UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – March 2021

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New UN websites & publications

UN in General

Election of the 76th President of the General Assembly – new website
https://www.un.org/pga/75/pga76-election/
The election of the President of the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly will take place in the General Assembly Hall on 7 June 2021 at 10 a.m., in line with Rule 30 of the Rules of Procedure. In accordance with the established regional rotation, the President of the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly is to be elected from the Group of Asia-Pacific States.

UNRIC Library backgrounder: Appointment of the SG UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Appointment of the Secretary-General – Selected Online Resources
https://unric.org/en/unric-library-backgrounder-sg-appointment/
We have added information on the upcoming selection process and revised and updated the links on the appointment process in 2016.

 

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
COVID-19-Response-Logo (English)

In the wake of the pandemic: Preparing for long COVID (2020) (WHO/Europe Policy Brief 39)
https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/339629/Policy-brief-39-1997-8073-eng.pdf
Some 1 in 10 people still experience persistent ill health 12 weeks after having COVID-19, termed “long COVID” or post-COVID conditions. A new policy brief from the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies documents responses to post-COVID conditions in different countries of the WHO European Region and looks at how sufferers, including medical professionals, are driving some of those responses. Written for decision-makers, this brief summarizes what is known about the conditions, who and how many people suffer from them, diagnosis and treatment, and how countries are addressing the issue.

COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination explained
https://www.covid19infovaccines.com/
Videos and podcasts for health workers and the public to address common questions about COVID-19 vaccines, produced by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Vaccine Safety, Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago

 

Accountability and COVID-19: A guidance note on inclusive processes and institutions (UNDP)
https://bit.ly/3kVNOzm
The guidance note discusses the opportunities for parliaments to reinvigorate their ways of working to win back trust and revitalize their mandate as key democratic institutions. In the immediate to medium term, this opportunity lies in providing accountability for government-led response and recovery, and ensuring that the unprecedented amounts taxpayers’ money injected in the economy are not left to governments’ discretion. In the long-term, with the world facing perhaps a final chance to recommit to the 2030 Agenda, the note discusses how parliaments can exercise stewardship over people’s visions for a more equal, just, secure and sustainable society, determining and qualifying their needs and ensuring that these are met through government action during the times ahead.

COVID-19: A threat to progress against child marriage (UNICEF)
https://data.unicef.org/resources/covid-19-a-threat-to-progress-against-child-marriage/
Ten million additional child marriages may occur before the end of the decade, threatening years of progress in reducing the practice, according to a new analysis released by UNICEF on 8 March 2021. COVID-19: A threat to progress against child marriage – released on International Women’s Day – warns that school closures, economic stress, service disruptions, pregnancy, and parental deaths due to the pandemic are putting the most vulnerable girls at increased risk of child marriage. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, 100 million girls were at risk of child marriage in the next decade, despite significant reductions in several countries in recent years. In the last ten years, the proportion of young women globally who were married as children had decreased by 15 per cent, from nearly 1 in 4 to 1 in 5, the equivalent of some 25 million marriages averted, a gain that is now under threat.

COVID-19 and School Closures: One year of education disruption (UNICEF)
https://data.unicef.org/resources/one-year-of-covid-19-and-school-closures/
Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost an entire year due to COVID-19 lockdowns, according to new data released on 2 March 2021 by UNICEF. Furthermore, around 214 million children globally – or 1 in 7 – have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning. The analysis on school closures report notes that 14 countries worldwide have remained largely closed since March 2020 to February 2021. Two-thirds of those countries are in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting nearly 98 million schoolchildren. Of the 14 countries, Panama has kept schools closed for the most days, followed by El Salvador, Bangladesh, and Bolivia.

COVID-19, culture and cultural rights: Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune (A/HRC/46/34, 17 February 2021, Advance edited version)
https://bit.ly/3v8d0Y3
“Summary: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is a cataclysm for cultural rights, threatening a global “cultural catastrophe” with severe, long-lasting consequences for human rights if effective action is not taken immediately. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights surveys the negative impacts of COVID-19 on culture and cultural rights worldwide, and the positive potential of culture and cultural rights, and the right to science, to enhance rights-respecting solutions and build resilience. The report also contains relevant recommendations for action.”

Health Cluster Guide: A Practical Handbook
https://www.who.int/health-cluster/resources/publications/hc-guide/en/
This Health cluster guide advises how the health cluster lead agency, coordinator and partners can work together during a humanitarian crisis to achieve the aims of reducing avoidable mortality, morbidity and disability, and restoring the delivery of and equitable access to preventive and curative health care. It highlights key principles of humanitarian health action and how coordination and joint efforts among health and other sector actors working in partnership can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of health interventions and promote better health outcomes. It draws on Inter-Agency Standing Committee and other documents but also includes lessons from field experience. Although addressed to health cluster lead agencies, coordinators and partners, the guidance is equally valid for coordinators and members of health sector groups that seek to achieve effective health action in countries where the cluster approach has not been formally adopted.

Impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the enjoyment of human rights around the world, including good practices and areas of concern: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/46/19, 18 January 2021)
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/HRC/46/19
In her report, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented an update on the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on human rights and highlighted the extent to which it has exposed systemic gaps in human rights protection that have undermined resilience. The High Commissioner also presented select good practices of Member States as they attempt to deal with the worst global health crisis in over a century. In her recommendations, the High Commissioner underscores the need for addressing human rights throughout the response and recovery to the pandemic in order to build a more sustainable, equitable and secure future for people and for the planet.

The likely impact of COVID-19 on the achievement of SDG 8-The role of Trade Unions (ILO)
https://bit.ly/3rN10Jc
This report presents the findings of a global survey on the likely impacts of COVID-19 on the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda. Through an online survey, it captured the views of 130 trade union leaders from Asia-Pacific (41 respondents), Sub-Saharan Africa (39), Europe (24), the Americas (17), and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (9).

 

Protecting Women’s Livelihoods in Times of Pandemic: Temporary Basic Income and the Road to Gender Equality (UNDP)
https://bit.ly/3ejE0y3
A temporary basic income (TBI) given specifically to hundreds of millions of women in the world’s developing countries could prevent rising poverty and widening gender inequalities during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report out on 4 March 2021. Women have been harder hit than men by the pandemic, losing income and leaving the labour market at a greater rate and taking on a greater share of care work. A temporary basic income could provide financial security in the short-term paving the way for future investments that address systematic gender inequality, according to the UNDP findings released ahead of International Women’s Day. The large-scale TBI scheme proposed by UNDP shows that a monthly investment of 0.07 percent of developing countries’ GDP, or $51 billion PPP (purchase power parity), could provide reliable financial security to 613 million working-aged women living in poverty, providing them with much needed income and alleviating the economic pressures they face day-to-day. A nominal budgetary allocation for the next six months towards helping women who are in desperate situations will also contribute to give them more financial control over their own lives.

Report on the UN Women global response to COVID-19
https://bit.ly/3qYQ1w6
As the number of global cases of COVID-19 rise by the day, the lives of women are directly and increasingly impacted. At the outset of the pandemic, UN Women engaged in a series of intiatives with a call to action by Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for a global response that takes gender perspectives into account, including through sex-disaggregated data and social protection for women. On 6 April 2020, the Executive Director described the “shadow pandemic” of violence against women and girls that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong support from the Secretary-General came on 9 April 2020 through his policy brief, “The impact of COVID-19 on women”, prepared in cooperation with UN Women. UN Women and its partners issued a series of policy briefs on areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: economic fallout, the care economy, violence against women and girls, women’s leadership, and humanitarian response. UN Women next undertook rapid gender assessment surveys with national and United Nations partners on the impacts of COVID-19 in countries across the world. The results confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic was exacerbating pre-existing gender inequalities and deepening gender-based discrimination and vulnerability. A COVID-19 and gender monitor on the UN Women data hub, and, with the United Nations Development Programme, a COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker were established, and fact sheets with country examples, best practices, and gaps in the COVID-19 policy response were produced. A global programme, which informs this report, provides a framework for the UN Women response from the global to local levels: Gender-Responsive Prevention and Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic: from Emergency Response to Recovery and Resilience.

SARS-CoV-2 in animals used for fur farming: GLEWS+ risk assessment, 20 January 2021
https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-fur-farming-risk-assessment-2021.1
A global risk assessment conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal health (OIE) and WHO has shown that the overall risk of introduction and spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19, from the fur-farming system to humans and to susceptible wildlife populations in the WHO European Region is considered high. The global tripartite conducted the risk assessment in light of the Region’s high number of fur farms, the wide variety of susceptible animal species used in fur farming, and the high number of overall cases of COVID-19 reported among the human population. It is well documented that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can transmit between humans and animals. In April 2020, the Netherlands was the first country to report SARS-CoV-2 in farmed minks. Since then, another 9 countries – 7 of which are in the European Region – have reported similar findings. The European Region includes the largest number of fur-producing countries of all WHO regions.

 

Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

BeHe@lthy BeMobile: A handbook on how to implement mDementia (WHO / ITU)
https://bit.ly/2O3vFU4
WHO’s new mDementia handbook, launched on 26 February 2021, will help countries to introduce and scale up dementia mHealth programmes (delivered through mobile devices, such as phones and tablets). The handbook and accompanying mHealth programme content includes a module on reducing the risk of dementia and another on support for carers of people with dementia. The handbook was developed by the WHO Mental Health and Substance Use Department and BeHe@lthy BeMobile (BHBM), a joint initiative between the World Health Organization and the International Telecommunications Union.

Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) (UNECE Technology Brief)
https://unece.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/CCUS%20brochure_EN_final.pdf
Trapping and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil power generation and industry is needed urgently to achieve carbon neutrality, the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said in a report published on 3 March 2021. The net-zero emissions goal is crucial to limit global warming, as outlined in the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the technology brief calls for rapid scale-up of carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS). The process involves capturing CO2 emissions from coal and gas power plants, and from heavy industry, for deep underground storage or re-use.  UNECE said large-scale deployment of CCUS technology in the region would allow countries to “decarbonize” these sectors, thus bridging the gap until “next generation” carbon energy technologies become available. The report warns that time is running out to deliver the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Engineering for Sustainable Development: Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals
Report in English (French pending), Executive Summary in English, French & Spanish: https://en.unesco.org/reports/engineering
Despite high demand for engineering, a global effort is needed to address specific regional disparities, especially in Africa, according to the second UNESCO Engineering Report, released on 3 March 2021 to mark the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development (observed on 4 March). The Report points to currently insufficient engineering capacities to achieve the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and highlights the lack of diversity in the field. It demonstrates how equal opportunity for all is key to ensuring an inclusive and gender balanced profession able to realize its full potential.

Financial Integrity for Sustainable Development: Final report of the High Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda
English, French & Spanish: https://www.factipanel.org/report
Governments can finance critical action on extreme poverty, COVID-19 and the climate crisis and by recovering the billions of dollars lost through tax abuse, corruption and money-laundering, says a UN panel. The High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel) is calling on governments to agree to a Global Pact for Financial Integrity for Sustainable Development. The Panel of former world leaders and central bank governors, business and civil society heads and academics says as much as 2.7 percent of the global GDP is laundered annually, while corporations shopping around for tax-free jurisdictions cost governments up to $600 billion a year. In its report, Financial Integrity for Sustainable Development, the FACTI Panel says stronger laws and institutions are needed to prevent corruption and money laundering, and that the bankers, lawyers and accountants who enable financial crime must also face punitive sanctions. The report also calls for greater transparency around company ownership and public spending, stronger international cooperation to prosecute bribery, international minimum corporate tax and the taxing of digital giants, and global governance of tax abuse and money-laundering.

Gender & Creativity: Progress on the Precipice (UNESCO)
https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000375706
Despite recent progress in promoting gender equality in the cultural and creative sectors, including as a result of the watershed #MeToo movement, a new report by UNESCO reveals that much work still remains. Released on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the new publication explores existing – and at times widening – gender gaps in the field of culture and calls for a new commitment and transformative actions for the promotion of gender equality. The report also highlights innovative gender equality policies, measures and programmes from around the world that can serve as a model for policymakers.

Gender dimensions of disaster risk and resilience: Existing Evidence (GFDRR / World Bank)
https://www.preventionweb.net/publications/view/76308
This report reviews existing evidence and data on how men and women, boys and girls are impacted by, prepare for and cope with disasters. It is not about depicting women and girls as perpetually worse-off victims of disasters; rather, it is about recognizing that men and women, boys and girls are affected in different ways. Men and women, boys and girls have different experiences of disasters. Gender dynamics impact both the way they are affected by disasters and their capacity to withstand and recover from them. Gender inequalities can result in gender-differentiated disaster impact, and differentiated impacts can influence gender dynamics, which in turn affect future resilience to shocks. Disaster risk management policies are designed to maximize results, taking local conditions – including gender dynamics – as fixed. The report objectives are to: Identify gender gaps in disaster outcomes and resilience—and the underlying drivers of those gaps—to create better policies and programs; Identify the most important knowledge and data gaps, which will guide the next steps for analytics in this space; Offer an operationally useful framework that can be used for local assessments of gender dynamics in disaster risk and resilience.

GEO-6 for Youth (UNEP)
Full interactive report: https://content.yudu.com/web/2y3n2/0A2y3n3/GEO-6-for-Youth/html/index.html
PDF version: https://www.unep.org/resources/geo-6-youth
GEO-6 for Youth is a one-stop-shop for a young person to understand the state of the environment, what they can do every day to drive markets to adopt environmentally sustainable products and services and how to develop their skills and choose environmentally sustainable careers. The report provides background to help understand the issues, but most importantly shows how youth have the power to bring about transformative change for the environment. GEO-6 for Youth is UNEP’s first fully interactive e-publication and provides engaging multimedia content and interactive features to inform, engage, educate, and lead to youth action. Several case studies and interviews appear in the report, including small-scale, community-led projects and individual guides to developing the appropriate skills for green jobs and daily sustainable actions. A gender and geographically balanced team of 28 young authors from across the world worked on the report using the GEO’s co-creation model.

