UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter: November 2023


New UN websites & publications

UN in General

Israel-Gaza Crisis – new website
English: https://www.un.org/en/situation-in-occupied-palestine-and-israel
French: https://www.un.org/fr/situation-in-occupied-palestine-and-israel
Spanish: https://www.un.org/es/situation-in-occupied-palestine-and-israel
The United Nations has played a significant role in addressing the enduring conflict between Israel and Palestine, and has been actively involved in seeking a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the years, the UN has facilitated peace talks, provided humanitarian aid, and supported initiatives aimed at fostering understanding and reconciliation between the two parties. UN Secretary-General António Guterres voiced grave concern over the on-going escalating conflict in Israel and Gaza, and stressed the need to prevent the violence from spreading into the wider region.


2023 UN Card
English: https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/uncard_2023_e.pdf
French: https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/uncard_2023_f.pdf
Spanish: https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/uncard_2023_s.pdf
The 2023 edition of The UN Card brings 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.


Political Declarations adopted at the 78th session of the General Assembly

  • A/RES/78/1: Political Declaration of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened under the auspices of the General Assembly / Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 29 September 2023
    English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/RES/78/1
  • A/RES/78/3: Political Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response / Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 5 October 2023
    English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/RES/78/3
  • A/RES/78/4: Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage / Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 5 October 2023
    English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/RES/78/4
  • A/RES/78/5: Political Declaration on the High-Level Meeting on the Fight Against Tuberculosis / Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 5 October 2023
    English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/RES/78/5


Stories from the UN Archive – A breathtaking collection of major moments of UN history
Video Link: https://youtu.be/aLL2JkNAX5A
This new series gives viewers a front-row seat to the iconic moments that shaped our common destiny. Drawn from a wealth of footage, much of it recently digitized and not widely seen, the series encapsulates inflection points—some that resonated in their day, and some that have new meaning when viewed with hindsight.

The series includes:


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

2023 State of Climate Services: Health (WMO)
As the world warms at a faster rate than at any point in recorded history, human health is on the frontline. Climate change threatens to reverse decades of progress towards better health and well-being, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. Scientific know-how and resources can help redress the balance, but are not sufficiently accessible or utilized, according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). WMO’s annual State of Climate Services report this year focuses on health. It highlights the need for tailored climate information and services to support the health sector in the face of more extreme weather and poor air quality, shifting infectious disease patterns and food and water insecurity.

Adaptation Gap Report 2023: Underfinanced. Underprepared; Inadequate investment and planning on climate adaptation leaves world exposed (UNEP)
English: https://www.unep.org/resources/adaptation-gap-report-2023
French: https://www.unep.org/fr/resources/rapport-2023-sur-le-deficit-de-ladaptation-au-climat
Spanish: https://www.unep.org/es/resources/informe-sobre-la-brecha-de-adaptacion-2023
Progress on climate adaptation is slowing on all fronts when it should be accelerating to catch up with rising climate change impacts and risks, according to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report. Released ahead of the COP28 climate talks taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Adaptation Gap Report 2023: Underfinanced. Underprepared – Inadequate investment and planning on climate adaptation leaves world exposed finds that the adaptation finance needs of developing countries are 10-18 times as big as international public finance flows – over 50 per cent higher than the previous range estimate.

The African fashion sector: trends, challenges & opportunities for growth (UNESCO)
On 26 October 2023 Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s Director-General, unveiled a report arguing that the continent has all it takes to become one of the next global fashion leaders, if public decision-makers offer greater support to all those who work in the sector and play a role in the fashion ecosystem. The UNESCO analysis shows that the continent holds all the cards to become one of the next world fashion leaders. It is a major producer of raw materials – 37 out of 54 countries produce cotton -, an exporter of textiles to the value of $15.5 billion a year, and an importer of textiles, clothing and footwear to the value of $23.1 billion a year. There is a growing consumer trend on the continent for fashion Made-in-Africa, particularly among young people – the under-25s account for 50% of the continent’s total population – and among the burgeoning middle class – which already make up more than 35% of the population – opening up new consumer markets. Africa is also experiencing very rapid growth in the digital sector, which is facilitating intra-African trade and the emergence of young talent. As evidenced by the 32 Fashion Weeks held each year, Africa is also brimming with talent in the fields of haute couture, crafts and clothing. A 42% increase in demand for African haute couture is expected over the next 10 years.

