Press Release

Media Update: United Nations Pakistan, 5 October 2021

05 October 2021

This Media Update includes: 

  • UN-Habitat : PRESS RELEASE : World Habitat Day, October 4th, 2021‎
  • UNICEF - PRESS RELEASE : Impact of COVID-19 on poor mental health in children and young people ‘tip of the iceberg’ – UNICEF



World Habitat Day, October 4th, 2021‎

Celebration of World Habitat Day 2021

Accelerating urban action for a carbon free world

UN-Habitat Pakistan organized a seminar to kick start celebration of  Urban October activities– World Habitat Day on 4th October 2021 in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change, Water and Sanitation Agency, National Disaster Risk Management Authority, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Shehersaaz and TMA Nowshera. The event was organized to discuss and reflect on the increasing effects of climate-related disasters. Extreme climatic events are disproportionately affecting poor, rural populations who are usually the least prepared to cope with them.

The event commenced with a message from Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General and Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director UN-Habitat in which it was highlighted that cities and towns contribute to 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, a result of which are the devastating floods, droughts and violent storms. There was stress on the importance of putting climate action at the top of our agenda and to change how we generate power, mode of transport, dependence on fossil fuels and the need to work towards energy efficient infrastructure to encourage walking and cycling. Lastly, the benefits of a green transition were pointed out especially for the most vulnerable communities and the need to unite and work together to ensure all climate goals are met.

Mr. Jawed Ali Khan, UN-Habitat Programme Manager, Pakistan reiterated the need of the hour: to take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas production from ever expanding urban centers and for the natural and built environment to move in parallel in order to achieve our climate goals. He added that UN Habitat Pakistan has launched a project on Climate Change adaptation in Pakistan to enhance capacity of government and communities to deal with the impacts of floods and droughts. This project is important and is a curtain raiser for adaptation activities and will be instrumental in building climate change-related resilience in Rawalpindi and Nowshera districts.

The discussions in the seminar were centered around how cities can be made more resilient through implementation of climate targeted actions such as, planning for more compact and walkable cities, support in enhancing national building codes, sustainable building and construction practices, promoting clean energy generation in cities, improving waste management and provision of water and sanitation for a carbon free world.

Partners engaged in productive deliberations on how to mitigate the impacts of floods and droughts through innovation and new technology. There was great focus on ground water recharge instead of surface water storage which has been the primary focus previously. This would cater to water scarcity and provide longer-term benefits to the most vulnerable communities. Additionally, the technology that would enable groundwater recharge will be solar powered, making it energy efficient and helping to reduce the carbon footprint.

UN Habitat, Pakistan will also organize following events to celebrate Urban October

· Dedicated Session in Innovate 4 Cities (I4C) 2021 Conference  with the objective to demonstrate the importance of GHG emission reduction in urban areas

· Seminar on Housing Challenges in Pakistan and Lessons Learnt from Success Stories of Korea and other Countries is to bring home the rich experiences and the lessons learnt from the successful interventions in the housing construction sector from Korea and other parts of the world to reinforce the Five Million Housing Program.




Impact of COVID-19 on poor mental health in children and young people ‘tip of the iceberg’ – UNICEF

New analysis indicates lost contribution to economies due to mental disorders among young people estimated at nearly $390 billion a year

Multimedia content available to download here

NEW YORK, 5 October 2021 – Children and young people could feel the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health and well-being for many years to come, UNICEF warned in its flagship report today.

According to The State of the World’s Children 2021; On My Mind: promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health – UNICEF’s most comprehensive look at the mental health of children, adolescents and caregivers in the 21st century – even before COVID-19, children and young people carried the burden of mental health conditions without significant investment in addressing them.

According to the latest available estimates, more than 1 in 7 adolescents aged 10–19 is estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder globally. Almost 46,000 adolescents die from suicide each year, among the top five causes of death for their age group. Meanwhile, wide gaps persist between mental health needs and mental health funding. The report finds that about 2 per cent of government health budgets are allocated to mental health spending globally.

