The World Health Organization (WHO) is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak.
The Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support, including the Division of Healthcare Management and Occupational Safety and Health, are carefully reviewing all troop and police rotations scheduled over the coming six months. Some countries have been asked to delay rotations by three months to maintain operational strength and execute their mandated tasks.
In the meantime, peacekeeping missions are putting in place a series of mitigation measures to promote the safety, security and health of all UN personnel while maintaining continuity of operations. Leadership is in regular contact with troop- and police- contributing countries and working closely with the Department of Operational Support, the Office of Military Affairs and the Police Division to monitor the situation and advise governments according to the latest developments.
What are the UN travel arrangements for UN Staff travelling to/from Missions in the field?
Although per guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) there are currently no formal restrictions on travel for UN Secretariat staff, whether for official business, entitlements or recruitments/deployments, managers and individual staff have been requested to evaluate the criticality of all proposed travel arrangements, weighed against the risks to the traveler for any travel to or from meetings in affected areas experiencing ongoing transmission of COVID-19. These risks include those posed by both medical issues and evolving travel/border restrictions enacted by Member States.
UN Peacekeeping missions have similarly been requested to carefully assess the critically of all current and planned travel arrangements. All non-essential travel should be postponed or cancelled, and any future travel arrangements should be reviewed for criticality.
UN guidance and coverage on COVID-19
UN Peacekeeping missions in the field have reoriented their community outreach to address the new challenges posed by the pandemic.
UN Peacekeeping guidance on COVID-19
Addressing COVID-19 requires critical preparedness and a coordinated response, particularly in prisons. The Justice and Corrections Service has developed practical guidance and operational tools including an Operational Toolbox: COVID-19 Preparedness & Response in Places of Detention, together with UNITAR, which provides communication tools composed of clear and concise information and visuals for direct use by prison administrators and staff to mitigate and address COVID-19 in prisons, guidance on the immediate measures required to decongest prisons and guidance to help ensure access to justice through remote alternatives and court hearings during and after outbreak.
The UN Police (UNPOL) has outlined procedures to be followed by personnel in their daily operations during or in anticipation of the COVID-19 pandemic in their host communities. UNPOL has also provided a synopsis of the factors that a police agency must consider when writing plans to address operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Gender Unit of DPO, in consultation with field missions, has developed an analysis on COVID-19 and Women, Peace and Security (WPS), and collects examples of how our missions are re-orienting the implementation of the WPS mandate in light of the pandemic.
Updates from UN Peacekeeping missions