United Nations
United Nations 13 May 2020

Mental health services during COVID-19 & other topics - Daily Briefing (13 May 2020)


Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

- Mental Health
- Deputy Secretary-Genera/COVID-19/Sustainable Development
- Lebanon
- Afghanistan
- South Sudan
- Libya
- COVID-19/Prisons
- COVID-19/Children
- World Health Statistics
- Iraq
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Virtual Press Briefing Tomorrow,
- Financial Contribution

Tonight, we will be putting out a policy brief from the Secretary-General, in which he presents a series of recommendations to ensure that mental health services are fully included in COVID-19 response and recovery plans.   
The policy brief will be released at 11pm New York time, and we will also have a video message recorded by the Secretary-General released at that same time.
This morning, the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) met virtually to coordinate support so that countries can overcome and recover better from the pandemic. 
The Deputy Secretary-General and chair of the Group, Amina J. Mohammed,  underscored that the pandemic is a global health, humanitarian and socioeconomic emergency. 
Behind the numbers are people and families. COVID-19 placed many things on pause, and also exacerbated grave existing problems including inequality and climate change. 
"The way the UN system responds now will put our reforms in action to enable us to better address this development crisis in full emergency mode," said the Deputy Secretary-General. 
The group members also reviewed progress in reinforcing humanitarian-development collaboration as well as consolidating the reforms launched by the Secretary-General to strengthen the UN's support to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


- Wildlife Crime
- Sustainable Development
- Yemen
- Syria
- Azerbaijan
- Mali
- Sudan
- Kosovo
- Seafarers
- Hagia Sophia
- Lebanon
- World Population Day
- Press Briefing Monday

Today, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime released its World Wildlife Crime Report, which says that wildlife trafficking is not just a threat to biodiversity but also to human health. Many animals that are butchered and sold illegally have the potential for spreading diseases to people. The report shows that nearly 6,000 species have been seized over the past decade, including not only mammals but reptiles, corals, birds, and fish. No single country was identified as the source of more than 9 per cent of the total number of seized shipments. Meanwhile, the report identifies traffickers from 150 nationalities, showing that this is indeed a global issue. The report also notes that pangolins, which were identified as a potential source of the coronaviruses, continue to be the most trafficked wild mammal in the world. Demand for tiger products has also risen in recent years, as well as for tropical hardwood timber. The report also says that the sale of illegal wildlife products has shifted to online platforms and encrypted messaging apps as traffickers have found new ways to connect with potential buyers. 

Today, the High-Level Political Forum concluded its thematic review for the week. The two morning sessions addressed the "means of implementation to match the scope of the crisis and the breadth of our ambition for 2030." Today was also the launch of the forthcoming week's presentation of Voluntary National Reviews, which this year includes presentations by 47 countries. These reviews are voluntary and state-led. The afternoon session today will feature presentations from Armenia, Ecuador, Honduras, Kenya, Nigeria, Samoa and Slovenia. I also want to flag that on Monday at 9 a.m. there will be a virtual side event of the Secretary-General's Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman, Every Child, Every Adolescent, where a report on the impact of COVID-19 on these groups will be launched. 
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


Yesterday, the Secretary-General brought together the Principals of 31 UN system entities in a virtual meeting of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB). This is the longest-standing and highest-level coordination forum of the UN system.
The Secretary-General gave an overview of the state of the world, reflecting on the future of multilateralism, beyond the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as on the risks brought by the current crisis for human rights, global governance, ethics, and international cooperation.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as part of its support to authorities in the Kasai-Central Province, the UN Mission installed containers in the central prison, located in Kananga.
The containers will be used as quarantine quarters for detainees with suspected cases of the virus. The Peacekeeping Mission has also supported the central prison in other ways, including by providing staple food items.
In the Central African Republic, the UN peacekeeping mission have launched a COVID-19 sensitization campaign in Bria. The campaign involves motorcycle taxi drivers, who deliver messages with megaphones.
The UN Mission has also conducted a media training for journalists from local radio stations on coverage of the pandemic. This included tips to help prevent the spread of rumours and disinformation.
The UN Mission in Mali has provided prevention kits that include masks, soap, hand sanitizer and laser thermometers to commanders of the reconstituted Armed Forces.
Radio MIKADO FM, the radio station operated by the Mission, has shared virus prevention messages in local languages and sensitization radio programmes with over 63 local radio stations across the country.
Working in partnership with an International NGO in the Mopti region, our peacekeeping colleagues have also conducted awareness-raising activities and distributed hygiene kits to a school. The Mission also installed a public handwashing station at the school's entrance.

