digital access

World Press Freedom Day: Journalism Under Digital Siege

New York Observance of the 2022 World Press Freedom Day: Journalism Under Digital Siege

In 1993, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day following a recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of the violations of press freedom and remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is a day to reflect on issues of press freedom and professional ethics as well as to support media professionals, who are the targets of the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. Equally important, World Press Freedom Day recognizes and remembers journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.

In collaboration with UNESCO, the United Nations Department of Global Communications will host a virtual event for the New York observance of World Press Freedom Day 2022 on 4 May, 10:30 am – 12 pm EDT. This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme, “Journalism Under Digital Siege,” examines the challenges to media viability in different regions and media sectors, identifying viable solutions without compromising the integrity and editorial independence and exploring the importance of professional practices. In addition, the session will mark the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity and discuss the new challenges that the digital world brings to the safety of journalists.

Event site:


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at or For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit

Exploring Digital Finance’s Real Promises and Challenges for Development

Exploring Digital Finance’s Real Promises and Challenges for Development

Join the NGO Committee on Financing for Development on Wednesday, 27 April 2022, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EDT for this official side event to the 2022 ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum.

Register here:


  • Ms. Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Transformation of the Republic of Togo (TBC)
  • Dr. Purva Khera, Economist, International Monetary Fund
  • Mr. Johannes Ehrentraud, Senior Advisor, Financial Stability Institute, Bank for International Settlements
  • Ms. Sofie Blakstad, CEO of hiveonline and author of Fintech Revolution: Universal Inclusion in the New Financial Ecosystem
  • Ms. Anneleen Vos, Seionr Economic Policy Officer, International Rescue Committee
  • Mr. Prabhat Labh, CEO, Grameen Foundation India
  • Ms. Mercy Buku, Program Leader, Toronto Center

Moderator: Mx. Anita Thomas, Chair, NGO Committee on FfD, Representative to the UN, Women First International Fund

Co-sponsors: ManUp Campaign, Change Management Solutions, Sisters of Charity Foundation, African Development Interchange Network, IBVM


The UN Secretary General’s task force on digital finance in its report titled “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future,” spells out the transformational impact digital finance can have on sustainable development. Providing relief for millions around the world, supporting businesses, and protecting jobs and livelihoods, digital finance served as a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. A World Bank tally of policy responses to the pandemic finds that at least 58 governments in developing countries used digital payments to deliver COVID-19 relief, of which 36 countries made payments into fully transactional accounts that were being used for saving beyond simply withdrawing cash. According to the GSMA, international remittances processed via mobile money increased by 65 percent in 2020.

Proponents of digital finance highlight its strong capabilities to reduce transaction costs, the potential of Artificial Intelligence to provide fair and equitable treatment of credit applicants, and the scalability of cloud technology, through the use of blockchain technology, to allow consumers to transact remotely and seamlessly across multiple platforms.

While the experience of COVID-19 has proven that digitalization can transform economies and lives, it needs to be shaped with both its advantages and potential risks in mind in order to bring everyone into the digital age. For technology to benefit everyone, private sector innovation must be supported by the appropriate public goods such as the public provision of foundational infrastructure, access to electricity, mobile and internet coverage.

As in the case of any disruptive technology, without combining technological advances with sound policy measures, digital technology cannot deliver on its potential to meaningfully advance financial inclusion for everyone, including the more than 2 billion unbanked people globally. Delivering on promises to advance financial inclusion can only be considered meaningful when the account holder has a fully functional account that they utilize to save, make payments, obtain manageable credit, and mitigate economic risks and is simply not utilized to withdraw cash from cash transfers from the government, which is overwhelmingly the case at this time.

By examining successful strategies that maximize digital finance’s potential while minimizing risks to the financial sector, government revenues, and at-risk populations, attendees will gain a better understanding of how digital finance can sustainably advance development objectives.


CoNGO Notes: The NGO Committee on Financing for Development is a Substantive Committee of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.

Geneva Peace Week 2021 “From seeds to systems of peace: Weathering today’s challenges”

Dear Colleagues,

It is our great pleasure to invite you to the eighth edition of Geneva Peace Week that will take place online from 1 to 5 November 2021. The Week is jointly organized by the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. The theme of this year’s Geneva Peace Week is: “From seeds to systems of peace: Weathering today’s challenges.”

Geneva Peace Week 2021 (GPW21) aims to galvanize leadership, build trust and contribute to transforming international cooperation. Over five days, Geneva Peace Week will be the umbrella for 30 Online Workshops and a Digital Series (podcasts and videos), brought together by over 100 partner organizations.

