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Quiet corridors but a full programme at virtual UNGA75: five things you need to know

The 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA) session, begins on 15 September and this year, due to the ongoing global pandemic, it will be unlike any other in the organization’s three quarters of a century of existence. 

This month, there will be no bumping into presidents or the occasional global celebrity in hectic and sometimes crushed corridors at UN Headquarters in New York.

Beat back ‘catastrophic effects’ of COVID-19 on refugee education, urges UNHCR

While children in every country have struggled with the impact of COVID-19 on their education, refugee children have been particularly disadvantaged, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has said, amid fears many may not be able to resume their studies due to school closures, high fees or lack of access to technology to learn remotely. 

Make COVID recovery ‘a true turning point’ for people and planet, Guterres urges, calling for concerted action by G20

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on governments to incorporate “meaningful” climate action in all aspects of recovery from the global pandemic. 

Addressing ministers at a virtual meeting on sustainable recovery from COVID-19 on Thursday, the UN chief said that the world is confronting two urgent crises: COVID-19 and climate change. 

Women bear the brunt, as COVID erodes progress on eradicating extreme poverty

The coronavirus pandemic and its fallout will likely push 47 million more women into poverty, reversing decades of progress to eradicate extreme poverty, new data released on Wednesday by the UN has revealed. 

The study, commissioned by UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), points to a 9.1 per cent increase in the poverty rate for women.  

Beirut facing acute environmental crisis, warns UN energy specialist

Contamination from hazardous chemicals, landfill sites at capacity, and water pollution, are among the most urgent challenges faced by the Lebanese authorities and UN teams tackling the huge task of clearing up Beirut, following the massive explosion in the city’s port on 4 August.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Jihan Seoud, Energy and Environment Program Manager at the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Lebanon office, described the impact of the explosion as a major concern, particularly as Beirut’s environment was already “in a dismal state” before the disaster.

Attacks on journalists are attacks on all civil society: UN rights chief

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has urged all countries to do more to protect journalists, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, as their work helps save lives.

Speaking at an event in support of press freedom in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that around 1,000 journalists have been killed in the last decade – and that nine in 10 cases “are unresolved”.