UN in General
UN Member States on the Record
The new website – live in all six official languages – makes it even easier to find primary source materials related to each Member State’s contribution to the activities and deliberations of the UN. This vital UN information resource has been completely revamped and given a streamlined look and feel. Powered by the UN Digital Library and Ask DAG, the Library’s knowledge base of frequently asked questions, the new site provides enhanced access to information about Member States’ participation in the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and the Human Rights Council.
For each Member State, the website features the following information:
- Date of membership with links to associated documents
- Dates served as a member of the Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Human Rights Council (NEW!)
- Links to General Debate statements: All speeches in principal organs, Co-sponsorship of draft resolutions, Notes verbales announcing diplomatic relations between states (NEW!)
This Week in DPPA
This weekly update aims to keep you abreast of developments and events on the agenda of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, at UN HQ and in the field, and especially those that sometimes “fly under the radar”.
UN Card: 10 Facts
The 2019 edition of The UN Card brings you an update to 10 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.
Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
Changing Course: A comprehensive investor guide to scenario-based methods for climate risk assessment, in response to the TCFD (UNEP FI)
Twenty institutional investors from 11 countries convened by the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) launched on 10 May 2019 comprehensive investor guidance to help assess how climate change and climate action could impact investor portfolios around the world. These assessments enable investors to be more transparent about their climate-related risks and opportunities in line with the recommendations from the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. They will also help investors contribute to and benefit from the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies.
Climate Adaptation in Rural Development (CARD) Assessment Tool (IFAD)
The Climate Adaptation in Rural Development – Assessment Tool (CARD) is a platform to explore the effects of climate change on the yield of major crops. It is intended to support the quantitative integration of climate-related risks in agricultural and rural development investments and strategies, including economic and financial analyses (EFA). This tool provides data for 17 major crops in nearly all African countries. It is currently available for North Africa, West and Central Africa, and East and Southern Africa. All IFAD regions will be available in the course of 2019.
Disaster Risk Reduction at Farm Level: Multiple Benefits, No Regrets; Results from Cost–Benefit Analyses Conducted in a Multi-Country Study, 2016–2018 (FAO)
Poor farmers can obtain significant economic gains and other benefits by implementing modified farming practices aimed at boosting their ability to cope with disasters and natural shocks, according to a new FAO study released on 13 May 2019. Many of the “disaster resistant” farming innovations – assessed by FAO through multi-year trials on over 900 farms in 10 different countries – are within easy reach of poor farmers and do not require substantial investment. What is more, these innovations did not merely act as a buffer against disaster damages – in most cases, they significantly improved farm yields and financial gains even in the absence of any natural disasters. Examples include a range of low cost options for disaster risk reduction that range from nature-based solutions, such as planting mangrove to protect coastal areas from floods, to the use of flood resistant rice varieties, to shifting to the installation of rooftop water collection and irrigation systems.
Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Summary for Policymakers (IPBES)
A hard-hitting report into the impact of humans on nature shows that nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades, while current efforts to conserve the earth’s resources will likely fail without radical action, UN biodiversity experts said on 6 May 2019 for the launch of the Summary for Policymakers. The full six-chapter Report (including all data) is expected to exceed 1,500 pages and will be published later this year. It features the work of 400 experts from at least 50 countries, coordinated by the Bonn-based Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In addition to providing exhaustive insights on the state of nature, ecosystems and how nature underpins all human activity, the study also discusses progress on key international goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The report also examines five main drivers of “unprecedented” biodiversity and ecosystem change over the past 50 years, identifying them as: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change, pollution, and invasion of alien species.
Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2019 (UNISDR)
The world faces new, emerging, and much larger threats than ever before, linked to climate change, environmental degradation, and the growing potential for one disaster to produce or exacerbate another, says a new report from the United Nations on 15 May 2019. The Global Assessment Report 2019 (GAR2019) published by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, outlines major risks to human life and material property, ranging from air pollution and biological hazards, through to earthquakes, drought, and climate change.
The Global Chemicals Outlook II: From Legacies to Innovative Solutions; Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNEP)
The full Global Chemicals Outlook II was launched electronically on 29 April 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, at a side event at the meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. The Synthesis Report was launched on 11 March 2019 at the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly. A shorter Summary for Policymakers was tabled as working document of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly and is available in all six UN languages. The report finds that the global goal to minimize adverse impacts of chemicals and waste will not be achieved by 2020. Solutions exist, but more ambitious worldwide action by all stakeholders is urgently required.
Guidelines on Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia (WHO)
Guidelines in English, Forward and Executive Summary in English, French & Spanish:
Key lifestyle choices such as getting regular exercise, not smoking or drinking too much, can reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline, the UN health agency said on 14 May 2019. In recommendations to counter an expected tripling in the number of people with the degenerative condition in the next 30 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines are designed to help medical professionals and governments to develop national policies. Today, around 50 million people globally suffer from dementia and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.
