Calling it “a time for facts, not fear,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus urged governments, companies, and news organizations to join the UN health agency in combating the “infodemic” of false and misleading stories about Covid-19.
Remarking that “a wind of madness is sweeping the globe,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres turned what might have been a forgettable February 4 press conference on his 2020 goals into a series of worldwide headlines echoing his vivid rhetoric.
The Trump administration on February 10 issued a proposed U.S. government budget that would eliminate funding for UNICEF and UNFPA and reduce support for WHO by 53 percent and for PAHO by 75 percent. The proposal repeated requests from the same exercise last year—such as the elimination of funds for USAID—while raising others: last year’s proposed 29 percent cut to the Global Fund increased to 58 percent.
The 146th session of the WHO Executive Board met February 3–8 in Geneva. Notable topics of discussion included access to medicines and the need to implement the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPA), reducing the harmful use of alcohol, and modifications to civil society and non-State actors’ participation under FENSA (the Framework of Engagement of non-State Actors).
Five African countries (Congo, Burundi, Ghana, Guinea, and Zambia) licensed the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP Ebola vaccine within 90 days of WHO’s fastest-ever prequalification process. The vaccine can now be administered without being subject to clinical trial or research protocols. Several other countries are expected to follow suit in coming weeks.
WHO declared the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on January 30, after initially declining to declare a PHEIC last week.
In its 2020 development funding forecast, Devex last month outlined the pipelines of major funders and summarized trends from the past year.
Dr. Peter Salama, Executive Director of WHO’s Division for Universal Health Coverage – Life Course, died suddenly last week from a heart attack. Salama, 51, is survived by his wife and three children.
In a statement, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said, “Pete embodied everything that is best about WHO and the United Nations — professionalism, commitment, and compassion. Our hearts are broken.”
WHO released a list of 13 “urgent health challenges” for the next decade, considerably expanding in scope its past annual lists.
The WFP Global Hotspots 2020 report identified 15 critical emergencies at risk of descending further into crises, with Zimbabwe, South Sudan, the DRC, and the Central Sahel region all needing immediate life-saving food assistance.
The New Humanitarian (TNH) reported that the United Nations has been the victim of a cyberattack, affecting dozens of servers at its offices in Vienna and Geneva and potentially compromising the data of staff and other organizations. According to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the attack was “serious,” compromised "core infrastructure components,” and was contained.
A World Economic Forum (WEF) dedicated to a “cohesive and sustainable world” heard fiery remarks from UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who said in a speech at the Davos event last week that the world is “doomed” unless major industrial nations reduce emissions.
Citing “a year of incremental progress, frustrated by larger global and institutional obstacles,” the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) gave UN Secretary-General António Guterres a B− this month (for the second year running) on its annual report card evaluating his leadership on gender equality.
The annual UN climate conference took place in Madrid December 2–13, with negotiations extending to December 15 to make COP25 the longest on record. However, the conference failed to reach an overall consensus on increased climate ambition and resulted in a tepid declaration on the “urgent need” to reduce emissions in line with the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement.
As we head into the new year, we thought readers might be interested to see how UNICEF's logo has changed over the years—from a child drinking milk to a parent lifting up a child. UNICEF provides an overview of the logo's evolution over time.