The UN in New York Shuts Physically as Most Personnel Telecommute: Updates

  • The UN youth envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake, tweeted: “We may be at home but work doesn’t stop! Proud to have an incredible team (& supportive families) to keep our work going despite #COVID19. We usually have 1 team meeting per week but now we have 2. Second is to check in on each other & our families. How are you working from home?”
  • The UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, held the UN’s first live media briefing remotely, from his home in New York City, virtually glitch-free. He took questions from reporters by text message, and made numerous UN announcements, including that the secretary-general is still coming into the headquarters to work; that 850 million students are out of school because of the pandemic, per Unesco; that personnel returning to the UN peacekeeping mission staff in Mali from countries that have reported cases of Covid-19 are self-isolating; and that the new head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is Philippe Lazzarini. And on a bleaker note: The International Labor Organization says the economic and labor crisis created by Covid-19 could increase global unemployment by almost 25 million people.
  • A podcast featuring Dr. Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization’s representative in China, spoke with UN News about “cooperation between China and the UN” regarding Covid-19, and how a “decline in COVID-19 cases in China demonstrates that containment efforts can help alter the course of the pandemic.”
  • • Unicef sent an email message to media, saying: We have spokespeople available for interview in New York, as well as spokespeople available in country and regional offices able to provide interviews on local, national and regional contexts. The noticed added:
  • Our latest multimedia materials are available here, including: hi-res photo and video assets of supply distribution around the world; public service videos and handwashing guidance; infographics and myth-busting materials and more.
  • On March 17, Unicef’s executive director, Henrietta Fore, said: “One week since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the number of cases continues to soar around the world. Hundreds of millions of children are not in school. Parents and caregivers are working remotely whenever they can. Borders have been closed. Lives have been upended. These are uncharted waters for all of us. At UNICEF, we are fighting a new virus, debunking myths and battling misinformation, all while looking after the well-being of our staff and our own families.” Full statement is here
  • Unicef has also issued these guidance notes:
  • Guidance for parents: How to protect yourself and your children
  • Guidance for parents: How to speak to your children about Coronavirus
  • Guidance on handwashing: Everything you need to know about washing your hands
  • Guidance for teachers: Tips for having age-appropriate discussions to reassure and protect children

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Independent Coverage the United Nations. A project of The New School’s Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs, supported by the Carnegie Corporation.

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