UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – November 2021 – United Nations Western Europe – UNRIC.org


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Climate Change

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see also UNRIC Library Backgrounder on Climate Change

English: https://unric.org/en/unric-library-backgrounder-climate-change/

French: https://unric.org/fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/10/climatechange-french.pdf

2021 WHO Health and Climate Change Survey Report


This report provides a vital snapshot of the overall progress that governments have made in the field of health and climate change to date, as well as insight into what work remains in order to protect their populations from the most devastating health impacts of climate change. The health and climate change country survey is conducted every three years and in addition to tracking global progress, the national data are presented in the health and climate change country profiles. 95 countries participated in the 2021 survey. The survey is sent to the national health authorities, who in collaboration with other relevant ministries and stakeholders, provide updated information on key areas including: leadership and governance, national vulnerability and adaptation assessments, emergency preparedness, disease surveillance, adaptation and resilience measures, climate and health finance, and mitigation in the health sector. Regular updates on key health and climate change indicators provide insight into the implementation of policies and plans, the status of assessments of health vulnerability and capacity to respond to climate change and better understand the barriers to achieving health adaptation and mitigation priorities. The 2021 global survey report provides an update to the 2017/2018 survey, and was published at the COP26 UN climate conference in November 2021.

2021 Production Gap Report

Report in English, Executive Summary in English, French & Spanish: https://productiongap.org/2021report/

The 2021 Production Gap Report, by leading research institutes and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), finds that despite increased climate ambitions and net-zero commitments, governments still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than what would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. The report, first launched in 2019, measures the gap between governments’ planned production of coal, oil, and gas and the global production levels consistent with meeting the Paris Agreement temperature limits. Two years later, the 2021 report finds the production gap largely unchanged. Over the next two decades, governments are collectively projecting an increase in global oil and gas production, and only a modest decrease in coal production. Taken together, their plans and projections see global, total fossil fuel production increasing out to at least 2040, creating an ever-widening production gap.

The Adaptation Gap Report 2021: The Gathering Storm

: https://www.unep.org/resources/adaptation-gap-report-2021

French: https://bit.ly/3EO8an2

Spanish: https://bit.ly/3CRRn1U

Portuguese: https://bit.ly/3mOH892

As nations gather for the latest round of climate talks in Glasgow, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has called for urgent efforts to increase the financing and implementation of actions designed to adapt to the growing impacts of climate change. The report found that while policies and planning are growing for climate change adaptation, financing and implementation are still far behind where they need to be. In addition, the report finds that the opportunity to use the fiscal recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize green economic growth that also helps nations adapt to climate impacts such as droughts, storms and wildfire is largely being missed.

Beating the heat: a sustainable cooling handbook for cities (UNEP)


The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published on 3 November 2021 detailed guidance to help the world’s cities address warming, which is occurring at twice the global average rate in urban areas. The publication, prepared with RMI, states that by the end of this century, many cities could warm as much as 4 °C if GHG emissions continue at high levels. Even at 1.5°C of warming, 2.3 billion people could be vulnerable to severe heat waves. Launched at the ongoing UN Climate Conference (COP26) by the Cool Coalition, UNEP, RMI, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), Mission Innovation and the Clean Cooling Collaborative, the new guide offers planners an encyclopedia of proven options to help cool cities.

COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health: The Health Argument for Climate Action (WHO)


The 10 recommendations in the COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health propose a set of priority actions from the global health community to governments and policy makers, calling on them to act with urgency on the current climate and health crises. The recommendations were developed in consultation with over 150 organizations and 400 experts and health professionals. They are intended to inform governments and other stakeholders ahead of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to highlight various opportunities for governments to prioritize health and equity in the international climate movement and sustainable development agenda. Each recommendation comes with a selection of resources and case studies to help inspire and guide policymakers and practitioners in implementing the suggested solutions.

Children uprooted in a changing climate: Turning challenges into opportunities with and for young people (UNICEF / IOM / UNMGCY)


Climate change is already a direct challenge to children’s rights and well-being. One billion children – nearly half of children globally – are at ‘extremely high risk’ of its impacts. They face a deadly combination of exposure to multiple climate shocks and limited access to services that build their resilience. The climate is changing everywhere, and uprooted children and young people – whether living in protracted displacement, refugee camps, urban slums or bustling mega cities – are among the most exposed to its impacts. But children should not be viewed as passive bystanders in tackling the challenges posed by a changing climate. Children and young people uprooted can also be key agents for change. They have critical skills, experiences and ideas we need to better mitigate and adapt to climate change and must be partners in shaping solutions. The purpose of this brief is to spark conversation on the critical connection between climate, mobility and childhood – and its implications for policy and investment. By looking at what we know, where the worst impacts of climate change, fragility and conflict overlap, and where child mobility is both a consequence and a coping strategy, we get a clearer picture of how mobility can be leveraged to turn these challenges into opportunities – with and for children and young people uprooted from their homes.

