Around the world: Daily updates from UN country teams - September 2022
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 to gender equality and food security. 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, 28 September - An update from our UN team in Cuba, where Hurricane Ian affected more than 3 million people of western provinces, causing severe damages in housing, agriculture and infrastructure. At least two deaths reported so far in the westernmost province of Pinar del Río. Due to the collapse of the national electrical system, most of the country remained without electricity this Wednesday morning. Our UN Team in Cuba is working alongside authorities to monitor the situation and assess impacts and to activate the necessary response mechanisms. Under the leadership of Resident Coordinator, the UN Disaster Management Team is activated, with participation of all Agencies, Funds and Programmes, including the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). While resources are low, the UN has offered the prepositioned food and non-food items as the first coordinated response, and stands ready to support additional identified needs in the coming days.
Tuesday, 27 September - In Cabo Verde, our team, led by Resident Coordinator Ana Patricia Graça, has been stepping up efforts to support authorities to mitigate the impacts of climate change, which impacts Small Island Developing States hardest. Our team has supported the creation of more than 1,000 jobs in 24 rural communities across three islands. The Food and Agriculture Organization supported the reforestation of more than 1,000 hectares of land through a four-year programme funded by the European Union, which has just concluded. With innovative public-private investments, we are helping install solar parks that supply electricity to a water desalination plant, benefitting over 11,000 people in two islands. This is the result of just one of the nearly 30 initiatives bridging clean energy and water needs, supported by the UN Industrial Development Organization and funded by the Global Environment Facility. For their part, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UN-Habitat are supporting 7,000 people in vulnerable communities with a participatory process to design and rebuild inclusive public spaces.
Tuesday, 27 September - In Haiti, our team on the ground is deeply concerned that the ongoing insecurity and instability in Haiti – including the blockading by criminal gangs of the country’s main fuel terminal in the capital—is leading to loss of lives. The lack of access to fuel is affecting around 75 percent of hospitals, according to the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO). Our Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ulrika Richardson warned that if this situation continues, life-saving services risk coming to a standstill, including for pregnant women, newborns and children, as well as for persons suffering trauma and other life-threatening conditions. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that some 22,100 children under the age of five, and over 28,000 newborns are at risk of not receiving essential health care services for the next 4 weeks. UNICEF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) have collaborated with hospitals, health authorities and partners to install solar power supplies which have improved cold-chain storage and enabled maternity services to continue in 12 locations. However, solar power is insufficient to keep hospitals fully functioning.
Monday, 26 September - Now we turn to Cuba. Almost 75 per cent of Cubans voted yesterday in a referendum to decide on a sweeping new family code, with several changes to the current legislation, which dates back from 1975. The new bill, approved by nearly 67 per cent of votes, addresses the diversity and plurality of the Cuban families, promotes affection and solidarity as key social values and strengthens the protection of rights for children, adolescents, victims of violence, the elderly, people with disabilities, LGTBQI +, and other vulnerable groups. The new law also approves marriage equality, surrogate pregnancies, and tackles gender-based violence, among other issues. Our UN team on the ground, led by the Resident Coordinator Consuelo Vidal-Bruce, accompanied the consultation process with the UN Population Fund and the UN’s Children’s Fund providing technical expertise on international standards for the protection of children, families, and vulnerable groups´ rights.
Monday, 26 September - In Venezuela, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Gianluca Rampolla del Tindaro, signed just last Friday in Caracas a new Cooperation Framework with the Government – that’s a roadmap to guide our work with partners to advance the Sustainable Development Goals in the next four years. This will focus on substantial improvements in the quality of life of the people and access to new development opportunities. Our team on the ground will be focusing particularly on boosting access to health and education, transforming to an environmentally sustainable economy, and promoting social inclusion, with respect for human rights, gender equality and the prevention of different types of violence. Our team on the ground has provided support to around 4,5 million people across Venezuela, including with access to health, water and sanitation services and a more diversified diet. Our work has also supported the safe return to schools and improving protection services.
Friday, 23 September - Our UN team in Haiti is calling for an immediate stop to attacks on humanitarian infrastructure and the looting of supplies, as the country continues to suffer a second week of civil unrest. With a number of UN-backed warehouses attacked by protesters in different cities, our Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ulrika Richardson said that what we are seeing is the result of people’s frustration and despair over very dire living conditions. She called for safe access for humanitarian workers and supplies. The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), has lost over 2,000 metric tonnes of food in the cities Gonaives and Les Cayes, prepositioned to protect the most vulnerable during the hurricane season. Also in Gonaives, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) lost 2,000 non-food item kits, enough to support 10,000 people, in an attack on their warehouse. Facilities belonging to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) were also looted. In the capital Port-au-Prince our team is unable to deliver support to most of the 22,000 internally-displaced people, while the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) is unable to ensure the availability of essential medicines, vaccines and medical inputs where it is needed most.
