If you are wondering how bad things could get, then the new coronavirus strain has made it clear. It can get much worse. The UK reported a new strain and the Dutch authorities immediately made travelers from the UK to quarantine and proceeded to block arrivals and departures between the Netherlands to the UK.

South Africa too, all flights to Europe are banned now, people who have to travel must quarantine.

Austria followed suit, and France has now grounded lorries departing from France. Switzerland joined other European countries suspending flights from the UK. 10.000 …


Health Care Facilities in Developing Countries Lack Water and Sanitation

The World Health Organization (WHO), in partnership with UNICEF, launched a joint report looking at health facilities worldwide and ways to increase funding mechanisms to address access to water and sanitation services in developing countries.

Photo Credit; UNICEF

“New data from WHO and UNICEF shows that one in four health facilities around the world lack basic water services. This puts health workers and patients at risk from infections of all kinds, makes childbirth much less safe, and drives antimicrobial resistance.”

It is estimated that 1.8 billion people are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 because they are working in health care facilities without basic water services.

The report, Global Progress Report on WASH in Health Care Facilities, exposes the vulnerabilities in health systems and inadequate infection prevention and…


What is the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review?

The Universal Periodic Review is the instrument created by the UN Human Rights Council to examine the human rights record of all UN Member States. It is conducted by the countries themselves, under the framework of the Human Rights Council, to give the country the opportunity to present the advancements that have been made on their judiciary system to adopt international frameworks to which they are signatories, and to improve their record preventing and punishing violations of international human rights law.

This is the only mechanism of this kind that exists and was designed during the mandate of former High-Commissioner…


Independent Expert Report

Huge Data Gap About the Elderly

The Human Rights Council, which has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, has closed its 45th Session a couple of weeks ago.

The UN Brief interviewed the appointed Independent Expert for the Human Rights of Older Persons to discuss their latest report, which revelead that the elderly are not being counted and that new tech devices and services that could greatly expand their enjoyment of life are seriously amiss.

These were some of the findings by Dr. …


Photo credit: FIA Foundation

The UN Road Safety Fund coordinates activities at the multilateral level and seeks to mitigate the systemic, structural poverty, issues that contribute to death and injuries on roads in low-to-middle income countries, and it is run by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which acts as the Secretariat of the Road Safety Fund, an initiative led by the FIA Foundation, a UK Charity, created by the Federation Internationale des Automobiles.

With road deaths at 1.35 million a year, plus 50 million in serious related injuries, worldwide, the issue of safe roads design calls for concerted action between UN…


The global health crisis has seen an exponential increase in cyber attacks in hospitals and international organizations.

The UN Brief interviewed Alex Urbelis, Partner at Blackstone Law Group, a cybersecurity firm in New York.

His firm has developed a way to anticipate threats by using domain name registration scanning, drawing from his wide experience working for the private sector, and government agencies on both sides of the Atlantic.

We spoke about his firm, the Blackstone Law group, his education both in cyber security and law, and his career working in Europe and the US for the luxury sector, and…


Photo credit: Stephanie Canciello, Unali Artists

The UN Brief interviewed Craig Newmark to find out more about the media organizations he is backing that are committed to public interest journalism.

Combating misinformation, analyzing how websites deploy trackers in visitors’ devices, fighting fake news, these are some of the issues that are close to his heart.

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Craig Newmark

“A democracy cannot survive build on lies.”
— Craig Newmark

Newmark spent most of his life in the tech industry as a systems engineer, first at IBM, then in the financial-services industry. …


Leelee Chan in her studio in Hong Kong | Photo: courtesy of the artist

Tokens From Time: Leelee Chan’s Reverent Journey Through Italy

The UN Brief interviewed Leelee Chan, a Hong Kong-based artist who is participating on a travelogue throughout Europe’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, an initiative sponsored by BMW in partnership with Art Basel.

As the 2020 winner of BMW Art Journeys, she will travel through Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Great Britain, examining material culture from the past, to discover the “places where the materials come from, the people, and the local community around them. Being a sculptor in Hong Kong, where most factories have moved to mainland China, we tend to be very detached from how things are…


A general view of the General Assembly hall. (Credits: UN Photo/Sophia Paris)

An interview with Chris Fabian who leads innovation at UNICEF.

Tomorrow, the United Nations’ General Debate takes place with heads of state, presidents, and foreign ministers taking the podium to highlight their hopes, their values, and promises for a world where international cooperation matters.

On the agenda, and on the minds of the global leaders present, will be the digital divide and lack of connectivity, high-speed Internet infrastructure, and the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on education and economic development.

The UN Brief interviewed Chris Fabian, who leads innovation at UNICEF in New York, to find out more about Giga, a partnership between UNICEF, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and UNESCO.

The initiative aims to map and connect every single school in the developing world to the Internet to provide education and opportunity for children in all countries where UNICEF operates. Giga is already operational in…


UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Brief interviewed technology investor Bill Tai to speak about impact investing, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals), the new wave of technology and digital transformation we are seeing, and how venture capital is looking to ‘do well by doing good’.

Bill has logged-in 30 years in Silicon Valley, first as a chip-designer, then as an investor in deep-tech, enterprise software, and consumer startups, in 150 companies, 22 of which went public. …

Maya Plentz, Editor and Founder, The UN Brief

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