My job at the United Nations is to inform the public about the state of our world. That involves stories of ever-growing numbers of people suffering, wars erupting, a deadly virus spreading, economies collapsing and the planet taking revenge for being repeatedly abused.

This information matters. It is about the consensus of the science of climate change or guidance on protection from COVID-19. It represents the surging data of need — numbers of war refugees, girls forced to marry, fathers and mothers losing their incomes, families starving, children out of school, people trafficked, and workers exploited.

These are the statistics…


A refugee in Rwanda gets her first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

These are heart-wrenching days for all of us with an eye on global events. We are witnessing a shocking gulf widen between those with access to COVID vaccines and those without. WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus has called it grotesque. Looking at the figures, it’s hard to disagree.

The contrast is astounding. While a handful of countries celebrate, re-open, and reunite with loved ones, the rest of the world waits, watches, and suffers. This as the WHO reported more COVID cases in the past fortnight than in the first six months of the pandemic. Let that sink in for a second…


So, how are you? Let me guess. You aren’t thriving, but you aren’t exactly depressed either? Chances are you’re languishing, a state characterised by an absence of well-being. There’s a lot of it about. The term pre-dates the pandemic, but lockdown has likely driven millions into this dispirited mood.

The languishing struggle with focus and motivation. Not quite in crisis mode; they aren’t quite content. They just are, and they’re going nowhere fast. While this isn’t a mental illness, research suggests they risk falling more seriously ill further down the line. So, it’s worth taking seriously.

The good news is…


Every morning, over coffee, I check the news. I can’t say it’s exactly uplifting at the best of times, let alone in these dark days. But in my job, I can’t afford to stay blissfully ignorant about the world. I rely on good journalism to inform and enrich my work, just like millions of others around the globe.

My morning news scroll ritual.

But imagine if reliable news sources suddenly disappeared. Where could we turn for our information? Say a total news blackout happened right now, during the pandemic. Look at your social media feed. Who could you rely on to share reliable, potentially life-saving…


We’ve asked so much of young people in this pandemic. We demanded they forgo everything to keep the rest of us safe. We asked them to bear the brunt and we asked them to cope. Now, a looming mental health crisis makes me worry we might have overestimated how much they could take.

332 million. That’s the number of children and young people who have lived under stay-at-home policies for most of the last year. They need support. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, UNICEF urges governments to increase investment in mental health services.

Lockdown has been hard on the young. As a mother to two young adults, I’ve seen first-hand how confinement has crushed hopes and ruined plans. Worse still, for the millions already struggling with mental health issues, the pandemic has delivered a devastating setback.

From a selfish point…


What would life be without sport? This pandemic has given us all a taste. During this year of confinement, players and fans around the world have had to do without it. Millions are itching to return to playing with or cheering on their teams in person. Let’s hope it won’t be long now.

So, let’s celebrate sport as we wait for its big comeback. Today we mark the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. …


Most people are counting down the days until they get vaccinated, but not everyone. In these unsettling times, it’s understandable that some people need a little more reassurance, a little more information, before they feel confident in saying yes to a jab.

Less understandable to me is that vocal minority who are seeking to undermine and derail the global vaccine roll-out. Hard to believe, right? That a few people out there are deliberately spreading lies designed to scare people out of accepting a potentially life-saving vaccine? But there it is.

The bottom line is we communicators are locked in a…


I was lucky enough to get vaccinated. It’s a privilege most people around the world are yet to have. My history of breast cancer, now in remission, meant I was in a priority group of vulnerable patients here in the US. I must say I never thought I’d see an upside of that diagnosis.

I was apprehensive at first. As a cancer survivor, I’m not exactly a fan of hospitals. The last time I attended one on a regular basis was for my stint of 25 radiotherapy treatments and I associate them with an atmosphere of cold dread. …


New York City in March, 2020 — my flowers a symbol of the people dying in Mt. Sinai Hospital next door.

New Yorkers, United Nations staff and diplomats gathered today, virtually at least, to grieve for the pandemic’s many victims.

The online memorial was a chance to remember those we lost forever, as well as those still battling the debilitating effects of long-Covid, or struggling financially after losing their livelihoods.

It was an opportunity to pay tribute to the heroic medics who saved countless lives, as well as the front-line workers whose daily risks and sacrifices helped the rest of us stay safe.


In times of crisis, let the truth inform us.

A year ago, as the world struggled with the news of a deadly virus spreading unnoticed through our communities, the World Health Organization warned we were facing a double disaster.

Covid-19 was now claiming lives on almost every continent and the crisis deserved to be called a pandemic. As if that wasn’t enough, a tsunami of false and misleading information was powering through social media, drowning out life-saving public health guidance. There was little doubt, this was also an infodemic.

Online misinformation was nothing new, but the lies now seemed to be everywhere. What’s more, they posed a new and…

Melissa Fleming

Chief Communicator #UnitedNations promoting a peaceful, sustainable, just & humane world. Author: A Hope More Powerful than the Sea. Podcast: Awake at Night.

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