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.

A woman sits on the sidewalk with a boy besides her.

ILO’s WESO Trends 2021 projections highlight the danger of a COVID-19 labour market legacy of increased geographic and demographic inequality, rising poverty and fewer decent jobs.

A woman wearing a facemask sits in front of a makeshift shelter.

FAO reports on the stark warning from the 2021 Global Report on Food Crises revealing that conflict, economic shock and extreme weather continue to cause acute food insecurity.

A woman wearing a facemask holds a baby.

The State of the World’s Midwifery 2021 presents findings on the Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, New-born and Adolescent Health (SRMNAH) workforce from 194 countries. The report, produced by UNFPA, WHO and partners, shows the progress and trends since the inaugural 2011 edition and identifies the barriers and challenges to future advancement. The report establishes a global shortage of 1.1 million SRMNAH workers, the largest shortage (900,000) being midwives. Investment is urgently needed.

A woman holding birth control pills.

Bodily autonomy means that we have the power and agency to make choices over our bodies and futures, without violence or coercion. This edition of the State of World Population, UNFPA highlights why bodily autonomy is a universal right that must be upheld. The report reveals how serious many of the shortfalls in bodily autonomy are; many have worsened under the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, for instance, record numbers of women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence and harmful practices such as early marriage.

A forest in the mist

Environment is the foundation for human wellbeing. Who speaks for it? Who leads on it? Almost fifty years ago, in 1972, UNEP was created as the anchor institution for the global environment, a small, smart and capable body that was to “color the UN environmental”. UNEP’s fiftieth anniversary offers an opportunity to reflect on its core mandate, raise awareness about its accomplishments, and solicit input on its future. Join us for a conversation with Maria Ivanova, the author of “The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty” at 18:30 - 19:30 h EAT.

Drawing of protestors confronting a uniformed force.

Despite ample examples, quantitative evidence on the link between epidemics and social unrest is scant. Recent IMF staff research fills this gap by offering global evidence of this link in recent decades. History is replete with examples of disease outbreaks casting long shadows of social repercussions: shaping politics, subverting the social order, and some ultimately causing social unrest. Why? One possible reason is that an epidemic can reveal or aggravate pre-existing fault lines in society.

Portrait of a woman.

In a data visualization project entitled ‘Livelihoods, food and futures: COVID-19 and the displaced,’ UNHCR collated statistics from numerous sources to shed more light on the effects of the pandemic on poor and vulnerable people. The storymap illustrates the drastic falls in levels of employment and income in within displaced communities since the onset of the pandemic. It also explores how families are coping to meet basic needs, in many cases forced to cut corners because of shrinking household budgets.

Aerial view of the tropical rainforest in Timor-Leste.

The 10 New Insights in Climate Science 2020 report by leading international scientists and presented to the UNFCCC reveals the most important findings within the field of climate science over the last year. It can help drive collective action on the ongoing climate crisis and help build momentum for a successful outcome of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November.  The report presents the need for aggressive greenhouse gas emission cuts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement among other issues.

Cover of the report.

The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2021, the UN’s flagship report produced by DESA, looks at the performance of the world economy since the start of the pandemic as well as the impacts of global policy responses and post-crisis recovery scenarios. Set against a backdrop of prolonged economic uncertainty, the report highlights areas hardest hit by the pandemic and the subsequent global response, including challenges and opportunities that will determine the sustainability, resilience and fairness of the global recovery efforts.  The report launch starts at 11:00 am, watch it live.

A man sits in front of a computer wearing a mask and face shield.

Although global economic output is recovering from its COVID-19 collapse, the World Bank Global Economic Prospects shows it will remain below pre-pandemic trends for a prolonged period.

Ocean life, fish and coral, underwater.

UNCTAD launched its updated BioTrade Principles and Criteria, for governments and companies to conduct biodiversity-friendly trade in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable manner. The term “BioTrade” refers to the commercialization of goods and services derived from a country’s biodiversity. Curtailing illegal wildlife trade is imperative to stop biodiversity loss, with an estimated one million plant and animal species now at risk of extinction. The threat is not only ecosystem collapse but also a heightened risk of new pandemics such as COVID-19.

Illustration representing life on land and sea life.

UNEP warns 2020 was not only the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also the year of intensifying climate change: high temperatures, floods, droughts, storms, wildfires and even locust plagues. Even more worryingly, the world is heading for at least a 3°C temperature rise this century. We need strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Paris Agreement goals of holding global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C. Nations must urgently step-up action to adapt to the new climate reality or face serious costs, damages and losses.

A smiling girl gets served a plate a food by a worker with a WFP apron in Sri Lanka.

WFP reports that the coronavirus pandemic is undermining efforts to improve diets and nutrition for nearly 2 billion people in Asia and the Pacific, according to an FAO report published today. The Asia and the Pacific Overview of Food Security and Nutrition states that 1.9 billion people were unable to afford a healthy diet in 2019—the year that is the focus of the study—while estimates suggest the disruption caused to livelihoods and economies by COVID-19 only worsened problems in 2020, hitting women and children aged under 5 hardest, in spite of economic growth.