UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – September 2020

Latest UNRIC Library Newsletter


New UN websites & publications

UN in General

Theme for the General Debate of the 75th session of the General Assembly:
“The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism –confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action”

The 75th regular session of the General Assembly will open 15 September 2020.

Further information:
• Quiet corridors but a full programme at virtual UNGA75: five things you need to know (UN News Centre, 6 September 2020): https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/09/1071712

Press Kit
consisting of biography of the General Assembly President, his vision statement, his acceptance speech, backgrounder on the 75th session of the GA, list of past GA presidents
English: https://www.un.org/en/pga-elect/75
French: https://www.un.org/fr/pga-elect/75
Spanish: https://www.un.org/es/pga-elect/75

Agenda of the 75th session
English: https://www.un.org/en/ga/75/agenda/
French: https://www.un.org/fr/ga/75/agenda/
Spanish: https://www.un.org/es/ga/75/agenda/

High-Level Meetings of the 75th Session
English: https://www.un.org/en/ga/75/meetings/index.shtml
French: https://www.un.org/fr/ga/75/meetings/index.shtml
Spanish: https://www.un.org/es/ga/75/meetings/index.shtml

Provisional Schedule

  • General debate: Tuesday, 22 September to Saturday, 26 September, and Tuesday, 29 September 2020.
  • High-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN: Monday, 21 September 2020.
  • Biodiversity Summit: Wednesday, 30 September 2020.
  • High-level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women: Thursday, 1 October 2020.
  • High-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: Friday, 2 October 2020.

Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization (A/75/1)
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/A/75/1
German: https://www.un.org/Depts/german/gs/a75-1.pdf
“Introduction: In 1945, world leaders gathered in San Francisco to sign the Charter of the United Nations, which gave birth to an organization that represented new hope for a world emerging from the horrors of the Second World War. Our founders were in no doubt about the kind of world that they wished to banish to the past. In 2020, as the United Nations celebrates 75 years since the Charter’s signing, we have an opportunity to reflect on our shared progress, as well as our common future. Our vision and values –based on equality, mutual respect and international cooperation – helped us to avoid a Third World War, which would have had catastrophic consequences for life on our planet. For 75 years, we have forged productive cooperative relationships for global problem-solving and the common good. We have put in place vital norms and agreements that codify and protect human rights, set ambitious goals for sustainable development and charted a path towards a more balanced relationship with the climate and the natural world. Billions of people have emerged from the yoke of colonialism. Millions have been lifted out of poverty.”

Security Council Membership Dashboard – new interactive tool
The Security Council Membership Dashboard is elaborated by the Security Council Affairs Division as an interactive information resource. It provides an overview of the composition of the Security Council since 1946, allowing users to visualize the data by year and by elected members. It is updated on an annual basis following the election by the General Assembly in accordance with Article 23 of the Charter of the United Nations.

United Nations Guide to Model UN
Model United Nations (MUN) simulations are popular exercises for those interested in learning more about the UN. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of students worldwide participate every year in Model UN at all educational levels in schools and universities. Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts participated in Model UN as students. Some Model UNs however do not follow the actual rules and practices used at the UN. This guide is designed for students and teachers on how to organize and participate in Model UNs that simulate the way the UN actually works.

UNRIC Library and Info Point Backgrounders banner
UNRIC Library Backgrounders
English: https://unric.org/en/info-point-library/backgrounders/
French: https://unric.org/fr/ressources/informations-par-theme-et-par-pays/
Spanish: https://unric.org/es/recursos/informacion-general/
It did take some time after the launch of UNRIC’s redesigned website, but now all UNRIC Library Backgrounders in English are back online in html format and have also been updated. We currently cover 55 different topics. You can also access the French versions (39 topics) and the Spanish ones (6 topics) in pdf format.


Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Policy Brief: COVID-19 and Transforming Tourism (August 2020)
Tourism provides livelihoods for millions of people and allows billions more to appreciate their own and different cultures, as well as the natural world. For some countries, it can represent over 20 per cent of their GDP and, overall, it is the third largest export sector of the global economy. Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting economies, livelihoods, public services and opportunities on all continents. While sustaining the livelihoods dependent on the sector must be a priority, rebuilding tourism is also an opportunity for transformation with a focus on leveraging its impact on destinations visited and building more resilient communities and businesses through innovation, digitalization, sustainability, and partnerships.
see also:
English – https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/it-imperative-we-rebuild-tourism-sector
French – https://www.un.org/fr/coronavirus/it-imperative-we-rebuild-tourism-sector
Spanish – https://www.un.org/es/coronavirus/articles/it-imperative-we-rebuild-tourism-sector

Building Back Equal: Girls Back to School Guide
English, French & Spanish: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000374094
The guide – launched on 25 August by Malala Fund, Plan International, UNESCO, UNGEI and UNICEF – aims to help policymakers and practitioners in Ministries of Education and their partners address the gender dimensions of COVID-related school closures. It provides targeted recommendations to ensure continuity of learning while schools are closed, and to establish comprehensive, timely and evidence-based plans for reopening schools in a way that is safe, gender-responsive and child-friendly, and meets the needs of the most marginalised girls. It emphasises an approach to ‘build back equal’ through gender-responsive measures that transform education systems, prioritise resilience, and address the key bottlenecks and barriers to girls’ education. This guide was developed by partners in UNESCO’s COVID-19 Global Education Coalition’s Gender Flagship, as part of a global campaign to ensure all girls can continue to learn during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gender Flagship provides a collaborative platform for stakeholders committed to gender equality, and girls’ and women’s empowerment in and through education.

Africa trade and Covid 19: The supply chain dimension (UNECE / ODI)
The Africa Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with the UK-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) released a working paper on 18 August. The paper investigates the impacts of the pandemic on trade and value chains in Africa, with a special focus on Ethiopia and Kenya, and the pharmaceutical sector. It also makes specific policy recommendations on how the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can be reconfigured to reflect the new realities and risks of the 21st century.

Coming Together for Refugee Education (UNHCR)
In this report released on 3 September 2020, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, predicts that unless immediate and bold action is taken by the international community to beat back the catastrophic effects of COVID-19 on refugee education, the potential of millions of young refugees living in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities will be further threatened. The data in the report is based on the gross enrolment figures from the 2019 school cycle. While children in every country have struggled with the impact of COVID-19 on their education, the report finds that refugee children have been particularly disadvantaged. Before the pandemic, a refugee child was twice as likely to be out of school as a non-refugee child. This is set to worsen – many may not have opportunities to resume their studies due to school closures, difficulties affording fees, uniforms or books, lack of access to technologies or because they are being required to work to support their families.

Coming Together While Staying Apart: Facilitating Collective Action through Trust and Social Connection in the Age of COVID-19 (World Bank)
Facing the COVID-19 pandemic requires an unprecedented degree of cooperation between governments and citizens and across all facets of society to implement spatial distancing and other policy measures. This paper proposes to think about handling the pandemic as a collective action problem that can be alleviated by policies that foster trust and social connection. Policy and institutional recommendations are presented according to a three-layered pandemic response generally corresponding to short-, medium-, and long-term needs. This paper focuses on building connection and cooperation as means to bring about better health and socioeconomic outcomes. Many factors outside the paper’s scope, such as health policy choices, will greatly affect the outcomes. As such, the paper explores the role of trust, communication, and collaboration conditional on sound health and economic policy choices.

COVID-19: Are children able to continue learning during school closures? A global analysis of the potential reach of remote learning policies (UNICEF)
At least a third of the world’s schoolchildren – 463 million children globally – were unable to access remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered their schools, according to a new UNICEF report released on 27 August 2020 as countries across the world grapple with their ‘back-to-school’ plans. At the height of nationwide and local lockdowns, around 1.5 billion schoolchildren were affected by school closures. The report outlines the limitations of remote learning and exposes deep inequalities in access. The report uses a globally representative analysis on the availability of home-based technology and tools needed for remote learning among pre-primary, primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary schoolchildren, with data from 100 countries. Data include access to television, radio and internet, and the availability of curriculum delivered across these platforms during school closures.

