FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO jointly released their annual flagship report, the 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, on July 14. The report provides updated estimates on the number of hungry people in the world, including regional and national breakdowns, and the latest data on child stunting and wasting, as well as on adult and child obesity. For the third consecutive year, the number of people without enough to eat increased—from 811.6 million in 2017 to 821.6 million in 2018.
UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) released their 2019 Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report on July 11.
WHO and UNICEF released their annual estimates on national immunization coverage (referred to as WUENIC) this month, which revealed that more than 1 in 10 children missed out on life-saving vaccines such as measles, diphtheria, and tetanus in 2018. For the first time since its inception in 2000, WUENIC included coverage data for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
The UN held this year's High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) July 9–18 in New York. The HLPF plays a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It meets annually under the auspices of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This year’s meeting focused on reviewing SDGs 4 (education), 8 (decent work), 10 (inequality), 13 (climate), 16 (peaceful societies), and 17 (partnerships). It also marked the end of the first four-year cycle of the 2030 Agenda.
An internal audit released on July 18 revealed that only 5.9 percent of the IFRC’s national societies have both a female president and secretary-general, the top two leadership roles. Twenty-one percent of national societies have a female president and 31 percent have a female secretary-general. By contrast, nearly ten times as many have men in both top positions. IFRC’s Geneva-based secretariat has neither a female president nor secretary-general, and the percentage of women on its governing board has declined from 33 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2017.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announced its new Accelerator Labs initiative on July 18, launching 60 labs in 78 countries to test solutions to assorted development challenges. UNDP experts will team with outside ethnographers, entrepreneurs, and designers to create a “just do it” start-up mentality, according to Devex.
UNDP said the initial 60 labs would combat slowing progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals while developing solutions to emerging issues.
UNAIDS released its 2019 global AIDS update on July 16, revealing mixed progress. New HIV infections decreased by 16 percent since 2010, mostly due to gains in east and south Africa. However, new HIV infections have increased in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America. Global AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 33 percent from 2010, though deaths increased in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced earlier this year the appointment of Volker Türk of Austria as Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. Türk succeeds Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond of Chile who was appointed Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Preparations for the Commemoration of the United Nations’ 75th Anniversary. Mr.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) yesterday. The declaration followed a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, its fourth since the outbreak was declared in August 2018.
UNICEF released a report on July 12 recommending four workplace policies to benefit parents and children alike. Redesigning the Workplace of the Future recommended (1) paid parental leave; (2) breastfeeding support; (3) affordable, accessible and quality childcare; and (4) child benefits. UNICEF stressed that promoting parents’ wellbeing will not only benefit families and children, but also boost business’ moral, productivity and attractiveness to new hires.
WHO launched a five-year plan on July 1 to improve regulatory oversight of healthcare products.
WHO said the plan will support country and regional regulatory capacity, prepare for public health emergencies by fast-tracking product approvals and improving crisis communications, expand its prequalification program (including adding cancer drugs), and improve regulation by making better use of existing platforms.
UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report said this month that the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict in 2018 exceeded 70 million, the highest that the agency has seen in its almost 70 years of operations.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) elected Qu Dongyu, China’s vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, as its new director-general on June 23, despite strong objections from the United States and the European Union. According to Devex, the United States circulated a non-paper to FAO members before the election, stating “our primary objective is to beat the Chinese candidate,” and citing “strong concerns about Chinese leadership at multinational organizations.”
Five candidates are competing for the top job at UNAIDS, following the abrupt resignation of Michel Sidibé in May following accusations of misconduct.
French President Emmanuel Macron and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus signed a Declaration of Intent on June 11 to establish the WHO Academy. The academy will foster “innovative learning via a state-of-the-art digital learning experience platform” at a campus in Lyon and embedded in the six WHO regions. The Lyon hub will feature high-tech learning environments, a world-class health emergencies simulation center, and collaboration spaces for learning, co-design, research and innovation.