May was dominated by news of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and across Palestine, as hundreds of civilians and fighters were killed as protests and clashes erupted. A number of significant annual dates and events were also noted by UN staffers.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted his concern for the violence and deaths that have occurred in Gaza in recent weeks as a result of intense protests. These protests were most pronounced throughout the opening of the US’ Israeli embassy in Jerusalem, the city at the heart of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as both Israel and Palestine claim Jerusalem as their capital. The Trump administration recognise the city as Israel’s capital, thereby angering Palestinians who believe the actions indicate US favour for Israel. Thus, the ongoing peace effort between Palestine and Israel, including intervention from the US, are troubled by Palestinian view of US bias, supposedly a peace broker.
I am profoundly alarmed and concerned by the sharp escalation of violence and the number of Palestinians killed and injured in the Gaza protests. It is imperative that everyone shows the utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) May 15, 2018
Roberto Valent was another UN staffer to express his concern for the violent conflict in Gaza throughout May. Valent noted the challenge presented to health and protection workers to save and care for the injured and threatened populations. The use of the
#crisis was certainly apt.
Dramatic that the situation is escalating in #Gaza with a shocking number of people killed & injured. A very sad turn of events and a major toll for the health services in Gaza. Attending to the injured and #protection of civilians is of essence & imperative. #Humanity #crisis pic.twitter.com/5CWxWZ8WPO
— Roberto Valent (@RobertoValentUN) May 14, 2018
Among those killed in Gaza are innocent children, as Matthias Schmale, Gaza director at United Nations Relief and Works Agency, uncovered.
Impossible to find appropriate words for what is happening in #Gaza. Just got @UNRWA colleague solemn email: "I regret to inform you that student Sadi Said Abu Salah was killed last Monday in the North. He was in grade nine in a Beit Hanoun boys school". Children are #NotATarget
— Matthias Schmale (@matzschmale) May 16, 2018
Filippo Grandi tweeted his support for the Muslim population beginning Ramadan, which began on 17th May and will finish on 15th June, particularly those in Sana’a and Gaza as well as other refugees. Ramadan involves a month of fasting – one of the Five Pillars of Islam – between dawn and sunset. A month of supposed peace and religious devotion is in great contrast to the violent conditions many Muslims have been forced to flee and survive in.
We think of the Muslim women and men who start Ramadan in Sana'a and Gaza; among the displaced in Syria and the refugees in Bangladesh; sheltering from the bombs and fleeing war on high seas. And we wish them strength, relief and hope.
— Filippo Grandi (@RefugeesChief) May 16, 2018
#WorldBeeDay was celebrated on May 20th by many UN organisations and staffers, including Adam Rogers. Honey bees are hugely important to many of the world’s ecosystems and food supplies. Through pollination, bees play a direct role in the growth of plants, fruit and vegetables, and indirectly support other food supplies as these benefits are passed through the food chain, not to mention the production of honey and other products such as wax. It is estimated that up to 1/3 of all food is dependent on pollination. Yet, the increasing role of pesticides, as well as habitat loss and disease are causing a decline in the global honeybee population. Rogers noted the importance of bees in achieving the sustainable development goal of zero hunger.
SUNDAY, 20 May is #WorldBeeDay !!
Bees are, as pollinators, responsible for 35% of the world’s crop production;
— Adam Rogers (@AdamRogers2030) May 20, 2018
In recent years, migration has been increasingly opposed, considering nationalist groups and misinformed figures that claim immigrants generate adverse economic conditions. In fact, figures show that migration has been hugely positive for national economies, not to mention multiculturalism and social benefits of ethnic mixing. William Lacy Swing, the Director General of the UN Migration Agency, believes that erroneous stereotypes need to be overcome via education and spreading accurate data.
Migration is the missing piece in the globalization mosaic and one of the mega trends of our century.
— William Lacy Swing (@IOMchief) May 2, 2018
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed, reiterated the UN’s commitment to mental and health wellbeing. Following a discussion in London with UN Secretary-General Guterres and other global leaders, Mohammed outlined the UN’s support for wellbeing as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Great discussion tonight on global #mentalhealth with leading experts and advocates. The @UN is committed to working together to protect and promote the mental health of all, as a central piece of the #SDGs. https://t.co/PRPxdhYPSl
— Amina J Mohammed (@AminaJMohammed) May 2, 2018
The work and targets of the United Nations is more easily achieved with widespread support and action. The use of social platforms, such as Twitter, by UN staffers to share their experiences, work and promote awareness is thus valuable to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ultimately greater prosperity for all.