Updates from the field #18: UN teams continue operating in full emergency mode

A boy gets a health check-up with a medical doctor amid cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines.
Photo: © ILO/Minette Rimando. COVID-19 and the world of work:

UN teams, led by their Resident Coordinators, are working across the globe with governments and partners to fight COVID-19. Today, we highlight the coordinated effort of some of these teams as of 17 July 2020.


In Bahrain, where there are more than 34,000 confirmed cases and more than 100 deaths, the UN team there is led by the acting Resident Coordinator, Stefano Pettinato.  

Building on the work of 20 UN agencies, funds, and programmes, our team issued the Joint UN COVID-19 Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Framework for Bahrain. This plan outlines a set of evidence-based and needs-driven actions to support the Government’s work on a rapid response and long-term recovery plan from the pandemic. 


In Comoros, where there are more than 300 confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven deaths, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Matthias Naab, is working closely with authorities to tackle the crisis, mobilizing more than US $6 million to provide continued support in the areas of health, socioeconomic recovery, community engagement, and helping the most vulnerable people. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been supporting regional authorities in boosting local testing and clinical capacity, providing laboratory equipment and field experts. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, has provided an ambulance and 1,000 COVID-19 tests to regional treatment centres. 
The Government of Comoros is gradually reopening schools, and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has donated cleaning supplies and masks to prevent infections. For its part, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) partnered with local authorities and national NGOs, to organize "RésiliArt|Comores," a series of virtual discussions to identify and implement measures supporting the creative economy sector. 


In the Philippines, where there are more than 56,000 cases of COVID-19, with more than 1,500 deaths, the UN team there, led by Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez, has been operating in full emergency mode to support the Government in its response. 
The UN arranged for two cargo flights carrying more than 1.3 million pieces of personal protective equipment for frontline health workers. To leave no one behind, the UN has been helping the most vulnerable refugees and migrants, including 5,000 Filipino workers who recently returned from overseas. 

A woman stands near an awareness raising sign about safety precautions citizens should take to prevent them from catching COVID-19.

Photo: © ILO/Minette Rimando. COVID-19 and the world of work:

 The UN team has also been working to prevent the spread of the virus through communications campaigns, including webinars and training sessions in rural health centres. 

Cabo Verde 

In Cabo Verde, there are currently more than 1,700 confirmed cases and 19 deaths due to COVID-19. The UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Ana Patricia Graça, is supporting the Government’s assessment and response to the pandemic, reprogramming US $9 million of its 2020 resources and raising an additional $3 million to support multiple sectors. 

WHO signed an agreement with the ministry of health for US $650,000 to support the country’s COVID-19 response, while UNICEF and UNFPA jointly contributed more than US $150,000 for protective equipment and testing supplies as well as US $1 million for an education recovery programme. 

 The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is helping tens of thousands of students receive hot meals and other food supplies, while UNICEF is supporting home schooling programmes for 100,000 students. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is also supporting 38,000 families, investing more than US $1 million to boost the agriculture sector. Contributing towards the recovery process, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is providing financial and technical assistance across two islands that have been reopening. 

To protect livelihoods, UNDP is investing US $700,000 in local job creation programmes and US $4 million in a programme with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for informal economy and small medium enterprises recovery.  

The Resident Coordinator and the Prime Minister also launched “Ambition 2030,” a process for the development of the new national sustainable development plan for the Decade of Action. 

Trinidad and Tobago 

An update from our colleagues on the ground: In Trinidad and Tobago, which currently has 133 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 8 deaths due to the virus, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Marina Walter, is supporting the Government on the health and socioeconomic fronts. 
The Pan-American Health Organization has trained lab workers and has procured equipment to boost testing and treatment capacity. UNDP has helped the Ministry of Health to recruit new nurses and to secure medical equipment for intensive care units. 

The image shows healthcare workers testing new lifesaving supplies procured by UNDP.

Photo: UNDP

On the socioeconomic front, PAHO and ILO have provided workplace guidelines to local businesses. The ILO also worked with organizations on creating safety nets to protect livelihoods. UNDP donated 600 home garden seed kits to local communities to help people grow food and earn additional income. 
Focusing on young people, the UN team is working with civil society partners to curb misinformation and share verified COVID-19 facts. 


In Zambia, which has more than 2,200 confirmed cases and more than 80 deaths due to COVID-19, the UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator, Coumba Mar Gadio, is working closely with authorities to respond to the crisis on all fronts.  

Digital equipment provided by the UN in Zambia to support government operations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Photo: Moses Zangar Jr/UNDP/Zambia/2020

UNDP provided 60 laptops and 1,500 wireless routers worth about $300,000 to nine government agencies and departments. A local mobile phone [provider] called MTN Zambia is partnering with the UN to donate data access plans for these new routers.  

This initiative aims to boost the Government’s information management and processing capacities to allow it to share verified data on COVID-19 more effectively, including in remote areas. 

UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labor Organization
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative