Around the world: Daily updates from UN country teams - April 2022
Our UN teams are on the ground, working with governments and key stakeholders to bolster countries’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, helping ensure a smooth recovery. They tackle a range of multi-faceted priorities and key initiatives on a daily basis—from climate action to gender equality and food security—and utilize innovative approaches to problem-solving to better serve communities. Below are some highlights of their work this month.
Friday, 29 April - We have an update from our UN team in China, led by Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee, contributing to the country’s COVID-19 response. The World Health Organization (WHO) is implementing a joint vaccination campaign with health authorities, with the UN team boosting outreach on COVID-19 prevention and vaccination, guidance on mental health and physical activity during the pandemic and parenting tips during lockdowns. Our team is also supporting stronger, more accessible and sustainable health and social protection systems that focus on vulnerable groups. This includes boosting women-led small and medium enterprises, cash assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers, while ensuring they are vaccinated and have personal protection equipment. We also supported the Global Humanitarian Response Hub in Guangzhou, helping raise US$3.5 million from private sector and individual donors to support nutrition improvement initiatives in China, Cambodia, and Lao PDR. Our team is also providing guidance to the education sector, including for persons with disabilities, while supporting community-led services for people living with HIV/AIDS. For its part, UNICEF is helping to deliver COVAX-backed Chinese vaccines to several countries, including Syria and Yemen.
Thursday, 28 April - We have an update from our team in Palestine, where Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and Deputy Special Coordinator Lynn Hastings is leading the on-going work of our team to support the vaccination campaign of the Government of Palestine by facilitating the provision of several consignments of COVID-19 vaccines doses through COVAX. This vaccine supply will be distributed to 20 per cent of the population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Yesterday, WHO and UNICEF led the work of our UN team to dispatch nearly 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine doses, allocating more than 179,000 to the West Bank and more than 120,000 to the Gaza Strip. Since the first dose arrived on 17 March 2021, this recent initiative brings the total of COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered through COVAX in Palestine to 1,865,720 (West Bank: 1,161,150 Gaza Strip: 704,570). Our on-going vaccine procurement and distribution programme through the COVAX mechanism in Palestine contributed to the full vaccination of more than 1.7 million people 12 years and older, which is 51.15% of the targeted population. More than 2 million people received at least one dose through this programme.
Monday, 25 April - And our UN team in Brazil, led by Resident Coordinator Silvia Rucks, continues supporting authorities to respond to the multiple effects of the pandemic, focusing on promoting sustainable development. Over 14 million students to date benefitted from UN-backed home-schooling initiatives led by local and national authorities. Our UN team also provided technical support to national and local authorities to safely reopen schools that were closed for 52 weeks, now working to locate and re-enroll students that have dropped out, with the country registering a 170 per cent increase in school dropout rates since the onset of the pandemic. Via the Joint SDG Fund, 1.5 million vulnerable people, especially children up to six years old and their families, were reached by health, education, and social assistance services in over 3,000 municipalities so far. In partnership with the Federal Government, we also trained 20,000 professionals that provide direct assistance to families. A group of 13 UN entities also assisted more than 140,000 Venezuelans with shelter, food, education, health, and integration services. On the health front, nearly 4,000 health centers received support to maintain essential immunization services since the onset of the pandemic and nearly 14 million vaccines landed via COVAX to support the national vaccination drive.
Monday, 25 April - From Comoros, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator François Batalingaya, supported the delivery of the first batch of over 108,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Government of the United States just a couple of weeks ago, through COVAX, especially with the logistical efforts from UNICEF and World Health Organization. This complements additional vaccines the country has received and will help authorities fully vaccinate over 54,000 people aged 12 to 17. Ahead of this arrival, UNICEF and the World Bank provided health authorities with ultra-cold chain freezers for minus 80 degrees Celsius safe storage of vaccines. Our efforts in this new vaccination campaign also include support to risk communication and community engagement towards parents and teenagers through media and local social mobilization. Over 300,000 people in the country are fully vaccinated, that’s 37 percent of its population. The country is now aiming to reach 60 percent through this new vaccination effort focusing on adolescents.
