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United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier De Schutter (center)
UNRIC Brussels

UN poverty expert: Promotion of equality must be our priority

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier De Schutter, began his three-year mandate in May 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

Gislene Pereira sews masks for a programme supported by UNFPA Brazil. Photo courtesy Gislene Pereira

Dressmaker pivots to PPE with help from UNFPA Brazil

Gislene Pereira, 51, is a dressmaker who lives in the outskirts of Brasília. Until COVID-19 struck, she used to make custom shirts for celebrations like birthday parties and uniforms for companies and churches. “All the orders I had were canceled. My whole production was shut down”, she said.

Children get their temperature checked and use hand sanitizer
António Guterres

"The future of education is here"

Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies. It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities. It is the bedrock of informed, tolerant societies, and a primary driver of sustainable development. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education ever. 



Health workers demonstrate proper handwashing to a child wearing a mask.
António Guterres

"Target women in all aspects of economic recovery and stimulus plans in Southeast Asia"

As in other parts of the world, the health, economic and political impact of COVID-19 has been significant across Southeast Asia — hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. The pandemic has highlighted deep inequalities, shortfalls in governance and the imperative for a sustainable development pathway.

busy sidewalk
António Guterres

COVID-19 in an Urban World

Urban areas are ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 90 per cent of reported cases. Cities are bearing the brunt of the crisis – many with strained health systems, inadequate water and sanitation services, and other challenges. This is especially the case in poorer areas, where the pandemic has exposed deeply rooted inequalities. But cities are also home to extraordinary solidarity and resilience.


A tugboat navigates the Port of Antwerp.
UNRIC Brussels

Port of Antwerp: a pioneer among sustainable ports

The Belgian Port of Antwerp wants to work towards becoming a sustainable port reconciling economic, social and ecological interests. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been anchored in the port’s mission and business plan with a roadmap for 2030.

Portrait of a woman.
Department of Global Communications

UN urges protection of domestic workers’ rights during COVID-19 pandemic

Oscar-nominated actress Yalitza Aparicio rose to fame in the film Roma, where she starred as an indigenous domestic worker.  There are an estimated 67 million domestic workers worldwide, the vast majority of whom are women.  As they try to maintain their livelihoods, lack of access to social protection systems makes domestic workers especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joana Berwanger sits with a 'chimarrão', a typical south-Brazilian drink, and her cat in Porto Alegre, Brazil. United Nations photo: Joana Berwanger

UNIC Rio's multitasking interns face the challenge of home office during the pandemic

"The day the earth stopped", music by Raul Seixas, inspired Gabriella de Azevedo Carvalho, 25 years old, to name the dog she adopted the week she started quarantining because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At almost the exact same time, she also began work as an intern at the United Nations Information Center Nations for Brazil (UNIC Rio). Since then, her dog Raul has been her daily companion on her home office journey as a graphic designer for UNIC Rio.

A volunteer provides food to a child in a residential neighbourhood
António Guterres

COVID-19 and the Arab Region: An Opportunity to Build Back Better

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fault lines, fissures and fragilities in societies and economies around the world – and the Arab region is no exception. The region is blessed with tremendous diversity and potential.  Yet all Arab countries – whether oil-rich, middle-income or least developed – face difficulties in responding.

Kelera and her son now meet regularly online using the video conferencing facilities set up at the Corrections Centre. United Nations photo: UNDP

Reunited virtually with families in prisons

Kelera’s (not her real name) son is now 22 years old and lives and studies at the University in Hawaii. Separated from her son since he was five years old, Kelera has not seen his face in years. She has never forgotten his smile, and her only hope was to see him again while she is serving a life sentence.

Secretary-General António Guterres at podium with Nelson Mandela portrait in the background
António Guterres

Tackling Inequality: A New Social Contract for a New Era

On Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. In his speech the Secretary-General took aim at the various layers of inequality that are being exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He outlined the threat posed to our well-being and our future by historic injustices and current trends, from colonialism and patriarchy to racism and the digital divide, and made concrete recommendations for a more equitable, just and sustainable way forward in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

UN Secretariat building.
Masayoshi Suga

Phase 1 at United Nations Headquarters: A staff member’s walkthrough

On 20 July, United Nations Headquarters will enter Phase 1 of its plan for personnel to return to UN premises in New York. Maximum occupancy will increase to about 400 people, roughly 10 per cent of that in normal times, and the complex will be ready to welcome back the next group of UN staff. Earlier this week, I visited the premises for the first time in four months to check out the safety and health measures in place during this phase. Here’s my step-by-step account of what I experienced, from entry to exit, photographed by my colleague, Manuel Elias of UN Photo. 

A poppy memorializes lives lost during World War I in Belgium. Photo courtesy  Jelleke Vanooteghem / unsplash
UNRIC Brussels

Former World War I battleground calls for ceasefire during COVID-19

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, called for an immediate ceasefire to protect the world’s most vulnerable communities from the virus. This included women, children, persons with disabilities and displaced persons in conflict zones.

Min Min holds a sign saying "avoid crowds" at the quarantine center in Pyay where he worked as a volunteer. Photo courtesy Min Min.
UNIC Yangon

LGBTIQ community faces new challenges during COVID-19

When the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in Myanmar in late March, quarantine centers were set up in sites around the country. People arriving in a town—such as migrant workers returning home—had to quarantine at their local center for 21 days. 

Woman wearing a headset with a microphone sits in front of two laptops.
Department of Global Communications

Portraits: UN interpreters adapt to new work modes during COVID-19

This story, with portraits taken remotely by UN Photo, shows how United Nations interpreters are responding to new challenges COVID-19 added to their already daunting job of providing simultaneous interpretation in six UN official languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.