Emissions Gap Report 2021: The Heat Is On (UNEP)

English: https://www.unep.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2021

French: https://www.unep.org/fr/resources/emissions-gap-report-2021

Spanish: https://www.unep.org/es/resources/emissions-gap-report-2021

Portuguese: https://www.unep.org/pt-br/resources/emissions-gap-report-2021

New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century, according to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) latest Emissions Gap Report 2021: The Heat Is On. The report, now in its 12th year, finds that countries’ updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – and other commitments made for 2030 but not yet submitted in an updated NDC – only take an additional 7.5 per cent off predicted annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2030, compared to the previous round of commitments. Reductions of 30 per cent are needed to stay on the least-cost pathway for 2°C and 55 per cent for 1.5°C. Released on 26 October 2021 ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the latest round of climate talks taking place in Glasgow, the report finds that net-zero pledges could make a big difference. If fully implemented, these pledges could bring the predicted global temperature rise to 2.2°C, providing hope that further action could still head off the most-catastrophic impacts of climate change. However, net-zero pledges are still vague, incomplete in many cases, and inconsistent with most 2030 NDCs.

Go Goals Climate Edition, promo cards

Go Goals Climate Edition, promo cards
Go-Goals Game: Special Climate edition


Ahead of COP26 is about to start, UNRIC launched a Special Climate edition of our Go-Goals SDGGame! Download, print, cut, glue and get playing – a great way to engage and teach children about the GlobalGoals and Climate.

Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (WMO)


The abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year, with the annual rate of increase above the 2011-2020 average. That trend has continued in 2021, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. Concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important greenhouse gas, reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020 and is 149% of the pre-industrial level. Methane (CH4) is 262% and nitrous oxide (N2O) is 123% of the levels in 1750 when human activities started disrupting Earth’s natural equilibrium. The economic slowdown from COVID-19 did not have any discernible impact on the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and their growth rates, although there was a temporary decline in new emissions. As long as emissions continue, global temperature will continue to rise. Given the long life of CO2, the temperature level already observed will persist for several decades even if emissions are rapidly reduced to net zero. Alongside rising temperatures, this means more weather extremes including intense heat and rainfall, ice melt, sea-level rise and ocean acidification, accompanied by far-reaching socioeconomic impacts.

Greening the Blue Report 2021


The 2021 edition of the Greening the Blue Report, detailing the UN System’s environmental footprint and efforts to reduce it.

Infrastructure for Climate Action (UNOPS / UNEP / University of Oxford)


A new report, published ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) has called for a radical change in how governments plan, deliver and manage infrastructure – emphasising the often-overlooked role infrastructure plays in combating climate change, mitigation, and adaptation efforts. The new report is co-published by UNOPS, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the University of Oxford. The research looks in detail at the influence of infrastructure on climate action across energy, transport, water, solid waste, digital communications and buildings sectors. The findings highlight that infrastructure is responsible for 79 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, as well as 88 per cent of all adaptation costs and therefore the sector is centrally important to achieving the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Making Climate and Environment Policies for and with Children and Young People (UNICEF)


The climate crisis is a child rights crisis. It is a direct threat to a child’s ability to survive, grow and thrive. Children and young people are the least responsible for climate change yet will bear the greatest burden of its impacts. Therefore, it is critical that national climate policies that set forth the priorities for climate response in countries are child-sensitive. This means that national climate polices engage children and young people during development and prioritize building the climate resilience of services that they depend upon most. Prioritizing the climate resilience of social sectors such as water, health and education is imperative, as this is often the best way to reduce climate risk, particularly in countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change but have low per-capita

emissions. The UNICEF discussion paper Making Climate and Environment Policies for and with Children and Young People presented here showcases study findings from an analysis of new and updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) on child sensitivity. It also provides case studies of child-sensitive NDCs and participatory planning processes, and offers guidance for making climate and environmental policies and plans at all levels more child-sensitive.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Global Outlook Report 2021: The State of Climate Ambition (UNDP)


Climate ambition is nuanced and context specific. This new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report explores how the world is progressing on climate ambition – Who is leading the way? And who is falling behind? – through a unique perspective that assesses global intentions and also draws on data and evidence from more than 120 developing countries. Despite many challenges, it demonstrates that there are also reasons to be hopeful for the future.

Nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. Revised note by the secretariat (FCCC/PA/CMA/2021/8/Rev.1, 25 October 2021)


UN Climate Change published on 25 October 2021 an update to the synthesis of climate action plans as communicated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The update of key findings of the NDC Synthesis Report confirms the overall trends identified by the full report, which was released on 17 September 2021. The Synthesis Report was requested by Parties to the Paris Agreement to assist them in assessing the progress of climate action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow, Scotland. This update of the Synthesis Report is being provided to ensure that Parties have the latest information to consider at COP26. The update of the report synthesizes information from the 165 latest available NDCs, representing all 192 Parties to the Paris Agreement, including the 116 new or updated NDCs communicated by 143 Parties as on 12 October 2021, compared to 86 new or updated NDCs covered by the September report.

Nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation (UNEP / IUCN)


This report analyses the current state of knowledge regarding the role of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in climate change mitigation. It shows that in order to keep temperature rising to 1.5 degrees and achieve net zero by 2050 a significant contribution from NbS is both necessary and possible, provided the necessary finance is made available. It assesses the role that carbon offsets can play in the overall finance package. The report is authored by experts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The State of the Climate in Africa 2020 (WMO)


Changing precipitation patterns, rising temperatures and more extreme weather contributed to mounting food insecurity, poverty and displacement in Africa in 2020, compounding the socio-economic and health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The State of the Climate in Africa 2020 report provides a snapshot of climate change trends and impacts, including sea level rise and the melting of the continent’s iconic glaciers. It highlights Africa’s disproportionate vulnerability and shows how the potential benefits of investments in climate adaptation, weather and climate services and early warning systems far outweigh the costs. The report is a collaborative product of WMO, the African UnionCommission, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) through the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), international and regional scientific organizations and United Nations agencies. It was released on 19 October during the Extraordinary World Meteorological Congress and ahead of the UN Climate Change negotiations, COP26. It adds to the scientific evidence about the urgency to cut global greenhouse gas emissions, step up the level of climate ambition and increase financing for adaptation.

The State of the Climate in Asia 2020 (WMO)


Extreme weather and climate change impacts across Asia in 2020 caused the loss of life of thousands of people, displaced millions of others and cost hundreds of billions of dollars, while wreaking a heavy toll on infrastructure and ecosystems. Sustainable development is threatened, with food and water insecurity, health risks and environmental degradation on the rise, according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The State of the Climate in Asia 2020 provides an overview of land and ocean temperatures, precipitation, glacier retreat, shrinking sea ice, sea level rise and severe weather. It examines socio-economic impacts in a year when the region was also struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, which in turn complicated disaster management. The report shows how every part of Asia was affected, from Himalayan peaks to low-lying coastal areas, from densely populated cities to deserts and from the Arctic to the Arabian seas.

State of the Global Climate 2021: WMO Provisional report


Record atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and associated accumulated heat have propelled the planet into uncharted territory, with far-reaching repercussions for current and future generations, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The past seven years are on track to be the seven warmest on record, according to the provisional WMO State of the Global Climate 2021 report, based on data for the first nine months of 2021. A temporary cooling “La Niña” event early in the year means that 2021 is expected to be “only” the fifth to seventh warmest year on record. But this does not negate or reverse the long-term trend of rising temperatures. The report combines input from multiple United Nations agencies, national meteorological and hydrological services and scientific experts. It highlights impacts on food security and population displacement, harming crucial ecosystems and undermining progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. It was released at a press conference on the opening day of COP26. Global sea level rise accelerated since 2013 to a new high n 2021, with continued ocean warming and ocean acidification. The report combines input from multiple United Nations agencies, national meteorological and hydrological services and scientific experts. It highlights impacts on food security and population displacement, harming crucial ecosystems and undermining progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

World Heritage forests: Carbon sinks under pressure

English & French: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000379527.locale=en

The first ever scientific assessment of the amounts of greenhouse gases emitted from and absorbed by forests in UNESCO World Heritage sites has found that forests in World Heritage sites play a vital role in mitigating climate change by absorbing 190 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year. However, ten forests released more carbon than they sequestered due to pressure from human activity and climate change, which is alarming. By combining satellite-derived data with monitoring information at the site level, researchers at UNESCO, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) were able to estimate the gross and net carbon absorbed and emitted by UNESCO World Heritage forests between 2001 and 2020 and determine the causes of some emissions. The research found that, as whole, UNESCO World Heritage forests in 257 separate sites, absorbed the equivalent of approximately 190 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, comparable to roughly half the United Kingdom’s annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

COVID-19-Response-Logo (English)

Building health systems resilience for universal health coverage and health security during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: WHO position paper

English, French & Spanish: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-UHL-PHC-SP-2021.01

COVID-19 has had a wide-ranging impact on all areas of society, leading to setbacks in health gains and efforts to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). The diversion of health system resources to address COVID-19 care led to a protracted disruption of essential health services. New barriers to accessing health care, such as restricted movements, reduced ability to pay and fear of infection, have posed additional and unprecedented challenges in many countries. The world has not learned from previous epidemics. Reacting to events as they occur, without adequately strengthening prevention and preparedness, meant that countries were caught unprepared for a pandemic of this speed and scale. COVID-19 has hit vulnerable populations particularly hard and exacerbated preexisting inequalities even further. This highlights the need for countries to take every opportunity to rebuild their health systems sustainably, more equitably and closer to communities. WHO has released a position paper on building health systems resilience towards UHC and health security during COVID-19 and beyond to reinforce the urgent need for renewed and heightened national and global commitment to make countries better prepared and health systems resilient against all forms of public health threats for sustained progress towards both UHC and health security. This requires an integrated approach to building and rebuilding health systems that serve the needs of the population, before, during and after public health emergencies.

Health – A Political Choice: Solidary, Science and Solutions

Digital version: https://bit.ly/3Gkt3aS

pdf version: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/authors-of-health-a-political-choice

Ending the COVID-19 pandemic is among the world’s most pressing priorities. The challenges we have all faced since the beginning of the outbreak have put health centre stage, highlighting the urgent need to invest resources and effort in strengthening health systems, addressing health inequities, and embracing innovation to find solutions to old and new problems. We will only find a way out of this crisis through science, finding solutions and by working together, in solidarity. In this new book, key leading figures in international health and development have come together to share their thoughts about some of the most important choices we face in public health. It offers a unique opportunity to permanently increase global action and multilateral collaboration to address health equity. With a welcome from WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and two introductory articles signed by Ilona Kickbusch, Founding Director or the Global Health Centre of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies; and John Kirton, Director of the Global Governance Programme, key leading figures and leading global authorities and experts from governmental, intergovernmental, civil society, business and research, including Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister and WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing; and Mariana Mazzucato, Chair of the WHO Council on Economics of Health for All.

Measuring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women and men (UNECE)


The Bureau of the Conference of European Statisticians (CES), UNECE’s statistical decision-making body, has released new guidance for measuring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women and men. From the moment that countries began imposing restrictions in a bid to flatten the curve of the impending pandemic, it has been starkly obvious that the effects have been different for women and men. While the health risks of the virus itself appear to be greater for men than for women, the social, economic, psychological and indirect health effects are also greatly conditioned by gender, with women being among the most heavily impacted.

Uneven global education stimulus risks widening learning disparities (UNESCO)


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO has been monitoring government stimulus investments in education. In total, US$ 16 trillion was invested in fiscal stimulus worldwide. However, 97 per cent was concentrated in high-income countries, revealing the coverage gap between those countries with financial capacity and those without. The education and training sector represents only 2.9 per cent of this total global stimulus package amount. In light of these findings, UNESCO continues to advocate for prioritizing investments to education, not only as a human right, but also as a strategy for an efficient, effective, and sustainable economic recovery. UNESCO’s new report builds on the findings published in October 2020 and March 2021 by offering updated survey responses, additional analysis, and concluding recommendations. Overall, valid survey responses were received from 70 countries and territories about how much funding went to education and training in national stimulus packages. First, the report investigates the uses of the education stimulus. Then, it presents the stimulus by level of education (e.g., basic, secondary, higher). Both analyses are broken down by country region and income level.

When schools shut: Gendered impacts of COVID-19 school closures (UNESCO)


When schools shut, a global study exposing the gendered impact of COVID-19 school closures on learning, health and well-being, has been released by UNESCO on the occasion of the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child, 11 October. It finds that while gender norms and expectations can affect the ability to participate in remote learning, interventions that challenge gender-based barriers can limit learning loss and drop-out rates when schools reopen safely. The study includes a review of published research and a large-scale survey of organizations working globally on gender equality in education, as well as in-depth data collected in local communities in Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali and Pakistan.

Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction


The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic caused CO2 emissions from buildings and construction to fall significantly in 2020, but a lack of real transformation in the sector means that emissions will keep rising and contribute to dangerous climate change, according to the 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction. The report, published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-hosted Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), finds that in 2020, the sector accounted for 36 per cent of global final energy consumption and 37 per cent of energy related CO2 emissions, as compared to other end use sectors. While the level of emissions within the sector are 10 per cent lower than in 2015, reaching lows not seen since 2007, this was largely due to lockdowns, slowing of economies, difficulties households and businesses faced in maintaining and affording energy access and a fall in construction activity. Efforts to decarbonize the sector played only a small role. With large growth projected in the buildings sector, emissions are set to rise if there is no effort to decarbonize buildings and improve their energy efficiency. In Asia and Africa, building stock is expected to double by 2050. Global material use is expected to more than double by 2060, with one-third of this rise attributable to construction materials.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has kicked off the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 on 28 October 2021 in Geneva, with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. WHO and the UN regional commissions, in cooperation with other partners in the UN Road Safety Collaboration, have developed a Global Plan for the Decade of Action, which was released the same day.

Ensuring Equal Access to Education in Future Crises: Findings of the New Remote Learning Readiness Index (UNICEF)


At least 200 million schoolchildren live in 31 low- and middle-income countries that remain unprepared to deploy remote learning in future emergency school closures, according to a new UNICEF report released on 28 October 2021. Among that group of students, 102 million live in 14 countries that have kept their schools fully or partially closed for at least half of the COVID-19 pandemic – locking many schoolchildren out of any kind of education. The Remote Learning Readiness Index measures countries’ readiness to deliver remote learning in response to disruptions of in-person education, covering almost 90 per cent of students in low- and lower-middle-income countries. The analysis focuses on three domains: the availability of home-based assets and parents’ education levels; deployment of policies and training for teachers; and the education sector’s preparedness for emergencies.

From Pollution to Solution: a global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution (UNEP)


A drastic reduction in unnecessary, avoidable and problematic plastic is crucial to addressing the global pollution crisis, according to a comprehensive assessment released on 21 October 2021 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). An accelerated transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, the removal of subsidies and a shift towards circular approaches will help reduce plastic waste at the needed scale. The report shows that there is a growing threat in all ecosystems from source to sea. It also shows that while we have the know-how, we need the political will and urgent action by government to tackle the mounting crisis. The report will inform discussions at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in 2022, where countries will come together to decide a way forward for global cooperation. Plastic pollution leakage into aquatic ecosystems has grown sharply in recent years and is projected to more than double by 2030, with dire consequences for human health, the global economy, biodiversity and the climate.

Global Map of Salt-affected Soils (GSASmap)


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched on 20 October 2021 the Global Map of Salt-Affected Soils, a key tool for halting salinization and boosting productivity. The map estimates that there are more than 833 million hectares of salt-affected soils around the globe (8.7% of the planet). Most of them can be found in naturally arid or semi-arid environments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. However, the map also shows that 20 to 50 percent of irrigated soils in all continents are too salty, meaning over 1.5 billion people worldwide face significant challenges in growing food due to soil degradation. The map, a joint project involving 118 countries and hundreds of data-crunchers, allows experts to identify where sustainable soil management practices should be adopted to prevent salinization and sodification and to manage salt-affected soils sustainably. The map can inform policy makers when dealing with climate change adaptation and irrigation projects. The launch took place on the opening day of the Global Symposium on Salt-Affected Soils, a three-day virtual conference. More than 5,000 experts are registered for the event, which is co-organized by FAO and runs until October 22.

Hidden Heroes podcast cover image
Hidden Heroes: Podcast Series (UNICEF)


In this eight-episode podcast series, travel the globe to meet women and girls taking a stand against gender injustice – and saving lives along the way. Join host Beth Murphy for intimate conversations with these hidden heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each episode is followed by a “deep dive” companion piece, in which experts in equality and public health help us better understand the forces driving harmful practices, violence and other rights violations worldwide.

ILO Employment Policy Gateway: The Knowledge platform on country-level employment policies and youth employment strategies


The ILO has launched a new global database on national employment policies and strategies to promote jobs for young people. Aimed at governments, social partners, research institutions, practitioners and other development stakeholders, the Employment Policy Gateway enables users to search existing national policies and strategies for employment promotion by region, country and themes. This allows comparisons of national policies across countries and supports research and analysis on existing policy instruments. The launch of the database follows increasing requests from governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations for comparative information on employment policies at the country level, including strategies that target youth. With the COVID-19 crisis severely affecting labour markets around the world, leading to changes in policies and the introduction of new measures, the demand for such a database has increased. To promote an inclusive, job-rich recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, countries need a bold and innovative employment-focused policy agenda. In this context, gender-responsive national employment policies can play an important role. In various countries, such policies are being adapted or formulated to focus on COVID-19 responses.

International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 (IYAFA 2022)

The International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 launches on 19 November 2021. Here’s how you can get involved!

English: https://www.fao.org/artisanal-fisheries-aquaculture-2022/home/en/

French: https://www.fao.org/artisanal-fisheries-aquaculture-2022/home/fr/

Spanish: https://www.fao.org/artisanal-fisheries-aquaculture-2022/home/es/

Opportunities for delivering risk-informed investment: Addressing the barriers (UNDRR)


The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) launched a new report on 27 October 2021 which offers eight concrete areas where stakeholders can take immediate action to incorporate disaster risk into their investment decisions. The report warns that a variety of “large-scale, dynamic, nonlinear risks” will dominate the 21st century, requiring significantly more risk-informed investment. While climate change associated risks have begun to permeate the financial landscape, those triggered by other kinds of hazards remain largely external to financial decision-making. Investments that assess multiple sources of risk and the ways they may interact in complex and cascading ways are considered ‘risk-informed’; however, few investment decisions currently fall into this category. More than 300 potential hazards – including environmental, technological, biological, chemical, geopolitical and others – have the potential to significantly impact the world’s financial services sector. The recent COVID-19 global pandemic has demonstrated how one hazard can have reverberating effects throughout all of society.

State of the world’s hand hygiene: A global call to action to make hand hygiene a priority in policy and practice (WHO / UNICEF)

Report: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240036444

Infographics: https://who.canto.global/b/J24UD

All households in the world’s 46 least developed countries could have handwashing facilities by 2030 if the world invested less than US$1 per person per year, in hand hygiene. This would provide basic protection against diseases, avert future outbreaks and prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths. The 2021 State of The World’s Hand Hygiene report launched on 14 October 2021 on Global Handwashing Day by WHO and UNICEF, highlights that an annual cost to governments of promoting handwashing with soap at home comes to just 2.5 per cent of the average government health expenditure in these countries — making it a highly cost-effective investment, providing outsized health benefits for relatively little cost. The report brings together dispersed data sets on hand hygiene access and underlying national policies and investments to highlight lagging progress; and calls member states and supporting agencies to action, offering numerous inspiring examples of change. Hand hygiene, one of the first lines of defence against the spread of infectious diseases, remains out of reach for billions of people who still lack hand hygiene facilities at home, school, or health care facilities. Globally, 3 in 10 people, or 2.3 billion, lack a handwashing facility with water and soap at home; 818 million children lack a handwashing facility with soap and water at school in 2020, and health workers in 1 in 3 healthcare facilities lack hand hygiene facilities at the points at which they provide care — placing them all at preventable risk of disease even at the best of times. Almost 2 billion people depend on health care facilities that don’t even have basic water services.

Statistical Indicators of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization: Biennial Progress Report 2021 (UNIDO)


A new report published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Statistical Indicators of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization, looks at the progress made towards achieving the industry-related targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9 of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report is primarily based on the SDG9 indicators related to inclusive and sustainable industrialization, for which UNIDO is designated as a custodian agency, showing the patterns of the recent changes in different country groups.

Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Development: Interagency report for second Global Sustainable Transport Conference


This interagency report on sustainable transport was prepared as a background document for the second Global Sustainable Transport Conference, taking place from 14 to 16 October 2021 in Beijing, China (hybrid format). It was prepared by the Conference Secretariat, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in close collaboration with other UN agencies, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank.

Trade and Development Report 2021 – From recovery to resilience: the development dimension (UNCTAD)


The second part of UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report 2021 released on 28 October calls for a transformative approach to climate adaptation, with large-scale public investment programmes to adapt to future as well as current threats, and green industrial policies to drive growth and job creation. 2021 has been another year of extreme climate events; more intense heatwaves, increasingly powerful tropical cyclones, prolonged droughts and higher sea levels are unavoidable, with rising global temperatures bringing with them ever greater economic damage and human suffering. In many developing countries vulnerability to economic and climate shocks are compounding each other, locking countries into an eco-development trap of permanent disruption, economic precarity and slow productivity growth. The greater the rise in global temperatures, the greater the damage to countries in the South.

Transport Statistics Infocard (UNECE)


UNECE’s new Transport Statistics Infocard offers a new, user-friendly country-by-country perspective on important transport topics that are needed to inform policy decisions: road safety, numbers of cars and length of railways, alternative fuel use and public transport.

Across the UNECE region countries are striving to facilitate shifts to greener, more sustainable forms of transport that can keep both economies and societies moving, healthy and safe. Making the right data available and, crucially, understandable for transport decision-makers is essential to support these shifts, allowing successful policies to be replicated across countries. UNECE compiles detailed data on the principal inland modes of passenger and freight transport, and on road safety performance, for each of the 56 UNECE member States. These data are available via the UNECE statistical database, where they can be downloaded or analyzed online by users.

UNU Gender Atlas

http://collections.unu.edu/eserv/UNU: 8311/UNU_Gender_Atlas_2021.pdf

The UNU Gender Atlas is an overview of the United Nations University’s work on gender equality, highlighting the thematic and geographic scope across the 2030 Agenda and underscoring the importance of mainstreaming gender as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

International Peace and Security

Behind the numbers podcast series UN DPPA
Behind the numbers

https://wps1325.org/ (Full website coming soon)

“Behind the Numbers” is an initiative of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UN DPPA) bringing together unique insights about UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000). This landmark text emphasized, for the first time in the Security Council’s history, the differential impacts of conflict on women, the importance of their meaningful participation in peace and security processes, and the need for women’s increased role in preventing and resolving conflict.

Join us in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 and explore, with the aid of United Nations data and interactive visualizations, how 1325 and its sister resolutions making up the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda have been implemented and shaped policymaking. “Behind the Numbers” offers a look behind the data on women engaged in international diplomacy and conflict prevention, trends of the international WPS agenda, and future needs for the meaningful participation of women in peace processes.

Concept note for the Security Council high-level debate on the Great Lakes region, on the theme “Supporting the renewed commitment of the Great Lakes countries in seeking sustainable solutions to the root causes and drivers of conflict”

English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2021/874

The Security Council held a ministerial-level debate on the Great Lakes region, on the theme “Supporting the renewed commitment of the Great Lakes countries in seeking sustainable solutions to the root causes and drivers of conflict” on 20 October 2021. The Security Council President for October 2021, Kenya, has prepared this concept note in order to guide the discussions on this topic.

Concept note for the annual Security Council ministerial-level open debate on women and peace and security, on the theme “Investing in women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding”

English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2021/875

The Security Council held a ministerial-level open debate on women and peace and security, on the theme “Investing in women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding” on 21 October 2021. The Security Council President for October 2021, Kenya, has prepared this concept note in order to guide the discussions on this topic.

Concept note for the Security Council high-level virtual debate on cooperation between the United Nations, regional and subregional organizations and the African Union on the theme “Renewing solidarity to successfully deliver peace and security in a changing conflict environment”

English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2021/887

The Security Council held a high-level virtual debate on cooperation between the United Nations, regional and subregional organizations and the African Union on “Renewing solidarity to successfully deliver peace and security in a changing conflict environment” on 28 October 2021. The Security Council President for October 2021, Kenya, has prepared this concept note in order to guide the discussions on this topic.

Concept note for the Security Council high-level open debate on the theme “Maintaining international peace and security: exclusion, inequality and conflict”

English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2021/883

The Security Council held an open debate on the theme “Maintaining international peace and security: exclusion, inequality and conflict” on 9 November. The Security Council President for November 2021, Mexico, has prepared this concept note in order to guide the discussions on this topic.

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the theme “Peace and security through preventive diplomacy: a common objective to all the principal organs of the United Nations”

English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2021/888

The Security Council will hold an open debate on the theme “Peace and security through preventive diplomacy: a common objective to all the principal organs of the United Nations” on 16 November. The Security Council President for November 2021, Mexico, has prepared this concept note in order to guide the discussions on this topic.

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the theme “The impact of the diversion and trafficking of arms on peace and security”

English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2021/892

The Security Council will hold an open debate on the theme “The impact of the diversion and trafficking of arms on peace and security” on 22 November. The Security Council President for November 2021, Mexico, has prepared this concept note in order to guide the discussions on this topic.

Consolidated Recommendations from the Regional Consultations on Children and Armed Conflict


The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) and UNICEF released a new report on 28 October 2021, as part of the United Nations’ continuous effort to improve the protection of children living through conflict. Released as the world approaches the 25th anniversary of the Children and Armed Conflict mandate, the report – Consolidated Recommendations from the Regional Consultations on Children and Armed Conflict – outlines best practices and lessons learned in the implementation of the CAAC mandate based on the broadest consultations on the issue ever undertaken with UN field operations and other partners in the field. The CAAC mandate is an important tool in the international community’s efforts to prevent and end the grave violations against children, including killing and maiming, recruitment and use, rape and other forms of sexual violence, attacks on schools and hospitals, abduction, and denial of humanitarian access. The report was produced jointly by UNICEF and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, with the support of the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), to strengthen the whole of UN-effort in the implementation of the CAAC mandate to advance the protection of conflict-affected children. Over 30 United Nations entities and other key partners were represented at the four regional consultations organized between 2018 and 2020. The recommendations come from those directly implementing the CAAC mandate in the field, making them particularly relevant.

Gender-inclusive peace processes: Strengthening women’s meaningful participation through constituency building (UN Women)


As violent conflicts and humanitarian crises intensify globally, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), communities are paying the price in the absence of political settlements and sustainable peace. Women, in particular, are severely impacted by these crises, but they remain mostly excluded from meaningfully participating in peace processes. This is despite overwhelming evidence showing that women’s involvement in peacebuilding and mediation contributes to lasting peace that goes well beyond just the silencing of guns. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed even more starkly the extent of gender inequality in conflict-affected contexts, prompting ever-more urgent calls for inclusion. In July 2021, UN Women convened the global conference “Gender-inclusive peace processes: Strengthening women’s meaningful participation through constituency building”, in partnership with CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, and with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The conference attracted the participation of more than 320 peace practitioners from 70 countries worldwide, with a focus on the MENA region. This report on the conference proceedings explores current challenges, best practices, and recommendations on how best to leverage the practice of constituency building to further gender-inclusive peace.

Strengthening women’s participation in peace processes: What roles and responsibilities for states? (UN Women)

English, French & Italian: https://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2021/08/strengthening-womens-participation-in-peace-processes

This report reflects the main arguments presented during the high-level seminar, organized by UN Women in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on “Strengthening women’s participation in peace processes: What roles and responsibilities for states?” in Rome, Italy, on 3 and 4 December 2019. The main arguments include the persistent barriers to women’s meaningful participation in peace and mediation processes and the opportunities that exist to remove them. Specifically, seminar participants discussed challenges related to limited political will, the link between women’s underrepresentation in politics and their marginalization in peace processes, the complex balance between women’s representation and promoting gender equality, and the barriers to sustainable civil society involvement. Second, the report highlights perspectives and lessons learned that representatives of the United Nations, Member States, regional organizations, and civil society shared on how to enhance women’s meaningful participation in peace processes. Two strategies were emphasized: the design of inclusive peace processes and the role of regional networks of women mediators in bridging peace processes across tracks. The case studies of Colombia, Syria, and Cyprus are also included, offering insights on some successful strategies to increase women’s participation. Finally, the report describes the key policy recommendations that emanated from the seminar, with a view to addressing ongoing barriers to women’s participation and using innovative and comprehensive strategies to achieve more gender-responsive peace processes.

Human Rights

Landmark UN resolution confirms healthy environment is a human right

English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/A/HRC/RES/48/13

With Resolution 48/13, adopted on 8 October 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) recognized for the first time that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right.

  • UNEP Press Release, 14 October 2021: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/landmark-un-resolution-confirms-healthy-environment-human-right
  • UN News, 8 October 2021 – Access to a healthy environment, declared a human right by UN rights council

    English: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/10/1102582

    French: https://news.un.org/fr/story/2021/10/1105902

    Spanish: https://news.un.org/es/story/2021/10/1498132

    Portuguese [BR]: https://news.un.org/pt/story/2021/10/1766002

Report of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC)/Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Joint Investigation into Alleged Violations of International Human Rights, Humanitarian and Refugee Law Committed by all Parties to the Conflict in the Tigray Region of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia


A joint investigation by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights Office has found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict in Tigray have, to varying degrees, committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. In a report published on 3 November 2021, which examines the devastating impact the conflict has had on civilians, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) details a series of violations and abuses, including unlawful killings and extra-judicial executions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, violations against refugees, and forced displacement of civilians. The report covers the period from 3 November 2020, when the armed conflict began between the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF), the Amhara Special Forces (ASF), the Amhara Fano and other militias on one side, and the Tigrayan Special Forces (TSF), Tigrayan militia and other allied groups on the other, until 28 June 2021 when the Ethiopian Government declared a unilateral ceasefire.

Towards Ending Child Marriage: Global trends and profiles of progress (UNICEF)


Child marriage is widely recognized as a violation of human rights and a hindrance to national development. In fact, evidence suggests that the practice of child marriage is closely associated with lower educational attainment, early pregnancies, intimate partner violence, maternal and child mortality, increased rates of sexually transmitted infections, intergenerational poverty, and the disempowerment of married girls. In committing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has vowed to end the practice of child marriage by 2030. This report looks at historical trends, with a focus on selected countries that have recorded significant declines in child marriage prevalence. It offers an overview of changes in the practice of child marriage together with a review of other shifts that have occurred in these countries in terms of girls’ access to education and employment opportunities, as well as economic development and poverty reduction.

Humanitarian Affairs

Occupational Fatalities among International Migrant Workers (ILO)


Migrants who often fill more dangerous jobs frequently face higher risk of injury and death than other workers and more data on the circumstances of deaths is critical for policies that ensure their safety, according to a new report from the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project. The “Occupational Fatalities among International Migrant Workers” report compiled by the Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) highlights that migrant workers are overrepresented in hazardous jobs in industries such as construction, manufacturing, mining and agriculture compared to non-migrants. They are also more likely to have jobs in the informal economy, where risks are even greater. A lack of data is limiting any action to measure and address these risks, the report says. Living and working conditions of migrants heighten the chance of exposure to COVID-19, the report shows. Migrants are overrepresented in front-line, critical infrastructure and other essential jobs that cannot be performed remotely. In the United States, for example, 69 per cent of all migrants in the labour force and 74 per cent of undocumented migrant workers are essential workers.

