Get involved Vol 24, No. 04 - April 2020

Be safe, be smart, be kind

Have you been experiencing elevated levels of fear and anxiety lately? Are you feeling trapped or hopeless? Don’t worry, these are not the symptoms of the novel coronavirus, they are perfectly natural reactions to a global pandemic. One of the best antidotes to the sense of powerlessness in face of the COVID-19 virus is to take action against it. Here’s what you can do!

Be Safe

It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do for other people at the moment… is to keep away from them. Social distancing is still our most powerful weapon against the coronavirus. If you find yourself in a COVID-19 hotspot, and if urged by local authorities to help flatten the curve, heed the call! This may be the only time in your life when you can literally save lives by simply staying home.

Watch and retweet to learn how you can protect yourself and others from the coronavirus in seven easy steps.

Be Smart

Inform yourself about the virus from a trusted source, such as the official websites of the United Nations and the World Health Organization or your local health authority.

You can also learn about UN DESA’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic through a new web portal just launched. The portal will shine a light on the cutting-edge analysis and policy advice to addressing this global crisis.

It’s good to keep everybody else informed, but be sure to only share facts, not rumours. Never share sensationalist or unverified information. By spreading misinformation, you may be helping the spread of the virus instead of stopping it!

Be Kind

No amount of fear can excuse prejudice and discrimination. The coronavirus pandemic is a human crisis that calls first and foremost for human solidarity. Stand up to racism, xenophobia and stigma.

Show solidarity with those affected:

We are all in this crisis together and we will get through it together.

Are you #GenerationEquality?

Imagine a world where all people have equal rights and opportunities. Women and girls are not afraid of walking home late at night, and men and boys are not trapped in oppressive masculinities. In this world, gender equality is the norm. Men and women get paid equally for work of equal value and share the care work at home.

This is Generation Equality.

UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most visionary agenda for women’s rights and empowerment everywhere.

The Generation Equality campaign is bringing together people of every gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion and country, to drive actions that will create the gender-equal world we all deserve.

Together, we can end gender-based violence; we are calling for economic justice and rights for all; bodily autonomy, sexual and reproductive health and rights; and feminist action for climate justice. We want technology and innovation for gender equality, and feminist leadership.

Small actions can have big impacts in making this vision a reality. On International Women’s Day, join #GenerationEquality and become part of the movement.

Working together to end homelessness

“We want everyone to be involved and make change happen!” says Amine Lamrabat, Information Officer in UN DESA’s Division for Inclusive Social Development. Ahead of the UN Commission for Social Development (CSocD) this month, which for the first time in its history will address homelessness, he shares how we can all work together to end homelessness and promote affordable housing. Learn about six key actions we can all support!

  • Raise awareness to support the empowerment and full participation of homeless persons in the societies we live in, paying particular attention to family homelessness, women, children, adolescents, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, people living in poverty and people displaced by natural disasters and conflicts.
  • Advocate for the rights of homeless people to live a dignified life. You can get involved in great initiatives such as the world’s big sleep out campaign, which was founded by Josh Littlejohn, the co-founder of the charity Social Bite, based in Scotland. Social Bite started as a small sandwich shop in Edinburgh that began offering employment and free food to homeless people.
  • Educate yourself, teach others, and push for policies that help the homeless. There are so many reasons why a person becomes homeless. We need to understand how they got there in the first place to be able to do something about it.
  • Invest in your community, volunteer and contribute to the trusted foundations and charities who are working hard to make change happen.
  • Organize networking events and outreach activities to show solidarity with homeless people such as Making Us Count, a campaign powered by the UN Working Group to End Homelessness, made up of NGOs from across the world. The campaign calls on the United Nations to make the voices of homeless people count.
  • Show respect towards homeless persons and treat them with dignity as you would do with anyone else.
  • Contribute to ending this global social crisis, which is growing in every country.

“By adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States agreed to make significant progress towards implementing appropriate social protection systems for all and committed to ensuring access to safe and affordable housing for all. Homelessness is a global problem and needs a global solution. We need to find innovative solutions to end and prevent it. All people have the right to lead a decent life with dignity”, says Amine Lamrabat at UN DESA.

It is the first time in the history of the UN Commission for Social Development (CSocD) that the issue of affordable housing and homelessness is addressed. Join the discussions at the CSocD 58th session from 10 to 19 February 2020 at UN Headquarters in New York or live online via UN Web TV.

For more information, please visit the CSocD58 website.

2020 kicks off new decade of action for people and planet

What kind of a world do we want to create? As we dive into a new decade, the United Nations is launching a massive campaign to bridge the gap between the world we hope for and the world we may end up living in if we don’t better manage the dire challenges we are facing, including current climate change and inequality trends. 

The new “Decade of Delivery and Action,” is fully backed by the highest levels of officials within the UN and among international actors. At the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development last July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on Member States and other stakeholders to “kickstart a decade of delivery and action for people and planet” in 2020, given the short time left to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

This theme was also reflected in the political declaration, “Gearing up for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development,” unanimously adopted at the opening of the SDG Summit in September 2019. UN Member States pledged to mobilize financing, enhance national implementation and strengthen institutions to achieve the sustainable development objectives by the target date and leave no one behind. This January, the Secretary-General will deliver a New Year’s address in which he is expected to rally more enthusiasm for the decade.

The launch of the decade coincides with the 75th anniversary of the UN (#UN75), which will be celebrated under the theme “Shaping our future together,” and which seeks to involve people from all walks of life to join the largest-ever global conversation. Also, the UN’s Act Now campaign continues to gain steam, and this year it will offer tips for reducing your carbon footprint as it relates to oceans and sustainable transport – just in time for UN DESA’s two major conferences on those issues this year.

We can achieve the SDGs only through thoughtful collaboration and teamwork, so let’s get our voices heard and shape our future together!

For more information: Decade of Action for People for Planet

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