May Digital News Recap


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.

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  was certainly apt.

Among those killed in Gaza are innocent children, as Matthias Schmale, Gaza director at United Nations Relief and Works Agency, uncovered.

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.

 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.

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.

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.

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.