Yearender 2020

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Yearender 2020 – The Year in Pictures

To illustrate the most important developments in 2020 epa offers you a selection of its professionally edited service.

We have selected twelve different topics that represent and sum up the key events in 2020, enabling us to group together our best images illustrating each chosen topic. This is a new and different way to curate and present epa's global image service with the intention of not only highlighting epa's wonderful and colourful 2020 archive and the events that shaped the year, but also assisting and supporting our clients and partners in a new imaginative way.

All packages will be updated with any memorable images right up until the end of 2020.

Our standard format "Yearender", grouped month by month, is compiled throughout the year in our "Pictures of the Month" selection.

Coronavirus Pandemic

Since the beginning of 2020 the world has been facing a new pandemic, the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus, causing the COVID-19 disease: acute respiratory syndrome which can lead to severe pneumonia. It has been reported that the new virus probably first appeared at the end of 2019 at the seafood market in Wuhan, China, and during the first month it killed over 100 people. As it is easily transferred between people, the new pathogen spread within a few months, not only to other Asian countries, but also to Europe and the Americas. Governments around the world imposed lockdowns and severe restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease. The restrictions and lockdowns caused global social and economic disruption, leaving many businesses closed and struggling to survive. By 13 October 2020, more than 37.808 million cases of the SARS-CoV-2 infection were reported in 189 countries and territories, the death toll reaching 1.08 million and with nearly 26.28 million recoveries.

Wars & Conflicts

In a year where the world was brought to a standstill by a pandemic, ongoing fights for land, food, power, or sheer survival have continued to manifest.. Wars, conflicts, and acts of terror continue to ravage the world, whilst at the same time organisations such as the United Nations and the liberation of the most infamous extinction camp Auschwitz-Birkenau mark their 75th anniversaries.

Only a few of the wars around the world were officially declared. On the contrary, proxy wars are the future of armed conflicts, with simmering territorial disputes and conflicts being refuelled. It is indicative that studies suggest major arms transfers have increased by more than five percent around the world over the past five years.


Over the course of a year many countless events change our world. But it's the people behind the news that define the story.

The agenda and opinion of a single politician can affect the lives of millions of people. The beliefs and dreams of an individual activist can inspire and form an entire generation. The skills of artists, actors and of athletes are admired by billions around the globe. And the visions and inventions of one entrepreneur or scientist can impact the lives of everyone.

This selection gives a brief overview of personalities that had an impact on 2020.

Climate Change

Although not all natural disasters have direct links to climate change, most of the disasters that happened in 2020 have had such an impact, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO): 'a clear fingerprint of human-induced climate events'.

Wildfires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters have brought destruction and death that has had a detrimental affect on millions of people and wildlife all over the world.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement

The international human rights campaign emerged on social media in 2013 with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in response to the death of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager, and the subsequent acquittal of his murderer. The project has since grown into a global movement against racially motivated violence as well as systemic racism, with Black Lives Matter activists organizing protests against injustices and police brutality towards Black people. In 2020, the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, led to widespread protests and civil unrest. A bystander's video posted online on 25 May 2020 shows a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes as he lays handcuffed on the ground. His death sparked global solidarity protests demanding justice and racial equality.

Accidents & Disasters

Even with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in full swing and people spending more time indoors and less time travelling, 2020 still saw numerous transport and industrial accidents, along with historically bad seasonal disasters.

The Aviation Safety Network database recorded more than 380 fatalities from plane incidences and accidents in 2020, which included 176 victims of the downed Ukraine International Airlines flight in Iran.

A blast, caused by approximately 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, in the port area of Beirut, Lebanon, saw over 300,000 people left homeless and an estimated 10 to 15 billion dollars of damage done.


Since the end of WWII nothing had such an impact on sport events worldwide as the current pandemic. The biggest tournaments that were cancelled were the UEFA EURO 2020 and the Tokyo Olympic Games. However, these were only two of many events that were called off while others were hectically rescheduled. Many athletes had to stay fit in isolation and when sport started to return by the end of May it was often without spectators.

But regardless of these unprecedented obstacles, there were many memorable sporting moments, such as Rafael Nadal leveling Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam titles or Armand Duplantis setting the indoor and outdoor World Record in Pole Vault. And let's not forget the Black Lives Matter movement, which found strong support among many athletes.


'Where there's a will there's a way' - except, apparently, in the case of Brexit, United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, a seemingly never-ending story that, after four years, has yet to yield any tangible agreements.
The human will to find hope in life and flee from war, poverty and persecution has resulted in a migration of millions trying to reach the promised lands in the global North, a route that too often turns out to be a dead-end.
The will for freedom and prosperity in a democracy has not been strangled by authorities in Hong Kong, Belarus, or Bangkok. Protests against the political elite have remained mostly peaceful, but authoritarian regimes cling to power and make sure the people take notice.
The will to maintain rule and suppress dissent is not exclusive to authoritarian regimes, as seen in the US government’s response to protests calling for racial justice in the lead up to the presidential election campaign.

Economy, Business & Finance

The global economy was strongly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic that had a negative impact on nations' economies, sparing no sector as it still continues to keep the world in its grip. Stock markets around the globe saw dramatic losses due to the outbreak, while the global GDP forecast for 2020 was reduced by economists to some 2,4 percent from 3,0 per cent, a loss of several trillion USD. Millions of people lost their jobs or were forced to rely on various government or company furlough schemes. Some of the worst hit economic sectors were supply chains, industrial production, due to lower general demand for goods, the services sector and tourism and travel, where up to 120 million jobs were at risk.
Consumer and household spending on leisure, including restaurants and entertainment differed from nation to nation and at times reached lows of minus 80-90 percent from the pre-Coronavirus levels, based on data compiled by Financial Times.

Arts, Culture & Entertainment

Some celebrities had an auspicious start to 2020. Brad Pitt won his first-ever acting Oscar for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.' Jean-Paul Gaultier celebrated the 50th anniversary of his career with his last ever Haute Couture show. The Korean film industry took top Academy Award honors with Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite.' For others, the beginning of the year was more complicated. The Megxit was a new royal scandal to rock Buckingham Palace. And the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year festivities were disrupted by the emergence of a new coronavirus, especially in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Then Covid-19 spread around the world, and entire countries went into lockdown. Museums, cinemas, theaters, and galleries closed. Film, literature, music, dance, and performing arts festivals were cancelled or postponed. Face masks became a new fashion accessory. After the initial shock subsided, artists, cultural institutions, and event organizers began to consider new ways to bring back the arts to the public.


In memoriam – We remember and honor celebrities who have passed away in 2020. Saying goodbye is not easy, especially when it comes to famous faces we have grown to love. When news breaks of the death of a star, fans around the globe are mourning. As the coronavirus pandemic hit the world in 2020, even more people than normal had to say farewell to their loved ones. We pay tribute to a number of legends who will never be forgotten. RIP.


The strength of a photo lies in its ability to capture our attention, in the emotion it arouses, in the imagination it conveys. A strong photo questions, fascinates, makes people smile, and sometimes scares.

A good photo shows us the beauty in the mane of a horse, the blue eyes of a child, the morning light, the movement of waves. A smile is born from a bursting bubble, a flying cow, a sleeping seal. The pleasure of contemplation is satisfied in a starry night, the art of dance, the magic of nature.

The strength of a photo is also its mystery, a revelation, in the journey to lands unbeknownst to us. In capturing reality, a picture has the power to make us see the world through a new window.