COVID-19: How are Countries Preparing to Mitigate the Learning Loss as They Reopen Schools? Trends and emerging good practices to support the most vulnerable children (UNICEF Innocenti Research Brief)
Some countries are starting to reopen schools as others develop plans to do so following widespread and extended closures due to COVID-19. Using data from two surveys and 164 countries, this research brief describes the educational strategies countries are putting into place, or plan to, in order to mitigate learning impacts of extended school closures, particularly for the most vulnerable children. In addition, it highlights emerging good practices.

COVID-19 and HIV: 1 moment, 2 epidemics, 3 opportunities—how to seize the moment to learn, leverage and build a new way forward for everyone’s health and rights (UNAIDS)
A new report from UNAIDS – released on 9 September 2020 – shows how countries grappling with COVID-19 are using the experience and infrastructure from the AIDS response to ensure a more robust response to both pandemics. It shows that by identifying the dynamic changes needed, systems can be found that are effective, inclusive, equitable and sufficiently resourced. The three opportunities highlighted in the report are: (1) that key lessons learned from the HIV response should inform COVID-19 responses; (2) how the HIV infrastructure is already driving COVID-19 responses and has the potential to catalyse accelerated progress; and (3) how the COVID-19 and HIV responses offer a historic opportunity to build a bridge to adaptable, results-driven systems for health that work for people.

COVID-19 Data Portal
The UN Development Coordination Office has a new data portal tracking the work of UN teams to tackle COVID-19 in 162 countries and territories. The web portal is a public platform covering the UN work to respond and recover from the pandemic’s impacts, but also shows data from the health and humanitarian response led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and our humanitarian colleagues. The portal shows that more than 100 UN teams have repurposed $2.44 billion to help Governments tackle the health, humanitarian and social and economic needs. Nearly 80 UN teams are rolling out their plans to save lives and livelihoods, and more than 70 UN teams have mobilized funding to support countries, bringing an extra $1.15 billion from a range of sources, including the Joint SDG Fund and the UN’s “Recover Better Fund”, as well as other partners.

From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the wake of COVID-19 (UN Women / UNDP)
The COVID-19 crisis will dramatically increase the poverty rate for women and widen the gap between men and women who live in poverty, according to new data released on 2 September by UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The poverty rate for women was expected to decrease by 2.7 per cent between 2019 and 2021, but projections now point to an increase of 9.1 per cent due to the pandemic and its fallout. The projections, commissioned by UN Women and UNDP, and carried out by the Pardee Centre for International Futures at the University of Denver, show that while the pandemic will impact global poverty generally, women will be disproportionately affected, especially women of reproductive age. By 2021, for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 living in extreme poverty (living on USD 1.90 a day or less), there will be 118 women, a gap that is expected to increase to 121 women per 100 men by 2030.

Guidance on Protection for Migrant Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic (ICC / IOM)
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have published a set of guidelines for employers highlighting the private sector’s role in addressing the specific challenges of migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance includes a set of general principles for employers—such as treating all workers with “equality, dignity, and respect”—notwithstanding their gender or migratory status. This guidance is presented in five categories: physical and mental health, living and working conditions, economic support, ethical recruitment and supply chain transparency.

How Covid-19 is changing the world: a statistical perspective – Volume II (UN/DESA)
Throughout the current crisis, the international statistics community has continued to work together, in partnership with national statistical offices and systems around the world to ensure that the best quality data and statistics are available to support decision making during and after the crisis. This second report – compiled jointly by international organizations, under the aegis of the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA) and released on 1 September 2020 – gives a flavor of that cooperation. It provides an updated snapshot of some of the latest information available on how COVID-19 is affecting different aspects of public and private life.
Volume I: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/ccsa/documents/covid19-report-ccsa.pdf

Looking back to look ahead: A rights-based approach to social protection in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery
The UN’s independent expert on extreme poverty said in a report published on 11 September 2020 that while governments have adopted more than 1,400 social protection measures since the outbreak of COVID-19 they were largely insufficient, and warned the worst impacts on poverty were yet to come. “The social safety nets put into place are full of holes,” said Olivier De Schutter, calling on world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York to strengthen measures to help the poor. “These current measures are generally short-term, the funding is insufficient, and many people will inevitably fall between the cracks.” The economic downturn resulting from the pandemic is unprecedented in times of peace since the Great Depression, he said, adding another 176 million people could fall into poverty when using a poverty baseline of 3.20 USD/day. This is equivalent to an increase in the poverty rate of 2.3 percentage points compared to a no-COVID-19 scenario. World Bank data covering 113 countries show that US$589bn have been pledged for social protection, representing about 0.4 percent of the world’s GDP. However, the expert’s report says those initiatives will fail to prevent people falling into poverty. Many of the poorest people are excluded from the social protection schemes that are meant to support them.

