusted to the opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit the vulnerabilities and gaps in the health and criminal justice systems. Evidence shows that illicit events, such as fraud, scams and seizures, involving the manufacture and trafficking of substandard and falsified medical products, have followed the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 Waste management Factsheets (UNEP)
In response to COVID-19, hospitals, healthcare facilities and individuals are producing more waste than usual, including masks, gloves, gowns and other protective equipment that could be infected with the virus. There is also a large increase in the amount of single use plastics being produced. When not managed soundly, infected medical waste could be subject to uncontrolled dumping, leading to public health risks, and to open burning or uncontrolled incineration, leading to the release of toxins in the environment and to secondary transmission of diseases to humans. Other wastes can reach water sources and add to riverine and marine pollution.
The following factsheets are available:
• #1 – Introduction to COVID-19 waste management
• #2 – National medical waste capacity assessment
• #3 – How to choose your waste management technology to treat COVID-19 waste
• #4 – Policy and legislation linked to COVID-19 pandemics
• #5 – Links to circularity – Non-healthcare waste
• #6 – Linkages of Air quality and COVID-19
• #7 – Household medical waste management strategies
• #8 – Disaster and conflict
• #9 – COVID-19, wastewater, and sanitation

Ensuring that Integrity is the Core of Sport’s Response to the Pandemic: Preventing Corruption in Sport and Manipulation of Competitions (UNODC / IOC / INTERPOL)
A new policy paper published jointly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) highlights the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the very integrity of sport and addresses the action required by those involved in tackling corruption in sport and preventing the manipulation of competitions, in particular sport organisations and governments. The policy paper presents an aligned, proactive approach in taking preventative measures for the time when sport will fully resume. The temporary absence of sport events does not necessarily eliminate sports integrity issues and the re-starting of competitions will require greater vigilance. Safeguarding the integrity of sport in these challenging times and placing it at the core of the “new normal” for sport, is to invest in its future potential.

Evidence, Policy, and Interventions for COVID-19 Tracker (EPIC Tracker)
Responding to the need for comprehensive data on government policies to contain COVID-19 and measures to mitigate related health, social, and economic impacts, the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) has launched the beta version of its Evidence, Policy, and Interventions for COVID-19 Tracker (EPIC Tracker). The EPIC Tracker seeks to be an inventory of the public health, economic, social, and community measures taken to respond to COVID-19 across all countries. Unique to the EPIC Tracker, these measures include government policies and public sector interventions that aim to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as measures to mitigate the indirect impacts of pandemic response — impacts which are felt across all levels of society. The platform — which will be regularly updated to include new policies, to reflect country responses, and to integrate other sources of data — aims to provide policymakers with a menu of options to inform decision-making within their local contexts. UNU-IIGH is currently seeking contributions to the platform.

FAO Policy briefs related to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting not only food trade, food supply chains and markets but also people’s lives, livelihoods and nutrition. This collection of policy briefs presents a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the pandemic’s impacts on these areas. Briefs are released on a day-to-day basis. Please check back frequently for the latest available briefs.

Food Outlook – Biannual Report on Global Food Markets (FAO)
Food markets will face many more months of uncertainty due to COVID-19, but the agri-food sector is likely to show more resilience to the pandemic crisis than other sectors, according to a new report released on 11 June 2020 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Food Outlook report provides the first forecasts for production and market trends in 2020-2021 for the world’s most traded food commodities – cereals, oilcrops, meat, dairy, fish and sugar.

IAEA Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) Project
Press release: https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/iaea-launches-initiative-to-help-prevent-future-pandemics
Video: https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/multimedia/videos/preparing-the-world-for-future-pandemics
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) launched an initiative on 15 June 2020 to strengthen global preparedness for future pandemics like COVID-19. The project, called ZODIAC, builds on the IAEA’s experience in assisting countries in the use of nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques for the rapid detection of pathogens that cause transboundary animal diseases, including ones that spread to humans. These zoonotic diseases kill around 2.7 million people every year. The IAEA Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) project will establish a global network to help national laboratories in monitoring, surveillance, early detection and control of animal and zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, Ebola, avian influenza and Zika. ZODIAC is based on the technical, scientific and laboratory capacity of the IAEA and its partners and the Agency’s mechanisms to quickly deliver equipment and know-how to countries. The aim is to make the world better prepared for future outbreaks.

