31 December 2021 : UN Affairs
A hit series on climate action, the drama of COP26, and stories from Vanuatu to Brooklyn. Here are some of our favourite audio stories from the last 12 months.
UN News/Conor Lennon : Climate action protest in Glasgow during COP26, the UN Climate Conference.
No Denying It
UN News/Laura Quiñones : COP26 is being held at the Scottish Event Campus, a Green Tourism Award-winning event space in the heart of Glasgow.
With interest in the climate crisis ramping up this year – partly in anticipation of COP26, the most important UN climate conference since 2015 – we launched a brand-new series, No Denying It.
Star names such as Michelle Yeoh and Ed Norton lent their voices to the series, and young climate changemakers from across our warming planet – activists, engineers, and entrepreneurs – showed how it is possible to make changes in our communities, which can point the way towards making a major transition in the way we interact with the environment.
One particular highlight was the first episode, featuring actor Ezra Miller and Canadian First Nation leader Dana Tizya-Tramm. Mr. Tizya-Tramm’s remote community has, for many years, relied on oil being flown in to power its generators, but a new solar installation project will allow the community to stop burning nearly 200,000 litres of diesel fuel annually.
Tears, fears, and fossil fuels
Conor Lennon/ UN News : Protesters outside the COP26 conference site
They witnessed the huge climate demonstrations (including the angry denunciations of youth activist Greta Thunberg), a flurry of announcements promising massive reforestation, significant cuts in fossil-fuelled energy production, and the frustration of ‘frontline States’, facing rising sea waters which could see them submerged and wiped out in just a few years.
20 years on from Durban
UN Photo/Loey Felipe : Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, briefs journalists at UN Headquarters in New York. (October 2019)
Twenty years ago, the UN adopted a landmark declaration to counter racism, at a conference in the South African city of Durban.
To mark the anniversary, UN News published a series of features, videos and podcasts, showing the many ways in which racism is still present around the world, and how it can be overcome.
We heard from Derrick Léon Washington, an African-American dancer on a mission to serve his community and beyond, and Tendayi Achiume, the UN independent expert on contemporary racism and intolerance, who leads a worldwide effort to combat human rights violations and tackle systemic racism.
Inspiring women in Vanuatu
OHRLLS/Ginny Stein : Georgiilla Worwor, a law student and community activist from Vanuatu.
In February, we took our listeners on a virtual trip to the island State of Vanautu, with Island Voices, a three-part podcast series describing some of the ways that women in the country are attempting to break down barriers. We met Risma, an elite-level young surfer, who has faced many of the challenges that come with being a woman pioneer in a male-dominated sport, ambitious young politician Georgilla Worwor, and Sergeant Bianca Simeon, who was the first woman recruit in the Vanuata Police Maritime wing, when she joined up 11 years ago.
Burning rubber, not fossil fuels
UN/Joon Park : Formula E car at the 2021 New York race in Red Hook, Brookyln.
The Formula E motorsports championship came to New York in Summer, and we were there to capture the sights, sounds, but not the smell of burning fuel often associated with racing.
The fully electric championship has been around for less than a decade, but major manufacturers are queuing up to be involved in the series, which is growing in popularity, just like the electric cars it has been designed to promote.
We spoke to some of the major players involved, to find out what the sport, and the industry, are doing to advancing sustainable development, and fight the climate crisis.
Improving the way we help the world’s most desperate people
© UNHCR/Will Swanson : Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock with a group of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in Kutapalong Refugee Camp, Bangladesh on 26 April 2019.
Mark Lowcock saw with his own eyes the plight of the world’s most desperate people during his time leading the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
After four years in charge, he stepped down in June, and spoke in depth of his time in the post with UN News. Mr. Lowcock pointed out the rising numbers of people requiring humanitarian assistance is unprecedented, and will continue unless countries collaborate better to combat conflict, climate change and disease.
🎧 Click here to isten on Soundcloud.
Remembering Auschwitz: facing the aftermath
US Holocaust Memorial Museum/Yad Vashem : Jews from Subcarpathian Rus are subjected to a selection process on a ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland.
Just a couple of weeks after a violent mob stormed the US Capitol, the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp provided another important reminder of the fragility of democracy, and the consequences of allowing authoritarian regimes to take control.
In this podcast, we can hear the voices of survivors, along with the poignant contribution of German leader, Angela Merkel, and leading UN officials, speaking out against intolerance and racism, with neo-Nazism seemingly on the rise.
🎧 Click here to isten on Soundcloud.
You can listen again to the No Denying It series, and subscribe to our flagship, ongoing podcast series The Lid Is On, wherever you get your podcasts.