April Digital News Recap

The work of the United Nations was again spread profoundly on twitter by its staffers and contractors in April. A number of the most popular tweets were centred on issues relating to climate change. Among the environmental themes were energy issues and food crises. Gender and child-targeted violence were also cited by staffers.

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, alerted his large following to the need for greater ambition and action against climate change, as the climate continues to warm, creating short-term weather variance and rising ocean temperatures, thus shrinking ice coverage and disturbing ecosystems. Simultaneously, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, exacerbating the problem.

As single-use plastic is increasingly pushed to be removed from society, Erik Solheim presented Rwanda’s single-use plastic ban as an example to be followed. Ten years after the ban was introduced, Rwanda has become cleaner and more environmentally sustainable, contributing to the attraction of more visitors to the country.

Martin Ras tweeted a link uncovering the countries most prepared for climate change. Renewable energy transition and security were the central measurement of ‘readiness’ – significant considering economic performance’s reliance on energy. The Scandinavian countries lead; while, the UK, Austria and the Netherlands were all well ranked. At the other end of the spectrum, Zimbabwe, Iran, Venezuela and Mozambique were amongst those considered to be most challenged by climate change and the need for renewable and sustainable energy transition.

Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, tweeted ahead of World Health Day that nutritious food should be accessible for all. Moreover, food that has less impact on the environment – through more efficient use and less waste, and reducing food packaging for instance – can benefit food security and reduce environmental degradation.

Gustavo Gonzalez tweeted a powerful image of a child eating in dirty conditions. Children located in regions under climate adversity are not receiving adequate nutrition at a critical time for their body’s development. Extreme climate events – mainly drought – were major triggers of food crises in 23 countries with over 39 million food-insecure people in need of urgent assistance in 2017. Gonzalez urged for greater prevention and resilience in the fight for food security.

Following Winnie Mandela’s death on 2nd April, Amina Mohammed tweeted an homage to the anti-apartheid activist and ex-wife of Nelson Mandela. Winnie Mandela fought for equality, specifically for the black population suppressed in South Africa throughout apartheid. Additionally, she displayed the power of women to make change and has been an inspiration for minorities, women and people generally to strive for equality.

When journalists are attacked so too is democracy, as Guy Berger uncovered. Female journalists are attacked online three times more than males, thus hurting gender equality in addition to democracy. Violence and censorship that silence women are to be combatted through a number of principles set out at the Commission on the Status of Women held at the UN’s New York HQ that Berger referenced. If women journalists are not safe, women’s empowerment is limited – significant considering that the right for women (and men) to report and review is an imperative of public right to information.

Marta Santos Pais tweeted numerous stirring images throughout April to spread the need for an end to violence against children. Her tweets included a reminder of the sustainable development goals that include ending child labour, trafficking and forced marriage.

UN staffers activity on social media allows the work of the UN and the important issues they are supporting to spread across the public, thereby increasing awareness and prompting support and action to address problems and increase prosperity.