International Good Practice Principles for Sustainable Infrastructure (UNEP)
https://www.unep.org/resources/publication/international-good-practice-principles-sustainable-infrastructure
The International Good Practice Principles for Sustainable Infrastructure set out ten guiding principles that policymakers can follow to help integrate sustainability into infrastructure planning and delivery. They are focused on integrated approaches and systems-level interventions that governments can make to create an enabling environment for sustainable infrastructure. The principles are complemented by a second publication, Integrated Approaches in Action: A Companion to the International Good Practice Principles for Sustainable Infrastructure. Together, the publications aim to inform the forthcoming wave of global infrastructure investment. Collectively, they specify and demonstrate how environmental, social and economic sustainability must be integrated right across infrastructure policymaking at the systems-level. The individual principles and case studies were developed via ongoing global consultation and inputs from experts and UN Member States, as part of the implementation of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 4/5 on Sustainable Infrastructure.

Making Peace With Nature (UNEP)
https://www.unep.org/resources/making-peace-nature
The world can transform its relationship with nature and tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises together to secure a sustainable future and prevent future pandemics, according to a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) that offers a comprehensive blueprint for addressing our triple planetary emergency. The report lays out the gravity of these three environmental crises by drawing on global assessments, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, as well as UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook report, the UNEP International Resource Panel, and new findings on the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.  The authors assess the links between multiple environmental and development challenges, and explain how advances in science and bold policy-making can open a pathway towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and a carbon neutral world by 2050 while bending the curve on biodiversity loss and curbing pollution and waste. Taking that path means innovation and investment only in activities that protect both people and nature. Success will include restored ecosystems and healthier lives as well as a stable climate.

Nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement: Synthesis report by the secretariat (FCCC/PA/CMA/2021/2)
https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/nationally-determined-contributions-ndcs/nationally-determined-contributions-ndcs/ndc-synthesis-report
UN Climate Change published on 26 February 2021 a synthesis of climate action ambition as contained in countries’ new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), indicating that nations must redouble their climate efforts if they are to reach the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2C—ideally 1.5C—by the end of the century. The NDC Synthesis Report covers submissions up to 31 December 2020 and includes new or updated NDCs by 75 Parties, which represent approximately 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of these countries increased their levels of ambition to reduce emissions. Nevertheless, the level of ambition communicated through these NDCs indicates that changes in these countries’ total emissions would be small, less than -1%, in 2030 compared to 2010.

The People Behind Your Plate (IFAD)
Book for download: https://bit.ly/3d6sd5t
Digital flip book: https://bit.ly/2MZ4hpZ
Rural women and men are at the heart of our sustainable future. They are the foundation of the food systems that provide nutritious food for us all. The people you will meet in this virtual coffee table book are all participants in IFAD projects, and come from some of the world’s most fragile and remote communities. Their stories are unique, but they will resonate because they speak of challenges we all share as we seek to build a more sustainable future for ourselves, our families and our world. The book is organized around the “5 Ps” of people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships. The work that rural people do, including growing food and taking care of precious natural resources, is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals outline 17 areas for eliminating poverty and hunger, protecting the planet, and promoting peace and prosperity. These priorities are fundamental to the transformation of rural areas. These stories show how IFAD is investing in rural people to support their efforts, knowledge and skills, as they help to solve some of the world’s most urgent challenges.

State of School Feeding Worldwide 2020 (WFP)
Report in English & French, Executive Summary in English, French & Spanish: https://www.wfp.org/publications/state-school-feeding-worldwide-2020
The COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing a decade of hard-won gains in global efforts to provide nutritious food to the world’s most vulnerable children through a free daily meal in school, the United Nations World Food Programme said in a report released on 24 February 2021. One in two schoolchildren, or 388 million children worldwide, were receiving school meals when the pandemic struck, the highest number in history, according to the State of School Feeding Worldwide report. By April 2020, 199 countries had closed their schools and 370 million children were suddenly deprived of what for many was their only nutritious meal of the day. For governments, the lockdowns shone a spotlight on the critical role played by school feeding in supporting the most vulnerable children and protecting their futures, the report’s authors said, calling for global action to get coverage back to pre-pandemic levels and to expand further, to reach some 73 million vulnerable children who were missing out on meals even before the pandemic.