Platform for Redesign 2020: Online Platform on Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19
A new online platform on sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 has been launched by the Government of Japan with support from UN Climate Change.
The new platform is a hub that collates countries’ climate and other environmental policies and actions that are planned and implemented in the context of recovery from COVID-19.
While the COVID crisis threatens to undermine global climate action, recovery from the pandemic is a historic opportunity to reshape economies in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and green the world’s economies to create a healthier, more sustainable world.

Progress on drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene in schools: Special focus on COVID-19 (WHO / UNICEF)
Report & report highlights: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/progress-on-drinking-water-sanitation-and-hygiene-in-schools
As schools worldwide struggle with reopening, the latest data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), released on 13 August 2020, reveal that 43 per cent of schools around the world lacked access to basic handwashing with soap and water in 2019 – a key condition for schools to be able to operate safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, around 818 million children lack basic handwashing facilities at their schools, which puts them at increased risk of COVID-19 and other transmittable diseases. More than one third of these children (295 million) are from sub-Saharan Africa.
In the least developed countries, 7 out of 10 schools lack basic handwashing facilities and half of schools lack basic sanitation and water services. The report stresses that governments seeking to control the spread of COVID-19 must balance the need for implementation of public health measures versus the associated social and economic impacts of lockdown measures. Evidence of the negative impacts of prolonged school closures on children’s safety, wellbeing and learning are well-documented, the report says.

Pulse survey on continuity of essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic: interim report, 27 August 2020 (WHO)
The World Health Organization (WHO) published on 31 August 2020 a first indicative survey on the impact of COVID-19 on health systems based on 105 countries’ reports. Data collected from five regions over the period from March to June 2020 illustrate that almost every country (90%) experienced disruption to its health services, with low- and middle-income countries reporting the greatest difficulties. Most countries reported that many routine and elective services have been suspended, while critical care – such as cancer screening and treatment and HIV therapy – has seen high-risk interruptions in low-income countries.

Responding to non-communicable diseases during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic
This brief provides guidance for governments, policymakers, UN agencies and development partners to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as an integral part of the COVID-19 response and in broader efforts for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The brief was developed by UNDP and WHO in partnership with the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

Rights in a pandemic: Lockdowns, rights and lessons from HIV in the early response to COVID-19 (UNAIDS)
Rights in a Pandemic outlines 10 immediate areas for action for governments towards building effective, rights-based COVID-19 responses. These include taking proactive measures to ensure that people, particularly people in vulnerable groups, can access HIV treatment and prevention services, designating and supporting essential workers, including community-led organizations, and implementing measures to prevent and address gender-based violence. The report builds on Rights in the time of COVID-19, released by UNAIDS in March 2020, which urged countries to take a human rights approach in responding to COVID-19, in line with best practices from 40 years of responding to HIV.

Trade Costs in the Time of Global Pandemic (WTO)
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat has published a new information note warning of possible increases to trade costs due to COVID-19 disruptions. The note examines the pandemic’s impact on key components of trade costs, particularly those relating to travel and transport, trade policy, uncertainty, and identifies areas where higher costs may persist even after the pandemic is contained.

Youth and COVID-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being (ILO)
Report & Summary: https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/youth-employment/publications/WCMS_753026/lang–en/index.htm
The COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating effect on the education and training of young people. Since the outset of the pandemic more than 70 per cent of youth who study or combine study with work have been adversely affected by the closing of schools, universities and training centres, according to an analysis by the International Labour Organization (ILO). According to the report, 65 per cent of young people reported having learned less since the beginning of the pandemic because of the transition from classroom to online and distance learning during lockdown. Despite their efforts to continue studying and training, half of them believed their studies would be delayed and nine per cent thought that they might fail. The situation has been even worse for youth living in lower-income countries, who have less access to the internet, a lack of equipment and sometimes a lack of space at home. This highlights large ’digital divides’ between regions; while 65 per cent of youth in high-income countries were taught classes via video-lectures only 18 per cent in low-income countries were able to keep studying online.


