IRC

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: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qc-6orjsuGdFhyWHfljp7ZNxV526Onoc7

Speakers:

  • 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

Background:

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.

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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.

Our Goal of World Community: The UN at 75

Our Goal of World Community: The UN at 75

This year, the United Nations is celebrating its 75th birthday, and the Unitarian Universalist Association Office at the UN, in collaboration with the Canadian Unitarian Council, will be commemorating that anniversary with a special virtual event co-sponsored by the NGO Committee on Human Rights: “Our Goal of World Community: the United Nations at 75.” In the current moment of simultaneous global political, social, economic, health, and climate crises, continued involvement with and investment in international cooperation could not be more critical. During this event we’ll talk about how Unitarian Universalists can make our mark for global justice.

Featured speakers:

  • Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, President, Unitarian Universalist Association
  • Rev. Alicia R. Forde, Director, Unitarian Universalist Association International Office
  • Hawa Diallo, United Nations Department of Global Communications
  • Chris King, United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs
  • Bruce Knotts, Director, Unitarian Universalist Association Office at the United Nations
  • Craig Mokhiber, Director, New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Bobbi Nassar, Co-chair, Nongovernmental Organization Committee on Human Rights at the United Nations
  • Vyda Ng, Executive Director, Canadian Unitarian Council
  • Gillian Sorenson, International Rescue Committee, formerly Assistant Secretary General at the UN, then with the UN Foundation

Register for the event here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com.

Interreligious Council (IRC) Development: Multi-Religious Humanitarian Support

Dear Esteemed Partners of Religions for Peace,

It is our honor to extend to you a special invitation to join in the fifth Religions for Peace Global Webinar on Interreligious Council (IRC) Development onWednesday 21 October 2020.

This forthcoming Global Webinar will focus on the theme of Multi-Religious Humanitarian Support, bringing together the World Council, Honorary Presidents, Trustees, National IRCs, Regional IRCs, Women of Faith Networks, and Interfaith Youth Networks from over 90 countries in six continents.

Register in advance for this meeting by Tuesday, 20 October 2020, with this link:  https://religionsforpeace.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwrceirqz8uG9NVn9–1EFozTE_o-rOD4sL

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Any questions or comments can be sent to ejackson@rfp.org. We look forward to our collaboration in further developing, equipping and strengthening our IRCs and the Religions for Peace global movement.

Read the IRC Development Strategy Paper here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, please visit unforb.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns, please visit csvgc-ny.org. For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com