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Virtual UN general assembly I Cash transfers and refugees

Posted by: The Conversation Global

Date: Wednesday, 23 September 2020


The corridors of the UN building in New York are unusually quiet this year as the general assembly gets underway, with world leaders delivering pre-recorded addresses virtually rather than in person. But online diplomacy is a tricky business, particularly when it comes to working out who to trust. And former British ambassador, Nicholas Westcott, explains what will be lost by the absence of face-to-face meetings.

Also in the international realm, humanitarian organisations are increasingly transferring cash directly to vulnerable people. They use mechanisms such as mobile money or transfers into bank accounts. Historically, they would have bought food and other goods for distribution to beneficiaries. The transfers have been praised for enhancing autonomy, reducing costs, and boosting local markets. However, there are also downsides as Cory Rodgers, Jade Siu and Olivier Sterck explain. They can also encourage the extension, by retailers, of credit to refugee beneficiaries and leave them indebted.

Gemma Ware

Global Affairs Editor and Podcast Producer

Sorry I can’t be there: German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the UN general assembly virtually. Evan Schneider / UN Photo

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