All Hands on Deck: Supporting IMO Member States to meet their obligations (IMO)

A new IMO brochure details key priorities and the Organization’s programme of technical assistance to support Member States, particularly those categorized as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). More than a third of IMO’s 175 Member States are classified as SIDS or LDCs.



The Diet Impact Assessment model: a tool for analyzing the health, environmental and affordability implications of dietary change (WHO/Europe)
This manual describes the Diet Impact Assessment (DIA) model – a new interactive modelling tool for analysing the health, environmental and affordability implications of diets and dietary change. The tool enables countries to analyse user-specific scenarios of dietary change, and to estimate the health, environmental and cost burden of each scenario in terms of diet costs, avoidable deaths, changes in resource use and compatibility with global environmental targets, including those associated with food-related greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use and fertilizer application. The tool was commissioned by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and is based on analytical frameworks developed by Marco Springmann and colleagues. This manual outlines use of the tool and its scientific basis.

Europe and Central Asia Economic Update, Fall 2023: Sluggish Growth, Rising Risks (World Bank)
Economic growth for the emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) of the Europe and Central Asia region has been revised up to 2.4% for 2023, says the World Bank’s Economic Update for the region, released on 5 October 2023. The pickup in growth reflects improved forecasts for war-hit Ukraine and for Central Asia, as well as consumer resiliency in Türkiye and better-than-expected growth in Russia because of a surge in government spending on the military and social transfers. Excluding Russia and Ukraine, regional output is expected to grow by 3% in 2023. Nevertheless, growth remains weak relative to the long-term pre-pandemic averages. Overall, growth in half of the Europe and Central Asia countries is expected to be slower or little changed in 2023 than in 2022. During 2024-25, growth is expected at 2.6% a year, amid a weak expansion in the European Union (EU) – the region’s largest trading partner – high inflation, tighter financial conditions, and spillovers from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Future of Work: Implications for Equity and Growth in Europe (World Bank)
This report examines the relationship between technology, economic growth, and equity. By analyzing the impact of technological progress on firm-level productivity, market concentration, and outcomes for workers with different education levels—we can gain insight into technology’s effects on the European Union labor markets. The report demonstrates that while innovation and technological advances have increased productivity in Europe, they have also led to a rise in income inequality. Such technological advances promote market concentration, decreasing the share of total national income that goes to labor. In addition, individuals with university degrees benefit more from technology adoption in labor markets, while less-educated workers are more vulnerable to being displaced.

Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): Guidance to support country implementation; 2nd edition (WHO)
Adolescents are not simply old children or young adults. This deceptively simple observation lies at the heart of Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): guidance to support country implementation, which reflects the coming of age of adolescent health within global public health. The first edition, published six years ago, helped to draw attention to the need for a comprehensive response to adolescent health after decades of neglect. The second edition of the AA-HA! guidance is a collaborative effort spearheaded by the World Health Organization in collaboration with UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN WOMEN, the World Food Programme and PMNCH. Building on the solid foundation of the first edition and voices of adolescents and young adults around the world, this multi-agency product has evolved to incorporate valuable learnings from the past six years, including of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts. Latest estimates of mortality and disease burden, updated evidence, and a broader focus on wellbeing make our second edition a cutting-edge resource for policy makers in the area of adolescent health and well-being. AA-HA! 2.0 offers insights into the current health and well-being landscape of the world’s over 1.2 billion adolescents, underlining evidence-based solutions and presenting strategies for priority setting, planning, implementing, and evaluating health and well-being programmes. The inclusion of key implementation strategies and real-world case studies make this guide a practical tool for governments in designing and implementing a new generation of adolescent health and well-being programmes.

Guide for smart and sustainable city leaders: Enabling digital transformation in smart sustainable cities (ITU)
The Guide for smart and sustainable city leaders aims to provide city leaders with practical guidance on how to plan, develop, and implement smart and sustainable city initiatives. The document covers various aspects related to smart and sustainable cities, including the role of technology, governance, policy frameworks, financing, and stakeholder engagement. It emphasizes the importance of leveraging digital technologies to address urban challenges and improve the quality of life for citizens. The guide offers a step-by-step approach to help city leaders assess their current situation, set goals, develop strategies, and monitor progress towards becoming a smart and sustainable city. It provides case studies, best practices, and recommendations based on experiences from different cities around the world. Overall, this document serves as a comprehensive resource for city leaders who are interested in transforming their cities into smart and sustainable environments, leveraging technology and innovation to create more efficient, inclusive, and environmentally friendly urban spaces.