IOM COVID-19 Issue Briefs
The following briefs issued by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are currently available:
• Why Migration Matters for “Recovering Better” from COVID-19
• COVID-19 and Stranded Migrants
• COVID-19: Policies and Impact on Seasonal Agricultural Workers
• Mobility Crisis and Response in the time of COVID-19: The Republic of Korea’s Approach
• Migration-Related Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 on Developing Countries
• COVID-19 Emerging Immigration, Consular and Visa Needs and Recommendations

Preventing the next pandemic – Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission (UNEP)
Report in English, Key messages in English, French & Spanish: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/report/preventing-future-zoonotic-disease-outbreaks-protecting-environment-animals-and 
In this time of crisis, thousands of papers and guidelines have already been published about COVID-19. Most of these consider the important questions of how to respond to the ongoing public health crisis, or how to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. This report takes a step back and considers the root causes of the emergence and spread of the novel coronavirus and other ‘zoonoses’—diseases that are transmitted between animals and humans. The report also offers a set of practical recommendations that can help policymakers prevent and respond to future disease outbreaks.

Responding to the COVID-19 Crises: Pathway to Business Continuity & Recovery – Guidance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) (UNIDO)
With a focus on business recovery and business continuity planning, the publication can be used by all types of enterprises to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides many hints on existing international standards as well as resources related to transforming industry that enterprises can refer to as they address threats and disruptions to their activities.
The guidance has been developed within the framework of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s (UNIDO) response to the COVID-19 pandemic which is based on mutually inclusive pillars, namely partnerships to accelerate the global response, integrated service packages tailored to each member state’s particular situation and needs, and capacity building and knowledge exchange based on lessons learned, best practices and best available technologies.

Six concrete measures to support women and girls in all their diversity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (UNAIDS)
COVID-19 is not only a health issue, just as HIV never was. It impacts on a wide range of human rights, and although it affects all people, it does so unequally. Women and girls in all their diversity are experiencing the greatest impact of the crisis. COVID-19 has highlighted the stark inequalities across societies, with a lack of pandemic preparedness and fragile or non-functioning institutions posing graver impacts.

Toolkit for Development Partners: Integrating Migration into COVID-19 Socio-economic Response (IOM)
The aim of this Toolkit is to provide information and tools for development partners to integrate migration – in all its forms – into development‐centred plans, programmes and projects linked to COVID‑19 socio‐economic response. Informed by the “UN Framework for the Immediate Socio‑Economic Response to COVID‑19”, and relevant EU and UN policy frameworks, the Toolkit provides analysis and practical tools to enable policymakers and practitioners to deal with the ways in which migration and sustainable development interact within the context of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

UN/DESA Policy Briefs
DESA’s COVID-19 Portal features a series of policy briefs on COVID-19, which draw on unique expertise from around the Department. Since 10 June 2020, the following new briefs have been published:
• #78: Achieving the SDGs through the COVID-19 response and recovery
• #79: The role of public service and public servants during the COVID-19 pandemic
• #80: Forests at the heart of a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

UN-Habitat COVID-Readiness 19 and Responsiveness tracker platform
Over 2,500 cities and urban areas have been affected by COVID-19 and collecting data on their preparedness and response is key to ending the pandemic. UN-Habitat is launching an innovative tracker platform to assess how ready the world’s cities were for the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have coped with its arrival. The city-based COVID-19 Readiness and Responsiveness tracker platform uses global metrics to provide critical and often unavailable information from cities around the world. The tracker provides information that is critical for protecting populations and informing resilience and recovery strategies and future responses to global pandemics.