Monday, 19 September - In Sri Lanka, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer Hamdy, continues to support the Government and people of Sri Lanka as they respond to the ongoing economic crisis. As of 15 September, over 1 million women, children and men in need across all 25 districts have been reached with humanitarian assistance. Through the provision of essential medicines and supplies to health facilities, over 660,000 people were able to benefit from improved access to healthcare. Partners were also able to disburse over US$ 2.2 million of cash assistance and reach over 102,000 people with in-kind food assistance. Other life-saving initiatives are being rolled out across the sectors of food security, agriculture, nutrition, water, protection, education, and health to address the needs of the people of Sri Lanka. The country is facing the worst economic crisis since independence, with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrinking 8.4 percent in the April-June period compared with the same period last year. To date, the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) plan launched in June 2022 and a number of complementary UN entity appeals have raised over $ 50 million to respond to humanitarian needs in the country.
Thursday, 15 September - We have an update from our UN Team in Uganda, led by Resident Coordinator Susan Namondo, as they boost support to authorities to tackle the impacts of climate change and restore degraded forest lands.
In the northeastern region of Karamoja, regularly affected by climate change-induced drought and food insecurity, our UN team reports that they have supported the rehabilitation of 122 hectares of rangelands. Also, in collaboration with authorities and private-sector service providers, our team is helping nearly 1,400 farmer organizations, benefiting nearly 42,000 smallholder farmers accessing improved climate-resilient services across 33 districts.
This includes irrigation systems that are managed by local communities, high-yielding crop varieties well tolerant of drought conditions, and clean and energy-saving technologies, such as the use of biogas.
Our team, especially with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is boosting the capacity of animal health institutions with veterinary epidemiology training provided to 89 veterinary and para veterinary officers across the country. Under this programme, we have empowered veterinary professionals as the first line of defense to strengthen their preparedness, detection and rapid response to animal diseases. We are also advancing an e-reporting technology to report animal diseases across the country.
Tuesday, 6 September - The UN Country Team in Bangladesh, led by the UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis, is calling for further resources to address the needs of millions of people impacted by recent flooding in northeastern Bangladesh.
The floods, which began in May with a second wave starting in mid—June, impacted nine northeastern districts, including: Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Kishorganj, Netrakona, Brahmanbaria, Mymensing and Sherpur, sweeping away homes and inundating the land of some 7.2 million people.
Of the US$58.4 million requested to provide essential needs for over 1.5 million targeted women, children and men in five heavily impacted districts of Sunamganj, Netrokona, Sylhet, Habiganj and Moulvibazar, just $15.7 million has been raised to date; providing life-saving emergency assistance to 450,498 people.
But with limited resources, only 30 per cent of the most vulnerable families are being supported; with UN agencies and the over 80 international and national NGOs prioritizing food, water and protection of women and girls. Half of the families reached were provided with cash assistance.
Further support is urgently needed as flood waters have yet to recede in many areas. There are significant recovery needs in affected areas and support for re-building homes and livelihoods are now amongst the most pressing priorities.
Tuesday, 6 September - On Sunday 4 September, the United Nations System in Chile, led by Resident Coordinator María Jose Torres, highlighted the electoral and democratic process, which saw a historic level of participation of citizens who exercised their right to vote on the proposed new constitution. The vote reaffirmed the will of the Chilean people to move forward through the democratic channels offered by the State and to continue peacefully along the paths of participation and dialogue. The United Nations System will continue to accompany the country in fulfilling the State's commitments regarding human rights and sustainable and inclusive development.
Thursday, 1 September - In Thailand, to tackle the impacts of the war in Ukraine and the pandemic in the economy, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Gita Sabharwal, is supporting authorities to boost green technologies and production. Our team – including the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – is partnering with nearly 300 companies to cut food waste by up to 10 per cent, improving food production chains in key sectors, including livestock, fisheries, and rice production. Our team developed with 15,000 young Thais a real-time waste tracker to keep organic waste in check. To cut emissions, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and 70 large-and medium-sized companies are improving resource efficiency and clean production in main polluting industries. UNIDO is also incubating nearly 50 entrepreneurs, mobilizing over US$13 million to innovate on low-carbon technologies from biogas to low-carbon housing and plant-based foods. For its part, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is projecting benefits of over USD $400 million if organic rice area in Northeastern Thailand is increased by as little as 10 per cent. Our team has convened 43 banks and investors with total assets of USD$1.3 trillion, to commit to the Sustainable Development Goals, including on climate action.
Interested in more? Check out previous daily updates from UN teams 'around the world':