The Impact of Disasters on Agriculture and Food Security 2023: Avoiding and reducing losses through investment in resilience (FAO)
Over the last 30 years, an estimated $3.8 trillion worth of crops and livestock production has been lost due to disaster events, corresponding to an average loss of $123 billion per year or 5 percent of annual global agricultural gross domestic product (GDP), according to a new report released on 13 October 2023 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This new FAO flagship report brings the first-ever global estimation of the impact of disasters on agricultural production focused on crops and livestock. It also notes that the figure may be higher if systematic data on losses in the fisheries and aquaculture and forestry subsectors were available. The report stresses the need for urgently improving data and information on the impact of disasters on all subsectors of agriculture to create data systems that can serve as the foundation upon which effective action can be built and informed.

Interconnected Disaster Risks: Risk Tipping Points 2023 (UNU)
The 2023 Interconnected Disaster Risks report examines six immediate and increasing risks across the world: the accelerating extinctions of species, the depletion of groundwater resources, the retreat of mountain glaciers, the growing number of places facing uninhabitable temperatures, the rise in uninsurability and the growing amount of space debris. Through literature review and expert consultation, we define “risk tipping points” for each of the six cases, representing the point at which a given socioecological system ceases to buffer risks and to provide its expected functions, after which the risk of catastrophic impacts to the system increases substantially. Our analysis also includes a highlight on the interconnectivity of root causes and drivers that are pushing these systems to their tipping point, as well as their influence on each other and compounding and cascading impacts into other systems, now and in the future. Our findings indicate that human actions are causing these increased risks, and we discuss the potential behavior and value changes that will be necessary to address them. This report also proposes a new framework to classify and discuss the effectiveness of solutions that help us address risk tipping points. Solutions fall into two main categories: Avoid solutions that target root causes and drivers of risk to avoid crossing risk tipping points altogether, and adapt solutions that help us to prepare or to better address the negative impacts of risk tipping point in case they cannot be avoided, and seek to adapt to the resulting changes in an attempt to live with them. Within each category, there are two options for actions: Delay actions work within the existing “business as usual” system and seek to slow down the progression towards risk tipping points or possible worst impacts. Transform actions involve a fundamental re-imagining of the system itself. Out of the different categories, it is transformative solutions that have the potential to move us away from a future of multiplying risk tipping points, but they also require the most societal and personal change. Therefore, the report highlights overall changes we can make to our behaviours and values that would transform the way we use our systems and reduce overall risk. These include a shift towards zero waste, a closer connection to nature, global cooperation and trust, consideration for future generations, and shifting to an economic model that is less focused on growth and more on human well-being within planetary boundaries. Addressing risk tipping points requires us to fundamentally change how we perceive and value the world around us in a way that gives us the responsibility to care for it. We must design our systems to work in a way that recognizes how much we need the world and all its systems working together for our survival; otherwise, we will find ourselves in a future where risks continue to multiply. The choice is ours. We have the power to act now to create the future we want.

Least Developed Countries Report 2023: Crisis-resilient development finance
Report in English, Overview in English, French & Spanish: https://unctad.org/publication/least-developed-countries-report-2023
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) emphasized on 7 November 2023 the imperative for international financial reforms to specifically target the financing requirements of the world’s 46 least developed countries (LDCs). According to UNCTAD’s Least Developed Countries Report 2023, fiscal constraints in LDCs pose a severe threat to their ability to implement crucial development policies, potentially derailing progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a low-carbon transition. Failure to promptly address the financing needs of LDCs, warns the report, will hinder their development prospects and exacerbate the impact of climate change, especially since 17 out of the 20 countries most vulnerable to and least prepared for climate change are LDCs.

Production Gap Report 2023: Phasing down or phasing up? Top fossil fuel producers plan even more extraction despite climate promises (UNEP)
A major new report published on 8 November 2023 finds that governments plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C. This comes despite 151 national governments having pledged to achieve net-zero emissions and the latest forecasts which suggest global coal, oil, and gas demand will peak this decade, even without new policies. When combined, government plans would lead to an increase in global coal production until 2030, and in global oil and gas production until at least 2050, creating an ever-widening fossil fuel production gap over time.

Progress, good practices and lessons learned in prioritizing and incorporating gender-responsive adaptation action – Policy brief (UNFCCC)
To address the gender-specific impacts of climate change, and to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through climate change adaptation plans and policies, countries around the world are increasingly applying gender-responsive approaches. The following assessment of recent trends in adaptation research and action, including the formulation and implementation of NAPs, reveals some gaps and challenges for the application of gender-responsive approaches, but also opportunities and good practices that governments and other stakeholders have identified and are undertaking to enhance resilience and gender equality in a comprehensive and synergistic manner. In this regard, Parties to the Convention have recognized the importance of engaging women and men equally in the UNFCCC process and in the development and implementation of gender-responsive climate strategies. To support Parties in this endeavour, specifically in the area of adaptation, members of the Adaptation Committee’s NAP task force prepared this policy brief on progress, good practices and lessons learned in prioritizing and incorporating gender-responsive adaptation action under the framework of the flexible workplan for 2022–2024. This policy brief has the objective of helping governments and other stakeholders to develop and implement gender-responsive adaptation action, taking into consideration the different national circumstances and cultural values.

Promoting physical activity and healthy diets for healthy ageing in the WHO European Region
Lifestyle and medical advances that contribute to longevity are achievements to celebrate, but they have brought considerable and unintended social, economic and health challenges as life expectancy increases faster than life-years spent in good health. In this context, healthy ageing – defined by WHO as a process of developing and maintaining functional abilities to foster well-being in older adults – not only increases the welfare of older adults, but also directly influences health-care and long-term care costs. Although health status in older ages mainly is dependent on lifestyles determined during adulthood and youth, the level of physical activity and quality of diet in older age are also important determinants of health, well-being, functional ability, mobility and independence. For most older people, healthy ageing means much more than just the absence of diseases; it also represents the maintenance of good functional ability. This report advocates for investment in promoting healthy lifestyles in the older population to encourage active healthy ageing and increase healthy life expectancy. Inspiring examples of innovations in promoting physical activity and healthy diets from across the WHO European Region are presented to support implementation and scale-up of interventions by Member States.

Reaching children with a holistic approach: Enhancing synergies between social protection and civil registration systems for an inclusive and equitable society (UNICEF)
Despite recent initiatives to better link social protection interventions and civil registration, significant gaps still exist in social protection coverage and birth registration rates, particularly among the most vulnerable and marginalized populations including refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those at risk of statelessness. This call to action is intended to support practitioners and policymakers working on both social protection and birth registration/Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems to understand the importance of such linkages and how the synergies can be promoted with a win-win situation for both sectors.

Social protection and anticipatory action to protect agricultural livelihoods (FAO)
As the quality of climate risk information and scientific forecasting has continued to improve, the imperative to act in advance of an imminent shock in order to protect people, assets and livelihoods has also gained notable attention and increasing investment. Recognizing this opportunity, some governments, and development and humanitarian partners are trying to gain a better understanding of the potential of social protection to deliver support ahead of a forecasted shock, including exploring options to systematically integrate anticipatory action approaches within existing national social protection systems. As such, this document discusses the conceptual and practical linkages between these two topics alongside presenting four country case studies, thereby contributing to the literature on how social protection and anticipatory action can protect agricultural livelihoods.

The State of Food and Agriculture 2023: Revealing the true cost of food to transform agrifood systems (FAO)
English: https://www.fao.org/interactive/state-of-food-agriculture/en/
French: https://www.fao.org/publications/home/fao-flagship-publications/the-state-of-food-and-agriculture/fr
Spanish: https://www.fao.org/publications/home/fao-flagship-publications/the-state-of-food-and-agriculture/es
Our current agrifood systems impose huge hidden costs on our health, the environment and society, equivalent to at least $10 trillion a year, according to a ground-breaking analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), covering 154 countries. This represents almost 10 percent of global GDP. According to the 2023 edition of The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), the biggest hidden costs (more than 70 percent) are driven by unhealthy diets, high in ultra-processed foods, fats and sugars, leading to obesity and non-communicable diseases, and causing labour productivity losses. Such losses are particularly high in high- and upper-middle-income countries. One fifth of the total costs are environment-related, from greenhouse gas and nitrogen emissions, land-use change and water use. This is a problem that affects all countries, and the scale is probably underestimated due to data limitations. Low-income countries are proportionately the hardest hit by hidden costs of agrifood systems, which represent more than a quarter of their GDP, as opposed to less than 12 percent in middle-income countries and less than 8 percent in high-income countries. In low-income countries, hidden costs associated with poverty and undernourishment are the most significant. The report makes the case for more regular and detailed analysis by governments and the private sector of the hidden or ‘true’ costs of agrifood systems via true cost accounting, followed by actions to mitigate these harms.