Technology and Innovation Report 2021: Catching technological waves: Innovation with equity (UNCTAD)
Report in English, Overview in English, French & Spanish: https://unctad.org/webflyer/technology-and-innovation-report-2021
A few developing nations are exhibiting stronger capabilities to use, adopt and adapt frontier technologies than their per capita GDPs would suggest, but most are lagging behind, according to an index of 158 countries in UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2021 released on 25 February 2021. Frontier technologies are those that take advantage of digitalization and connectivity. They include artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things, big data, blockchain, 5G, 3D printing, robotics, drones, gene editing, nanotechnology and solar photovoltaic. The report provides a “country readiness index” that assesses the progress of countries in using frontier technologies, considering their national capacities related to physical investment, human capital and technological effort. It scores countries on their readiness for frontier technologies based on five building blocks: ICT deployment, skills, research and development (R&D), industry activity and access to finance.

Through a gender lens: women and tobacco in the WHO European Region (WHO/Europe)
https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/tobacco/publications/2021/through-a-gender-lens-women-and-tobacco-in-the-who-european-region-2021
A new report by WHO/Europe about women and the tobacco epidemic has been launched. The report has revealed that, although tobacco use among women is decreasing overall, the rate is going down at a much slower pace than in men, and in some countries it is increasing.

 

To be smart, the digital revolution will need to be inclusive: excerpt from the UNESCO science report
English: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000375429
French: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000375429_fre
Despite a shortage of skills in most of the technological fields driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, women still account for only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics, according to the UNESCO Science Report, whose chapter on gender in science, entitled To be Smart the Digital Revolution will Need to be Inclusive, was published on 11 February 2021 to mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Turning the Tide: How to Finance a Sustainable Ocean Recovery; A practical guide for financial institutions (UNEP)
https://www.unepfi.org/publications/turning-the-tide/
New, pivotal guidance published on 2 March 2021 by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) provides a market-first, practical toolkit for financial institutions to take immediate action on their lending, investment and underwriting activities which negatively impact ocean health. Banks, insurers and investors have a major role to play in financing this transition to a sustainable blue economy, helping to rebuild ocean prosperity and restore biodiversity to the ocean. Through their activities, and client relationships, financial institutions have a major impact on ocean health and hold the power to accelerate and mainstream the sustainable transformation of ocean-linked industries. They thereby play essential roles in wider ocean governance, engaging in public-private partnerships, and propelling local-to-global actions for sustainability.

UN-Water Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 Summary Progress Update 2021
https://www.unwater.org/publications/summary-progress-update-2021-sdg-6-water-and-sanitation-for-all/
Across the world, 153 countries share rivers, lakes and aquifers. Transboundary basins cover more than half of the Earth’s land surface, account for an estimated 60 per cent of global freshwater flow and are home to more than 40 per cent of the world’s population. Transboundary water cooperation is therefore not only key for water management but also, more generally, for sustainable development, regional integration and peace. On 4 March, at a joint online event to launch the UN-Water Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 Summary Progress Update 2021, UNECE and UNESCO presented the first results of the second reporting exercise on indicator 6.5.2 carried out in the period 2020–2021. The findings are based on countries’ reports on SDG indicator 6.5.2, measuring transboundary water cooperation, for which UNECE and UNESCO are co-custodians. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 80 per cent of countries sharing transboundary waters have submitted data on transboundary water cooperation, compared to 70 per cent in 2017. Of the 153 countries sharing transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers, 128 responded to the invitation to report.  This marks an important step forward in monitoring progress on transboundary water cooperation at the global level.

UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021
https://www.unep.org/resources/report/unep-food-waste-index-report-2021
An estimated 931 million tonnes of food, or 17% of total food available to consumers in 2019, went into the waste bins of households, retailers, restaurants and other food services, according to new UN research conducted to support global efforts to halve food waste by 2030. The weight roughly equals that of 23 million fully loaded 40-tonne trucks — bumper-to-bumper, enough to circle the Earth 7 times. The Food Waste Index Report 2021, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partner organization WRAP, looks at food waste that occurs in retail outlets, restaurants and homes – counting both food and inedible parts like bones and shells. The report presents the most comprehensive food waste data collection, analysis and modelling to date, and offers a methodology for countries to measure food waste. 152 food waste data points were identified in 54 countries.

UNESCO Marine World Heritage: Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets
https://whc.unesco.org/en/blue-carbon-report/
At the end of February, UNESCO released the first global scientific assessment of its World Heritage marine sites’ blue carbon ecosystems, highlighting the critical environmental value of these habitats. While these sites represent less than 1% of the world’s ocean, they host at least 21% of the world’s blue carbon ecosystem area, and 15% of the world’s blue carbon assets. Over the last decade, scientists have discovered that seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangroves, known as “blue carbon” ecosystems, are among the most intensive ‘carbon sinks’, meaning a natural environment which can absorb carbon dioxide in the biosphere. They help mitigate climate change by sequestering and storing significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and ocean.