Friday, 22 April - Our UN team in the Philippines, led by Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez, continues ramping up support to authorities to address COVID-19 cases. We are supporting local health authorities and key COVID-19 referral hospitals with oxygen concentrators, rapid antigen test kits, and other medical supplies. Nearly 74 million doses of vaccines landed in the country through the COVAX facility and, as of today, over 67 million people—that’s over 66 per cent of the target population—are fully vaccinated. The World Health Organization has been working closely with local health authorities to reach vulnerable populations not yet vaccinated. This includes a detailed micro-planning for close-to-home vaccinations to reach the target groups. We are also boosting risk communication and community engagement. UNICEF and partners continue focusing on prevention and vaccination campaigns across the country. Some 5.4 million people, including eligible populations, have been reached with COVID-19 messages through various channels and community-level approaches.
Thursday, 21 April - An update from our UN team in Peru, led by Resident Coordinator Igor Garafulic, as they continue supporting authorities to address the multiple impacts of COVID-19. To date, the country has received over 8.2 million doses through COVAX alone; with over 26 million people fully vaccinated. Over one fifth of all the UN team’s resources to date have been geared to address the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic. The bulk of our work is protecting hard won development gains, especially to boost jobs and gender equality, end poverty and improve access to health, including among indigenous peoples. A quarter of a million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in vulnerable situation are receiving direct support, including with emergency cash transfer and training. Our team has also geared over US$1.3 million to kick-start small businesses led by refugees and migrants.
Wednesday, 20 April - Our UN team in South Africa tells us they are working closely with national and local authorities to provide tailored support to the regions affected by last week’s devastating floods . This includes reprogramming resources and programmes to meet the new needs in the provinces of Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Cape to ensure no one is left behind. Our team is working with partners to so that vulnerable communities have access to dignity packs, blankets, food, and other necessities, also working to restore access to services and internet connectivity, while ensuring continued access to health treatments. Supporting the coordination capacity of the national and provincial disaster management centers is also a priority. Our team is deploying a specialized group to provide technical assistance to town planning, climate resilience and adaptation. We are also scheduled to visit the affected provinces in the coming week to develop a long-term plan for support and assistance, which adds on to the flooding disaster and the support provided three years ago.
Wednesday, 20 April - An update from our UN team in Thailand, led by Resident Coordinator Gita Sabharwal, as they continue to support the national efforts to tackle the impacts of the pandemic. To date, nearly 80 per cent of Thais have been vaccinated, including 73 per cent who have been fully vaccinated. As of 19 April 2022, some 2.34 million foreigners residing in Thailand have received their first dose of vaccine, 87 per cent (2 million) of which are from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos (the top 3 countries of origin for migrants residing in Thailand). Of this group, 85 per cent (1.7 million) have been fully vaccinated. To date, UNHCR support also reached nearly 43,000 refugees across nine refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. Also, over 12 million people have benefitted from UNICEF’s cold chain equipment, along with about 3 million syringes provided to hospitals and health centres. Supporting the labour market recovery, UNESCO has boosted digital skills for 280,000 Thais, including youth and adults in non-formal education, while UNDP and ILO provided vocational training to nearly 20,000 women and persons with disabilities affected by the pandemic. In addition, FAO is improving post-COVID supply chain resilience through 10 smart farming pilot sites and efforts to help food processing medium and small enterprises in 66 provinces to reduce avoidable food waste in livestock, fisheries, rice, snack food, and dairy products.
Tuesday, 19 April - An update from our UN team in Sri Lanka, led by Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, as they continue to support the country’s health and socio-economic response to and recovery efforts from COVID-19. To date, over 82 per cent of Sri Lanka’s target population (all those above the age of 12) have been fully vaccinated (2 doses). The UN and partners have facilitated the delivery of 5.13 million doses of vaccines to Sri Lanka through the COVAX mechanism. Additionally, our UN team helped establish a centrally managed, digital home-based care system for asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients, contributing to a significant reduction of the burden on health institutions. Our team also helped put together a COVID-19 information management system, to analyse and visualise data from vaccination centres at national and subnational levels. As the primary data source for COVID-19 vaccination information in the country, this tool was further upgraded to issue a “Smart Vaccine Certificate” that can be verified globally. Our UN team on the ground is still supporting with food security and nutrition, remote learning and digitisation efforts for the judiciary and combating sexual and gender-based violence.
