September Digital News Recap

September was another month of United Nations staffers working hard to spread the word on the world’s most pressing issues and what the UN is doing to overcome them. The 73rd session of the UN General Assembly was held in New York; many of the most popular tweets of the month came from staffers attending the session. Topics included climate change, health and nutrition, and human rights.

Paloma Escudero, the Global Director of Communication at UNICEF, was one such attendee at the UN General Assembly. She was joined by New York Times Best Selling Author Lilly Singh, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, and South Korean boy band BTS. This globally recognised group had a clear message: to put young people at the heart of world leader’s agendas.

As temperatures reached record highs throughout the world, a number of UN staffers tweeted about the significance of climate change.

Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change UNFCCC, outlined the organisation’s drive to combat climate change through a number of set goals. Patricia was speaking at the Global Climate Action Summit, held in San Francisco from September 12-14th. The summit was hosted by California Governor Jerry Brown and aimed to address climate change by bringing together non-state actors including elected leaders at the state and local level. The result? A group of twenty-nine organisations announced a commitment of $4 billion to combat climate change over the next five years – the largest philanthropic investment addressing climate change to date.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also tweeted on a number of climate related issues. He outlined climate change as the defining issue of our time – one that will require diligent long-term work and immediate action!

Droughts are having damaging impacts on food production, particularly in areas where access to nutritious food is already restricted. Still 821 million people worldwide are hungry every day. José Graziano da Silva, the FAO Director-General tweeted throughout September on the importance and problems associated with hunger. Much of José’s social activity came from his time spent at the UN General Assembly, where he outlined the importance of ending hunger and enabling all to access nutritious food, as well as launching a number of initiatives working towards those targets.

Another key issue targeted by the UN in recent years is gender equality. Gender equality necessitates women empowerment, including opportunity to make social choices, participate in decision making and economic freedom. As Mr Guterres outlined, less than 1/4 of the world’s parliamentarians are women. Participation in government is key to make women’s voices heard and views expressed in policy and resultantly society.

Erik Solheim asserted a slightly alarming fact: we started using plastic toothbrushes 80 years ago and still every single one remains somewhere on the planet due to the long life of plastic. Plastic is still used all too frequently, despite many alternatives such as bamboo.

Finally, September saw the celebration of Peace Day. The Executive Director of UN Volunteers, Oliver Adam, set the context: Peace Day marked the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights encompasses all goals the UN is working towards, namely education, work, family, health, justice, security and equality.

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