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Decade of conflict triggering ‘slow tsunami’ across Syria, Security Council hears

After a decade of conflict, economic collapse compounded by COVID-19, corruption and mismanagement, the UN Syrian envoy told the Security Council on Wednesday that “a slow tsunami” is now “crashing across Syria”. 

“Today, millions inside the country and the millions of refugees outside, are grappling with deep trauma, grinding poverty, personal insecurity, and lack of hope for the future”, Special Envoy Geir Pedersen said via video link.  

Secretary-General welcomes U.S return to Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Following the inauguration of United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General said he looks forward to an era of new leadership towards accelerating climate action, with the US back inside the landmark Paris Agreement.  

President Biden signed an executive order at the White House just hours after being sworn in, to reverse the previous administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord, which seeks to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Independent panel finds critical early failings in COVID-19 response

The global system for pandemic alert and response is “not fit for purpose”, highlighting the need for a new framework in the wake of COVID-19, experts appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) said in an interim report presented on Tuesday. 

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response found critical elements to be “slow, cumbersome and indecisive” in an era when information about new disease outbreaks is being transmitted faster than countries can formally report on them. '

Political chief highlights crucial cooperation between UN and the Arab League

Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States has been critical to addressing the ongoing war in Syria, the search for a two-State solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and other challenges, the UN’s political affairs chief told a virtual meeting of the Security Council on Monday. 

Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo outlined how overall, engagement with regional bodies is a UN priority, including in areas such as preventive diplomacy, countering terrorism, peacebuilding and now COVID-19 response. 

COVID-19 committee stresses need for equitable vaccine access, more data sharing

As COVID-19 cases spike in parts of Europe, Africa and the Americas, and new variants of the virus emerge in some countries, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday called for greater global collaboration in ending the pandemic.  

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reported on the outcomes of the latest meeting of the Emergency Committee on COVID-19, held online the previous day. 

As COVID deaths pass two million worldwide, Guterres warns against self-defeating ‘vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the absence of a global coordinated effort has worsened the pandemic’s deadly impact.