Women sitting at sewing machines

Developing productive capacities in least developed countries (LDCs) is necessary for boosting their response to and recover from crises such as COVID-19, according to a recent UNCTAD report.

An industrial plant in the desert emitting black smoke

The first UNEP Global Assessment of Air Pollution Legislation presents the findings of a study of air quality legislation in more than 194 countries. Using the Air Quality Guidelines developed by WHO, the report examines the legal measures for determining whether air quality standards are being met and what legal standards exist for failure to meet them. The Assessment provides recommendations to assist countries in strengthening air quality governance and serves as a resource for countries wishing to effectively address air pollution and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Flags of Member States flying at United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a wakeup call. With the climate crisis also looming, we are at an inflection point in history. Humanity faces a stark and urgent choice: breakdown or breakthrough. The choices we make today could result in further breakdown and a future of perpetual crises. Conversely, we aim for a breakthrough to a better, more sustainable, peaceful future for our people and planet. Our Common Agenda is an agenda of action, designed to strengthen and accelerate multilateral agreements – particularly the 2030 Agenda – and make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

People crossing through a desert

Ethiopian men make up 72 per cent of movements of migrants heading to Djibouti, but IOM is observing a higher number of unaccompanied migrant children taking this dangerous journey.

Rubble at the foot of stairs in between buildings.

According to a UN-Habitat assessment one year after the Beirut Port explosion, 130 of 175 buildings within two kilometres of the explosion’s epicentre have been rehabilitated.

Miners pushing a minecart

Commodity prices across the board have increased significantly in recent months in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region. A new UNCTAD study reviews the price increases and their potential. The report underlines that structural differences across the region will likely result in heterogenous impacts of commodity price increases on trade and GDP growth. Most importantly, the high level of uncertainty on commodity markets and the high degrees of commodity dependence across the region underscore the need to boost the resilience of LAC economies to future shocks.

Shot from above of two people walking with a stone band on the ground between them.

The global economic recovery continues, but with a widening gap between advanced economies and many emerging market and developing economies, IMF reports. Growth prospects for advanced economies this year have improved by 0.5 percentage point, but this is offset exactly by a downward revision for emerging market and developing economies driven by a significant downgrade for emerging Asia. Faster-than-expected vaccination rates and return to normalcy lead to upgrades, while lack of access to vaccines and renewed waves of COVID-19 cases in some countries, notably India, lead to downgrades.

A woman in a snowy landscape checks a technical devise.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, launches a new report: “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis.” This document provides the latest knowledge on past warming and future warming projections. It shows how and why the climate has changed to date, including an improved understanding of human influence on the climate including extreme events. The report is possible thanks to 234 report authors and experts all over the world that regularly assess the rich body of scientific literature and papers.

A bunch of scooters on a crowded road in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

UNCTAD’s updated SDG Pulse shows how the COVID-19 health crisis exacerbated many imbalances in 2020 and delayed progress towards the SDGs by presenting indicators such as trade and debt.

Two hands emptying a bowl full of food leftovers

1.3 billion tonnes of food is either lost or wasted, says the UNEP Food Waste Index. Composting is one of the best options for managing organic waste while also reducing environmental impacts.

A man carries a smiling baby that reaches out to a camera

Affordable, quality childcare is inaccessible in many of the world’s wealthiest countries, according to a new UNICEF report looking at childcare for children between birth and school age.

Two women walk along a beach

The crash in international tourism due to the pandemic could cause a loss of more than $4 trillion to the global GDP for the years 2020 and 2021, according to an UNCTAD report. The estimated loss has been caused by the pandemic’s direct impact on tourism and its ripple effect on other closely linked sectors. International tourism and its closely linked sectors suffered an estimated loss of $2.4 trillion in 2020. A similar loss may occur this year, the report warns, noting that the tourism sector’s recovery will largely depend on the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines globally.

Logo for the SG's Guidance on Behavioural Science

The Secretary-General’s Guidance Note on Behavioural Science encourages all UN colleagues to apply behavioural science to enhance policy development, programme implementation and simplify processes. A corner stone of the Secretary-General’s agenda to reform the UN, behavioural science refers to an evidence-based study of how people behave, make decisions and respond to programmes, policies and incentives. The launch also marks the opening of the UN Behavioural Science Week. Join the UN Behavioural Science Group to learn more, connect and collaborate with colleagues from across the UN system.

People inside a dumpsite watch as some trash burns.

Effective and binding action is urgently required to protect the millions of children, adolescents and expectant mothers worldwide whose health is jeopardized by the informal processing of discarded electrical or electronic devices, according to a new WHO report. As many as 12.9 million women work in the informal waste sector, which potentially exposes them to toxic e-waste and puts them and their unborn children at risk. Meanwhile more than 18 million children and adolescents are actively engaged in the informal industrial sector, of which waste processing is a sub-sector. 

A man hands a health care worker a box that was just delivered by a drone.

Spending on science worldwide increased (+19%) between 2014 and 2018, as did the number of scientists (+13.7%). This trend has been further boosted by the COVID crisis, according to UNESCO’s new Science Report, The Race against Time for Smarter Development. But these figures hide significant disparities: just two countries, the United States and China, account for nearly two-thirds of this increase (63%) while four out of five countries lag far behind, investing less than 1% of their GDP in scientific research. The scientific landscape remains largely a landscape of power.