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UN chief announces major push to transform harmful food systems

The UN chief António Guterres set out a new plan to transform the world’s food systems on Monday - coinciding with the start of World Food Week - which will culminate in a major summit, scheduled to take place in September next year.

In a video message, Mr. Guterres highlighted the importance of food systems, and their impact on economies, environment and health, but warned that they are “one of the main reasons we are failing to stay within our planet’s ecological boundaries”.

COVID-19 sparks increased demand for mental health services: UNFPA

While the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been staggering, the full impact on health has been far greater, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).  The agency said fear, isolation, grief, economic stress  and shuttered support services have taken a toll on the mental well-being of people around the world.

Counsellors report urgent demands for mental and psychosocial support, particularly among women and girls who are facing an increase in gender-based violence, in addition to challenges brought on by the crisis.

UN World Food Programme wins 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), which provides lifesaving food assistance to millions across the world – often in extremely dangerous and hard-to-access conditions – has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. 

The agency was recognized “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”, said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. 

Pandemic has forever changed online shopping, UN-backed survey reveals

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way consumers shop online, the UN trade and development body, UNCTAD, said on Thursday, announcing results of a survey of some 3,700 consumers across nine countries. 

The study examined how the global crisis has impacted the way people use e-commerce and other digital tools, with more than half of respondents reporting they now shop online more frequently. 

More action needed for seafarers, ‘collateral victims’ of measures to curb COVID-19

Highlighting an “unparalleled crisis” affecting hundreds of thousands of crew members and maritime workers reeling due to the impact of COVID-19, the UN has called on the business sector and others involved in the shipping industry to do more to address the plight of seafarers worlwide. 

In all, some 400,000 people are currently stranded on vessels, and a similar number are prevented from returning to ships, either to earn their living or to return home, due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel and transit.