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UN envoy welcomes ‘commonalities’ shared by Syrians in Geneva talks

Syrian opponents meeting in Geneva as part of efforts to find a peaceful end to nearly a decade of conflict in their country have found common ground on which to pursue further discussions, UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen said on Saturday.

Speaking to journalists in the Swiss city after a week of “challenging” stop-start talks, interrupted by the discovery that four participants had tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, Mr. Pedersen insisted that “several areas of commonalities” had been found.

New guidelines aim to dismantle barriers blocking people with disabilities from access to justice

The first-ever guidelines on access to justice for people with disabilities are an “indispensable contribution” towards ensuring justice for all, UN human rights experts said on Friday. 

The document will help countries dismantle the barriers that block people with disabilities from being able to use justice systems worldwide. 

UNESCO launches Beirut recovery fund for culture, heritage and education

To support the rehabilitation of schools, historic heritage buildings, museums and the creative economy, which suffered extensive damage in the deadly explosions that shook Beirut earlier this month, the head of the UN cultural agency on Thursday launched an international fund-raising appeal.

The devastating blasts rocked the Lebanese capital and wreaked havoc throughout the city, killing close to 200 people, injuring thousands of others, and leaving around a quarter of a million homeless. 

‘Widespread’ COVID-19 transmission, limited testing, deepen Syria’s humanitarian woes

COVID-19 is having a dramatic impact on health services in Syria, where limited testing is obscuring the real extent of the pandemic, the UN’s Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator said on Thursday.

“Reports of healthcare facilities filling up, of rising numbers of death notices and burials, all seem to indicate that actual cases far exceed official figures,” Ramesh Rajasingham told the UN Security Council.

Globally, 1 in 3 children missed out on remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered schools

For at least 463 million children whose schools closed due to COVID-19, “there was no such a thing as remote learning,” the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday, as the agency launched a new report outlining the limitations of remote learning and exposing the deep inequalities in access.  

Digital economy can put citizens in control of finance, says UN taskforce

A UN taskforce set up to look into the risks and benefits of the digital economy, has concluded that it could have a transformational impact on sustainable development, and empower citizens, both as taxpayers and investors.

The report, “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future”, was released by the UN Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Finance on Wednesday.