Information from the UN System
Everyone is talking about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Be sure to get your facts from reliable sources. Along with the World Health Organization, which is the leading authority on scientific and public health information on the new virus, the UN offices, field missions, agencies, funds and programmes are providing new information in their spheres of expertise, as it becomes available. Here are some of their resource pages:
This Special Edition of the Quarterly Innovation Update highlights how UN Entities are leveraging innovative approaches to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 100 million people already rely on support from the United Nations’ humanitarian agencies. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' (OCHA) top priority is to ensure that we do the best we can to keep providing life-saving help for those people, while supporting the wider system’s response to COVID-19.
A global pandemic is a time of tough choices. The policy decisions taken now will shape the fate of millions and define the future of nations. How to save people’s lives without destroying their livelihoods? Where to allocate scarce resources? How to protect those who do not have the means to protect themselves? UN DESA experts are working round the clock to help decision makers navigate these tough choices and prevent the world from sliding into a dangerous depression.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) is the group of 40 United Nations entities working on development at the global, regional and country level. In countries, United Nations Resident Coordinators are the designated representatives of the Secretary-General for development. Under their leadership, United Nations country teams have mobilised to support governments and partners on a decisive and coherent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on national priority areas such as health and socio-economic protection to save livelihoods and lift economies.
The transmission of diseases like COVID-19 between animals and humans (zoonoses) threatens economic development, animal and human well-being, and ecosystem integrity. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) supports global efforts to protect biodiversity, to put an end to illegal trade in wildlife, to safeguard the handling of chemicals and waste and to promote economic recovery plans that take nature and the climate emergency into account.
We will not overcome the COVID-19 pandemic if we do not stop the virus spreading in specific pockets of vulnerability and that is why the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime focuses on delivering vital assistance to those in need, including people who use drugs, who are in prison and who have HIV/Hepatitis C. UNODC staff worldwide remain active in delivering on all of the Office’s mandates. This includes addressing crime that seeks to exploit the pandemic, such as cybercrime.
As frontline responders, health professionals, community volunteers, transport and logistics managers, scientists and more, women are making critical contributions to address the COVID 19 outbreak. The majority of caregivers, at home and in our communities, are also women. Additionally, existing trends point to less access to sexual and reproductive health and rise in domestic violence during crisis. UN Women is bringing up-to-date information and analysis on how and why gender matters in COVID-19 response.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) continues to ensure the functioning of international licit trade of controlled substances during the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures are in place for INCB systems to operate smoothly and assist Governments with trade throughout this pandemic.
In Asia and the Pacific, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have reverberated among a population of more than 4 billion and in economies vital to global supply chains. ESCAP is working quickly and collectively to shape responses for a sustainable future. To support member States' response, ESCAP has developed policy notes with guidance on inclusive protection and economic resilience, sector-specific policy briefs, and expert blogs. Flagship publications, including the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2020 also incorporate the impact of the pandemic in their analyses.
FAO works closely with its partners in supporting member countries to anticipate and mitigate the pandemic’s impacts on their populations’ food security and livelihoods; contribute to discussions on mitigating COVID-19’s impacts on global food trade and markets; and support countries and research institutions in ongoing investigations to identify potential animal hosts of the virus and reduce spillover effects to humans.
Around 63 per cent of the world’s poorest people work in agriculture, the overwhelming majority on small farms. Most of the poorest, hungriest and most marginalized people live in rural areas, and that is where the development community now needs to focus its mid- to long-term efforts.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is committed to preventing and responding to this health emergency. Their primary goal is to protect refugees, displaced people and their host communities.
The UN agency for Palestine refugees has developed a COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and launched a COVID-19 US$ 14 Million Flash Appeal for Palestine Refugees.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working with dozens of countries to prepare for and respond to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, covering a wide range of interventions including cross-border coordination, population mobility mapping exercises, risk communication and community engagement activities, and trainings and simulations for government employees.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), WHO, IATA and ACI have worked in close cooperation on the development of this single source for aviation-specific guidelines with the objective of ensuring appropriate planning and action at all levels and thus in order to mitigate the effects of a human outbreak.
