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Financial Woes and Coronavirus Pandemic has UN Nearing Life Support

September 20, 2020, 02.14 PM

Travel restrictions and the UN's strict distancing measures have pushed most meetings online, but every virtual or hybrid meeting requires the UN to dish out "several thousand" additional dollars, she said.

Read also: Finland Travel Restrictions Reinstated as Second Wave of Infections Hit Europe

This is in part due to technical costs as well as the additional staff needed to operate the platform and audio-visual infrastructure.

There is also an additional cost for translation into the required six UN languages, since interpreters tire quicker due to poorer audio quality online, so more of them are needed.

"Making these types of meetings accessible through adding sign language and closed captioning requires even more staff support," Vellucci said.

"None of these costs have been included in the approved budget for 2020."

Due to infrastructure challenges, the UN has only been able to equip four conference rooms to accommodate hybrid meetings, and budgetary constraints mean it is unable to host more than two such meetings at a time.

"Even though activities have been planned, budgeted, and approved for 2020," Vellucci said, "the shortage of funding and staffing means they cannot be fully implemented in this more complex and expensive format." 

(Writer: Agnès Pedrero)


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