United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation and the Decent Work Agenda: A Trade Union Reference Manual (ILO)
https://bit.ly/3bbwBO9
This document seeks to guide trade unions and encourage them to take on more assertive roles in processes shaping development policy at national, regional, and global levels. Trade unions can use this manual to more effectively contribute to the implementation, monitoring, and outcomes of the 2030 Agenda process, focusing particularly on Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) as well as regional and global sustainable development platforms, such as the High-Level Political Forum.

World Employment and Social Outlook 2021: The role of digital labour platforms in transforming the world of work (ILO)
Report, Summary & Interactive Infostory: https://bit.ly/3kevIIs
Digital labour platforms have increased five-fold worldwide in the last decade according to the ILO’s latest World Employment and Social Outlook 2021 report. This growth has underlined the need for international policy dialogue and regulatory cooperation in order to provide decent work opportunities and foster the growth of sustainable businesses more consistently. According to the report, digital labour platforms are providing new work opportunities, including for women, persons with disabilities, young people and those marginalized in traditional labour markets. Platforms also allow businesses to access a large flexible workforce with varied skills, while expanding their customer base. The report focuses on two main types of digital labour platform: online web-based platforms, where tasks are performed online and remotely by workers, and location-based platforms, where tasks are performed at a specified physical location by individuals, such as taxi drivers and delivery workers. Its findings are based on surveys and interviews with some 12,000 workers and representatives of 85 businesses around the world in multiple sectors.

World Report on Hearing (WHO)
https://www.who.int/activities/highlighting-priorities-for-ear-and-hearing-care
Nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide ─ or 1 in 4 people ─ will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050, warns the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first World Report on Hearing, released on 3 March 2021. At least 700 million of these people will require access to ear and hearing care and other rehabilitation services unless action is taken. The report, launched ahead of World Hearing Day on 3 March, underlines the need to rapidly step up efforts to prevent and address hearing loss by investing and expanding access to ear and hearing care services. Investment in ear and hearing care has been shown to be cost-effective: WHO calculates that governments can expect a return of nearly US$ 16 for every US$ 1 invested.

WTO trade-related training activities
https://tamis.wto.org/public/activities-catalogue
The World Trade Organization (WTO) launched on 10 February 2021 an online portal to allow individuals to apply online for trade-related technical assistance and training activities. The courses are designed to help government officials and others, such as parliamentarians, strengthen their understanding of trade-related issues. The new online tool is available via the WTO’s Technical Assistance Management System, which contains information on the targeted audience for each activity and the eligible candidates.

 

International Peace and Security

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in contexts affected by conflict and insecurity
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/S/2021/138
The Security Council held on 17 February 2021 a high-level open debate on the theme “Maintenance of international peace and security: implementation of resolution 2532 (2020)”. In order to guide the discussions on this topic, the United Kingdom, Security Council President in February 2021, has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on addressing climate-related risks to international peace and security
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/S/2021/155
The Security Council held on 23 February 2021 a high-level open debate on the theme “Maintenance of international peace and security: climate and security. In order to guide the discussions on this topic, the United Kingdom, Security Council President in February 2021, has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the Security Council high-level open debate on conflict and food security
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/S/2021/217
Security Council will hold a briefing on conflict and food security on 11 March 2021. In order to help to steer the discussion on the subject, the United States, Security Council President in March 2021, has prepared this concept note.

Constitutions and Peace Processes: A Primer (DPPA / Berghof Foundation)
https://peacemaker.un.org/sites/peacemaker.un.org/files/2021_ConstitutionsPeaceProcessesPrimer_EN.pdf
The Mediation Support Unit (MSU) has developed a Primer (together with the Berghof Foundation) which provides in-depth examination of the linkages between constitution making and conflict mediation. The Primer identifies the challenges and opportunities at the nexus of peace processes and constitutions and constitution making, including lessons learned, policy options and their implications for sustaining peace.
see also: Constitution Making and Conflict Mediation: New Report Examines the Links (In: DPPA Politically Speaking , 26 February 2021): https://dppa-ps.atavist.com/constitution-making-and-conflict-mediation-new-report-examines-the-links

Dynamics of Support and Engagement: Understanding Malian Youths’ Attitudes towards Violent Extremism (ICCT / UNICRI)
http://unicri.it/sites/default/files/2021-02/MERIT.pdf
The casualties caused by armed violence in Mali have increased fourfold between 2016 and 2019, with young people being among the most affected by the situation. Although many initiatives have been launched to prevent and counter violent extremism in Mali, there remains a gap in understanding the interplay of factors that lead persons – especially young people – to support violent extremism. As the harmful socio-economic and psychological impact of terrorism continues to affect the lives of young Malians, it is ever more pressing that the factors that enable extremist groups to operate over increasingly large sections of the country be under-stood and effectively countered. Based on primary data collected by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) and UNICRI in the field as part of their MERIT project, this report looks beyond the usual factors such as insecurity, lack of economic opportunities, limited mobility and poor governance to explain support for or engagement with violent extremism, examining the role played by factors such as identification with one’s ethnic or religious group, geographic setting, and exposure to violence, among others.

