December Digital News Recap

December was a busy month as UN staffers were again publicising the work of the UN in the last month, as well as celebrating all achieved in 2018.

Melissa Fleming was at the General Assembly in New York to witness the adoption of The Global Compact on Refugees. The Compact is an international agreement to forge a stronger response to large refugee movements. In 2018 alone, over 25 million refugees migrated to escape violence or war. However, around 80% of these migrated to low or middle income countries who may struggle to provide the necessary services and infrastructure to support them. The Compact therefore aims to improve the global support – through investment, development and assistance – to host countries, benefitting both refugee groups and locals.

The number of displaced people has never been higher. This photo from the UNHCR shows the destruction across Syria as a result of conflict and violence. Much is required to end the violence, rebuild cities, and enable safety for locals.

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, tweeted on the Global Humanitarian Overview. Conflicts are lasting longer and troubling more people than ever – it is estimated that as many as 1 in 70 people worldwide are affected. Humanitarian disasters of violence and war, as well as natural disasters as climate change takes hold, will see even more people displaced and in need of help and investment in 2019.

Climate change is not only impacting refugees and host countries. Natural disasters are economically damaging, socially life-changing and physically catastrophic. Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, spoke to scientists and religious leaders to incite both parties to warn their followers about the dangers and risks of climate change and spur action to limit it. Powerful figures, organisations and leaders are required to educate and direct in order to tackle climate change’s truly global threats.

The UN’s Goals are more easily achieved by working together. Active work that is comprehensive, holistic, and inclusive can meet ends, like poverty reduction, while also securing means, such as equality and participation. The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed, tweeted from Johannesburg where she was outlining her vision to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

José Graziano da Silva outlined out one example of multifaceted development. Employment in agriculture can help to provide young people with jobs, income and food security, while developing rural areas. “Countries need to promote a rural and structural transformation that fosters synergies between farm and non-farm activities and that reinforces the linkages between rural areas and cities”.

On the topic of inclusivity, Phumzile Mlambo, Executive Director of , posted this short review of the incredible progress made in the last year towards gender equality. Infinite movements and marches took place around the world seeking and gaining action against gender (female) oppression. Decriminalisation of unfair laws, greater political participation, new female leaders and ultimately improved rights and equality were all achieved. Continued perseverance in 2019 can continue this fantastic progress.

2018 has been a year of dedication and hard work. Optimistic outlooks and worrying forecasts require continued perseverance to achieve the UN’s goals of equality, sustainability, prosperity and peace. The Secretary-General‘s video is thus an apt piece to finish the year on.