WILPF publishes analysis of the UN system during the COVID-19 lockdown

As the 75th session of the UN General Assembly gets underway, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is publishing a report that provides an overview of the impact of the COVID-19-related changes in process and procedure at the United Nations, particularly in terms of transparency and accessibility to civil society.

Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the functioning of the United Nations (UN), as it has on all other aspects of human life. UN Headquarters in New York City and the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG) both locked down for months, cancelling or postponing in-person meetings and trying, to various degrees of success, to move certain forums and functions online. The move to virtual formats has been challenging, as it has been for everyone shifting to remote work and learning. But the levels of transparency, accessibility, and functioning across multilateral forums has varied widely, with differing impacts on participants, the work at hand, and our world order.

"It is clear that member states need to take serious action immediately if they want to preserve multilateralism – not just as a system or method of operation within the United Nations, but as a principle necessary for the achievement of international peace and security,” writes report author Ray Acheson.

This report focuses on processes and forums related to disarmament and human rights, and covers briefly the work of the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, and the Commission on the Status of Women. It covers the period of March to mid-September 2020 and provides recommendations for future work.