Around the world: Daily updates from UN country teams - June 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.
Thursday, 30 June - In Malaysia, the UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator Karima El Korri, continues to support the Government in tackling the multifaceted impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and enable a sustainable, inclusive recovery. To date, 83.5 per cent, or more than 27 million of Malaysians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including 11.3 per cent of children aged 5 to 11. More than 50 per cent, or over 16 million people, received a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) contributed to boosting of laboratory capacity, including capacity for whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and supported the Ministry of Health in risk communication, community engagement and behavioural research. The UN Refugee Agency is working to provide COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to refugees while UNICEF is working on strategic programmatic response on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services response. For its part, IOM is also supporting national vaccination campaigns for refugees and migrants while facilitating access to COVID-19 health and hygiene kits. Our UN team also continues to support social protection reform.
Wednesday, 29 June - In Liberia, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Niels Scott, is supporting the national COVID-19 response. With our contribution, the Government put in place robust partnerships, an effective COVID-19 steering committee and multiple mass vaccination campaigns. The country has received more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of 24 June, with nearly 3.4 million doses through COVAX. More than 2.7 million people received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and over 2.2 million people have been fully vaccinated, which is 73 per cent of the total target population aged 12 years or older. With support from UNICEF and WHO, Liberia ensured high-priority groups, including 8,600 refugees, received the COVID-19 vaccine. On the socio-economic front, our team also continued to provide support to vulnerable communities, including persons with disabilities. We worked with health authorities to provide assistive technology services including hearing aids, wheelchairs, spectacles, prostheses and devices to provide cognitive support. Our UN team also worked with the Ministry of Education to roll out distance learning programmes and supported national nutrition initiatives that reached nearly 37,000 children.
Monday, 27 June - In Pakistan where the UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator, Julien Harneis, continues to support the Government’s response to COVID-19, we contributed to the full vaccination of nearly 125 million people, 40 per cent of whom are women. To date, more than 250 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, with nearly half coming through COVAX. On health, we supported the establishment of 65 intensive care units and the training of 5,000 medical professionals on COVID-19-related protocols while contributing to the sanitization of over 100 government buildings. Also, UNICEF has been supporting national authorities on the procurement of vaccine storage, vaccination and personal protective equipment, while contributing to the launch and operation of a hotline to tackle vaccine misinformation. For its part, UNDP boosted socio-economic recovery through green economy and social protection initiatives. With our partnership, cash-for-work programmes in nearly 10 villages in Peshawar generated short-term employment opportunities for over 1,000 people, including close to 350 women. Our UN team also trained over 240 young journalists on risk communications and, through UNFPA, continues to ensure the provision of reproductive health support and services to tackle gender-based violence.
Friday, 24 June - We have an update from our UN team in Micronesia, led by Resident Coordinator, Jaap van Hierden, as they continue to support the Governments of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Nauru and Kiribati in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 20 June, the Nauru Government reported their first community transmission after two and half years of being COVID-19-free. The country currently has 372 active cases, translating into 3.5 per cent of the population being impacted. With excellent vaccination coverage, we aren’t anticipating any critical cases, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) will continue working with the Government to identify areas where support is needed. WHO worked in tandem with the Government to build capacity through training sessions at community health centres. The focus is to enable health professionals to test and treat mild symptoms of COVID-19 through available therapeutics while keeping major hospitals from getting overwhelmed.
In Palau, the UN worked closely with the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Government to attain one of the highest vaccination coverage rates in the world (almost 100 per cent), prior to its first surge of COVID-19 community transmission in early 2022. This vaccination rate contributed to the effective management of the COVID-19 outbreak in Palau and the low rate of critical cases. Meanwhile, to ensure that teaching and learning was not interrupted during the extensive lockdown, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) partnered with Microsoft to support the Ministry of Education in Kiribati to develop a learning passport. The learning passport has benefitted over 9,000 students in Kiribati.
