Around the world: Daily updates from UN country teams - February 2024
05 February 2024
Our UN teams are on the ground in 162 countries and territories, coordinating joint programmes and tackling a range of multi-faceted priorities and key initiatives on a daily basis — from climate action and food security to gender equality and safety of civilians. UN Resident Coordinators and their teams utilize innovative approaches to problem-solving to better serve communities. Below are some highlights of their work this month.
Wednesday, 21 February
Costa Rica: After surge in human mobility, new plan boosts assistance to vulnerable refugees and migrants
In Costa Rica, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Allegra Baiocchi, launched this week a new Preparedness and Response Plan for People in Transit 2024 to bolster Government-led efforts. With last year’s surge in human mobility, over half a million people entered from Panama, marking a 133 per cent increase from the previous year, with projections indicating a doubling by the end of this year. The Plan aims to boost assistance to vulnerable refugees and migrants, addressing shelter, health, and hygiene needs while ensuring dignified treatment and upholding their rights. It aligns the objectives of various UN entities in Costa Rica, including UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, IOM, UN Women, and PAHO/WHO, focusing on areas such as accommodation, food aid, water and sanitation, health and education access, protection, integration, and coordination enhancement. Special emphasis is placed on women and children, with the latter constituting nearly one in five people in transit. Last year, our UN team, collaborating with partners, supported over 84,000 people, providing medical assistance, legal advice on migration, voluntary return, food aid, hygiene kits, and care in safe spaces. [Full story in Spanish can be found here.]
Thursday, 15 February
Ukraine: Recovery and reconstruction costs estimated at $486 billion over next decade, new joint assessment shows
Today, our UN team in Ukraine—with the World Bank, the European Commission, and the Government of Ukraine—launched a new assessment revealing damages from Russia's invasion totaling nearly US$152 billion. Recovery and reconstruction costs now stand at an estimated $486 billion over the next decade, up from $411 billion a year ago. The joint Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment, the third since the war's escalation in 2022, highlights housing, transport, commerce, industry, energy, and agriculture as the most affected sectors. Approximately 2 million homes have been damaged or destroyed, affecting nearly 10% of all housing units in Ukraine and hindering rebuilding efforts. The study also indicates $80.1 billion in damage and losses in agriculture and $54 billion in revenue losses in the energy sector. UN Resident Coordinator Denise Brown stressed the urgent need for Ukraine to develop the necessary skills and capacity to rebuild. She said that as the war is still a daily reality, humanitarian and recovery are both essential and must co-exist, calling for more investments in Ukraine’s ability to ensure communities can recover from the devastation. The full press release can be found on ukraine.un.org.
Monday, 12 February
Trinidad and Tobago: Oil spill originating from an unidentified, overturned vessel
Heading to the Caribbean where, over the weekend, Trinidad and Tobago faced an oil spill originating from an unidentified vessel that overturned off the coast of Tobago. In response, under the leadership of UN Resident Coordinator Joanna Kazana, our UN team is reallocating existing resources to support authorities with the immediate cleanup efforts. An emergency meeting is underway with the Tobago Emergency Management Agency to discuss current needs. Our UN team is actively collaborating with the Government and international partners, conducting assessments to facilitate a coordinated aid response. While the Government-led operational containment of the vessel leak is nearly under control, the UN is boosting support for community-level cleanup. Efforts are also geared towards addressing the long-term environmental and economic impacts, ensuring a comprehensive response to safeguard local livelihoods and Tobago’s vital tourist sector.
Monday, 5 February
Chile: Supporting the national response to devastating wildfires
Our UN team in Chile, led by Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres Macho, is boosting preparedness to support the national response to the devastating wildfires across the country. Ms. Torres Macho led an emergency session today to enhance our team's support to national and local authorities. The primary focus is on-the-ground assessments of the affected population's needs, spanning mental health, water and sanitation, support for children and adolescents, women and others, particularly those in vulnerable conditions. Our team is also preparing non-food items, and assistance for post-disaster coordination challenges. UN entities in Chile – along with the Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)'s regional team— stand ready for additional support should there be an official Government request for international assistance. Over the weekend our UN team in Chile conveyed its heartfelt support and condolences to those impacted by the wildfires, which especially affected the Valparaiso region, around 115km west of the capital Santiago. With a death toll of 112 and nearly 300 missing, the team is in close coordination with the Disaster Prevention and Response Agency. As they closely monitor the situation, our team commends the authorities’ swift response amid 165 simultaneous fires nationwide, resulting in the destruction of over 4000 houses in the last three days. Our colleagues are also concerned about the impact on natural sites, with unique ecosystems and biodiversity.
Interested in more? Check out previous daily updates from UN teams 'around the world':