September Digital News Recap

UN staffers have been continuing the drive towards ending poverty, increasing social prosperity and ultimately achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

But it is not just UN staffers working to these goals. Masses of youth groups around the world have been campaigning and volunteering too. Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, was joined by youth leaders at a Youth Climate Action Summit where she enthused them to continue the fight.

The Summit was a platform for young climate action leaders to showcase their solutions at the United Nations and to meaningfully engage with decision-makers on the defining issue of our time. It brought youth climate champions together from more than 140 countries and territories to share their solutions on the global stage, and deliver a clear message to world leaders: we need to act now to address climate change.

Climate change has many implications, from rising sea levels and flooding, to hotter temperatures and droughts. In short, the weather is sure to be increasingly extreme. Last month, the Bahamas was hit by Hurrican Dorian. It was the most intense tropical cyclone on record to strike the Bahamas, and is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the country’s history, displacing tens of thousands of people and costing billions in damages. UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, visited the country to see the destruction for himself. His response: ‘It’s time to wake up and take urgent #ClimateAction’.

Human rights experts from the UN and others, including David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, implored Chinese and Hong Kong leaders to respect the rights of Hong Kong’s population, who have been protesting for months against the Extradition Bill. Protesters feared this could undermine the city’s judicial independence from China. Despite mostly peaceful protests, Hong Kong police have edged beyond control, with several uses of violence such as teargas on the public. Ensuring the safety of protesters and facilitating free speech is paramount. SDG 16 is Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Attacks on civil society are holding back development progress.

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, welcome the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Rwandan Government, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the African Union to set up a procedure for evacuating refugees out of Libya. Under the agreement, the Government of Rwanda will receive and provide protection to refugees and asylum-seekers who are currently being held in detention centres in Libya.

UNHCR has evacuated over 4000 refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya since 2017, including 2,900 through the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Niger and 425 to European countries through the Emergency Transit Centre in Romania. Yet, 4,700 people are estimated to still be held in dire conditions inside Libyan detention centres.

Finally, Adam Rogers tweeted this great photo of leading climate activist Greta Thunberg with conservation expert Jane Goodall. Two great examples of women driving meaningful, positive change for the benefit of all.