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The Handmaid’s Tale: making a drama out of a crisis

2 December 2020

The Handmaid’s Tale, an award-winning television series, may be about a fictional “alternative reality”, but the show’s creators have gone to great lengths to ensure that references to themes such as climate change, human rights abuses, and refuge

UN chief launches plan to revitalise Beirut as ‘beating heart of Lebanon’

2 December 2020

Against the “grim background” of tragic explosions that destroyed much of central Beirut in early August, the UN chief on Wednesday offered a new multi-agency plan to help the Lebanese people move forward, following months of political gridlock.

2020 may be third hottest year on record, world could hit climate change milestone by 2024

2 December 2020

Global pressure on wages from COVID-19 will not stop with the arrival of a vaccine, the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned on Wednesday, coinciding with a major report showing how the pandemic had slowed or reversed a trend

Climate Action: It’s time to make peace with nature, UN chief urges

2 December 2020

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has described the fight against the climate crisis as the top priority for the 21st Century, in a passionate, uncompromising speech delivered on Wednesday at Columbia University in New York.

COVID-19’s impact on wages is only just getting started, ILO warns

2 December 2020

Global pressure on wages from COVID-19 will not stop with the arrival of a vaccine, the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned on Wednesday, coinciding with a major report showing how the pandemic had slowed or reversed a trend

Cut fossil fuels production to ward off ‘catastrophic’ warming: UN-backed report

2 December 2020

Countries must decrease production of fossil fuels by 6 per cent per year, between 2020 and 2030, if the world is to avert "catastrophic” global temperature rise, a new UN-backed report has found. 

UN humanitarian office puts Yemen war dead at 233,000, mostly from ‘indirect causes’

1 December 2020

Almost a quarter of a million people have died in Yemen’s war, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on its website on Tuesday, confirming the huge toll from a conflict that has ravaged Yemen’s economy and created

With challenges, COVID-19 also saw initiatives helping migrants: Guterres 

1 December 2020

The Global Compact for Migration, adopted by countries in 2018 as a comprehensive framework for cooperation on international migration, is “taking root in promising ways”, the UN Secretary General said on Tuesday. 

COVID-19 can spark new generation of social protection measures: UN chief

1 December 2020

While COVID-19 has wiped out important development gains in mere months, with extreme poverty rising for the first time in decades, the pandemic could spark the transformations needed to achieve stronger social protection systems, the UN Secretary

INTERVIEW: Economic and Social Council ‘vital to promote global peace and global cooperation’ 

1 December 2020

Munir Akram wears two hats. He is Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN and was elected on 23 July as the 76th President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); one of the three main bodies that provide the backbone of the United Nations. 

UNHCR asks Ethiopia for urgent access to 96,000 Eritreans cut off without food

1 December 2020

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, appealed to Ethiopia on Tuesday for urgent access to 96,000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, saying the month-long conflict in Tigray had left them without vital supplies.

UN appeals for $35 billion to help world’s ‘most vulnerable and fragile’ in 2021

1 December 2020

A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection next year, a near- 40 per cent increase on 2020 which is “almost entirely from COVID-19”, the UN’s emergency relief chief said on Tuesday. 

Growing potatoes in the air: agricultural innovation in Rwanda

30 November 2020

A Rwandan entrepreneur is pioneering the use of innovative farming technology that, he believes, is set to play a major role in feeding the growing population in his country, amid increasing pressure on arable land.

UN refugee agency appeals for $147 million to support thousands of Ethiopians fleeing to Sudan

30 November 2020

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has launched an appeal for $147 million to support as many as 100,000 people fleeing Ethiopia’s Tigray region into neighbouring Sudan, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Monday.

The race to zero emissions, and why the world depends on it

30 November 2020

A host of countries have recently announced major commitments to significantly cut their carbon emissions, promising to reach "net zero" in the coming years.

UN condemns ‘brutal and callous’ attack on civilians in north-east Nigeria

29 November 2020

Denouncing attack, on Saturday, targeting civilians in Nigeria’s restive Borno state, a senior UN humanitarian official called on the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. 

First Person: ‘people with disabilities are the greatest untapped resource on the planet’

29 November 2020

Worldwide, persons with disabilities experience higher levels of unemployment and economic inactivity than non-disabled persons. Ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Mike Hess, US-based entrepreneur and founder of the Blind Ins

Rising hunger in drought-stricken southern Madagascar forcing families to eat insects: WFP

27 November 2020

Hunger is on the rise in southern Madagascar due to consecutive years of drought,  affecting half the region’s population, or 1.5 million people, and forcing most families to eat insects, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported on Friday. 

Address water scarcity ‘immediately and boldly’, urges UN agriculture agency chief 

26 November 2020

More than three billion people live in agricultural areas with high levels of water shortages and scarcity, the UN agriculture agency said in a new report launched on Wednesday. 

‘Incredibly hard’ winter beckons for Syrians, more assistance urgently needed 

25 November 2020

More than three million people across Syria require assistance through what is likely to be an “incredibly hard” winter, the acting deputy UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council on Wednesday, highlighting that those displaced re

UN report finds Gaza suffered $16.7 billion loss from siege and occupation

25 November 2020

Israel’s military operations and prolonged closure of Gaza, has caused economic damage of $16.7 billion between 2007 and 2018, driving the poverty rate up almost fourfold compared to what it might have otherwise been, the UN trade and development

Afghanistan conference draws donor pledges and calls for lasting ceasefire 

24 November 2020

International donors pledged financial and political support for Afghanistan’s peace process at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva on Tuesday, anticipating a sustainable ceasefire that will help the country rebuild and heal after decades of

‘Foundational and necessary change’ needed to heal post-COVID world

24 November 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic precipitating one of the world’s worst health, socioeconomic and humanitarian crises in over a century, the UN chief told a high-level discussion on Tuesday to seize the opportunity “to make real, foundational, and neces

Desert Locust resurgence worries in Horn of Africa, reports UN agency

24 November 2020

The Desert Locust crisis, which struck the greater Horn of Africa region earlier this year, could re-escalate as recent strong winds carried small mature yellow swarmlets from southern Somalia into eastern and northeastern Kenya, the UN Food and A

UN ‘extremely concerned’ for safety of Tigray civilians in regional capital, as refugee numbers grow

23 November 2020

The UN on Monday said it was “extremely concerned” over the safety of civilians across Ethiopia’s Tigray region, as fighting between Government troops and those loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) reportedly continued, with the Et

Carbon dioxide levels hit new record; COVID impact ‘a tiny blip’, WMO says  

23 November 2020

Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere hit a new record of 410.5 parts per million in 2019, and are expected to keep rising this year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin on Monday.  

No time to waste, as Yemen inches towards famine: UNICEF

23 November 2020

Raising alarm over “an imminent catastrophe” in war-ravaged Yemen, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reiterated the urgent need to stop fighting. 

‘We see the sparks before they turn into fires’: training women to avoid conflict in Sierra Leone

21 November 2020

In the West African country of Sierra Leone, the UN is supporting a government programme, training women and men to take on leadership roles in areas such as peacebuilding, with the aim of promoting peace and non-violence.

UN chief to press G20 for greater solidarity and support during pandemic

20 November 2020

When he addresses leaders of the world’s richest countries at the G20 summit on Saturday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will deliver a simple message on the COVID-19 pandemic: “We need solidarity and cooperation.

Guterres pledges support for sustainable industrial development in Africa

20 November 2020

The COVID-19 crisis was impacting Africa “well before the pandemic spread across the continent”, the UN chief said on Friday, marking Africa Industrialization Day, arriving at a point when many economies were expanding and “poverty was in decline”