The UN Development Programme (UNDP) released this month its third gender equality strategy for the period 2018–2021, aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the document, UNDP suggests that integrating gender throughout its work would help reach all SDGs, not just the gender-focused Goal 5, and that mainstreaming gender into current programs is more effective than building new programs specific to women.
WHO’s Executive Board (EB) meeting earlier this month was criticized on multiple fronts by pharmaceutical companies and civil society organizations (CSOs), with objections focused on WHO’s draft roadmap on access to medicines and proposed rules changes to limit civil society input into WHO decision-making, according to a Devex article.
Executive Director Henrietta Fore continues to shape UNICEF’s senior leadership team, making additional changes at the organization this month. According to UNICEF emails, recent changes of note include:
January 31, 2019 — The UN system started this month what Secretary-General António Guterres described as the most significant change process in the organization’s history.
Effective January 1, the UN’s influential in-country Resident Coordinators move from the control of the United Nations Development Programme to the UN Secretariat. Resident Coordinators also get a funding boost and more control over the work of UN Country Teams.
January 31, 2019 — The Lancet published a commentary this month on WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ remarks about collaboration and partnership at the first Global Burden of Disease Forum with the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Tedros argued that “if we are serious about serving humanity,” WHO should not shy away from an increasingly pluralistic institutional landscape and should not be afraid of outsourcing even some of WHO’s core functions.
January 31, 2019 — UNICEF and UNFPA launched their annual appeals for humanitarian funding this month.
UNICEF asked for $3.9 billion to reach 73 million people, including 41 million children affected by conflict or disaster.
UNFPA asked for $536 million to reach 35 million women, girls and young people with sexual and reproductive health services and interventions to prevent gender-based violence and to respond to survivors’ needs.
January 31, 2019 — WHO had its semi-annual Executive Board meeting in Geneva this week, with its marathon agenda covering most worldwide diseases and WHO program initiatives.
Attracting significant debate was access to medicines, fueled by a WHO report stating that cancer drugs in many developing countries are unaffordable and difficult to obtain. Delegates also debated a potential clamp-down on the role of non-state actors by forcing civil society organizations to speak in clusters or constituencies, thus limiting the number of slots allotted to them at WHO forums.
January 31, 2019 — Media listed a wide range of potential candidates to take over as president of the World Bank after Jim Yong Kim abruptly resigned this month with more than three years to go in his second term.
January 31, 2019 — The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) gave UN Secretary-General António Guterres an improved grade (B-) this month on its annual report card evaluating his leadership on women’s issues, including gender parity, sexual violence and harassment.
January 31, 2019 — WHO said earlier this month that it was taking seriously several anonymous whistleblower emails alleging racism, sexism and corruption within the organization.
Addressed to senior WHO managers, complaints included African staff members being “abused, sworn at (and) shown contempt to” by their Geneva-based colleagues, “crooked recruitment and selection” processes, and misspending of Ebola funds in West Africa and DRC.
January 31, 2019 — The World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Bank and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a Humanitarian Investing initiative at this month’s WEF meeting of world leaders in Davos, Switzerland. The organizations said in a press release that they hope to build on successful new financial products, such as the Humanitarian Impact Bond and the Famine Action Mechanism, to bring new capital to the most challenging areas in the world and make the current humanitarian system more efficient.
January 31, 2019 — The UNICEF Innovation Fund announced earlier this month that it is looking to support startups in UNICEF program countries that apply data science or artificial intelligence for social good. Selected startups will receive up to $90,000 in seed funding, as well as technical assistance and other support to scale successes.
Since launching in 2016, the UNICEF Innovation Fund has made 72 investments totaling almost $18 million in 42 countries and said it plans to invest in 20 more startups this year.
January 31, 2019 — WHO announced this month that it has appointed Japan’s Takeshi Kasai as director for its Western Pacific Region and re-appointed India’s Poonam Khetrapal Singh as director for its South-East Asia Region.
Kasai—a 15-year WHO veteran—takes over from South Korea’s Shin Young-soo. Singh won the unanimous support of her region for her second four-year term in office, WHO said in its press release.
January 31, 2019 — Last week, the International Labour Organization—the UN’s oldest specialized agency—used the occasion of its 100th anniversary to launch a special report by the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work. Organized around four “centenary conversations” (work and society, decent jobs for all, the organization of work and production, and the governance of work), delegates to its International Labour Conference in June 2019 will discuss how to pursue its mandate in the agency’s second century.
January 17, 2019 — UNICEF announced its 2019 senior staff appointments yesterday, with women leaders marginally outnumbering male colleagues for the first time ever, and program country nationals now filling 40 percent of posts.