Thursday, 23 June - In Sri Lanka, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer, is continuing to provide support to the on-going crisis in the country, including its impact on those most vulnerable. Sri Lanka currently faces its worst economic crisis since independence, leaving nearly 5.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The health and food sector are two of the most heavily affected, with severe medical and food supply shortages, while availability of basic pharmaceuticals and overall health and wellbeing continue to deteriorate. Today, our team shares that UNDP Sri Lanka launched an initiative that provides private sector partners with the opportunity to contribute to the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities Plan (HNP) started on 9 June, which calls for US $47.2 million to provide life-saving assistance to nearly 2 million women, children and men worst affected by the economic crisis and whose livelihoods, food security and access to health services are most at risk.
Wednesday, 22 June - In Costa Rica, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Allegra Baiocchi, is supporting national authorities on the implementation of urgent actions to tackle hate speech and discrimination. While the work of our team is contributing to a notable reduction in the number of hate speeches directed towards refugees and migrants, overall, hate speech and discrimination increased by more than 70 per cent in Costa Rica over the past year. These findings come from a study our team just completed, which also found that men issue more than 60 per cent of negative messages while more than 70 per cent of hate speeches were directly aimed to offend, attack and violate the rights of specific communities. The study leveraged artificial intelligence to analyze social media content, finding that people involved in politics, members of the LGBTQI community and women are the most targeted. As we boost initiatives to eradicate the scourge of hate speech in Costa Rica, our UN team is reiterating our call for constructive dialogue to tackle discrimination and is re-affirming that politics and electoral processes should be spaces for solutions, not hate.
Wednesday, 22 June - Moving to Samoa, the country recorded its first community transmission case of COVID-19 on 17 March 2022. Our UN team, under the leadership of Resident Coordinator Simona Marinescu, is exploring new partnerships to support the Government’s COVID-19 transmission control and recovery initiatives. Since March, the Resident Coordinator Office worked with Mercy Ships Australia to facilitate the shipment of 9,600 Rapid antigen test kits to the country, of which 6,400 were provided to the ministry of health through WHO and 2,000 shared with private health facilities. UNICEF also continues to support Samoa's national vaccination rollout, partnering with the Australian Government to deliver 70,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses while providing training for vaccinators and supporting risk communications campaigns. UN personnel and their dependents were provided with rapid antigen test kits as well and through a partnership between the UN team and private health operator “Alec’s Health Specialist,” over 300 UN staff, their families and members of other international organizations received Moderna COVID-19 booster shots. As of 20 June, the cumulative number of COVID-19 positive community cases stands at 14,311, with 28 COVID-related deaths recorded since the community outbreak.
Tuesday, 21 June - Over in Comoros, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator François Batalingaya, just completed a 25-day campaign to support the national vaccination programme and boost the number of people, particularly adolescents, vaccinated against COVID-19. Our team, including WHO and UNICEF, provided technical support, leveraging doses received through the COVAX mechanism to provide more than 70 per cent of adolescents in the country with the COVID-19 vaccine. UNICEF continues to train a group of young people aged from 14 to 20 to mobilize their communities on the importance of vaccines. We are gearing up for a follow-up three-day vaccination campaign to support national authorities in reaching 100 per cent COVID-19 vaccine coverage for adolescents in Comoros.
Friday, 17 June - The UN Country Team in Timor-Leste, led by Resident Coordinator Roy Trivedy, continues to support the national COVID-19 response and recovery, including the successful rollout of the country’s vaccination programme. Timor Leste has received nearly 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses through COVAX, contributing to the administration of more than 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses: more than 800,000 first doses were provided to more than 85 per cent of the population, more than 650,000-second doses to over 73 per cent of the population and more than 94,000 booster doses to nearly 10 per cent of the population. On the socio-economic side, the UN team conducted two Socio-Economic Impact Assessments of COVID-19 to support national authorities in targeting and prioritizing initiatives. We also provide other emergency response support, including the launch of an emergency appeal that contributed to US $27 million in funding following floods in 2021 that affected nearly 435,000 people. Our team also continues to support on social capital, infrastructure, and economic development and diversification in line with national priorities, as reiterated at the annual Timor-Leste Development Partners Meeting (TLDPM) earlier this month.