Thursday, 14 April - An update from our UN team in Venezuela, led by the Resident Coordinator Gianluca Rampolla del Tindaro, which continues supporting the country to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations. In 2021, we supported 4.5 million Venezuelans with boosted access to healthcare, clean water and basic sanitation services, as well as their food security. Over 16.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines landed through COVAX alone, and over 14 million people are fully vaccinated. Also, 1,4 million people received regular immunization against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, tuberculosis, yellow fever amongst others, while 3,5 million children, pregnant and breastfeeding women benefited from a deworming programme. Our team supported food security and improved livelihoods for 600,000 people, with 1,500 women head of household trained to become entrepreneurs. To mitigate the impact of COVID on education, half a million children and teenagers received extra support during the period of home-schooling and as they returned to classes, with 160,000 benefiting from school meals. Protection services were provided to 7,000 people, including legal assistance for fundamental rights, in addition to birth registration, assistance to at-risk children and response to gender-based violence. Moreover, 670 hectares of forests were restored to absorb nearly 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Since the onset of the pandemic we have bolstered technical support on the ground, going from less than 200 professionals to almost 800, working with more than 200 counterparts and implementing partners.
Tuesday, 12 April - Our UN team in Honduras, led by Resident Coordinator Alice Shackelford, continues supporting the country to tackle the multiple impacts of COVID-19, also focusing on human rights, gender equality, peace and security to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. While supporting the country to recover from two tropical storms in 2021, our team focused on securing hard-won gains in education; nearly half a million students benefitted from alternative food rations in more than 8,000 schools. On the health front, nearly 5 million vaccines landed via COVAX alone, with our team supporting seven national vaccination campaigns: over 4.5 million people are now fully vaccinated – that’s half of Honduras’ total population. Our team also helped deliver around 5,3 million national identification documents during elections, also supporting the country to tackle misinformation, while advocating for women’s political participation at local and national levels. We also provided food assistance to more than a quarter million families, along with cash transfers. Our work on the ground engages 150 development partners, including authorities at the national and local levels, civil society organizations, private sector and cooperation agencies.
Monday, 11 April - The UN team in Bolivia, led by Resident Coordinator Susana Sottoli, continues working with the Government and other partners to support the national COVID-19 response, including the country’s vaccination plan. Over 8 million COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Bolivia through the COVAX mechanism alone. On the socio-economic front, we boosted safety protocols and provided food supplies, allowing over 50,000 children and adolescents to return to school, while supporting the training of more than 4,000 teachers on biosafety measures. We also continue to support those most vulnerable while working with national authorities on programmes to recover better together from COVID-19, boosting the livelihoods of families and households in more than 300 rural indigenous communities and more than 600 self-employed women. Our team also provided more than 11,000 people with access to safe water. With the UN Peacebuilding Initiative in Bolivia, around 15,000 people participated in more than 350 dialogues, including on prevention of political violence and boosting participation of women, which also used innovative tools, and artificial intelligence. We also provided electoral assistance and organized training on monitoring human rights issues.
Friday, 8 April - An update from our UN team in Cameroon, led by Resident Coordinator Matthias Naab, on their support to authorities to address the pandemic and other challenges. On the health front, with the UN’s support and assessments, the Government increased the budget allocation to the COVID-19 response and its socio-economic impact from US$250 million to S$332 million last year. For its part, the International Monetary Fund has approved to support Cameroon’s economic and financial reform programme with nearly $700 million. Our team also supported COVID-19 vaccination at 244 posts across the country with three national vaccination campaigns. To date, over 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines landed in Cameroon via COVAX, with over 1.3 million people receiving at least one dose and over a million fully vaccinated. We have worked with authorities to sensitize 200,000 young people in and out of school on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, helping train 110 health careworkers in emergency obstetric care and management of newborn and child illnesses. Our team has also boosted the government’s capacity to provide online primary education services to schools nationwide, and over 320,000 students and more than 8,000 headteachers now have access to online teaching platforms. For a greener recovery, we promoted the use of renewable energies in rural areas, providing 1,000 households with alternative energy solutions and economic resources during 2021.
