Updates from the field #33: 2020 comes to an end, but the work continues

Essential workers and UN personnel stand outside by donated supplies as they wear face masks and social distance.
Caption: Essential protection equipment delivery in Comrat, Gagauzian region of Moldova.
Photo: UN Women Moldova

As the world wraps up 2020, we recognize the continued coordinated efforts of the UN teams worldwide. Today, we highlight some of the work taking place across the globe. 


In Brazil, the Resident Coordinator Niky Fabiancic leads the UN team’s support to authorities on the health and socioeconomic response to the pandemic.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are working with the ministry of health on a campaign to study and highlight the importance of general immunization for adolescents.  

For its part, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) provided more than 100,000 personal protective equipment to boost the safety of frontline workers supporting vulnerable communities in rural areas and the Amazon, while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continued providing cleaning supplies, COVID-19 testing support and free general consultation for migrants and refugees from Venezuela through its mobile health units.  

On the socioeconomic front, UNFPA worked with the embassies of the Netherlands and Canada to create a platform to facilitate access and aggregate information on protection services for women victims of violence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNICEF is providing mental health counselling support to young people preparing for national examinations during the pandemic as well as human rights training for indigenous community leaders to combat sexual violence, alcoholism and child labour.  

Photo: UNHCR/Allana Ferreira

To boost and protect livelihoods, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UN Women are partnering with international non-profits to provide vocational training to refugees and migrants entrepreneurs. UNHCR is also supporting refugees from Venezuela with cash-based assistance to hep validate driver’s licenses for employment in Brazil. 


In Chile, as the Chilean Congress is discussing an immigration bill, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Silvia Rucks, along with with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), IOM and UNHCR, is carrying out advocacy to ensure that the rights of migrants are respected 
In the country’s northern border, IOM, UNHCR, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF and UNFPA delivered life-saving goods to migrants and refugees, including over 1100 hygiene kits, 1500 masks, 2,000 toilet paper rolls and over 10,000 diapers. The UN-backed data collection is also helping authorities’ response. 
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is also helping to provide guidance on how to reopen schools safely. With funding from the SG’s “Recover Better” Fund, the UN team is also boosting the reintegration of women into the labour market, with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the regional Economic Commission (ECLAC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 

For its part, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), is supporting next year’s election to find safe ways to vote during a health crisis, while UN Women and OHCHR working for gender equality and the inclusion of indigenous peoples in the making of the country’s new Constitution. 


The UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Simon Springett, has supported national efforts to address the pandemic with technical expertise, while providing equipment for the health system, including front-line workers.   
The effort has totaled USD $12.8 million, backed by more than 16 donor countries. The UN team has also re-programmed its own measures to address the impacts of the pandemic.   
We have delivered more than 1 million surgical masks, half a billion N95 masks with respirators, nearly 180,000 body shields, almost 1,000 thermometers, and more than 50 ventilators, among other items. These were distributed to authorities for use in prisons, border points, schools, shelters and NGOs assisting vulnerable groups.   
UNFPA provided personal protective equipment for a network of more than 40 youth-friendly health centres from all over the country. The UN, along with its partners, including  WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, and the World Bank Group, is also supporting the Government to undertake the Vaccine Readiness Assessment Tool. Beyond the UN, to support the overall COVID-19 international response and recovery coordination, the Resident Coordinator has also been regularly chairing the COVID-19 Development Partners’ group since March. 


In Kazakhstan, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Michaela Friberg-Storey, is supporting authorities as they address a surge in cases. Leading the UN team’s health response, since March, WHO has sent more than 76 tons of material to support health workers responding to the pandemic.   
For its part, UNICEF continues supporting school psychologists and staff, children, adolescents and their families to promote mental health and prevent violence, as well as cyberbullying during distance learning. UNDP has also developed regulatory guidelines for case treatment of medical COVID-19 waste, and IOM has assisted more than 5,000 migrants and victims of trafficking.   
UNFPA has helped develop the 2021-2025 National Mother and Child Health Strategy and Action Plan, with local authorities. And these are guidelines on prevention and control of infections in healthcare. 


We move now to Timor-Leste, where our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Roy Trivedy, is boosting national efforts to tackle COVID-19, including the socio-economic response and recovery effort.  

In this response, the UN-backed government subsidies have one of the highest rates of national spending in the Asia-Pacific region as a percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).  With support from the SG’s “Recover Better” Fund, the UN provided technical expertise and funding to ensure that the Government’s social cash transfer scheme reached the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, in addition to bolstering food distribution. Nearly 300,000 households were reached through this scheme, which represents approximately 94 per cent of all low-income households in the country.   

Caption: Norberta V. Soares da Cruz, Interim Director at Community Based Rehabilitation Network Timor-Leste.

Photo: UN Women/Helio Miguel

The UN also brought in 13 women’s groups and the only LGBTI rights organization in the country to monitor the scheme to ensure the process is inclusive. In view of the positive results, authorities have also asked the UN to support the development of a longer-term National Food Assistance Policy. 

UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labor Organization
International Organization for Migration
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Organization
Other entities involved in this initiative
Pan American Health Organization
World Bank
World Bank

Goals we are supporting through this initiative