Tuesday, 14 June - In Cabo Verde, the UN country team, led by Resident Coordinator Ana Graça, continues to support the country's response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccination. As of May, more than 325,000 people (nearly 85 per cent of the eligible population over 18 years old) and more than 38,000 adolescents (more than 71 per cent of the population between the ages of 12 and 17) have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. With the signature of our UN team’s US $19 million annual work plan with the government, we are also providing additional support. Our UN team is ensuring other health services remain available, including UNICEF providing technical support for the vaccination of more than 4,500 girls against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), surpassing the goal of at least 90 per cent vaccination coverage. On education, through a public-private partnership between UNICEF and the Swedish Akelius Foundation, 2,000 primary students were also provided with fully equipped technology labs to boost their mathematics and language skills.
Monday, 13 June - In Djibouti, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Jose Barahona, continues to support the national authorities in responding to the ongoing food and water crisis in the country, with 13 per cent of the population in severe acute food insecurity (IPC 3 or higher), a number projected to increase to 16 per cent by December 2022. Our UN team allocated $2 million from the Emergency Humanitarian (CERF) funds, which corresponds to 20 per cent of the total needs and launched the ongoing emergency response jointly with local authorities, focusing on supporting the most vulnerable people in rural communities. On the health front, we have vaccinated more than 150,000 children under five as part of a national polio vaccination campaign, reaching over 95% coverage throughout the country in the past three months.
Friday, 10 June - We have an update from our UN team in Mongolia, led by the Resident Coordinator Tapan Mishra, as they continue supporting the authorities’ efforts to tackle the health, social and economic impacts, working for a better recovery. Our team on the ground continues supporting vaccination efforts, with over 95 per cent of the country’s adult population fully vaccinated, including 236,000 children over the age of 12. Over 4 in 10 people vaccinated in the country received their doses through the COVAX Facility. Also, with a grant from the Government of Japan, national authorities and the UN team built a new central vaccine storage facility, which led to a five-fold increase in the national health system’s storage capacities, with new refrigerators and freezers. For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues its support authorities with contact tracing, while the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supports the national health communication. Also, over 500 of the most vulnerable Mongolian migrants stranded in 17 countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic have returned home safely. Over 300,000 pregnant women benefited from UN-backed maternal health support, while nearly half a million children benefited from distance learning support while schools were closed. And, up to now, over 800,000 people have benefited from UN-backed water and sanitation supplies.
Thursday, 9 June - In Myanmar, our acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ramanathan Balakrishnan said in a statement today that the UN team on the ground is deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Myo Min Htut, a World Health Organization staff, during a security incident in Mawlamyine Township, Mon State. Mr Myo Min Htut had worked for the World Health Organization as a driver for nearly five years and the United Nations sends heartfelt condolences to his family. Mr Myo Min Htut was shot dead when riding his own motorcycle on Thanlwin Uyin Road around 5 pm on 8 June 2022. The exact circumstances of the incident currently remain unclear. Condemning the killing of the UN staff, Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim in Myanmar said that the UN appeals to all parties and stakeholders to respect the neutrality of the United Nations and Humanitarians and further calls for all parties to protect the rights and safety of civilians and strongly condemns acts of violence against civilians. The United Nations expects an impartial investigation into the incident and the perpetrators to be held accountable. He also said that during these difficult times, against significant odds, the UN team continues to stay and deliver essential humanitarian and development support for the people of Myanmar.
Thursday, 9 June - The United Nations team in Sri Lanka and non-governmental organisations launched a joint Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) Plan today, calling for US$47.2 million to provide life-saving assistance to 1.7 million people worst-hit by the economic crisis over a four-month period, from June to September. This directly responds to the Government of Sri Lanka’s request for a United Nations-backed multi-sector international assistance to respond to the most urgent needs arising from the recent crisis, particularly focusing on health care and essential medicines, food and agriculture—including targeted nutrition services— safe drinking water, emergency livelihoods and protection. Development and humanitarian partners in Sri Lanka estimate that nearly 5.7 million women, children and men are in need of immediate life-saving assistance. The 1.7 million people targeted under the HNP are among those whose livelihoods, food security and access to health services are most at risk and need immediate support.