Topics for discussions will include:

  • Creating a climate for collaboration: Ways forward for environment, climate change, and peace
  • Moving beyond securitization: What risks (and new horizons) for peacebuilding?
  • Harnessing the digital sphere for peace
  • Confronting inequalities and advancing inclusion, peace, and SDG16

The full programme of Geneva Peace Week is available at and attendees must register to participate. We would also like to invite you to three main sessions which will take place in-person (Maison de la Paix) and online:

  • The Opening Ceremony on 1 November at 4:00 p.m.
  • The Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address on 4 November at 6:00 p.m.
  • The Closing Ceremony on 5 November at 1:30 p.m.

Geneva Peace Week provides a common framework for peace-related workshops for which the respective organizers retain full ownership. Please note that Geneva Peace Week events do not necessarily reflect the views of UNOG, the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform or the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. We encourage you to share information widely and look forward to welcoming you and your colleagues to Geneva Peace Week 2021.


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit

The State of the World’s Children Report launch

Dear colleagues and partners,

Every year, UNICEF releases its flagship The State of the World’s Children global report, examining a key issue affecting children. These have ranged from children with disabilities, conflict and war, child labour, urbanization, early childhood development, and much more, making it the most comprehensive analysis of global trends that impact children.

This year, for the first time in UNICEF’s history, The State of the World’s Children will focus on child and adolescent mental health and well-being, reflecting a priority focus on mental health across UNICEF’s global programming, advocacy and communications. Growing awareness about the importance of mental health, the impact of COVID-19, and increased evidence on the value of optimizing mental health and developmental trajectories for children and adolescents, have combined to create fresh momentum and urgency around mental health of children, youth and caregivers.

The State of the World’s Children 2021 will present new data and trends on mental health, as well as perspectives from young people, and will help to strengthen UNICEF’s policy outreach and targeted advocacy at global, regional and national levels, as well as drive action and investment to protect and promote the mental health, well-being and development of children, young people, and their families.
The State of the World’s Children 2021 report will be available here on October 5th 00/01 GMT.

Key themes will include:

  • Mental health is central to children’s health and overall well-being: As Brock Chisholm, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first Director-General, stated, “Without mental health there can be no true physical health.”
  • Mental health is a continuum: Everyone sits somewhere on the mental health continuum, and many, if not most, people move along it at some stage – from experiencing good mental health to anything from short-term distress to long-term disabling conditions.
  • Mental health must be understood along the life course: Every stage of life – from the period around pregnancy, to early childhood and the first decade, and on to adolescence and the second decade – offers unique moments when mental health can be supported and when it may be at risk.
  • Social determinants help shape mental health outcomes: Biology and genetics play a role in determining mental health, but so too do protective and risk factors in the child’s family, in school, in the community, and across society. Understanding these is key to developing policy approaches.
  • COVID-19: The report will address evidence for the mental health impact of COVID-19, as well as challenges in humanitarian situations and emergencies.
  • Mental health requires a pyramid of interventions: A range of multi-sectoral services and institutions are needed to promote good mental health for every child, protect vulnerable children, and care for children facing the greatest challenges. Launch plans

We will launch the report on 5th October at the Ministerial Summit on Mental Health organized by the French Government in Paris, alongside a series of ‘satellite’ launch events worldwide and a new mental health communications campaign.

On 5 and 6 October 2021, the French Minister for Solidarity and Health, Olivier Véran, and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, will host the “Mind Our Rights, Now!” Global Mental Health Summit in Paris. The summit will be attended by high-level policy makers, international organizations, health professionals, experts and civil society actors, in addition to foundations and renowned academics, all of whom aim to strengthen international efforts that support mental health, promote respect for rights and foster worldwide innovative experiences. The summit aims to sustain the momentum generated by the International Conference on Mental Health hosted by the Netherlands in October 2019, and Ministerial MH Summit in the UK before it.

Ten thematic areas have been selected to advance the objectives of the summit and are a core part of the programme. UNICEF is co-leading the workstream focusing on Children and Adolescents, with WHO and War Child, aiming to develop a set of recommendations for mental health and psychosocial support for children, adolescents, and families, which will align closely with the SOWC report. The SOWC launch is officially part of the programme on the 5th October.

The global launch will initiate a series of regional and national events around the world, involving UNICEF offices and key partners, in which we aim to spark a global conversation about child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing. ‘Satellite’ events are being explored in strategic locations across Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, as well as the UAE, China and the US.