UNHCR Teaching About Refugees 2021: Stress and Trauma Guidebook


Displaced learners have often experienced distressing events that may cause stress or trauma. This may affect the ways they interact with teachers, students and others in the school environment and can interfere with their learning capacity. In many cases, symptoms will disappear when displaced children arrive in a safe learning environment in their host community, but some children who suffer from stress or trauma may need professional help by qualified personnel. Teachers can help detect potential signs so children can be directed to adequate support structures. They should, however, never intervene when only qualified therapists should. This guidebook describes some of the common behaviours stressed or traumatized children may display and offers some ideas for activities that may help relieve stress or trauma in the classroom.

UNHCR Teaching About Refugees 2021: Guide for Teachers


This booklet will provide you with ideas and pedagogical approaches on how to teach about forced displacement and to use the Teaching About Refugees teaching materials in your specific teaching context. You will read about reasons why you may want to teach about refugees in your classroom and build your students’ knowledge about the subject. You will also read about some challenges you may be facing when you are teaching refugee children in your classroom, especially when they are still in a phase where they are adapting to new environment after being displaced. Both approaches seem very different but you can see them as two sides of the same pedagogical coin. Refugees hosted in classrooms with teachers and children that know where they come from, why they were displaced and how they arrived in a new community will find themselves in a far more constructive and knowledgeable learning environment than those who are hosted in communities that reject them. Teachers and students welcoming refugees in their classroom will benefit from a better understanding of some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including war and forced displacement. Education is a human right and a fundamental right of refugees in their host countries. It is also the foundation upon which many refugee children and their families can rebuild their lives and thrive. We hope this dual pedagogical approach of teaching about and teaching with refugees will benefit both displaced learners and the teachers and students that welcome them.

Nuclear, Chemical and Conventional Weapons Disarmament

2020 UN Disarmament Yearbook


The Office for Disarmament Affairs has launched the latest version of the United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, now available on its dedicated website. It finds that the COVID-19 pandemic – which arrived 75 years after humanity ended the Second World War, learned the tragic lessons of devastation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and founded the United Nations – has placed an unprecedented strain on agreements and institutions that have since become a critical foundation for international peace and security. The United Nations Disarmament Yearbook 2020 is a new, authoritative guide that aims to shed light on the key developments and trends from that transformational year. Prepared each year at the request of United Nations Member States, the United Nations Disarmament Yearbook offers a detailed accounting of the pandemic’s effects on global and regional institutions dedicated to safeguarding peace.

Drug Control, Crime Prevention and Counter-terrorism

The Concept of ‘Harbouring’ in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol: Issue Paper (UNODC)


Victims of human trafficking are accommodated or forced to stay in locations prior to and during their exploitation or between periods of abuse. These settings can be in brothels, private homes, factories, farms, or fishing vessels. They are often dangerous, inhumane and unsanitary, and can be controlled by criminals involved in the trafficking network. This process known as ‘harbouring’ is the focus of a new UNODC publication which analyses the varying interpretations of the concept and its importance in securing convictions in trafficking cases.

Digest of Cyber Organized Crime (UNODC)


Introduction: “The present case digest contains an analysis of cases of cyber organized crime. The digest is global in scope and attempts, to the extent possible, to ensure an equitable representation of cases from different geographical regions and legal systems. On the basis of more than 100 cases from more than 20 jurisdictions, observations are made about the ways in which cyber organized crime is identified in case law and how this illicit activity is investigated, prosecuted and adjudicated across jurisdictions. The case digest examines the structure and organization of cyber organized criminal groups, tools used by perpetrators of cyber organized crime, types of cyber organized crime and procedural issues relating to the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of cyber organized crime cases. The case digest contains summaries of relevant judicial proceedings concerning cyber organized crime, organized according to theme. The ultimate goals of the digest are to identify cases involving cyber organized crime and the manner in which such crime has been investigated, prosecuted and adjudicated in different areas of the world. The digest concludes by identifying challenges to investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating cases involving cyber organized crime, as well as the lessons learned for criminal justice professionals, including some of the challenging aspects of criminal justice responses to such crime.”

High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly for the Appraisal of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking, 22-23 November 2021


The high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons will be held across two days, 22 and 23 November 2021, in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In accordance with GA resolution 75/283 on the “modalities, format and organization of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons”, a High-Level Meeting will be convened on 22-23 November 2021 to appraise progress achieved in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (resolution 64/293), in order to assess achievements, gaps and challenges, including in the implementation of the relevant instruments.

UNODC Compendium on PPP to Prevent & Counter Tip


The global pandemic has vastly increased vulnerabilities to human trafficking and of trafficked victims. Traffickers prey upon the marginalized and impoverished. Evidence shared by States with UNODC indicate that in most cases, victims are targeted because of economic need. We need concerted action to address these needs in the affected societies. To help governments respond to these challenges, UNODC, on 11 October 2021, launched the Compendium of Promising Practices on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to Prevent and Counter Trafficking in Persons. The dedicated event showcased insights and recommendations drawing from the cooperation of governments and private sector entities in countering this heinous crime.

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