As the COVID-19 pandemic carves its dark entry into the history of humankind, causing serious illness and death, and upending daily life as we know it, UN DESA is supporting the world to contain the calamity and emerge from it more resilient and united. As the pandemic challenges national health systems, shutters businesses large and small, and confines millions to their homes, it leaves the society’s most vulnerable groups exposed to its most destructive effects. UN DESA experts continue to closely monitor the economic, financial and social impacts of the crisis and is prepared to advise the UN Secretary-General and help Member States navigate the policy choices ahead in a way that leaves no one behind.


The world after COVID-19

A global pandemic is a time of tough choices. The policy decisions taken now will shape the fate of millions and define the future of nations. How to save people’s lives without destroying their livelihoods? Where to allocate scarce resources? How to protect those who do not have the means to protect themselves? UN experts are working round the clock to help decision makers navigate these tough choices and prevent the world from sliding into a dangerous depression. Watch this space for the latest research, analysis and policy advice from UN DESA, an effort to support and complement the United Nations Secretary-General’s initiatives in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Responding to COVID-19 and Recovering Better is a compilation volume of UN DESA’s special policy brief series on the economic and social impact of COVID-19, which aims to complement and support the Secretary-General’s initiatives in response to COVID-19. It presents detailed analysis and solid evidence needed for effective decision-making on a number of critical social and economic issues - including designing inclusive stimulus packages; preventing a global debt crisis; supporting countries in special situations; protecting the most vulnerable groups of people; strengthening the role of science, technology and institutions for an effective response; and working together to build back better and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Changes to calendar due to COVID-19

As a preventive measure amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, some of the high-level meetings organized by UN DESA worldwide have been postponed or cancelled. Others are still being reviewed. Click below to find the latest information on the affected events and check back regularly for updates.

UN DESA Calendar

Online Events

Join UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Fabrizio Hochschild-Drummond, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Preparations for the Commemoration of the United Nations 75th Anniversary, and UN DESA experts for the second UN DESA Webinar on COVID-19: Strengthening Science and Technology and Addressing Inequalities on 6 May 2020, from 10 am to 12 noon EDT. You can watch a recording of this event on Facebook, at: Access the presentation here.

UN Chief Economist Elliott Harris and other experts from UN DESA have shared the main findings of three new briefing papers on the social, economic and financial impacts of COVID-19, as well as public policy recommendations. The online webinar took place on Thursday, 9 April 2020. You can watch a recording of this event on Facebook, at: Access the presentation here.


Further resources

United Nations' web site on Covid-19

The United Nations is closely monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City, as well as the region where staff live – New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut. This page features important information that is specific to the UN Headquarters and to the locations near the HQ. It is focused on staff and their families, but includes advice for staff of delegations, as well. It will be regularly updated as changes occur in the HQ and in the region.

WHO website on the coronavirus

This page brings together information and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations regarding the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was first reported in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. Please visit this page for daily updates. WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus.

COVID-19 Outbreak and Persons with Disabilities

Immediate response is needed that addresses the specific needs of persons with disabilities to maintain their health, safety, dignity, and independence in the community throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and related health emergencies.

Insights by CDP members on the COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 is a global emergency that demands global cooperation. The UN Committe for Development Policy brings together some of the world's leading experts on various aspects of development to offer advice on the way out of this crisis.

COVID-19 response - Web portal for the statistical community

National and international statistical organizations need to take immediate action to ensure the continuity of key statistical compilation activities and the continued availability of data to inform emergency mitigation actions by governments and all sectors of society

Scientists, experts and policy makers addressing the COVID-19 crisis around the world

COVID-19 is a global emergency that demands global cooperation. The UN Committee for Development Policy brings together some of the world’s leading experts on various aspects of development to offer advice on the way out of this crisis.

COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples

COVID-19 is a reminder that humanity is only as safe as its most vulnerable groups. The pandemic?poses?a grave?health threat to Indigenous Peoples around the world. We have to ensure these services and facilities are provided in indigenous languages, and as appropriate to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.