Health Product Profile Directory (WHO)
In a bid to improve the treatment of neglected diseases and threats to global health, the UN health agency, WHO, launched an online resource on 15 May 2019, designed to guide research into new health products. The free-to-use Health Product Profile Directory, which the WHO describes as “an essential tool for realizing universal health coverage,” so far contains research information on 196 products, with a strong focus on infectious diseases. The Ebola outbreak that began in 2014 in West Africa, highlighted the importance of centralizing information in order to fight neglected diseases, antimicrobial resistance and diseases with the potential to spread pandemics, so that research and development is more effective, and better coordinated.
I’d blush if I could (UNESCO)
Why do most voice assistants have female names, and why do they have submissive personalities? The answer, says a new report released on 17 May 2019 by UNESCO, the UN’s Education, Science and Culture agency, is that there are hardly any women working in the technical teams that develop these services and other cutting-edge digital tools. The publication, produced in collaboration with the German Government and the EQUALS Skills Coalition – an alliance of public and private sector partners which encourages the involvement of women and girls in scientific and digital technology sectors – is called “I’d Blush If I Could.” The title is a reference to the standard answer given by the default female-voice of Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, in response to insults from users. Apart from Siri, other “female” voice assistants also express submissive traits, an expression of the gender bias built in to Artificial Intelligence (AI) products as a result of what UNESCO calls the “stark gender-imbalances in skills, education and the technology sector.” Several recommendations are made in the study, including advice to stop making digital assistants female by default; programming them to discourage gender-based insults and abusive language; and developing the advanced technical skills of women and girls so they can steer the creation of new technologies alongside men. Given the explosive growth of voice assistants, says the report, there is an urgent necessity to help more women and girls cultivate strong digital skills.
Mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system: Report of the Secretary-General (A/74/72–E/2019/13, 27 March 2019)
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/74/72
“Summary: In his previous report on the subject (A/73/81–E/2018/59), the Secretary-General noted that the United Nations system organizations were responding to the challenge of mainstreaming the three dimensions of sustainable development by aligning their work programmes and priorities with the Sustainable Development Goals, initiating organizational change and linking results-based management with the delivery of the Goals. In its resolution 73/227, the General Assembly took note with appreciation of those actions and initiatives. Efforts in this regard are continuing during the current reporting cycle, as reflected in the updated information available in the Sustainable Development Goals Action Database. The present report contains an update on those actions and initiatives, using new information made available in the Database, as well as specific inputs provided by several organizations for the report. It is encouraging to note that the positive trends in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remain robust, with renewed efforts to transform institutions and align budgetary resources with the Goals. In that context, it is also worth highlighting that an increasing number of entities are operationalizing the principle of leaving no one behind. The report also provides an update on the implementation of the action plan for integrating sustainable development practices into Secretariat-wide operations and facilities management, submitted by the Secretary-General pursuant to resolutions 70/205 and 71/228 (A/72/82).”
No Time to Wait: Securing the future from drug-resistant infections, Report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Report in English, French & Spanish, Summary also in Portuguese:
UN, international agencies and experts released a groundbreaking report on 29 April 2019 demanding immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis. If no action is taken – warns the UN Ad hoc Interagency Coordinating Group on Antimicrobial Resistance who released the report – drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy as catastrophic as the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. By 2030, antimicrobial resistance could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty.
Sand and Sustainability: Finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources
With the global demand for sand and gravel standing at 40 to 50 billion tonnes per year, a new report by UN Environment releases on 7 May 2019 reveals that aggregate extraction in rivers has led to pollution, flooding, lowering of water aquifers and worsening drought occurrence. The report presents how shifting consumption patterns, growing populations, increasing urbanization and infrastructure development have increased demand for sand three-fold over the last two decades. Further to this, damming and extraction have reduced sediment delivery from rivers to many coastal areas, leading to reduced deposits in river deltas and accelerated beach erosion.
Working conditions in a global perspective (ILO)
Report in English, Summary in English, French & Spanish: https://www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/WCMS_696174/lang–en/index.htm
A joint ILO-Eurofound report covering about 1.2 billion of the world’s workers found stark differences in working hours, significant levels of intensive and emotionally demanding work and that the least-educated have worse overall working conditions and fewer opportunities to develop their skills. The report – released on 6 May 2019 – provides the first comparative analysis of job quality surveys carried out in 41 countries, mainly over the last five years. It covers the EU28, China, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, the United States, Spanish-speaking Central America, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. It looks at seven dimensions of job quality: the physical environment, work intensity, working time quality, the social environment, skills and development, prospects, and earnings.
World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2019
Against a backdrop of unresolved trade tensions, high international policy uncertainty and softening business confidence, the UN on 21 May 2019 announced a broad-based slowdown in the global economy and cut its growth predictions. The data comes from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in its mid-year World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report, which finds that all major developed economies, and most developing regions, have weakened prospects for growth. At the launch of its main annual report in January, UN economists warned of “risks on the horizon.” Five months on, with trade disputes and tariff increases, those fears have been borne out, and the forecasts contained in the January report have now been revised downwards: growth for 2019 is now predicted to be a moderate 2.7 per cent, down markedly from 3.4 per cent in 2018. DESA warns, however, that if trade tensions escalate further, the effects of climate change accelerate, or there is a sudden deterioration in financial conditions, the slowdown could be sharper, or more prolonged.