Tuesday, 7 June - We have an update from the Islamic Republic of Iran, where our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Stefan Priesner, continues to support the national response to the health, humanitarian, and socio-economic needs in the COVID-19 crisis. Our team tells us that the sixth wave of COVID-19 has been gradually fading over the spring months. In mid-April, only one of Iran’s 31 provinces was still classified as “red”, while in late May life was basically back to normal throughout the country. Just last week on 2 June the country had its first day since the beginning of the pandemic without any reported deaths. Our team on the ground has been supporting the vaccination efforts, with 70 per cent of the population now fully vaccinated. With our UN team’s support, refugees and undocumented Afghans have been included in the response throughout the pandemic. Over 80 per cent of refugees and Afghan nationals, including new arrivals, have received the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to official figures. 60 per cent have received their second dose and 11 per cent a third dose. Iran was among the first countries to include refugees in its national vaccination programme right from the onset of the pandemic.
Monday, 6 June - Our UN team in Bangladesh said they were shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of lives and destructions caused by the devastating fire and blast at a container depot on 4 June 2022. Our team, led by Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis, expressed their deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the 49 deceased including nine firefighters and the hundreds who are injured. Our colleagues said in a statement that this tragic accident is a reminder of the need to work together towards effective industrial and enterprise safety frameworks and their enforcement. Also, our colleagues at the International Labour Organization said that this incident illustrates the urgent need to ensure proper handling and storage of chemicals, proper training for storage facility staff at awareness and operational levels, and effective crowd control during an emergency incident. Our team on the ground calls upon all parties involved to apply renewed vigor in addressing the safety deficits in workplaces across the country and extends their assistance to continue to build a safer Bangladesh for all.
Monday, 6 June - Our UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, said today that the UN team strongly condemns the brutal attacks on worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church in southwest Nigeria. Our team expressed their deepest condolences to families and friends mourning the victims of this horrific crime, also appealing for calm and for bringing all perpetrators to justice.
Monday, 6 June - Some good news from our UN team in Thailand, led by Resident Coordinator Gita Sabharwal. They tell us that in a landmark session held today, all 76 governors signed with our UN team the Statement of Commitment for a Sustainable Thailand, focusing on climate action. This places governors at the front and centre to drive the Sustainable Development Goals, partnering with the UN team, local authorities and communities, particularly on solutions to reduce CO2 emission through technology transfer, biodiversity and ecological tourism. We will also work on nature-based solutions for biomass burning and reducing pollution, smart farming, and strengthening community resilience through adaptation and disaster risk reduction. And we’re looking forward to sharing results of their joint work.
Friday, 3 June - We have an update from our UN team in Brazil, led by Resident Coordinator Silvia Rucks. In a statement released today, our team offered solidarity to the victims of the heavy rains that caused destruction in the metropolitan area of Recife, in the Northeastern region, leaving thousands homeless and more than 120 dead. Our UN team is monitoring the situation with concern and recognizes the efforts of authorities at different levels to rescue people and minimize the immediate impacts of the disaster. On the ground in Recife, our UN team is working with local authorities to assess the impacts of the disaster, especially on children, pregnant and lactating women, also providing psychosocial support. The UN team is also supporting local authorities and partners to raise donations and share information with the affected population. In the post-disaster reconstruction period, our UN team will offer support to authorities to boost resilience in the city, with the UN Children’s Fund, UN-Habitat and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction fully engaged with local authorities.
Wednesday, 1 June - In Lao People’s Democratic Republic, where Resident Coordinator Sara Sekkenes is leading our UN team, we continue supporting the Government in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the socio-economic side, we are collaborating on the development of a COVID-19 Recovery Framework with concrete sustainable actions to boost development financing, trade, green growth, decent work and human capital. Our team also continues to organize programmes to boost access to decent work for vulnerable communities. UNDP supported the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in establishing a Lao PDR Tourism COVID-19 Recovery Roadmap for 2021-2025, outlining solutions to sustainably restore the tourism sector while UNICEF and UNESCO are working with the Government to improve education standards, addressing learning gaps from the pandemic. For its part, IOM reached over 50,000 people, providing information on safe migration, access to work and education for returnees. To date, more than 11.2 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country across 18 provinces, comprising 80 per cent of the targeted population (age 12 and above). Of this, close to 7.5 million vaccines were secured through the COVAX mechanism.
Interested in more? Check out previous daily updates from UN teams 'around the world':