“It has been a long, long 18 months for all of us – especially children. With nationwide lockdowns and pandemic-related movement restrictions, children have spent indelible years of their lives away from family, friends, classrooms, play – key elements of childhood itself,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The impact is significant, and it is just the tip of the iceberg. Even before the pandemic, far too many children were burdened under the weight of unaddressed mental health issues. Too little investment is being made by governments to address these critical needs. Not enough importance is being placed on the relationship between mental health and future life outcomes.”

Children’s mental health during COVID-19

Indeed, the pandemic has taken its toll. According to early findings from an international survey of children and adults in 21 countries conducted by UNICEF and Gallup – which is previewed in The State of the World’s Children 2021 – a median of 1 in 5 young people aged 15–24 surveyed said they often feel depressed or have little interest in doing things.

As COVID-19 heads into its third year, the impact on children and young people’s mental health and well-being continues to weigh heavily. According to the latest available data from UNICEF, globally, at least 1 in 7 children has been directly affected by lockdowns, while more than 1.6 billion children have suffered some loss of education. The disruption to routines, education, recreation, as well as concern for family income and health, is leaving many young people feeling afraid, angry, and concerned for their future. For example, an online survey in China in early 2020, cited in The State of the World’s Children, indicated that around a third of respondents reported feeling scared or anxious.

Cost to society

Diagnosed mental disorders, including ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, depression, eating disorders, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia, can significantly harm children and young people’s health, education, life outcomes, and earning capacity.

While the impact on children’s lives is incalculable, a new analysis by the London School of Economics in the report indicates that lost contribution to economies due to mental disorders that lead to disability or death among young people is estimated at nearly $390 billion a year.

Protective factors

The report notes that a mix of genetics, experience and environmental factors from the earliest days, including parenting, schooling, quality of relationships, exposure to violence or abuse, discrimination, poverty, humanitarian crises, and health emergencies such as COVID-19, all shape and effect children’s mental health throughout their lifetime.

While protective factors, such as loving caregivers, safe school environments, and positive peer relationships can help reduce the risk of mental disorders, the report warns that significant barriers, including stigma and lack of funding, are preventing too many children from experiencing positive mental health or accessing the support they need.

The State of the World’s Children 2021 calls on governments, and public and private sector partners, to commit, communicate and act to promote mental health for all children, adolescents and caregivers, protect those in need of help, and care for the most vulnerable, including:

· Urgent investment in child and adolescent mental health across sectors, not just in health, to support a whole-of-society approach to prevention, promotion and care.

· Integrating and scaling up evidence-based interventions across health, education and social protection sectors - including parenting programmes that promote responsive, nurturing caregiving and support parent and caregiver mental health; and ensuring schools support mental health through quality services and positive relationships.

· Breaking the silence surrounding mental illness, through addressing stigma and promoting better understanding of mental health and taking seriously the experiences of children and young people.

“Mental health is a part of physical health - we cannot afford to continue to view it as otherwise,” said Fore. “For far too long, in rich and poor countries alike, we have seen too little understanding and too little investment in a critical element of maximizing every child’s potential. This needs to change.”


Notes to Editors

Estimates on causes of death among adolescents are based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) 2019 Global Health Estimates. Estimates on prevalence of diagnosed mental disorders are based on the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study.

Survey findings on feelings of depression or having little interest in doing things are part of a larger study conducted jointly between UNICEF and Gallup to explore the intergenerational divide. The Changing Childhood Project interviewed approximately 20,000 people by telephone in 21 countries. All samples are probability-based and nationally representative of two distinct populations in each country: people aged 15-24 and people aged 40 and older. The coverage area is the entire country, including rural areas, and the sampling frame represents the entire civilian, non-institutionalized, population within each age cohort with access to a telephone. The full findings of the project will be released by UNICEF in November.

For more information, please contact:

Helen Wylie, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 244 2215,

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit:

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Media Update: United Nations Pakistan, 5 October 2021

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United Nations Children’s Fund

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