Thursday, 7 April - Still from Latin America and the Caribbean, we have an update from our UN teams, coordinating training of future peacekeepers, that’s military personnel from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay – as well as 21 civilians. The ninth edition of the so-called Viking Exercise just wrapped up this week in Brazil, preparing a fresh group of 180 women and men for UN Peacekeeping Operations. Led by Resident Coordinator Silvia Rucks, our UN team in Brazil engaged in the recruitment process of our future peacekeepers, along with IOM, UNESCO, UNHCR and UNODC. Brazil’s Minister of Defense, General Paulo Sérgio Nogueira de Oliveira, thanked the UN for our support. Over 1,700 women and men from over 40 countries have joined the 2022 Viking Exercise this year.
Thursday, 7 April - Our UN team in Peru, led by Resident Coordinator Igor Garafulic, has been following closely the situation over the past few days and appeals to all actors to refrain from violence and de-escalate tensions, in light of recent social protests that led to the death of citizens, injuring both police officers and civilians during recent clashes. Our team also reiterates the call that all assembly takes place peacefully, with freedom of association and expression being universal fundamental rights, helping foster dialogue between citizens and the State. Our team on the ground encourages all authorities and citizens to engage in dialogue for peaceful solutions.
Thursday, 7 April - In Rwanda our UN team also remembered all victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and paid tribute to their memories, including our fallen UN colleagues and their families. They said this is also a moment for the international community to reflect and learn from the past, as we reiterate our promise of “Never Again”: a reality for everyone and everywhere. Our UN team stressed that each life lost during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, there are stories of a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, of their own lives but also one of their relatives, friends, colleagues; an individual potential that never transformed into reality. The team added that this is a theme befitting of the Rwanda they serve today: an extraordinary capacity for forgiveness, resilience, dignity and unity of purpose. Resident Coordinator Fodé Ndiaye added that Rwanda has shown the entire world how strong leadership, effective governance and hard work can lead to rebuilding a wonderful country.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Wednesday, 6 April - Our UN team in Bosnia and Herzegovina reiterates the importance of pursuing justice and reparation for the victims, survivors and family members, as the country marks 30 years of the siege of Sarajevo. Lasting nearly four years, the siege was the longest since WWII with more than 11,000 men and women, and over 1,600 children losing their lives in Sarajevo alone during more than 1,400 days. Today, it remains one of the most emblematic tragedies of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. In Bosnia and Herzegovina an estimated 200,000 people were killed and over 2.7 million people displaced in during the conflict. The continuing pursuit for justice and reparation for the victims remains critical, as underscored by the presence of senior officials from the International Residual Mechanism of the Criminal Tribunals in Bosnia and Herzegovina this week. Our UN Resident Coordinator, Ingrid Macdonald, who has met with survivors’ associations across the country, continues to raise importance of countering denial of atrocity crimes and glorification of war criminals, stressing that such rhetoric perpetuates the suffering of survivors and families of victims and has no place in a democratic society. She reiterates her call for political leaders and authorities across the country to take measures to prevent and act upon all manifestations of hatred and discrimination, and to ensure that all people in Bosnia and Herzegovina live in an environment of mutual understanding , respect and dignity.
Wednesday, 6 April - An update from our UN team in Djibouti, which continues supporting authorities to respond to multiple challenges, including COVID-19, in a conflict-affected region. With the food security and nutrition crisis in the Horn of Africa, we were able to channel to East African countries, through Djibouti as a key logistic hub, 1 million metric tons of food—that’s a 150 per cent increase from 2020 to 2021. Our UN team also helped distribute food to over 100,000 vulnerable people in Djibouti, supporting authorities to address needs of 34,000 refugees and over 6,000 migrants via mobile patrols. Also, access to water in rural areas was improved for 40,500 people through hydraulic infrastructures, 240 tons of animal feed were distributed to over 2,400 pastoralists and 212 hectares of agricultural land were rehabilitated, benefiting 47,000 people. On the health front, 19,000 children were vaccinated against measles and polio and all the people diagnosed with tuberculosis were treated with a cure rate of 82 percent. Nearly 150,000 people, or almost 15 percent of Djiboutians, benefited from indoor spraying as part of the fight against malaria. Responding to COVID-19, nearly 900,000 sets of personal protective equipment and 200,000 rapid tests were distributed in 2021 alone. To date, nearly 150,000 persons have been received at least one dose, with 270,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines landing through COVAX.