International shipping carries more than 80 per cent of world trade and the global population relies on it. Ships and seafarers are heavily impacted by the current situation. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), WHO and others have combined to develop guidance for the shipping industry, governments and others on a variety of technical and operational responses to the current situation.
Information technology plays a critical role in the collective response to COVID-19. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is mobilizing its global public-private membership and the tech community at large around key initiatives and the necessity to continue unleashing the full potential of information and communication technology to cope with this crisis and defeat this disease. This includes the Global Network Resiliency Platform (REG4COVID) to help policy-makers, regulators and industry ensure that networks are kept resilient and telecoms services are available to all, to the maximum extent possible.
Space applications provide unique solutions for improving global health, including tackling the Coronavirus pandemic. The UNOOSA programme UN-SPIDER has created a repository collecting examples of how space science and technology can be leveraged in the fight against COVID-19. UNOOSA helps all countries access the benefits of space, and this web page provides governments and organisations with tools and resources to help improve their Coronavirus response.
The IAEA is providing COVID-19 diagnostic kits, equipment and training in nuclear-derived virus detection techniques to countries requesting assistance. The IAEA is also maintaining its operations, including nuclear safeguards inspections, a key pillar of the international non-proliferation regime, as well as its Incident and Emergency Centre for 24/7 notification and information exchange in nuclear and radiological emergencies.
The International Trade Centre is closely following how the pandemic is affecting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), with a particular focus on those small businesses in developing countries. This dedicated section of the website provides insights and guidance to small businesses searching for ways to cope with the operational stress generated by COVID-19 and is also a useful resource for business support organizations and policymakers assisting MSMEs in these efforts.
As we respond to the emergency and start to recover from the socio-economic shock, we must work together to ensure that the recovery will focus on building inclusive and sustainable economies that are more resilient in facing pandemics, climate change and many other global challenges. Here, UNIDO has much to offer in terms of rebuilding supply chains, creating decent jobs for women and youth, transferring technology, including advanced digital production technology, industrial upgrading, resource efficiency and cleaner production, to name but a few.
Developing countries are taking the lead in sharing their successful early COVID-19 containment, mitigation and social distancing measures with other countries in the spirit of South-South solidarity and global collaboration. UNOSSC is mobilizing and connecting partners across sectors to enable countries to quickly access relevant information, assess unique demands, compare practices, and learn from one another through South-South and triangular exchanges.
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is committed to continuing to deliver learning solutions to our beneficiaries. We have transformed many of our face-to-face courses into an online format, and made them available as widely as possible, either for free or with a fee. We also offer resources and tips to transform face-to-face event into an online learning and make an online event a success.
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute is enhancing knowledge and capacities to counter extremist and criminal groups and engaging with at risk communities to strengthen their resilience during the pandemic. UNICRI is conducting online training and consultations with partner countries to increase first responders’ protection (biological risk mitigation), countering the impact of organized crime and enhancing the response to COVID-19 in the tourism sector. In this unprecedented crisis, it is also addressing the opportunities and risks related to artificial intelligence and robotics, Big Data and biotechnologies, and the integrity of the supply chain (including supplies of medical equipment and addressing counterfeiting).
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the unique common service of the United Nations that mobilises over 8,000 UN Volunteers a year and promotes volunteerism worldwide. UNV is actively joining the UN COVID-19 response by recruiting UN Volunteers with expert capacities for over UN entities. UNV also has 600,000 registered online volunteers, ready to take on task-based assignments remotely to fight COVID-19.
The United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation have created the solidarity fund to support WHO and partners in a massive effort to help countries prevent, detect, and manage the novel coronavirus – particularly those where the needs are the greatest.