Illustration of interconnected environments.

The UNEP 2020 Greening the Blue report provides a snapshot of the UN System’s environmental impacts throughout 2019 and the activities underway to reduce them.

Image of a busy street with the letters over the image that read: 2020 The Year in Review.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our lives, the World Bank provides an overview in 12 charts and graphics, of its research in the face of a truly unprecedented crisis.

A man riding a bicycle in full protective gear including a facemask.

The UNDP 2020 Human Development Report (HDR) doubles down on the belief that people’s agency and empowerment can bring about the action we need if we are to live in balance with the planet in a fairer world. It shows that we are at an unprecedented moment in history, in which human activity has become a dominant force shaping the planet. These impacts interact with existing inequalities, threatening significant development reversals. Nothing short of a great transformation is needed to change the path we are on. The Report explores how to jumpstart that transformation.

Cover of the report

For the first time in a relationship spanning 300,000 years, instead of the planet shaping humans, humans are shaping the planet. This is the Anthropocene: the age of humans. COVID-19 and its unprecedented effects on human development are a cautionary tale of the type of challenges we are likely to face in the Anthropocene, unless humans transform the way we interact with the planet. But the future is not set in stone– yet. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to choose to change, and the 2020 Human Development Report (HDR), set to launch on 15 December, suggests a way forward.

report cover

For over a decade, the UNEP Emissions Gap Report has provided a yearly review of the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The report finds that, despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.

Maize hanging from a roof.

As the second most planted crop in the country, maize has an important bearing on welfare in a land where almost a quarter of people live in poverty, and where the poverty rate is four times higher in rural communities than in urban areas. The UNCTAD study, Analyzing the maize value chain for export in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, highlights measures that could help the country’s farmers capture a larger share of value from maize exports, and support poverty reduction efforts.  

Map of the world colour-coded by temperature.

Climate change continued its relentless march in 2020, which is on track to be one of the three warmest years on record. 2011-2020 will be the warmest decade on record, according to the WMO.

Illustration of interconnectivity.

While most urban areas are covered by a mobile-broadband network, worrying gaps in internet access persist in rural areas, according to ITU’s Measuring Digital Development: Facts and figures 2020. Connectivity gaps in rural areas are particularly pronounced in least developed countries (LDCs), where 17 per cent of the rural population live in areas with no mobile coverage at all, and 19 per cent of the rural population is covered by only a 2G network. 72 per cent of households in urban areas has access to the Internet at home, almost twice as much as in rural areas.

abstract drawing

The UNEP report conducts a rigorous assessment of the contribution of material efficiency in residential buildings and light duty vehicle to greenhouse gas abatement strategies. 

A closeup of a person in a lab working with test tubes.

Global markets and spirits are up with the news that two COVID-19 vaccines have shown to be more than 90% effective in late-stage clinical trials. But while there is growing confidence that an end to the health pandemic is in sight, an UNCTAD report published today warns that a viable vaccine will not halt the spread of economic damage, which will be felt long into the future, especially by the poorest and most vulnerable.

Someone wearing a UNFPA vest sits at the bedside of a patient.

In Palestine, it is widely understood that vulnerability to breast cancer can be hereditary. As a result, some women avoid getting screened because they fear a breast cancer diagnosis could affect their daughters’ marriage prospects. Women with breast cancer have also faced gender-based violence and abandonment. A recent UNFPA study showed that breast cancer stigma is a major cause of delayed detection and treatment.

Collage of graphs

This year’s World Bank publication guides readers through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using interactive storytelling and innovative data visualizations.

An old car by the side of the road in Ethiopia.

A groundbreaking UNEP report, warns that millions of used cars, vans and minibuses shipped from Europe, the United States of America and Japan to the developing world are polluting and unsafe. 

Three girls sitting down smiling and talking.

This 2019 snapshot shows UNFPA’s progress to achieve 3 world-changing results by 2030: Zero unmet need for family planning, zero preventable maternal death, and zero gender-based violence.

girls cheering

"In 2020, as the United Nations celebrates 75 years since the Charter’s signing, we have an opportunity to reflect on our shared progress, as well as our common future."