International Peace and Security
Assessing the Impact of War on Development in Yemen (UNDP)
Ongoing conflict in Yemen has already reversed human development by 21 years, according to a UNDP-commissioned study released on 23 April 2019. The study warns of exponentially growing impacts of conflict on human development. It projects that if the war ends in 2022, development gains will have been set back by 26 years — almost a generation. If it continues through 2030, that setback will increase to four decades. The study considers the impact of conflict on the priorities articulated in the globally agreed Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals and compares three potential quantitative modelling scenarios for the conflict ending in 2019, 2022 and 2030 against a hypothetical scenario where the conflict did not escalate after 2014. Based on the scenarios, the study attempts to quantify the impact of conflict on multiple dimensions of development, including demographic outlook, economic conditions, infrastructures, health and education.
Concept note: Security Council open debate “Investing in peace: delivering quality training and capacity-building to improve the safety and security and performance of United Nations peacekeepers”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2019/359
The Security Council held a high-level open debate entitled “Investing in peace: improving the safety and performance of United Nations peacekeepers” on 7 May 2019. In order to guide the discussions on the subject, Indonesia, the Security Council President for May, has prepared this concept note.
Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the theme “Protection of civilians in armed conflict”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2019/385
The Security Council will hold a ministerial-level open debate on Thursday, 23 May 2019, on the theme “Protection of civilians in armed conflict”. In order to guide the discussions on the subject, Indonesia, the Security Council President for May, has prepared this concept note.
Second report on protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts by Marja Lehto, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/728, 27 March 2019)
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/A/CN.4/728
“The new areas addressed in the present report are among those identified by the Working Group for the topic in 2017 as being able to usefully complement the Commission’s work. Chapter II of the present report considers certain questions of the protection of the environment in non-international armed conflicts, with a focus on how the international rules and practices concerning natural resources may enhance the protection of the environment during and after such conflicts. It should be underlined here that the two questions considered in chapter II–illegal exploitation of natural resources and unintended environmental effects of human displacement –are not exclusive to non-international armed conflicts. Nor do they provide a basis for a comprehensive consideration of environmental issues relating to non-international conflicts. At the same time, they are representative of problems that have been prevalent in current non-international armed conflicts and have caused severe stress to the environment.”
The Stabilization Facility for Libya: An independent strategic and operational review (UNDP)
The Stabilisation Facility for Libya (SFL) was launched in April 2016 as a vehicle for supporting the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). This report summarises the findings and recommendations from an independent review of the Stabilisation Facility for Libya, conducted in the period March-May 2018.
United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel Programme
A new programme aimed at improving the tracking of suspected terrorists, using state-of-the-art software, was launched by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) on 7 May 2017. The launch at UN Headquarters in New York, of the United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel Programme, comes in the wake of the territorial defeat of the Iraq and Syria-based ISIL terrorist group. Thousands of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) are attempting to return home or relocate to safe havens or conflict zones, representing a major threat to international peace and security. The Programme, described by UNOCT as a “flagship initiative,” is designed to help countries to enhance the detection of FTFs and serious criminals, through the collection, identification, and analysis of their passenger data.
Thirty years ago, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international agreement on childhood. It’s become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world. But still not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood. Still, too many childhoods are cut short. It is up to our generation to demand that leaders from government, business and communities fulfil their commitments and take action for child rights now, once and for all. They must commit to making sure every child, has every right. Act now for child rights, for now and for generations to come:
Justice and International Law
Humanity against crimes
The International Criminal Court (ICC) kicked off a campaign on 9 May 2019 in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, with a call to unite humanity against crimes. By uniting against crimes, the ICC and all those supporting it can work together to build a more peaceful, just world by deterring crimes and promoting accountability and access to justice. The campaign, called “Humanity against crimes”, explores the crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction, how the ICC promotes access to justice, and how we can work together to protect people from suffering and help prevent mass crimes. It also includes specific calls to action for both individuals and states to unite in these common goals.
A special feature also being launched is a new ICC “Crimes on trial” animation series, which tells the survivor stories of some of the world’s worst crimes. The stories combine multiple real-life stories as told to the ICC and are fictionalized and animated to protect the storytellers’ identities. Episode 1, “I want to start my life again” – Using child soldiers is a crime, follows the experience of a former child soldier as he tells of being captured, being forced to commit crimes, and the challenges he faces still today as a consequence.
added to the library collection in May 2019
I General Information and Reference
Africa Renewal, April – July 2019: “Equality: African women march on”. 35 p.
Online version: https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/april-2019
Chronique ONU, Volume LV, Numéros 3 & 4, 2018 : « Les nouvelles technologies vers quoi mènent-elles ? » 63 p.
Online version : https://unchronicle.un.org/fr/issue/les-nouvelles-technologies-vers-quoi-m-nent-elles
UN Chronicle, Volume LV, Number 3 & 4, 2018: “New Technologies: Where to?” 63 p.
Online version: https://unchronicle.un.org/issue/new-technologies-where