Tuesday, 5 April - The UN team in the Republic of the Congo, led by Resident Coordinator Chris Mburu, is reporting that 80 per cent of health districts across the country now have the capacity to implement emergency response plans for COVID-19 or other health crises. Through our UN team’s support to authorities, the country has boosted lab capacity to sequence the COVID-19 virus to detect mutations, also training teams on early detection of COVID cases. We have also worked with health authorities to renovate and construct quarantine centres, as well as to establish a nationwide digital campaign to prevent the disease and bolster vaccination. The country has received over 1.8 million doses of vaccines through COVAX, and 800,000 doses have been administered so far. To tackle the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, and to protect the most vulnerable people - children living with disabilities, teachers, and community leaders were sensitized on preventive and psychosocial support. Over 135 schools hosting nearly 10,000 children received handwashing materials to prevent the spread of COVID – and other diseases. Our team has also provided over 140,000 primary school students with food in schools, with over 22,000 additional children receiving school kits. Finally, to promote a greener recovery, more than 9,000 young people have been trained in the design and maintenance of solar energy devices.
Monday, 4 April - Today, our UN team in Moldova has lowered its flag to half-mast in memory of the civilians killed in Bucha, Ukraine. The UN team released a statement via social media saying that the world is shocked by this terrible crime, which compounds the suffering caused by the war in Ukraine. Our team remembers the victims and stands with the survivors, also commending the declaration of a National Day of Mourning in memory of all victims of the war in Ukraine. As of today, over 390,000 refugees have fled Ukraine into Moldova alone, according to UNHCR, and our team continues supporting authorities to address their needs. Our UN team reiterates its strong condemnation of the war in Ukraine, saying it must stop now.
Monday, 4 April - In Sierra Leone, our team - led by Resident Coordinator Babatunde Ahonsi - continues supporting authorities to respond to COVID-19. To date, the country has received nearly three million doses of vaccines via COVAX, with over 1.7 million people having received at least one dose. Despite the pandemic’s impact on education, with the UN team’s support there was a 36 per cent increase in children enrolled in basic and secondary education from 2020 to 2021, with two million children receiving their regular vaccines. Our team also supported a new scheme to boost food production in schools, now piloted in 17 schools. And over 14,000 children can now access water and sanitation facilities in schools, and an additional 100,000 people have access to basic water supply. Our team also contributed to improved access to renewable energy, building over 80 mini-grids in rural areas benefitting nearly 300,000 people. In addition, 123,000 crisis-affected persons benefitted from food and cash transfers, while 2,000 women who survived violence received quality attention and care and 16,000 girls received access to health and protection services.
Monday, 4 April - Our UN team in Sri Lanka, led by the UN Resident Coordinator, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, is closely following the situation in the country following increasing periods of rolling power cuts, fuel shortages, and worsening inflation and currency devaluation. Over the weekend there have been multiple protests, with disrupted access to social media platforms nationwide, along with a 36-hour curfew spanning most of the weekend and a declaration of state of emergency. The Resident Coordinator stated publicly that the rights to peaceful assembly, association and expression are universal fundamental rights which help foster dialogue between citizens and the State. On Friday, she had also publicly called for restraint from all groups, and for the de-escalation of tensions, concerned with reports of violence. Our UN team encourages all actors and citizens to engage in dialogue for peaceful solutions.
Friday, 1 April - An update from our UN team in Kazakhstan, led by Michaela Friberg-Storey, the Resident Coordinator, as they continue supporting the country to address gaps in ensuring human rights and freedoms, while responding to the pandemic. To address the impacts of COVID-19 on education, our team has provided 20,000 children in rural schools with broadband internet access; ensured that 4,000 vulnerable youth got access to tailored service in specialized centres; targeted over 3 million people through campaigns to prevent violence against children and opened several centres for women's entrepreneurship – with more on the way. Our team also distributed nearly 3 million personal protective equipment items and 21,000 pieces of equipment to fight COVID-19. We also set up a national website on vaccine information. For a greener recovery, we also enabled funding schemes for solar power stations with a potential reduction of 70,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, as well as the first green bonds in Kazakhstan (including half a million dollars for clean energy schemes), while more than 150 entrepreneurs received microcredits to start their own businesses.