Author: Ana Zeballos

UN Monitor: COVID-19 & UN Silence Procedure – 17/04/2020

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) Member States have adopted by consensus a Resolution (A/RES/74/270) on COVID-19 that calls for “international cooperation” and “multilateralism”. The resolution recognizes the "unprecedented effects of the pandemic, including the severe disruption to societies and economies, as well as to global travel and commerce, and the devastating impact on the livelihood of people". It calls for "intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat the pandemic, including by exchanging information, scientific knowledge and best practices”. It stresses "the need for full respect for human rights" and states that "there is no place for any form of discrimination, racism and xenophobia in the response to the pandemic". Read more

UN Monitor: COVID-19 Round-Up 10-04-2020

At a briefing on COVID-19, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated: “We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply. We cannot resort to the usual tools in such unusual times.”
The Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire in light of COVID-19 has already garnered significant support including from Member States and CSOs, receiving over 2 million signatures. Read more

Human Rights in the Digital Age: Challenging Issues on the UN Agenda

By Elena Marmo
The potential and challenges of the digital economy are emerging steadily on the UN agenda. The UN General Assembly’s Committee on Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues (Third Committee) closed its 74th session in November 2019 adopting over 60 resolutions on a wide range of subjects, only one of which (A/C.3/74/L.11) addressed digital technologies. Read more

The global corona crisis – A summary of key policy mappings and databases

Originally published by Global Policy Forum Europe
In addition to the health aspects of the virus, the global coronavirus crisis also has financial, socio-economic and developmental consequences. For this reason, a large number of policy measures have been announced by governments and international organizations, on the one hand to contain the pandemic, on the other to mitigate the economic consequences. Read more

Don’t say nobody warned us

By Roberto Bissio
The message could not have been clearer: "There is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5% of the world’s economy. A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability and insecurity.” Read more

Tackling Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) at the United Nations: what will the FACTI Panel deliver?

By Elena Marmo
On 28 January 2020 the President of the General Assembly (PGA), Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, and the President of ECOSOC, Mona Juul announced a new initiative: “a high-level panel on international financial accountability, transparency and integrity (FACTI)”. This joint endeavour is framed as a means to target and recover assets for investment in the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more

UN Statistical Commission 2020. From Measurement to Management: highlights of 51st session might be the pre-session seminars

By Barbara Adams and Karen Judd
How to capture and manage big data? This is a question that will confront the 51st session of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2020 as they review the official reports. The four-year process of finalizing the global indicator framework to measure the 169 targets of the SDGs is drawing to a conclusion with the acceptance by the IAEG-SDGs of 8 additional indicators, 14 replacement indicators, 8 revised indicators and 6 deleted indicators. The framework has gone to the Commission for approval in March and the focus of different players in the data and statistics community is shifting to the management and use of data to influence and shape development policy agendas. Read more

ODA: Can the players also be scorekeepers?

By Roberto Bissio
The numbers provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) about the assistance contributed by its members to developing countries are “inflated”, include “fictional figures”, suffer from “fundamental flaws of overcounting, incoherence and premature implementation of an unfinished system” and have therefore “become incoherent as a statistical quantity”, argues Simon Scott, former head of the statistical division of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in an article recently published by the Brookings Institution. Read more

UN General Assembly’s Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs: Tensions and interests on macroeconomics hide behind “consensus”

By Elena Marmo
The Second Committee of the UN General Assembly, in charge of Economic and Financial Affairs, concluded its 2019 deliberations last November 27. Fifty resolutions were passed and discussion was closed on all but one agenda item: the Revitalization of the UN General Assembly. The range of the resolutions, dealing with sustainable development, macroeconomics, operational activities for development and countries in special situations show that the UN is relevant in macroeconomic and financing matters. More attention will be demanded in the coming year to the issue of Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly through the lens of coordination for sustainable development, while the old debate about the role of consensus in the Committee’s deliberations was reopened. Read more

Characteristics of the UN General Assembly Second Committee

By Elena Marmo
The ways of working and tensions within the Second Committee are not unique to its agenda and delegates, but rather manifestations of greater challenges across Committees, and UN organs. The Committee’s Bureau consists of Member State Representatives from all UN regions. The Bureau chairs meetings, appoints facilitators for informal negotiations on resolutions and are responsible for seeing the Committee’s programme of work is completed. Distinct from the Bureau is the Secretariat, comprised of independent UN staff. The Second and Third Committee’s Secretariats are housed and staffed by the ECOSOC Affairs Branch, which is also responsible for conferencing for ECOSOC, the Peacebuilding Commission, Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the HLPF. In addition to the Secretariat, the Second Committee sees substantive contributions in the form of reports and guidance documents from actors across the UN System, among them: UNCTAD, FfD Office, Department for Economic and Social Affairs on behalf of the Secretary-General, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Read more