State of Global Water Resources 2022 (WMO)
The hydrological cycle is spinning out of balance as a result of climate change and human activities, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization, which provides an extensive assessment of global water resources. Droughts and extreme rainfall events are wreaking a heavy toll on lives and economies. Melting snow, ice and glaciers have increased hazards like floods and threaten long-term water security for many millions of people. And yet, far too little is known about the true state of the world’s freshwater resources. We cannot manage what we do not measure, says the report, calling for a fundamental policy shift. There must be improved monitoring, data-sharing, cross-border collaboration and assessments of water resources – and an accompanying increase in investments to facilitate this. This is vital to help society cope with increasing water extremes of too much or too little, it says. The WMO State of Global Water Resources Report 2022 builds on a pilot issued last year. It contains more expanded information on important hydrological variables like groundwater, evaporation, streamflow, terrestrial water storage, soil moisture, cryosphere (frozen water), inflows to reservoirs, and hydrological disasters. It integrates field observations, satellite-based remote sensing data and numerical modelling simulations to assess water resources at the global scale.

UNCCD Data Dashboard
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has launched its first-ever Data Dashboard compiling national reporting figures from 126 countries, which shows that land degradation is advancing at an astonishing rate across all regions. Between 2015 and 2019, the world lost at least 100 million hectares of healthy and productive land each year, adding up to twice the size of Greenland. These statistics underscore the need for urgent action, as escalating land degradation continues to destabilize markets, communities, and ecosystems around the globe. The UNCCD Data Dashboard launch comes at a critical juncture as world leaders and experts will soon gather in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from 13-17 November 2023 for the 21st session of the UNCCD Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 21). Delegates will review global progress made toward land degradation neutrality (LDN) and confront pressing issues like enhancing drought resilience, promoting women’s land rights, and combating sand and dust storms.

Urban forests: a global perspective (FAO)
Urban forests, trees and green spaces play a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of urban life, but their benefits are still not equally accessible to all, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Launched on 16 October 2023 at the 2nd World Forum on Urban Forests in Washington DC, the report warns that action is needed to make urban greening more equitable in order to achieve global goals, particularly as cities face growing challenges due to climate change. It provides a region-by-region overview of the current state of urban forestry worldwide, and also includes case studies of how some cities and regions are investing in green infrastructure and solutions to achieve better outcomes for all residents in the face of global warming.


International Peace and Security

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the theme “Peace through dialogue: the contribution of regional, subregional and bilateral arrangements to the prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2023/732
Brazil, in its capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of October 2023, held a high-level debate on the theme “Peace through dialogue: the contribution of regional, subregional and bilateral arrangements to the prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes”, on 20 October 2023. In order to guide the discussions on this topic, Brazil has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the theme “Women’s participation in international peace and security: from theory to practice”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2023/733
Brazil, in its capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of October 2023, will convene a ministerial-level open debate on the theme “Women’s participation in international peace and security: from theory to practice”, in connection with the item entitled “Women and peace and security”, on 25 October 2023. In order to guide the discussions on this topic, Brazil has prepared a concept note.

Concept note for the Arria-formula meeting on the theme “Preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2023/779
The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Albania, the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States Mission to the United Nations will organized an Arria-formula meeting on the theme “Preventing and responding to conflict -related sexual violence” on 18 October 2023. In order to guide the discussions on this topic this concept note was prepared.

War on Gaza 2023: an unprecedented and devastating impact (ESCWA)
The war on Gaza and its full siege by Israel have been unprecedented in the scale of death and destruction, with profound and devastating impacts on the lives of Palestinians. To date, more than 6,500 lives were lost, 40 per cent of which were children, which is more than triple the combined total of four previous escalations since 2008. Moreover, Israeli bombardment has fully destroyed or severely damaged 42 per cent of housing units. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has issued a policy brief to unpack the dire situation by looking at two of its critical aspects: the socioeconomic context of Gaza prior to the war, characterized by occupation, blockade and recurrent military escalations; and the immediate and long-term consequences of the war.

Women and peace and security: Report of the Secretary-General (S/2023/725, 28 September 2023)
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2023/725
More than 600 million women and girls lived in conflict-affected countries in 2022, a 50 per cent increase since 2017. Civilians around the world need greater humanitarian aid than ever before—but countries are instead increasing military spending, which topped USD 2.2 trillion in 2022. That is the picture painted by a new report by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on women, peace, and security which UN Women drafted on behalf of the UN system. The report was issued 23 years after Security Council resolution 1325, , which called for all parties to conflicts to ensure the safety of women and girls, and for women’s full involvement in peace processes.
see also: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/in-focus/2023/10/in-focus-the-women-peace-and-security-debate


Human Rights

Attack on Funeral Reception in Hroza, 5 October 2023 (HRMMU)
On 5 October, a missile struck a café in the small village of Hroza in eastern Ukraine, killing 59 people attending a funeral reception. It was, as we said at the time, one of the deadliest single incidents for civilians since February 2022. This report, published on 31 October 2023, concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the missile was launched by Russian armed forces, and that there was no indication of military personnel or any other legitimate military targets at or adjacent to the café at the time of the attack. The report was based on information collected and verified by the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), who carried out two fact-finding missions to Hroza on 7 and 10 October. The site of the blast was inspected and 35 people interviewed, including local residents, witnesses, two survivors, medical staff and morgue employees.

DPPA-OHCHR Practice Note: Enhancing the quality and effectiveness of mediation efforts through human rights
“Foreword: As we commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of United Nations Special Political Missions, we are honoured to present this practice note on mediation and human rights — a collaboration of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Peace without respect for human rights is incomplete and impossible, especially in a world facing multifaceted challenges. This practice note delves into practical strategies and real-world examples to help mediators and human rights practitioners weave human rights principles and considerations into their work in general and in every step of mediation efforts specifically. Human rights are the bedrock of a fair and just society, but at a more immediate level they also constitute a problem-solving tool. The note shows that human rights offer practical solutions to many of the challenging issues that mediators try to address. This joint effort illuminates the power and potential of dialogue and rights, and demonstrates that successful peacemaking embraces the fundamental rights of all parties involved, including those most marginalized. By integrating the mediation process with human rights considerations, we hope and aspire to increase the odds of reaching more inclusive and just peace agreements, which in turn, contribute to a more sustainable peace.

Mental health, human rights and legislation: guidance and practice
Ahead of World Mental Health Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) have jointly launched a new guidance to support countries to reform legislation in order to end human rights abuses and increase access to quality mental health care. Human rights abuses and coercive practices in mental health care, supported by existing legislation and policies, are still far too common. Involuntary hospitalization and treatment, unsanitary living conditions and physical, psychological, and emotional abuse characterize many mental health services across the world. While many countries have sought to reform their laws, policies and services since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006, too few have adopted or amended the relevant laws and policies on the scale needed to end abuses and promote human rights in mental health care.

OHCHR Technical Note on the Human Rights of Intersex People: Human Rights Standards and Good
2023 OHCHR technical note that provides an overview of the international human rights norms and standards and relevant recommendations of United Nations human rights mechanisms and good practices by States in relation to the human rights of intersex people. This includes extracts of outputs of United Nations human rights mechanisms, including Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures and OHCHR. This technical note is a resource for States and other stakeholders to support alignment between national legislation and international human rights norms and standards.

Parliaments and Human Rights: A self-assessment toolkit
English, French & Spanish: https://www.ohchr.org/en/publications/policy-and-methodological-publications/parliaments-and-human-rights-self-assessment
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the UN Human Rights Office launched a toolkit on 11 October 2023 to help Parliaments better integrate human rights into their work. The toolkit provides a practical introduction to assessing how human rights can be better mainstreamed into Parliamentary processes and structures. The toolkit is designed to empower Parliamentarians as champions of human rights for their constituents.

