United Nations and Its Current Involvement in the Region

COVID-19 Reports on Latin America and the Caribbean: No. 46

On January 30 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 as a global public health emergency. The world has changed forever, and a “new normal” took part in our daily lives. One year later, the pandemic is far from being over. 2020 profoundly altered the agenda of the United Nations system. During those 365 days, international organizations from the United Nations System (UN) compiled, developed, and published a wealth of information resources related to COVID-19 to help countries worldwide guarantee access to fundamental human rights – Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

These two next reports (46 and 47) are an overview of these International Organizations’ information resources about COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean. It contains a selection of UN organs, including specialized agencies, a regional commission and UN programmes.

UN Specialized Agencies
ILO

The International Labour Organization (ILO)  is the only tripartite UN agency. Since 1919 it brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting a decent world for all women and men. 

In the pandemic context, the ILO’s Director-General stated that “COVID-19 has brought the world of work to its knees“.  The ILO’s response to COVID-19 was provided by the creation of a dedicated portal on COVID-19 and the world of work and the digital edition of an ILO Monitor with the latest labour market developments. Seven editions have been published to this day. The Portal contains a section dedicated to Regional and country impact and policies. The latest regional and country research, assessments, guidelines and policy recommendations relating to COVID-19 and the world of work.  Another section details how countries respond to the pandemic offers country policy responses, including several Latin American and Caribbean countries. Content can be found in one of the ILO official languages (English, French and Spanish) depending on the country. 

The ILO’s statistical Department (ILOSTAT) created a specific portal on COVID-19 and labour statistics. Regional and national figures for Latin American and the Caribbean can be found in Country Profiles. In addition, the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean offers a wealth of information resources in Spanish about the impacts of COVID-19 in employment and the economy of the region, which includes a dedicated page in Spanish about OIT en America Latina y el Caribe.

ITU

Founded in 1865, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ITU is committed to connecting all the world’s people via mobile phones, access the Internet or email. The ITU Secretary-General stated, “as the world recovers from and adjusts to the new normal created by the COVID-19 pandemic, ITU is mobilizing around the United Nations’ call to build back better. As the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, we are now more than ever committed to bringing the benefits of these technologies to people everywhere”.​​

According to the same source, “(…) COVID-19 crisis has not only highlighted the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for continued functioning of societies but has also brought to the fore the startling digital inequalities between and within countries”. To address the strain experienced by telecommunication networks, vital to the health and safety of people, ITU’s response to COVID-19 contains recovery initiatives and partnerships. The main initiatives are: 

  1. Connect2Recover aims at reinforcing the digital infrastructure of beneficiary countries and better means of utilizing digital technologies to support COVID-19 recovery efforts and preparedness for the “new normal”, as well as potential future pandemics.​
  2. A new platform to ​pool experiences and innovative policy and regulatory measures.​ It has a few Latin American countries. The Global Network Resiliency Platform (REG4COVID) is where you can view and access initiatives and actions designed to help communities remain connected during the health crisis. 
  3. The ICT Case Repository​ collects innovative ​projects and activities on how ICTs assist stakeholders in their everyday life, work, and  ​combating challenges caused by this extraordinary situation.

A selection of best practices and emergency responses can be accessed using the interactive map to filter by region, country, a topic on ICT policy and regulatory initiatives. ITU Insights provides you access to recent report and discussion papers. The last ITU discussion paper on the last mile connectivity in the context of COVID-19 was published in November 2020. 

WHO

WHO’s COVID-19 response was without precedent. Although this isn’t the first time it has responded to a pandemic, and it won’t be the last – but COVID-19 is the most challenging crisis it has ever faced. On January 30 2020, WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. It was the scenario the public health community had feared for decades. 

Since then, WHO has worked tirelessly to find solutions, allay fears, provide country and technical guidance, advice for the public, vaccines, tests and situation updates, research and development and scam alerts. 

  1. The COVID-19 situation Dashboard is an interactive dashboard/map that provides the latest global numbers and numbers by country of COVID-19 cases daily.
  2. Timeline: WHO’s Covid response through an interactive timeline showcasing how the organization has taken action on information, science, leadership, advice, response and resourcing.

WHO has a dedicated section to country experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Regional Office for the Americas, PAHO, has a dedicated Portal to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The Pan American Health Organization covers the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the countries with humanitarian situations. Information resources about the COVID-19 situation in the Region of the Americas are available at: 

  1. PAHO COVID Situation reports
  2. Geo-Hub COVID-19 Information System for the Region of the Americas
  3. Daily reported COVID data
  4. PAHO COVID- 19 daily update
  5. Subregional and Country Epidemiological Curves

Epidemiological Alerts and Updates are issued to provide information about international public health events that could have implications for the Americas’ countries and territories.  Technical guidelines about the Coronanavirus by subject area are available in Technical documents. The database Evidence offers COVID-19 guidance and the latest research in the Americas. The COVID pandemic is impacting communities all over the world. PAHO’s response in the region is meant to support countries in preventing, detecting and responding to the pandemic. 

UNWTO

The UNWTO Tourism Data Dashboard – provides statistics and insights on crucial indicators for inbound and outbound tourism at the global, regional and national levels. Data covers tourist arrivals, tourism share of exports and contribution to GDP, source markets, seasonality and accommodation (data on a number of rooms, guests and nights). Two special modules present data on the impact of COVID 19 on tourism and a Policy Tracker on Measures to Support Tourism. The COVID-19: Measures to Support Travel and Tourism. This compilation of country and international policy responses aims to share and monitor worldwide measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in the travel and tourism sector and accelerate recovery. 

To assess the impact of COVID-19 in Tourism, WTO has created a variety of information resources to support data-driven decisions and restart Tourism in a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient way:

  1. The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer monitors short-term tourism trends regularly to provide global tourism stakeholders with an up-to-date analysis of international tourism;
  2. The UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker compiles all the relevant data in one place, giving governments and private businesses the ability to track the recovery of tourism at a global and regional level, alongside information on the top destinations for international tourism;
  3. COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions;
  4. Market Intelligence reports and 
  5. 2020: a year in review

By Indira Bermudez and Susana Cardoso

Source: UN Websites.

The responsibility for opinions expressed in signed articles, studies and other contributions rests solely with their authors, and publication does not constitute an endorsement by the United Nations Organs of the opinions expressed in them. Reference to firms’ names and commercial products and processes does not imply their endorsement by the United Nations. Any failure to mention a particular firm, commercial product or methodology is not a sign of disapproval.”

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