Development Health Advice 

Guterres urges more countries to step up and fund global COVID-19 vaccine effort

The Access to COVID-19 Tools – the ACT-Accelerator – along with its COVAX Facility, is a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.  Launched at the end of April 2020, the ACT-Accelerator has secured $3 billion, critical for its start up, but it needs a further $35 billion – including an “immediate infusion” of $15 billion – Secretary-General António Guterres said at a high-level event to mobilize support for the initiative.  “These resources are crucial now to avoid losing the window…

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Human Rights 

Listen to older people’s ‘suggestions and ideas’ for more inclusive societies, urges UN chief

“Older people must be a priority in our efforts to overcome COVID 19”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons, celebrated annually on 1 October. He shone a light on the need to examine how the pandemic might change how we address age and ageing in our societies, stressing that more opportunities and increased access to health, pensions and social protection for older persons were “crucial”. In releasing his policy guidance on making the lives of older persons better,…

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Human Rights 

Redouble efforts against ‘global scourge’ of gender-based violence, intensified by pandemic: Guterres 

“Millions of women are living in fear, with long-term consequences for families and communities, and for all our efforts for peace and security, human rights and sustainable development”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message to a virtual high-level GBV event in the context of COVID-19.  Against the backdrop of his global call for a ceasefire and an end to all violence – from war zones to people’s homes – he acknowledged that some 146 Member States had increased resources and acted to protect women and girls but flagged that those measures were not enough.  “We urgently need new thinking and momentum on this critical issue”, Mr. Guterres upheld, underscoring the need to increase…

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Development Health Advice 

COVID-19: ‘Legitimate concerns’ must be heard, and fears addressed over misinformation

On the margins of the General debate of the UN General Assembly, UN News spoke to UN Under-Secretary General for Global Communications, Melissa Fleming, and from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Sylvie Briand, Director of Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases.   In a joint interview, they discussed how important it is for the UN to engage with the public, and highlight international collaborative efforts to develop effective and affordable vaccines for all.  Misinformation is not new … We’ve had misinformation as far back as you look in history. The difference here…

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Development Health Advice 

One millionth death from COVID-19 ‘an agonizing milestone’: UN Secretary-General

“They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues,” he said in a statement on Monday.  Our world has reached an agonizing milestone: the loss of 1 million lives to #COVID19. We must never lose sight of each & every life. As the hunt for a vaccine — affordable and available to all — continues, let’s honour their memory by working together to defeat this virus. pic.twitter.com/iZ1UnN8d4i — António Guterres (@antonioguterres) September 29, 2020 The pain has been multiplied by the “savageness” of the disease,…

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Human Rights 

Most countries failing to protect women from COVID-19 economic and social fallout

And women have often become victims of domestic violence “locked down with their abusers, as unpaid caregivers in families and communities, and as workers in jobs that lack social protection”, adds the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. New data released by gender agency and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) taken from the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker, reveal that most countries are not doing enough to protect women and girls from the economic and social fallout being caused by the virus. Lacking support The analysis signals that one-fifth…

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Human Rights 

‘Eyes and ears’ of Human Rights Council facing funding crisis

In an appeal for Member States to help, they said that financing their work adequately had been a concern for several years, and that the COVID-19 crisis had made their work even more difficult. Today, Member States have only paid about 60 per cent of their commitments to the United Nations regular budget. As a result, some experts are unable to carry out their mandates properly, the Special Procedures coordination committee said in a statement, describing rights experts as the “eyes and ears” of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.…

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Human Rights 

Yemen’s warring parties agree to free more than 1,000 prisoners 

Delegates from the Yemen Government and the Ansar Allah, formally known as Houthi rebels, signed an agreement on Sunday to liberate 1,081 conflict-related individuals, in accordance with the lists of agreed-upon names. “Today is an important day for over a thousand families who can expect to welcome back their loved ones hopefully very soon,” said the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, after the fourth meeting of the Supervisory Committee on the Implementation of the Prisoners’ Exchange Agreement, which was co-chaired by his office (OSESGY) and the International Committee…

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Development Health Advice 

Conflict, climate crisis, threaten fragile gains to advance women and children’s health

Protect the Progress: Rise, Refocus, Recover, 2020 highlights that since the movement was launched 10 years ago, spearheaded by then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, there has been remarkable progress in improving the health of the world’s women, children and adolescents, with under-five deaths reached an all-time recorded low in 2019, and more than 1 billion children were vaccinated over the past decade. Coverage of immunization, skilled birth attendant and access to safe drinking water reached over 80 per cent. Maternal deaths declined by 35 per cent since 2000, with the most significant declines…

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Human Rights 

Inclusion and more public participation, will help forge better government policies: Guterres

Speaking at the end of the annual high level week, Secretary-General António Guterres warned that such crises are an “enormous governance challenge” for all nations, and overcoming them requires approaches driven by unity, solidarity and compassion.  “For that, we need governance models and structures that work for the common good, with an intergenerational perspective. We need to prioritize the rebuilding of trust between people, institutions and leaders,” he highlighted.  Lead through equality  The UN chief called for leadership that is gender equal, noting recent studies that show women leaders have…

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