The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released its Global Humanitarian Overview 2020 on December 4. Projecting 167.6 million people requiring humanitarian assistance next year, the report attributed the record tally to “highly violent conflicts” and “extreme climate events.”
The first Global Refugee Forum took place in Geneva December 16–18, raising more than $3 billion in pledges and over 770 commitments from governments and organizations to support refugees and their host communities.
The UN System Chief Executive Board launched a system-wide innovation toolkit which aims to increase collaboration and improve coherence throughout the UN system. The toolkit is a digital platform that will be managed by the UN System Staff College, and a part of the Secretary-General’s broader focus on harnessing digital technologies to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The toolkit was piloted by the UN High-level Management board along with 120 staff across 36 UN entities.
The UN announced in the leadup to November 25’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women that one-third of all women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The theme for this year’s International Day is Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape.
UNICEF and WHO held their first joint consultation on young people’s mental health November 7–9. Held at UNICEF Innocenti in Florence, Italy, it was the inaugural event for Leading Minds, UNICEF’s new annual global conference series to highlight major issues affecting children and young people in the 21st century.
UNICEF commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on November 20 with a mixed report on its achievements. The report contrasted sharp progress in some areas—such as the 60 percent drop in under-five mortality—with stagnation in others: the poorest children remain twice as likely to die as the wealthiest. It also emphasized emerging threats like climate change, measles resurgence, and obesity.
WHO prequalified its first Ebola vaccine on November 12, less than two days after the European Commission gave conditional approval to the drug. In what WHO called its “fastest vaccine prequalification process ever,” the organization cleared Merck’s single-shot Ervebo for procurement by UN agencies and Gavi.
UNFPA and the governments of Kenya and Denmark co-hosted the largest-ever UN summit on sexual and reproductive health November 12–14 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 marked the 25th anniversary of the first International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, which is credited with shifting the development agenda away from demographics to sexual and reproductive health, rights, and gender equality.
WHO announced on October 18 that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is still a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and will be one for at least the next three months. A WHO advisory committee first declared the PHEIC on July 17.
At its Sixth Replenishment Conference on October 9–10, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) raised $14 billion for the next three years, the highest amount ever for the partnership. The United States led in contributions with $4.7 billion, followed by the United Kingdom at $1.7 billion and France at $1.4 billion. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was the largest nongovernment donor, with a $760 million pledge.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched a corporate leadership alliance on October 16 to enhance private sector support around SDG financing. The Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD) will convene financial executives from firms including Allianz, Bank of America, and PIMCO to mobilize resources and align investment strategies with the 2030 Agenda in emerging markets. Coordinated through UN DESA, GISD aims to bridge the $3 trillion annual funding gap.
The World Bank annual meetings concluded this month, including announcement of a plan to decentralize and expand the bank’s global footprint by shifting 10 percent of its workforce closer to client countries by mid-2020.
On United Nations Day, October 24, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the launch of the UN75 campaign (marking the UN’s 75th anniversary next year) featuring an inclusive conversation on global cooperation. The initiative aims to understand key global issues by holding dialogues on global affairs with the public.