Protecting Human Rights in Constitutions (UNDP)
Protecting Human Rights in Constitutions is a guidebook that delivers practical and accessible advice for securing human rights in constitutions. It identifies the rights one would expect to find in a democratic society which complies with international human rights norms and standards; describes the scope of each right and the different protections it seeks to afford; and provides examples of the way the right has been translated into different constitutions, as well as references to the international treaties and standards that enunciate the right. In this way, it is designed to develop the capacity of UNDP staff, other international constitutional assistance providers, and national partners engaged in constitution-drafting processes to promote the effective inclusion of human rights in constitutions. This guidebook contributes to, and complements, the support that UNDP provides to a range of national partners and stakeholders in writing or amending their constitutions. It also complements UNDP’s larger efforts in achieving lasting peace and sustainable development, and in contributing to establish a culture of respect for the rule of law, as well as in embedding human rights principles in UNDP’s work to build integrated and sustainable solutions for people and planet.

Taking Stock: Sexual and Reproductive and Health and Rights in Climate Commitments: A Global Review (UNFPA)
Only one third of countries have committed to upholding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in their national climate plans, according to new findings by UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. In a global first, a new report released on 10 October 2023 by UNFPA in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London examines the climate plans of 119 countries to establish how access to contraception, gender-based violence support services and maternal health care are integrated into climate adaptation goals. The report shows that of the 38 countries that have integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights into their climate plans, only 23 reference maternal and newborn health, while just 15 reference gender-based violence. Yet climate change is well known to act as a risk multiplier for women and girls. Climate-related displacement can disrupt access to family planning facilities and gender-based violence protection services, while increased food insecurity as a result of extreme weather can exacerbate the risk of stillbirth and severely impact maternal and newborn health. While women and girls in the poorest countries have contributed the least to the climate crisis, they are often the most impacted – and these findings suggest that their needs are, once more, being overlooked.

Together for prevention: Handbook on multisectoral national action plans to prevent violence against women and girls (UN Women)
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) has significant and lasting physical, economic, and psychological consequences on women and girls, which hinder their full participation in society. Despite alarming statistics, global evidence suggests that VAWG is preventable. In recent decades, numerous countries, guided by regional and international human rights frameworks, have implemented national action plans (NAPs) to address VAWG and promote gender equality. However, many NAPs primarily focus on responding to violence after it occurs, rather than addressing its root causes. Our global aspiration to eradicate VAWG hinges on preventing violence in the first place through a comprehensive, inclusive approach, with gender equality at its core. This handbook is designed to strengthen national, multisectoral efforts for VAWG prevention and to inspire governments and stakeholders to prioritize, fund, and commit to preventing and ending VAWG in our lifetime. Its objectives include supporting countries to develop specialized NAPs for VAWG prevention and enhancing existing national approaches. The handbook is intended for policymakers responsible for developing multisectoral NAPs, civil society and development partners advocating for holistic prevention approaches, development partners supporting whole-of-government NAPs, and practitioners and stakeholders engaged in NAP implementation.


Humanitarian Affairs

2023 Global Survey Report on Persons with Disabilities and Disasters (UNDRR)
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 recognizes persons with disabilities as contributing stakeholders, emphasizing the need for inclusion in all DRR policies and practices. To understand the progress made in disability inclusion in DRR, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) conducted the 2023 Global Survey on Persons with Disabilities and Disasters as a follow-up to the 2013 Global Survey. The survey aimed to identify if persons with disabilities are prepared for potential disasters, whether early warning and risk information is available and accessible, if persons with disabilities are aware of DRR plans at national and local levels, and if persons with disabilities are participating in DRR decision-making and planning. The survey was conducted between January and March 2023 and resulted in a total of 6,342 responses from 132 countries. For comparison, the 2013 survey resulted in 5,717 responses from 137 countries.

Empowering Migrants and Communities: Private Sector Engagement for Inclusive Sustainable Development (UNDP)
The need to expand private sector engagement for enhanced migration and sustainable development outcomes is very clear. International agreements, like the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, have already recognized that the private sector has a critical role to play in ensuring that migrants can contribute to sustainable development and that their fundamental rights are upheld. This report, Empowering Migrants and Communities: Private Sector Engagement for Inclusive Sustainable Development, shows how governments, international cooperation and development actors can promote more robust private sector engagement. The report is by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Development Programme (UNDP) and draws on ‘Making Migration Work for Sustainable Development’ (M4SD), a joint 11 country programme supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The report contains recommendations for governments and development actors to support: private sector mappings; advocacy on the benefits of migration; the creation of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and knowledge exchange; increasing the access to decent jobs for migrants; addressing policy and regulatory barriers to integration and social cohesion; and involving the private sector in decision-making processes on migration.