WTO reports on COVID-19 and world trade
The following information notes issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO) are currently available:
• Trade in Medical Goods in the Context of Tackling COVID-19
• Transparency — why it matters at times of crisis
• Export prohibitions and restrictions
• The treatment of medical products in regional trade agreements
• E-commerce, trade and the COVID-19 pandemic
• Standards, regulations and COVID-19 — what actions taken by WTO members?
• Trade in services in the context of COVID-19
• Helping MSMEs navigate the COVID-19 crisis
• The COVID-19 pandemic and trade-related developments in LDCs


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, Inclusion and education: All means all (UNESCO)
English: https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2020/inclusion
French: https://fr.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2020/inclusion
Spanish: https://fr.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2020/inclusion
Launched on 23 June 2020, the report calls on countries to widen the understanding of inclusive education to include all learners. The fourth in the GEM Report series looks at social, economic and cultural mechanisms that discriminate against disadvantaged children, youth and adults, keeping them out of education or marginalized in it. Spurred by their commitment to fulfil the right to inclusive education by 2030, countries are expanding their vision of inclusion in education to put diversity at the core of their systems. Yet implementation of well-meaning laws and policies often falters. Released at the start of the decade of action, and in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, which has exacerbated underlying inequalities, the Report argues that resistance to addressing every learner’s needs is a real threat to achieving global education targets.
The 2020 Gem Report identifies the practices in governance and finance; curricula, textbooks and assessments; teacher education; school infrastructure; and relations with students, parents and communities that can unlock the process to inclusion. It provides policy recommendations to make learner diversity a strength to be celebrated, a force for social cohesion.

Arab Sustainable Development Report 2020 (ESCWA)
Full report: https://asdr.unescwa.org/sdgs/pdf/en/ASDR2020-Final-Online.pdf
Annex: https://asdr.unescwa.org/sdgs/pdf/en/asdr20annexes/ASDR20-Annexes.pdf
The whole world is grappling with the harrowing impact of a pandemic that is rendering the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ever more challenging for most Arab countries. The second edition of the Arab Sustainable Development Report (ASDR), issued on 10 June 2020 by the United Nations entities working in the Arab region led by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), warns that the region will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. It then identifies the barriers blocking transformation towards inclusive and sustainable development, and suggests solutions to dismantle them.

Are you ready for change? Gender equality attitudes study 2019 (UN Women)
Discriminatory social norms lead to a wide range of persistent human rights violations and the systematic denial of women’s equal access to political participation, employment, education, and justice, while also gravely undermining women’s protection from all forms of discrimination and violence. This study serves as an evidence-based instrument that demonstrates how leveraging attitudinal change can be used as a critical tactic towards advancing gender equality. The findings have the potential to inform policymakers, advertisers, private sector leaders, civil society, and decision-makers on challenging discriminatory attitudes and gender roles that perpetuate gender inequality and women’s subordinate status in society.

Global E-waste Monitor 2020
The third edition of the Global E-waste Monitor 2020 launched in July 2020 by the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, provides comprehensive insight to address the global e-waste challenge. The Global E-waste Monitor is a collaborative effort between the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) Programme currently co-hosted by the United Nations University (UNU) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).
More and more people are joining the global information society and digital economy, and are benefiting from the opportunities they offer. In parallel, higher levels of disposable incomes, urbanisation, and industrialisation in many developing countries are leading to growing amounts of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and, consequently, to greater amounts of e-waste. A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of e-waste – discarded products with a battery or plug such as computers and mobile phones – is reported generated worldwide in 2019, up 9.2 Mt in five years. Toxic and hazardous substances such as mercury, brominated flame-retardants (BFR) or chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) are found in many types of electronic equipment and pose severe risk to human health and the environment if not handled in an environmentally sound manner. The new report also predicts global e-waste will reach 74 Mt by 2030, almost double the 2014 figure, fuelled by higher electric and electronic consumption rates, shorter lifecycles and limited repair options.

Global State of Metropolis 2020 – Population Data Booklet (UN-Habitat)
New data from UN-Habitat reveals there are nearly 2,000 metropolitan areas globally where a third of the world’s population now live. And UN-Habitat predicts that by 2035, the majority of the world’s population will live in metropolitan areas – which are generally understood as being urban agglomerations made up of a main city linked to other nearby cities or surrounding urban or suburban areas such as the Tokyo–Yokohama Metropolitan Area, Greater London, Metropolitan Area of Bucaramanga in Colombia or Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa.
The data is contained in the just-released UN-Habitat’s Metropolitan Data Booklet is the first global database of metropolises based on the 2018 Revision of the United Nations World Urbanization Prospects. It features new information for better understanding of recent and future metropolitan dynamics and offers a comparative analysis on metropolitan numbers and figures in global regions.

Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2020
As COVID-19 hits the fossil fuel industry, a new UN report published on 10 June 2020 shows that renewable energy is more cost-effective than ever – providing an opportunity to prioritize clean energy in national economic recovery packages and bring the world closer to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. The new report is a collaboration between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, and energy financing company, BloombergNEF.

Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: Report of the Secretary-General (E/2020/57, 28 April 2020)
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/E/2020/57
The present report provides a global overview of the current situation of the Goals based on the latest available data on indicators in the global indicator framework.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020
The 15-year global effort to improve the lives of people everywhere through the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 was already off track by the end of 2019. And now, in only a short period of time, the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed an unprecedented crisis, causing further disruption to SDG progress, with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable affected the most, according to a new report released on 7 July 2020 by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. According to the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, the world had been making progress—although uneven and insufficient to meet the Goals — in areas such as improving maternal and child health, expanding access to electricity and increasing women’s representation in government. Yet even these advances were offset elsewhere by growing food insecurity, deterioration of the natural environment, and persistent and pervasive inequalities. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become the worst human and economic crisis of our lifetime, spreading to all countries, with the global death toll exceeding 500,000 and the number of confirmed cases at more than 10 million people.

Seizing the moment (UNAIDS)
A new report by UNAIDS shows remarkable, but highly unequal, progress, notably in expanding access to antiretroviral therapy. Because the achievements have not been shared equally within and between countries, the global HIV targets set for 2020 will not be reached. The report, released on 6 July 2020, warns that even the gains made could be lost and progress further stalled if we fail to act. It highlights just how urgent it is for countries to double down and act with greater urgency to reach the millions still left behind.

State of World Population 2020: Defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality (UNFPA)
English: https://www.unfpa.org/swop-2020
French: https://www.unfpa.org/fr/swop-2020
Spanish: https://www.unfpa.org/es/swop-2020
Every day, hundreds of thousands of girls around the world are harmed physically or psychologically, with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends and communities. And without urgent action, the situation is likely to worsen. These are the findings of UNFPA’s flagship 2020 State of World Population report, released on 30 June 2020. The report examines the origin and extent of harmful practices around the world, and what must be done to stop them. It identifies 19 harmful practices – ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing – that are considered to be human rights violations. But it focuses on three practices in particular that are widespread and persistent, despite near-universal condemnation: female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and son preference.

The United Nations System-Wide Strategic Document (SWSD) to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (10 July 2020)
The System-wide Strategic Document (SWSD) is a UN Development System instrument that sets its strategic intent at the global, regional and country level to best support member states in achieving their nationally defined priorities, with the 2030 Agenda at the center, and ensure that no one is left behind in our collective efforts to reach the SDGs. It guides UN global, regional, and country level development plans, programmes and operations, through the articulation of common integrating approaches to be reflected in each UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.

UN Joint SDG Fund: First Call on SDG Financing
The UN Joint SDG Fund (the Fund) supports countries as they accelerate their progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Fund operates through a series of calls for the United Nations (UN) system that lead to the implementation of transformative Joint Programmes (JPs), under the leadership of Resident Coordinators (RCs). In doing so, the Fund is committed to forge paths and partnerships that unlock public and private capital for the SDGs at scale. All allocations made by the Fund will be in the form of grants to UN agencies.

UN-Water Analytical Brief on Unconventional Water Resources
Increasing water scarcity is recognized as a key challenge to sustainable development and major cause of conflict, social unrest and changes to traditional migration routes and new migration patterns. At the same time water is increasingly considered as an instrument for international cooperation to support food production, livelihoods, ecosystems, climate change adaption, and sustainable development. As water scarcity is set to continue and intensify in dry areas, the world at large is in danger of leaving the water scarcity challenge to future generations who will be confronted with the consequences of today’s practices. Thus, water-scarce areas must sustainably access and utilize every available option for water resources in order to minimize the pressure that continues to grow.
Conventional water provisioning approaches relying on snowfall, rainfall and river runoff are not enough to meet growing freshwater demand in water-scarce areas. Considering the water-related sustainable development challenges in arid regions, unconventional water resources are an emerging opportunity to narrow the water demand-supply gap. There are fragmented, but growing, examples of using unconventional water resources across the world to boost water supplies to address water scarcity.