 

Human Rights

Afghanistan: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict – Annual Report 2020 (UNAMA / OHCHR)
Report: https://bit.ly/3uzom7o
Executive Summary: https://bit.ly/3kgISog
Monitoring by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and the UN Human Rights Office has revealed that despite a drop in civilians killed and injured overall in 2020 there was a rise in civilian casualties following the start of peace negotiations in September. The Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Annual Report 2020 documents the appalling level of harm inflicted on civilians and traces the disturbing spike in violence against them in the last quarter of the year.

 

Countering Islamophobia/Anti-Muslim Hatred to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (A/HRC/46/30, 25 February 2021, Advance unedited version)
https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session46/Documents/A_HRC_46_30.docx
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other horrific acts of terrorism purportedly carried out in the name of Islam, institutional suspicion of Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim has escalated to epidemic proportions, a UN expert told the Human Rights Council on 4 March 2021. The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, said numerous States ¬¬¬— along with regional and international bodies ¬— have responded to security threats by adopting measures which disproportionately target Muslims and define Muslims as both high-risk and at risk of radicalization. In a report to the Council, Shaheed said widespread negative representations of Islam, fear of Muslims generally and security and counterterrorism poli¬cies have served to perpetuate, validate and normalize discrimination, hostility and violence towards Muslim individuals and communities. The report cites European surveys in 2018 and 2019 that show an average of 37 percent of the population held unfavourable views of Muslims. In 2017, some 30 percent of Americans surveyed viewed Muslims in a negative light.

Dignity for All: Realizing Social Rights in the EU
https://bit.ly/2NRqAOI
This publication calls on the European Commission to situate its efforts within the broader human rights framework, building on the EU’s stated commitment to lead the way in supporting the rules-based international order. The commitment to multilateralism must start at home, with a human rights based approach to the Action Plan for the Social Pillar.

Human rights and the global water crisis : water pollution, water scarcity and water-related disasters: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (A/HRC/46/28, 19 January 2021)
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/HRC/46/28
“Summary: In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, David R. Boyd, describes safe and sufficient water as one of the substantive components of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. He describes the causes and consequences of the global water crisis, focusing on the negative impacts of water pollution, water scarcity and water-related disasters on the enjoyment of many human rights, with disproportionate effects upon vulnerable and marginalized groups. He highlights procedural and substantive State obligations related to ensuring safe and sufficient water. He identifies good practices that have helped to reduce or prevent water pollution, alleviate water scarcity, reduce risks associated with water-related disasters and protect or restore aquatic ecosystems. The Special Rapporteur provides a seven-step process for States to employ a rights-based approach to water governance, as well as recommendations for actions. Finally, he urges businesses, in order to fulfil their rights-related responsibilities, to contribute to and support efforts to ensure safe and sufficient water for all.”

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Thomas H. Andrews (A/HRC/46/56, 4 March 2021)
https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session46/Documents/A_HRC_46_56.pdf
The UN’s human rights expert on Myanmar said on 4 March 2021 the military junta in the country is illegal, illegitimate and responsible for widespread and systematic human rights violations against nonviolent, peaceful protesters, and should be held accountable. In a report to the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, details how the Myanmar military illegally overthrew the civilian government and proceeded to attack the people of Myanmar by committing the crimes of murder, assault and arbitrary detention. he junta also systematically and illegitimately dismantled the people of Myanmar’s legal protections, installing new laws that remove basic protections of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, and privacy. Additionally, the report describes how the military has forcibly displaced several thousand members of ethnic nationalities from their homes since the coup.

Special report: Killing of human rights defenders, journalists and media workers in Afghanistan 2018-2021 (UNAMA)
https://bit.ly/3baWfm3
This special report, published by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), analyzes data and trends that relate to the killing of human rights defenders, journalists and media workers over the period 1 January 2018 to 31 January 2021. The findings of the report highlight that in 2018 the leading source of casualties among both human rights defenders and journalists were attacks by ISIL-KP involving the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) aimed at maximizing casualties, though not necessarily through attacks directly targeting human rights defenders or journalists. At that time, the greatest risk seemed to be of incidental harm while reporting on or working with those targeted.

 

Humanitarian Affairs

Global Cost of Inclusive Refugee Education (UNHCR / World Bank)
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/159281614191477048/The-Global-Cost-of-Inclusive-Refugee-Education
The average annual cost of educating refugees is less than 5 percent of public education expenditure in developing nations hosting 85 percent of the world’s refugees, according to a joint World Bank – UNHCR report released on 24 February 2021. The principle of inclusive education, in this case, opening education up to all refugee children and their inclusion into national education systems can also lead to better services for local communities in host countries. This can be achieved at an estimated annual cost of US$4.85 billion globally. This is a pre-COVID estimated cost of educating all refugees and is likely to increase as the impacts of the pandemic continue to unfold. The Global Cost of Inclusive Refugee Education report provides a standardized methodology to estimate refugee education costs across all host countries. It hopes to catalyze the development of country-level costed refugee-inclusive education plans.