While Lesotho has only recently registered its first confirmed case of the virus, the UN team on the ground, led by the Resident Coordinator, Salvator Niyonzima, has been supporting the Government's efforts in addressing the pandemic in areas including public health and the economy.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is also helping in setting up systems and guidance for surveillance of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is helping the Government to spread information about the virus over the radio and on social media.
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is focusing on preventing and addressing violence against women and girls, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is redirecting resources to address the immediate socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic with the Government and partners, and that includes the World Bank.
COVID-19 has also resulted in a migration emergency in Lesotho and its neighbours. The UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) is assessing the plight of migrants returning to Lesotho, with many people living on the border with South Africa needing food, shelter, and obviously, medical attention.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

- Mental Health
- COVID-19/Vaccine
- COVID-19/Social Protection
- Security Council/Yemen
- Libya
- COVID-19/Peacekeeping
- COVID-19/Myanmar
- COVID-19/Thailand
- COVID-19/Ghana
- Burundi
- Philippines
- Lesotho
- Amazon
- COVID-19/Ceasefires
- UN Contributions

In a new policy brief, titled "COVID-19 and the need for action on mental health", the Secretary-General presents a series of recommendations to ensure that mental health services are fully included in pandemic response and recovery plans. 
Mental health is at the core of our humanity, he said, but after decades of neglect and underinvestment in these services, the pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress. Even when the pandemic is brought under control, he added, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities.
The Secretary-General calls for an expansion of programmes currently available. He adds that policies must support and care for those affected by mental health conditions, as well as protect their human rights and dignity. Governments, civil society and health authorities should urgently come together to address the mental health dimension of the pandemic, he says.
He also calls on governments to announce ambitious commitments on this at the forthcoming World Health Assembly.
In his own video message to support the new policy brief, the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros, said that if there was ever a time to invest in mental health, it is now. He added that we must use this opportunity to build services that are fit for the future, inclusive, community-based and affordable.

More than 140 current and former world leaders, as well as Nobel laureates, UN officials and experts, have signed an open letter calling on all governments to unite behind a so-called people's vaccine against COVID-19. This appeal, which was coordinated by UNAIDS and Oxfam, comes ahead of the virtual meeting of the health ministers at the World Health Assembly starting May 18th.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

- Secretary-General/Eid Message
- Programme Budget 2021
- Vaccination
- Bangladesh
- Senior Personnel Appointment
- Mali
- South America Appeal
- Forests
- Financing for Development

Today, the Secretary-General will give a virtual Eid Message at an interactive discussion with Member States representing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The theme of the discussions will be Covid-19 Solidarity: Promoting Co-Existence and Shared Responsibility. 
The Secretary-General is expected to remind Member States that our world is like one body, and as long as one part is affected by this virus, we all are affected. Now more than ever, solidarity and unity must be our leading principles.
Yesterday, the Secretary-General presented his proposal for the programme budget for 2021 at a virtual session of the Advisory Committee on the Administrative and Budgetary questions (ACABQ).  He noted that the meeting was happening at a time when the pandemic has put the lives of billions of people around the globe in turmoil, inflicting grave suffering and destabilizing the global economy. 
In response, he said, the United Nations has mobilized fully to save lives, stave off famine, ease the pain and plan for recovery. The Secretary-General said that we are open for business and are running the Organization from thousands of dining tables and home offices. 
Regarding recent reforms, he added that reform is on track and beginning to yield results.  Resident Coordinators covering 162 countries and territories now have a direct reporting line to his office, enhanced analytical capacities and coordination tools, as well as support from a strengthened development coordination office. 
The new management processes and structures have proven instrumental in enabling the Organization to remain open and function effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
The Secretary-General said that, to fully implement the mandates entrusted to us, we will require a total of $2.99 billion in 2021, which represents a net reduction of 2.8 per cent compared to 2020, despite additional initiatives and mandated activities. 
As this stage, he added, no resources have been included for COVID-19, as the programme budget proposals were largely put together before the pandemic came on scene and the situation is still evolving.

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