Post-Disaster Needs Assessment: 2023 Kakhovka Dam Disaster, Ukraine
The Post Disaster Needs Assessment report of the Kakhovka Dam Disaster was jointly prepared by еhe Government of Ukraine and the United Nations. The report benefitted from inputs provided by the World Bank Group (particularly through the GRADE assessment), the European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Health Organization (WHO). On the part of the Government of Ukraine, the PDNA was led by the Ministry of Economy. All relevant line ministries have participated in the assessment, with extensive support from the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) for data provision and analysis. This publication benefitted from data provided by EMITTER project, which is realized under the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union. The sector-wise chapters of the report were authored by teams consisting of national and international UN experts and their Government of Ukraine counterparts, with technical support and guidance provided by UNDP. The final report, including the Executive Summary, Introduction, and Recovery Framework and Strategy, was compiled and edited by the UN Resident Coordinator Office (UNRCO)’s core team and an international expert.

Rapid Environmental Assessment of Kakhovka Dam Breach Ukraine, 2023 (UNEP)
Much of the damage caused by the breach of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam in June 2023 is irreversible, with likely changes to the environment that could have impacts on ecosystems and human health. These findings are part of an assessment published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which calls for specific immediate and long-term remediation measures. Carried out at the request of the Ukrainian Government, the assessment concluded that consequences will be felt for decades, reaching far beyond Ukraine’s borders. The assessment was led by experts from 13 institutions in Kyiv and abroad, and leveraged official data, satellite imagery and remote sensing, while noting challenges in accessing the site that is in a war zone. The assessment encompasses damage caused both upstream and downstream, including hydrological and geomorphic impacts, chemical contamination, waste, and ecological damage, including to protected areas. The assessment does not address the full impacts on irrigation, drinking water and supply of water to industry – including the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant – and associated human health impacts. External financial and technical support is urgent and indispensable for the planning and implementation of remediation and restoration actions for the dam. More generally, this breach is a continuation of a wider suite of damage and environmental devastation, previously discussed in a UNEP review of the environmental impact of the war. It will take several assessments and significant funding to address the full scale of environmental impacts within all parts of the affected territory.


Justice and International Law

Guidance Note of the Secretary General: Transitional Justice – A Strategic Tool for People, Prevention and Peace
The United Nations Secretary General adopted his Guidance Note on Transitional Justice: A Strategic Tool for People, Prevention and Peace in June 2023. The new Guidance Note is a result of a cross-pillar project under the auspices of Executive Office of the Secretary General and co-leadership of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It followed an extensive consultative process with all relevant United Nations entities and offices. The Guidance Note promotes transitional justice as a pragmatic human rights-based policy tool at the disposal of national stakeholders that is relevant to enhancing peace and security, human rights and accountability, and sustainable development. It aims to achieve greater innovation in the design and implementation of the Organization’s transitional justice work and support to national stakeholders and to contribute to tangible and transformational impact for people and communities.


Drug Control, Crime Prevention and Counter-terrorism

Afghanistan opium survey 2023 (UNODC Research Brief, August 2023)
Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan plunged by an estimated 95 per cent following a drug ban imposed by the de facto authorities in April 2022, according to a new research brief from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). UN officials noted that the near-total contraction of the opiate economy is expected to have far-reaching consequences and highlighted the urgent need for enhanced assistance for rural communities, accompanied by alternative development support to build an opium-free future for the people of Afghanistan. Opium cultivation fell across all parts of the country, from 233,000 hectares to just 10,800 hectares in 2023. The decrease has led to a corresponding 95 per cent drop in the supply of opium, from 6,200 tons in 2022 to just 333 tons in 2023.  The sharp reduction has had immediate humanitarian consequences for many vulnerable rural communities who relied on income from cultivating opium. Farmers’ income from selling the 2023 opium harvest to traders fell by more than 92 per cent from an estimated US$1,360 million for the 2022 harvest to US$110 million in 2023.


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