Uniting Business in the Decade of Action: Building on 20 Years of Progress (UN Global Compact)
A new UN report on the private sector, released by UN Global Compact, shows that progress on bringing about a sustainable future for people and the planet is patchy, and the majority of companies involved in the Compact, are not doing enough to help bring about the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


World Investment Report 2020: International Production Beyond the Pandemic (UNCTAD)
Report & Overview: https://unctad.org/en/pages/PublicationWebflyer.aspx?publicationid=2769
Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows are forecast to decrease by up to 40% in 2020, from their 2019 value of $1.54 trillion, according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2020. This would bring FDI below $1 trillion for the first time since 2005 (figure 1). In addition, FDI is projected to decrease by a further 5% to 10% in 2021 and to initiate a recovery in 2022, the report says. “The outlook is highly uncertain. Prospects depend on the duration of the health crisis and on the effectiveness of policies mitigating the pandemic’s economic effects,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi. The pandemic is a supply, demand and policy shock for FDI. The lockdown measures are slowing down existing investment projects. The prospect of a deep recession will lead multinational enterprises (MNEs) to reassess new projects. Policy measures taken by governments during the crisis include new investment restrictions. Investment flows are expected to slowly recover starting 2022, led by global value chains (GVCs) restructuring for resilience, replenishment of capital stock and recovery of the global economy.


International Peace and Security

Children and armed conflict Report of the Secretary-General (A/74/845–S/2020/525, 9 June 2020)
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/74/845
The tragedy of boys and girls used and abused in, for and by armed conflict continued unabated during 2019, as the UN verified over 25,000 grave violations against children including late verification, highlighted the latest Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict released on 15 June 2020. The overall number of grave violations remains similar to the number reported in 2018 and represents some 70 violations per day.

Concept note for the high-level open debate of the Security Council on the theme “Pandemics and security”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/571
Security Council held a high-level open debate on the theme “Pandemics and security”, on 2 July 2020. The Security Council President for July, Germany, has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the Security Council high-level open debate on the theme “Peace operations and human rights”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/604
Security Council held a high-level open debate on the theme “Peace operations and human rights” on 7 July 2020. The Security Council President for July, Germany, has prepared this concept note.

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Call for a Global Ceasefire: Challenges and Opportunities, 23 June 2020 (DPPA)
On 23 March 2020, Secretary-General António Guterres issued an appeal for an immediate global ceasefire to help create conditions for the delivery of lifesaving aid, reinforce diplomatic action and bring hope to places that are among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 23 June 2020, the Secretary-General’s call had received support from 179 Member States and one non-member observer State, as well as a range of regional organizations and international and local civil society actors. Some of these 179 Member States supported the call only in specific conflict contexts or while stressing the right to continue with counter-terrorism operations. Meanwhile, a number of conflict parties responded to the call by announcing unilateral ceasefires. This note analyses the response and discusses the opportunities and challenges presented by the Secretary-General’s appeal.
see also: 170 signatories endorse UN ceasefire appeal during COVID crisis (24 June 2020) – https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1066982

Violence without borders: The internationalization of crime and conflict (World Bank)
As the challenges faced by countries and areas impacted by fragility, conflict and violence threaten to reverse decades of progress and development, the need for regional and international coordination and collaboration to foster stability and the rule of law is greater than ever, a World Bank Research Report released on 25 June 2020 says. Over the years, dramatic reductions in the costs of trade, travel and communication technologies have increasingly driven conflict, crime, and violence across borders, according to the World Bank Policy Research Report. Impact flows both ways: instability and failure to enforce laws in one country can have dramatic effects on neighbouring countries, and events or forces outside a country can influence stability and security within, the report finds.

The UN Security Council Handbook: A User’s Guide to Practice and Procedure (Non-UN source)
“Security Council Report (SCR) has decided to offer its publication “The UN Security Council Handbook: A User’s Guide to Practice and Procedure” as a free resource on our website. This Handbook was launched in September 2019 and is a practical guide to the key aspects of the UN Charter and provisional rules of procedure that underpin the work of the Security Council. It also shows how the Council has creatively developed its own working methods and practices based on these rules. This Handbook contains content that SCR has used in its capacity-training for candidate countries for the Concil over the years. As the newly elected members begin preparing for their Council term, we hope that this Handbook will be helpful in understanding the ground rules of the Council. We also believe that during this difficult period, all who are interested in an effective Council could find this a useful resource in understanding the powers of the Council.”


