How we adapted our activities to COVID-19 crisis

We are committed to continuing to deliver our learning solutions to our beneficiaries

As the novel Coronavirus spreads globally, we would like to update you on what UNITAR is doing as a response to this unprecedented health crisis. We are committed to  continuing to deliver our learning solutions as much as possible during this difficult time.

We are following recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO), the public authority of the host country (Switzerland) and the UN Headquarters, and have put in place measures to address the current situation and mitigate the potential spread of the virus.

All UNITAR personnel, except for critical staff, is working remotely.  We are currently reviewing all of our project portfolio to adapt to the current situation and project partners will be contacted shortly.  Our online courses are running on our learning platform as usual, and some of our face-to-face courses are being converted into an online format.

If you are planning to participate in a UNITAR upcoming course(s) and have questions, please address your questions to your event focal point on the event page, listed on the online catalogue

While we are taking necessary measures to protect health and safety of employees, we will continue providing learning solutions to our beneficiaries as much as possible.  We appreciate your support during this difficult and uncertain time.

Please follow us on social media for updated information.

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Letter from the Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Chair of UNITAR's Board of Trustees

Excellencies, Friends of UNITAR,

We, the Board of Trustees of UNITAR, are deeply concerned about the profound impacts and disruptions being caused by COVID-19. Our concern is first and foremost for the immediate human loss and suffering especially for those who face the most vulnerabilities in withstanding the shocks. But beyond this we know that the economic and social upheavals that the pandemic is generating will last for a long time. We endorse the UN Secretary-General’s urgent call for action and with this statement share the vision of UNITAR in helping to respond to the immediate crisis and contribute to shaping a better  more inclusive world.

Many challenges lie ahead for an organisation like UNITAR, many decisions need to be made but the basic mission of building capacity for benefitting the most vulnerable people and nations through knowledge and training remains as valid today as it did fifty seven years ago when the Institute was established. Decision-making based on evidence, knowledge and best practice must become part of the culture for countries, organisations and institutions. Creating this learning mindset and attitudinal change is the core of UNITAR’s mission.

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“Combating the Disinfodemic” mobile e-learning course launched by UNESCO and UNITAR


3 November 2020 - COVID-19 has led to a parallel pandemic of disinformation that directly impacts lives and livelihoods around the world. Falsehoods and misinformation have proven deadly and sowed confusion about life-saving personal and policy choices. We are in the midst of a disinfodemic. 

A new tool launched this week offers a fun way to test your level of literacy about the scourge of disinformation – and enable you to learn more about how society is responding to the problem. The UNITAR Divisions for Multilateral Diplomacy and Prosperity have collaborated with UNESCO's Sector for Communication and Information to bring to life a mobile-based e-learning course to combat the disinfodemic. Based upon the comprehensive UNESCO Policy Briefs "DISINFODEMIC: Deciphering COVID-19 disinformation" and "DISINFODEMIC: Dissecting responses to COVID-19 disinformation", (available at the e-learning course guides learners through the briefs.

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Key Links

COVID-19 and Its Impact on Violent Extremism and Terrorism


The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought a significant threat to the safety, health and well-being of societies and communities around the world. In light of the crisis, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has recently called out for a global ceasefire and pleaded nations to focus on fighting the pandemic. Meanwhile, violent extremists across the ideological spectrum view the global pandemic as an opportunity for expansion.

While COVID-19 and several measures taken by governments around the globe have contributed to the suppression of the activities of violent extremist and terrorist groups, the new “normal” created by the crisis can also play into the hands of violent extremist and terrorist groups.

The present factsheet, developed by UNITAR, Division for Peace, identifies the main trends regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the global violent extremism and terrorism landscape, which are accompanied by some suggestions and guidelines on how to strategically and practically respond to these challenges.

Read/ download the factsheet

For more information, please visit our webpages about UNITAR’s work in the area of Counter-Terrorism and in the area of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.

COVID-19 Preparedness and Response in Places of Detention: Information Package

The information in this package, developed by UN DPO (OROLSI) and UNITAR (Division for Peace), is intended to support prison administrators and staff. It has been developed to ensure the safety and security of staff, prisoners and the public in the efforts to prevent COVID-19 from entering the prison and mitigate the impact in case of an outbreak. The package provides communication tools with clear and concise information and visuals.

Our COVID-19 Response: Move Your Training Online

Do you need to move your #training online? Has your face-to-face event been cancelled or postponed? Do you need to create an online learning event in a short time fame?

While we all #StayHome, moving events and training online is more important than ever. But how do we do it and what are important considerations to bare in mind?

Making Online Events More Inclusive

COVID-19 is changing the way we learn as events, workshops and meetings move online. While participants may appear equal on screen, there are various factors, both individual and structural, preventing people from accessing, participating in and benefiting equally from online events. Inclusive learning is about responding to the diversity of needs of all learners and reducing obstacles to participation, to ensure that no learner is left behind as we harness the full potential of our learning events. Ultimately the impacts of learning spaces are influenced by how inclusive they are. Trainers and facilitators who fail to consider inclusivity, could risk the effectiveness of their events as well as potentially reinforcing inequalities and harmful stereotypes. These tips are for trainers, facilitators and organizations that are transitioning their events online. They aim to mainstream inclusivity across all aspects of design and implementation to make online (and offline) events more inclusive, effective and impactful.

Methodological Tips

40 simple and ready-to-use methodological tips that will make your online training event a success.

Designing Learning Events

UNITAR's Learning Solutions team takes you through the whole process of training design with guiding questions for both face-to-face and online learning events.

Online Facilitation Cards


Facilitation and participation in online events can often be challenging. Technical difficulties, participants interrupting each other as well as the challenges to make learning interactive, meaningful and engaging all result
in the online space being somewhat tricky to manoeuvre. These cards were created to allow for more effective communication and smoother online meetings for both facilitators and participants, as well as enhancing interactivity and engagement. They also allow for more inclusion within discussions making sure that everyone is heard.

These facilitation cards are a set of printable and digital images that can be used to visually facilitate meetings, workshops and learning events taking place online. There are three versions that can be used separately or combined, depending on the context:

  • Smartphone version (people show their phone screens to their webcams).
  • Print-out version (Printing the cards to use instead of phones)
  • Hand Signals (People use their hands to communicate).

Download the full set of UNITAR Online Facilitation Cards

COVID-19 Preparedness and Response: Good Practices and Precautions when using Breathalyzers


This online module and guide aim to provide recommendations for law enforcement officers regarding proper use and maintenance of breath alcohol testing instruments. Considering the threat of the COVID-19, which is reported to be a disease that is often passed though airborne droplets of fluid from an infected person to another, the proper use, cleaning and disinfecting of breath alcohol testing instruments is crucial to avoid transmission.

Language: English, Spanish

Course: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response: Good Practices and Precautions when using Breathalyzers (English version)

El curso: COVID-19 preparación y respuesta: Buenas prácticas y precauciones en el uso de alcoholímetros (en Español) 

Upcoming web-based activities

We offer variety of web-based activities, some of which are converted from a face-to-face format to an online format to address the recent challenges of staying-at-home orders in many countries. Check out our web-based course offerings and start learning today.

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