October Digital News Recap

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

UN staffers continued to work hard towards the UN’s goals throughout October and provided us with insight into the work going on through their social media accounts.

Paloma Escudero, UNICEF Global Director of Communication, was in Iraq this month. There, UNICEF has done a lot of work to enable Iraqi children to go back to school following the widespread destruction. Here, she posted a lovely photo of smiling children in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. Mosul has been particularly hard-hit since its capture by the Islamic state in 2014 and subsequent government interventions to take back the city. Repairing the city will take years and billions of dollars, but prioritisation of education facilities has enabled these and many thousands of other children to get back to school.

In Ethiopia, Phumzile Mlambo, Executive Director of //marked celebrations as Sahle-Work Zewde was elected as Ethiopia’s new President. Sahle-Work is the current U.N. under-secretary general and special representative of the secretary general to the African Union. She replaces Mulatu Teshome Wirtu.

Additionally, this came a week after the prime minister (who holds executive power) reshuffled his cabinet, appointing 10 female ministers to make Ethiopia the third country in Africa, after Rwanda and Seychelles, to achieve gender parity in their cabinets. Political participation of women is a fantastic move forwards for gender equality and female empowerment.

Climate change has infamously become the most pressing issue of our time. Head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim, congratulated Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, for his work on addressing climate change and called for more leaders to address climate-related issues. Under Modi’s leadership, India pledged to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022. Prime Minister Modi has also been a great supporter of solar energy.

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was also high in praise, this time for Colombia, for the efforts to care for thousands of Venezuelan migrants. More than 2 million migrants – thousands of them to Colombia – are thought to have fled from Venezuela’s imploding economy, hyper-inflation and leftwing government, under Nicolas Maduro, that shows no sign of relinquishing power.

Marta Santos Pais tweeted her joy for the children of Nepal following the passing of a new law that will help to protect them from violence. Exposure of violence not only has short-term hurt but long-term costs such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Every child should have the right to play, learn and grow away from violence.

Finally, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping, declared his admiration and thanks to the million-plus UN peacekeepers who have worked across UN Peacekeeping missions throughout the last 70 years. Today, over 100,000 dedicate their lives to helping others. Current operations are in Haiti, Western Sahara, Mali, Central African Republic, DRC, Darfur, Golan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Abyei, Kosovo, South Sudan, India and Pakistan, and the Middle East.

The work and ultimate targets of the United Nations are more easily achieved with widespread support and action. The use of social platforms by UN staffers to share their experiences, work and promote awareness is thus valuable to achieving greater prosperity for all.