Development of Africa

Climate Change and Development in Africa Post COVID-19: Some Critical Reflections (UNECA)
A post coronavirus recovery in Africa should address the fundamental causes of vulnerabilities and go beyond fiscal and monetary adjustments whose sole aim is to ensure the survival and perpetuation of the current system of production, consumption and distribution which is responsible for the climate crisis, according to a new discussion paper published by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on 23 June 2020. In the discussion paper produced against the backdrop of the unprecedented global health crisis, titled; Climate Change and Development in Africa Post COVID-19: Some Critical Reflections, the ECA’s African Climate Policy Centre’s (ACPC) argues that a new political economy based on cohesion, equality and environmental sustainability is required to enable drastic climate
actions. The paper addresses the climate emergency and lessons from COVID-19, global warming, financing the twin crises, the required energy transition, climate change perceptions and whether COVID-19 lessons can benefit climate action.


Human Rights

Citing ‘weight of history’, senior UN officials of African descent issue call to ‘go beyond and do more’ to end racism
English: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1066242
French: https://news.un.org/fr/story/2020/06/1070992
Spanish: https://news.un.org/es/story/2020/06/1475992
Portuguese [BR]: https://news.un.org/pt/story/2020/06/1716852
A group of more than twenty senior leaders in the UN, who report directly to Secretary-General António Guterres, and who are African or of African descent, have put their names to a personal and hard-hitting statement published on 12 June 2020, expressing their outrage at pervasive and systemic racism, highlighting the need to ‘go beyond and do more’ than just offering condemnation.

Ask DAG: What is the UN doing to combat racism and racial discrimination?

UNRIC Library Backgrounder on Racism & Racial Discrimination – updated version
English – html: https://unric.org/en/unric-library-backgrounder-racism/
English – pdf: https://unric.org/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2020/06/racism-eng.pdf
French – pdf: https://unric.org/fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/06/racism-french.pdf

Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (A/HRC/44/58, 19 May 2020)
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/A/HRC/44/58
“Summary: In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, E. Tendayi Achiume, summarizes State submissions regarding the implementation of General Assembly resolution 74/136 on combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; summarizes recent trends in antisemitic violence, hate crime, hate speech and other incidents; and examines the relationship of antisemitism to and its intersection with other forms of racism and related intolerance. Furthermore, she recalls the obligations of States under international human rights law to combat antisemitism and other forms of racism and intolerance and offers recommendations in light of those obligations.

2020 Guidelines on Child Online Protection (COP)
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched on 23 June its new 2020 Guidelines on Child Online Protection (COP), a comprehensive set of recommendations for children, parents and educators, industry and policymakers on how to contribute to the development of a safe and empowering online environment for children and young people. The Internet and related digital technologies have opened new ways for children to communicate, learn and play, enjoy music, and engage in a vast array of cultural, educational and skill-enhancing activities. Yet, they have also exposed them to a range of content, contact and harmful conduct online. The new guidelines were re-designed from the ground up to reflect the significant shifts in the digital landscape in which children find themselves, such as the Internet of Things, connected toys, online gaming, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. In addition, this new edition addresses an important lacuna: the situation faced by children with disabilities, for whom the online world offers a particularly crucial lifeline to full and fulfilling social participation. Consideration of the special needs of migrant children and other vulnerable groups has also been included.

FAO framework on ending child labour in agriculture
To mark the World Day Against Child Labour, FAO also launched a new Framework on Ending Child Labour in Agriculture to guide the Organization and its personnel in integrating measures addressing child labour within FAO programmes at the global, regional and country levels. It will also help country offices in liaising with FAO stakeholders, such as agricultural line ministries, and other relevant ministries and partners, raising their awareness on the links between child labour and FAO’s areas of work.

Global Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children 2020
Each year, half of the world’s children – around one billion youngsters – are affected by physical, sexual or psychological violence because countries fail to follow established strategies to protect them, according to a new UN report issued on 18 June 2020. The Global Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children 2020 – the first of its kind – charts progress in 155 countries against the “INSPIRE” framework, a set of seven strategies for preventing and responding to violence against children. Published by the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UN Special Representative for ending Violence against Children – with the End of Violence Partnership – it finds that while nearly all countries (88 per cent) have laws in place to protect minors, less than half (47 per cent) say they strongly enforce them.