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

Achieving SDGs in the wake of COVID-19: Scenarios for policymakers (UN DESA Policy Brief 84)

  • Despite the setbacks caused by COVID-19, it is possible for the world to regain momentum and move ahead towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • SDG progress has shown to be linked with countries’ success in dealing with the pandemic.
  • The COVID-19 crisis has revealed some fundamental development challenges that countries face and could be converted into an opportunity for recovering better, if much of the resources aimed at recovery are directed toward promoting the SDGs.
  • Establishment of robust universal healthcare and social protection systems should be taken as immediate goals, and efforts should be made to build upon the emergency measures taken during the COVID-19 crisis so as to reach these goals.
  • The opposite effects of COVID-19 on prosperity and planet show that the current ways of achieving prosperity are a threat to the health of the planet. Achieving sustainable development requires sustaining and bolstering current environmental gains and pursuing a green recovery.

Food Systems Summit 2021
In 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit to raise global awareness and land global commitments and actions that transform food systems to resolve not only hunger, but to reduce diet-related disease and heal the planet. The Secretary General is calling for collective action of all citizens to radically change the way we produce, process, and consume food.
see also:
‘I don’t understand why Africa is still hungry’: UN envoy’s plan to transform food systems for all (4 September 2020): https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/09/1071682

Joining forces to shape the fishery sector of tomorrow: Promoting safety and decent work in fisheriesthrough the application of international standards (FAO / ILO / IMO)
This brochure gives a summary overview of four international binding fisheries instruments (conventions and agreements) that promote the safety of fishing vessels, safety of fishers, training of fishers, and responsible and safe fisheries operations. This brochure has been prepared by IMO, ILO, and FAO to provide guidance to policy and decision-makers and other stakeholders in the fisheries, maritime, and labour sectors with a view to promote ratification and implementation of four main fisheries instruments.

Just In Time Arrival Guide: Barriers and Potential Solutions (IMO) http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/PartnershipsProjects/Documents/GIA-just-in-time-hires.pdf
A new Just In Time Arrival Guide which aims to provide both port and shipping sectors with practical guidance on how to facilitate Just In Time Arrivals has been released by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Guide has been developed by the Global Industry Alliance to support low carbon shipping (Low Carbon GIA), based on research and discussion amongst its membership, and the Guide documents the findings of a series of industry roundtables which brought together nearly 50 companies and organizations who are key stakeholders in the port call process.

People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future
Report: https://bit.ly/3h4a9qY
Summary: https://bit.ly/2FcuE7M
Task Force website: https://www.un.org/en/digital-financing-taskforce
On 26 August 2020, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, together with Co-Chairs Achim Steiner and Maria Ramos, launched the report of the Task Force, People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future. The Task Force was established by the Secretary General as part of his broader Roadmap for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: 2019-2021. Its mandate: to catalyse and recommend ways to harness digital financing to accelerate the financing of the Sustainable Development Goals. It brought together 17 leaders from finance, technology, policy, regulation and international development, who through their work together, engaged in dozens of countries and with hundreds of experts and institutions over an 18 month period. The Task Force’s findings point to digital disruption as an historic opportunity to reshape finance. Digitalization can have a transformative impact by empowering people as savers, lenders, borrowers, investors, and taxpayers. The Task Force has focused on how digitalization can support the development of a citizen-centric financial system that supports peoples’ priorities, collectively represented by the SDGs. The report illustrates, through case examples and data, how digitalization has the potential to reshape the flows of large amounts of finance towards SDG impacts and alignment through more and better data, cheaper intermediation and innovative new business models.

