Locked out during lockdown: an analysis of the UN system during COVID-19

The report 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.

Locked out during lockdown coverSince 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.

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.

Written by Ray Acheson • Published in September 2020 by Reaching Critical Will, a programme of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

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