Local Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees – A Gateway to existing ideas, resources and capacities for cities across the world
https://unhabitat.org/local-inclusion-of-migrants-and-refugees-a-gateway-to-existing-ideas-resources-and-capacities-for
In 2018, the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) were adopted by the vast majority of UN Member States. During the preparatory processes for both Compacts, local authorities, among other stakeholders, were included and actively contributed to the global migration agenda. The Marrakech Mayoral Declaration (MMD, 2018) reaffirmed cities as key actors as they pledged to stand in solidarity, increase inter-city collaboration and play a critical role in shaping a more positive narrative on migration. Both Global Compacts acknowledged the importance of local authorities for shaping and implementation of these international commitments. However, while some local (city-level) authorities are successfully implementing innovative systems and approaches, others, who are also at the forefront of reception, basic service delivery, inclusion and rights protection of migrant populations, struggle and lack comprehensive guidance, resources, and capacity to move their work forward collectively. The Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) therefore worked together with the Mayors Mechanism of the GMFD (UCLG, MMC and IOM) to support local authorities in advancing the implementation of the Global Compacts.

Reimagining Girls’ Education: Solutions to Keep Girls Learning in Emergencies (UNICEF)
https://www.unicef.org/reports/reimagining-girls-education
Reimagining Girls’ Education: Solutions to Keep Girls Learning in Emergencies presents an empirical overview of what works to support learning outcomes for girls in emergencies. Research shows that girls in emergencies are disadvantaged at all stages of education and are more likely to be out-of-school than in non-emergency settings. Girls are also struggling to learn. This solutions book seeks to highlight promising evidence-based actions in education for decision makers who are designing and implementing interventions to support girls’ education in low and middle-income country humanitarian settings and settings where education has been interrupted by the COVID 19 pandemic. It documents practical examples of approaches that have been or are being tested, and from which lessons can be drawn. The overarching aim is that this evidence be used to inform programming in crises and support diverse stakeholders in mitigating the impact of emergencies on girls’ education.

With us & for us: IASC Guidelines on Working with and for Young People in Humanitarian and Protracted Crises
https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/events/iasc-guidelines-working-and-young-people-humanitarian-and-protracted-crises
These guidelines by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) were created in response to Action 1: Services in the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action (CYPHA). Launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, the CYPHA made a long-term commitment to young people through five key actions that relate to services, participation, capacity, resources and data. UNICEF and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) led the development of the guidelines, co-chairing a task force that includes: ActionAid; CARE; Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG); International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); Mercy Corps; United Nations Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY); Plan International; RET International; United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY). The aim of these guidelines is to serve as the ‘go-to’ guide for working with and for young people in humanitarian settings and protracted crises.

 

Justice and International Law

Seventy Years of the International Law Commission: photo exhibit / Soixante-dix ans de la Commission du droit international
https://legal.un.org/ilc/publications/pdfs/ilc_exhibit_book.pdf
This publication examines past and present efforts to progressively develop and codify international law. It has been prepared by the Codification Division of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs to mark the seventieth anniversary of the first session of the International Law Commission in 1949. Its contents are based on a photo exhibit that has been on display in New York, Geneva, The Hague, Bangkok and Washington, D.C., among other places, in 2018 and 2019.

Seventy Years of the International Law Commission: Drawing a Balance for the Future
https://legal.un.org/ilc/publications/pdfs/ilc_seventy.pdf
The International Law Commission convened its seventieth session in New York from 30 April to 1 June and in Geneva from 2 July to 10 August 2018 under the overarching theme: “Seventy Years of the International Law Commission — Drawing a Balance for the Future”. To commemorate the anniversary session, events were organized in New York on 21 May 2018 and in Geneva on 5 and 6 July 2018. At each venue, a solemn celebratory segment was followed by substantive panel discussions: a “conversation” with delegates to the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the General Assembly in New York; and a symposium with legal advisers of foreign ministries and other international law experts in Geneva. Seventy Years of the International Law Commission: Drawing a Balance for the Future brings together voices from academia and practice to celebrate and critically evaluate the work of the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) over the past seventy years. The edited volume draws on the events commemorating the seventieth anniversary of the Commission, which took place in New York and Geneva in May and July 2018. At a time when multilateral law-making has become increasingly challenging, the edited volume appraises the role of one the most important driving forces behind the codification of international law and discusses the ILC’s future contribution to the development of international law.

 

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