Scaling up Voluntary Sustainability Standards through Sustainable Public Procurement and Trade Policy: 4th Flagship Report of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS)
E-Publication: https://unfss.org/4th_flagship_report/
While COVID-19 threatens to reverse the decade-long progress on the fight against poverty, the pandemic sharply focuses the world’s attention on health concerns, including human health, environmental health and planetary health. In this respect, Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) have been recognised as potentially transformative tools for governments and businesses to realise their sustainability commitments. The 4th Flagship responds directly to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres call for climate-related and human rights actions to shape the recovery from COVID-19 and help developing countries achieve the SDGs. This report thus, analyses how VSS are (and can be) integrated into Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) and trade policy respectively. The concept of Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is used to refer to social- and environmental-friendly public procurement policies. The research explores some of the arguments for and against such integration.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020
English: https://bit.ly/2Zzc2WX
French: https://bit.ly/337S46u
Spanish: https://bit.ly/326Ugfg
German: https://bit.ly/3h5QvL7
The report reviews progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development amid the COVID-19 crisis. The report uses the latest available data and estimates to track progress towards the SDGs before the pandemic started, but it also looks at some of the devastating initial impacts of COVID-19 on specific Goals and targets. It uses appealing visual storytelling to make the data on SDGs progress more accessible and understandable, including using infographics. It provides in-depth analysis of selected indicators, both globally and across regions, and supported by an array of charts and maps. The report also provides a progress summary for SDG targets with a 2020 deadline. The report shows the world was not on track to meet the SDGs even before the pandemic erupted. It also highlights how the COVID-19 crisis is disrupting implementation efforts across the SDGs, undoing years and even decades of progress in some cases.
The information presented in this report is based on the latest available data (as of June 2020) on selected indicators in the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals, which was developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017 (see resolution 71/313, annex). A database of available global, regional and country data and metadata for the SDG indicators accompanying this report is available here: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/database/

United in Science 2020
Climate change has not stopped for COVID19. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record levels and continue to increase. Emissions are heading in the direction of pre-pandemic levels following a temporary decline caused by the lockdown and economic slowdown. The world is set to see its warmest five years on record – in a trend which is likely to continue – and is not on track to meet agreed targets to keep global temperature increase well below 2 °C or at 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. This is according to a new multi-agency report from leading science organizations, United in Science 2020. It highlights the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change, which affects glaciers, oceans, nature, economies and human living conditions and is often felt through water-related hazards like drought or flooding. It also documents how COVID-19 has impeded our ability to monitor these changes through the global observing system.

Worlds of Influence: Understanding what shapes child well-being in rich countries (UNICEF-Innocenti)
Suicide, unhappiness, obesity and poor social and academic skills have become far-too-common features of childhood in high-income countries, according to the latest Report Card issued on 3 September 2020 by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. UNICEF’s Report Card Series – now running for 20 years – uses comparable national data to rank EU and OECD countries on childhood. The report uses pre-COVID-19 data and features a league table according to children’s mental and physical health and academic and social skill-set. Based on these indicators the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway rank as the top three places to be a child among wealthy countries.


International Peace and Security

Concept note for the open debate of the Security Council on “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations: role of the International Organization of la Francophonie”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/880
The Security Council held an open video teleconference under the theme “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations: role of the International Organization of la Francophonie” on 8 September 2020. In order to guide discussions on this topic, the Niger, Security Council President for September, has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the open debate of the Security Council on children and armed conflict
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/881
The Security Council held an open debate on the theme “Children and armed conflict: attacks against schools as a grave violation of children’s rights” on 10 September 2020. In order to guide discussions on this topic, the Niger, Security Council President for September, has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the Security Council high-level open debate on “Maintenance of international peace and security: humanitarian effects of environmental degradation and peace and security”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/882
The Security Council plans to hold a high-level open debate on the theme “Maintenance of international peace and security: humanitarian effects of environmental degradation and peace and security” on 17 September 2020. In order to guide discussions on this topic, the Niger, Security Council President for September, has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the Security Council summit-level debate on “Maintenance of international peace and security: global governance after COVID-19”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/883
The Security Council plans to hold a summit-level debate on the theme “Maintenance of international peace and security: global governance after COVID-19” 24 September 2020. In order to guide discussions on this topic, the Niger, Security Council President for September, has prepared this concept note.