Humanitarian Affairs

UNHCR Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2019
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on 18 June 2020 appealed to countries worldwide to do far more to find homes for millions of refugees and others displaced by conflict, persecution or events seriously disturbing public order. This is as a report released today showed that forced displacement is now affecting more than one per cent of humanity – 1 in every 97 people – and with fewer and fewer of those who flee being able to return home. UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, which comes two days ahead of 20 June World Refugee Day, shows that an unprecedented 79.5 million were displaced as of the end of 2019. UNHCR has not seen a higher total. The report also notes diminishing prospects for refugees when it comes to hopes of any quick end to their plight. In the 1990s, on average 1.5 million refugees were able to return home each year. Over the past decade that number has fallen to around 385,000, meaning that growth in displacement is today far outstripping solutions.

Water and Migration: A Global Overview (UNU-INWEH)
Global migration has been increasing since the 1990s. People are forced to leave their homes in search of safety, a better livelihood, or for more economic opportunities. Environmental drivers of migration, such as land degradation, water pollution, or changing climate, are acting as stronger phenomena with time. As millions of people are exposed to multiple water crises, daily needs related to water quality, lack of provisioning, excess or shortage of water become vital for survival as well for livelihood support. In turn, the crisis can transform into conflict and act as a trigger for migration, both voluntary and forced, depending on the conditions. Current interventions related to migration, including funding to manage migration remain focused on response mechanisms, whereas an understanding of drivers or so-called ‘push factors’ of migration is limited. Accurate and well-documented evidence, as well as quantitative information on these phenomena, are either missing or under-reflected in the literature and policy discourse. The report aims to start unpacking relationships between water and migration. The data used in this Report are collected from available public sources and reviewed in the context of water and climate.


Nuclear, Chemical and Conventional Weapons Disarmament

The Militarization of Artificial Intelligence (UNODA)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to improve the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and states, and help meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, certain uses of AI could also undermine international peace and security by raising concerns about safety and security of the technology, accelerating the pace of armed conflicts, or loosening human control over the means of war. In 2019, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, the Stanley Center and the Stimson Center partnered in a workshop and series of papers to facilitate a multi-stakeholder discussion among experts from Member States, industry, academia, and research institutions, with the aim of building understanding about the peace and security implications of AI. This publication captures that conversation and shares assessments of the topic from US, Chinese, and Russian perspectives. It is intended to provide a starting point for more robust dialogues among diverse communities of stakeholders as they endeavour to maximize the benefits of AI while mitigating the misapplication of this important technology.


Drug Control, Crime Prevention and Counter-terrorism

Handbook on the Classification of Prisoners (UNODC)
UNODC has released a brand new, comprehensive tool to provide practical information and guidance in support of prison administrations looking to develop effective national approaches. Drawing from classification experience shared by numerous countries and coupled with UNODC’s extensive knowledge in prison management, the Handbook on the Classification of Prisoners offers practical, evidence-based information and guidelines to assist in the implementation of an effective system of prisoner classification. To ensure this type of classification factors in recognized key international standard and norms, it is also developed in line with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).
While primarily designed for prison officers, it is also intended to be a useful resource guide for other criminal justice officials and parties involved in the criminal justice system. Covering five chapters, the Handbook looks at the overall importance of prisoner classification; the key factors in this area; approaches taken so far; principles and components to be aware of; and the final development and implementation of a prisoner classification system.

World Drug Report 2020 (UNODC)
Presented in six separate booklets, the World Drug Report 2020 provides a wealth of information and analysis to support the international community in implementing operational recommendations on a number of commitments made by Member States, including the recommendations contained in the outcome document of the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem, held in 2016.


Newsletter Archive: https://unric.org/en/unric-info-point-library-newsletter-archive


Latest updated backgrounders

UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Niger

Looking for information on the situation in Niger? Take a look at this backgrounder.

UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Artificial Intelligence – Selected Online Resources

Looking for information on artificial intelligence (AI)? Here is an overview of selected resources from the UN system.

UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Sudan/Darfur

Overview of UN entities working in Sudan, Security Council Meetings on Sudan, statements by UN officials, etc.

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