This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Tourism braces for $2.4 trillion hit to global economy
The global tourism sector is likely to face ongoing uncertainty for the rest of the year, resulting in losses to the world economy of up to $2.4 trillion, UN economists said on Wednesday.
According to Trade and Development body UNCTAD and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a recovery is not expected before 2023.
Likening current international traveller numbers to those last seen in the 1980s, the agencies said that in 2020, foreign arrivals were about one billion people lower than pre-pandemic levels – a 73 per cent decrease.
Here’s Zoritsa Urosevic, UN World Tourism Organization Representative in Geneva:
“The problem that we are mainly facing is that many livelihoods have really dropped…we have lost one billion travellers, so one billion opportunities for people to build livelihoods, especially in developing countries.”
The UN World Tourism Organization spokesperson added that the recovery will depend on COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and immunization certificates – like the ones being launched by the European Union on Thursday.
Developing countries have been hit most by the slump caused by the pandemic, with estimated reductions in traveller numbers of between 60 and 80 per cent.
Migrant worker numbers rise by five million: ILO
The number of international migrant workers has increased from 164 to 169 million, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday, noting a marked rise in the number of young people seeking opportunities abroad, too.
A new report from the ILO indicates that migrant workers made up one in 20 of the world’s workforce in 2019, often carrying out key functions in critical sectors from health care to food processing.
Despite their value to the global economy, the UN body warned that many migrant workers face uncertainty at work, a situation made worse by the pandemic.
Here’s Manuela Tomei, Director of the ILO Conditions of Work and Equality Department:
“We have seen that in a number of regions migrant workers represent a sizeable share of the workforce; they are contributing of course to the economies and societies of their host countries, but also to their home countries through remittances.”
More than two in three migrant workers are concentrated in high-income countries, with 63.8 million in Europe and Central Asia, and another 43.3 million in the Americas.
The Arab States, Asia and the Pacific each host about 24 million migrant workers, while Africa has 13.7 million, representing 8.1 per cent of the total.
World needs pandemic protection fund, argues UN rights expert
A top international rights expert has called for the creation of a global pandemic protection fund, to prevent countries from being caught off-guard by a new crisis.
At the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on poverty, noted that the World Health Organization had called for investment in global preparedness more than two years ago.
Developing countries will need help to achieve this, Mr. De Schutter explained, before outlining how a new international financing mechanism “would provide …the right incentives” and sustainability to establish “robust” social protection systems.
In the past, too little was invested in healthcare, unemployment, old-age pensions, or children and disability allowances. And the poor are now paying the high cost of this mistake,” Mr. De Schutter told the Council.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), four billion people lack any form of social protection today. Another 1.2 billion have only partial protection and only 35 per cent of children benefit from allowances that ensure they can receive childcare, nutrition and education.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.