Peace Diplomacy in the Age of COVID-19: 2nd Quarterly Report of DPPA Activities Out Now
In: DPPA Politically Speaking, 27 August 2020 – https://dppa-ps.atavist.com/peace-diplomacy-in-the-age-of-covid-19

Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: Report of the Secretary-General (A/74/976–S/2020/773, 30 July 2020)
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2020/773
The 2020 Report of the Secretary-General on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace outlines how the UN is reorienting its work around prevention, supporting national governments and actors to address the root causes of vulnerability and provide pathways to sustainable development and peace. It is part of a broad and inclusive process that has defined the 2020 peacebuilding architecture review.
see also: https://www.un.org/peacebuilding/content/2020-review-un-peacebuilding-architecture

Women, Peace and Security – new web page on inclusive mediation
The Gender, Peace and Security Unit of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) launched a new web page dedicated to inclusive and gender responsive mediation. It offers resources and guidance on gender and inclusive mediation, and presents examples of the Department’s work to promote the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, focusing, for example, on the valuable work carried out by DPPA’s gender advisers in the field. It also provides a comprehensive list of reading material and information on the normative background of the WPS agenda.


Human Rights

Civil Society Report on Human Rights in Kosovo in 2019 (June 2020)
The demand for “better protection for human rights for all” is at the centre of a new annual report on Kosovo. Marigona Shabiu, editor of the report and also Executive Director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights describes it as a “historic initiative,” bringing together for the first time 21 non-government organisations (NGOs) to produce a comprehensive overview on the human rights situation in Kosovo. The report’s intention “to speak up for human rights with one unified voice, is truly an outstanding trust-building effort towards greater cooperation,” she said. Supported and facilitated by UN Human Rights and the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the report looks at a range of human rights issues in Kosovo, many of which its authors believe need urgent attention. Challenges related to civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights are comprehensively covered in the 52-page document.

International Principles and Guidelines on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities
Lawmakers, lawyers, judges and prison officers received on 28 August 2020 much-needed support from UN experts to make sure people with disabilities can use justice systems around the world as easily as anyone else, in line with international standards. The three UN bodies that deal with disability rights teamed up to issue the first-ever guidelines to help countries implement existing obligations to ensure effective access to justice for people with disabilities. The guidelines are the product of joint work by the special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility. The new document outlines 10 principles of access to justice for people with disabilities — such as “people with disabilities have the right to participate in the administration of justice on an equal basis with others” — with detailed guidelines on how to implement each one.

Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014: Comprehensive report of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen (A/HRC/45/6, 8 September 2020, Advance unedited version)
After six unremitting years of armed conflict, all parties continue to show no regard for international law or the lives, dignity, and rights of people in Yemen, according to the third report of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, which has been released on 9 September 2020. The Group of Experts has released its third report, titled ‘Yemen: A Pandemic of Impunity in a Tortured Land’ on the situation of human rights in Yemen, covering the period from July 2019 to June 2020, the official version of which will be presented to the Human Rights Council in its 45th session, on 29 September 2020. Besides this report, the Group of Experts will also release a Conference Room Paper, which is a longer and more detailed document, detailing its investigations and findings. The report investigated a number of incidents during the period covered, and also took a longer temporal scope, going back to as early as the beginning of the conflict in 2014, when deemed necessary for investigations and establishing facts for some categories of the investigated violations.


Justice and International Law

Unified Court Records Database (UCR)
The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) launched on 1 September 2020 a new Unified Court Records database (UCR), which for the first time brings together all public judicial records of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Mechanism.
The UCR provides integrated and enhanced public access to a wide array of records from these three institutions, including indictments, trial transcripts, motions, orders, decisions and judgements, as well as public evidence admitted in court and audiovisual recordings of hearings.
In addition, the UCR has been designed to facilitate legal research by enabling searches across ICTR, ICTY and Mechanism records. The new search function allows users to better tailor their research according to their specific requirements. Users can search for materials in a more targeted way by selecting multiple cases, searching the full text or title of the records, or searching by other information such as date filed or admitted, accused name, document type, case name and case number. Among other features, the UCR also includes the ‘’Recent Court Records’’ function, which displays the latest 50 court records that have been added to the database.
Records in the UCR will be updated on a regular basis, and users are invited to provide feedback on the functionality of the UCR. Other judicial records databases currently maintained by the Mechanism, including the ICTY Court Records (ICR) and Judicial Records and Archives Database (JRAD) will gradually be discontinued.
The UCR is accessible at the link ucr.irmct.org with prior registration for first-time users. In addition to English, the UCR is also available in Albanian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, French, Kinyarwanda and Macedonian.


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