UNICEF will accompany the report launch with our new public engagement campaign, Mental Health #OnMyMind, which will provide a unifying creative concept and communications framework for all UNICEF offices and partners in support our global mental health advocacy strategy objectives over the next four years. A social media pack is available here.


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Mental Health, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at

Digital Equity: Policies, Access, Literacy & Safety

The NGO Committee on Ageing-New York’s program provides a platform for a multi-stakeholder dialogue with a call to action. Speakers will address digital equity, including adequate policies, access, digital literacy, and safety. The virtual program will take place October 1st from 10:00—11:30am EDT.

Register here:


CoNGO Notes: The NGO Committee on Ageing-New York is a Substantive Committee of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship to the United Nations, and more information is available at Likewise, for more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Geneva, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Vienna, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at 

International Day for Universal Access to Information

On 17 November 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared 28 September as International Day for Universal Access to Information. Considering that several civil society organizations and government bodies in the world have adopted and currently celebrate this observance, the UN General Assembly also adopted 28 September 2019 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information.

UNESCO and its intergovernmental programs – the International Programme for Development of Communication and the Information for All Programme – provide a platform and frame for all the stakeholders to participate in international discussions on policy and guidelines in the area of access to information. Both programs also enable positive environment for ATI to flourish through the development of projects aimed to strengthen open science, multilingualism, ICTs for disabled and marginalized, and media and information literacy.

Access to information

Informed citizens can make informed decisions, for instance, when going to the polls. Only when citizens know how they are governed, can they hold their governments accountable for their decisions and actions. Information is power. Therefore, universal access to information is a cornerstone of healthy and inclusive knowledge societies.

Universal access to information means that everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information. This right is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression. The media plays a crucial role in informing the public about issues of interest, but it relies on the ability to seek and receive information, too. Hence, the right to universal access to information is also bound up with the right to freedom of the press.

To learn more about why and how the UN commemorates this day, please visit


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at or For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit

[IFFD Virtual Briefing] Parenting in the Digital Age: Policymaker Perspective

IFFD virtual briefing on “Parenting in the Digital Age” through a policymaker perspective

Co-organized by UN-DESA Division for Inclusive Social Development, with the participation of Center for Educational Research and Innovation – OECD, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Common Sense Media

Background Note

The global pandemic crisis has shown the great value of new technologies, especially for families. New technologies have enabled many people to continue working at home. They have helped many teachers and parents to continue to provide an education for their children when the schools closed. They have provided ways to stay connected with friends and relatives. They have been a way to reach out for help getting food and medicines. They have been a much-needed source of entertainment.

At the same time, new technologies have shown a darker side. Parents around the world are concerned about what impact the Internet is having on their children’s lives. Their concern is not so much about if they are spending too long online but more about how their online interactions are impacting on their health, happiness and wellbeing. They also worry about them being cyber-bullied, what their kids’ digital legacy will be and if they are safe online.

The event will focus on how policymakers can help parents and families to develop character and cyber-wisdom in their children. At the same time, it will spur parents’ proactivity in seeking to cultivate values, qualities and skills in their children.

Discussion Points

1. What is access and opportunities to digital technologies among different families? Digital opportunities and access for all (Curitiba Manifesto)
2. How does the digital gap impact the suitability and efficiency of parenting? (Venice Declaration)
3. How can policymakers, industry leaders and global media partners support parents in building a digital world that works better for every child, family and community? (Common Sense Media)

Register here!


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Family-NY, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights, For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Health: Inter-linkage of the Health of People and Planet

Join UNESCO for a global series of online workshops on how to transform society through learning with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), launching in September 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tragic impact on human life around the world: killing hundreds of thousands of people, causing global economic decline and school closures in over 180 countries. ESD reassesses what we learn, where we learn and how we learn to ensure we develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that enable us to make informed decisions and actions on global problems such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 crisis.

Transforming learning to transform societies towards sustainability is the aim of the ESD for 2030 framework. This roadmap for ESD in 2020-2030 will be officially launched at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD taking place on 17-19 May 2021, in Berlin, Germany. In the lead-up to the World Conference, UNESCO invite you to a series of ESD online workshops in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany, and with the German Commission for UNESCO as advisory partner. The discussions and results from the series of online workshops will be used to further develop the conference program and help shape the agenda in Berlin next year.

Dec. 9, 2020 will be the 4th session in the series: ESD and global health: Inter-linkage of the health of people and planet

This online workshop focus on the interconnectedness of the health of people and planet as highlighted through the COVID-19 pandemic, and questions how this can be better reflected in ESD practices.

Register & learn more:


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit