Conference of NGOs (CoNGO)

International Week of Solidarity with People of Non-Self-Governing Territories

In the UN Charter, a Non-Self-Governing Territory is defined as a Territory “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.”

In 1946, several UN Member States identified a number of Territories under their administration that were not self-governing and placed them on a UN list. Countries administering Non-Self-Governing Territories are called administering Powers.  As a result of the decolonization process over the years, most of the Territories were removed from the list.

Chapter XI of the UN Charter – the Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories – provides that Member States administering Territories, which have not attained self-government recognize “that the interests of the inhabitants of these Territories are paramount” and accept as a “sacred trust” the obligation to promote their well-being.

Chapter IX urged the administering Powers concerned to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable rights of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to their natural resources, including land, and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources, and requested the Administering Powers to take all necessary steps to protect the property rights of the peoples of those Territories.

Administering Powers, in addition to ensuring the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the peoples, undertake to assist them in developing self-government and democratic political institutions. Administering Powers have an obligation to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General information on the economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories under their administration.

Chapter IX also urged all States, directly and through their action in the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, to provide moral and material assistance to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

To learn more about the history of this UN observance and view the UN’s educational videos on decolonization, visit un.org/en/observances/non-self-governing-week.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the Decolonization Alliance, please email lbautista@umcjustice.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

WAAS TALKS: Science as a Social Good

Science as a Social Good

Science as a Social Good
Webinar #2 on May 24, 2021

The accelerating pace of scientific development has generated a widening gap and mismatch between technological capabilities, fragmented public policies, ethical standards, social equity and our capacity for cultural adaptation. New organizational models for research, policy-making, regulation and implementation are needed to identify high potential scientific advances, coordinate research in all fields, and integrate science,ethical guidelines and social welfare. This panel will examine challenges and discuss opportunities for promoting socially beneficial technologies, and aligning scientific development with public policies to enhance human security.


Gérard Escher (Presenter)
Advisor to the Board,
Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA)


Anja Kaspersen
Senior fellow at Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs


Georgios Theodoropoulos
Chair Professor, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, SUSTech


Ketan Patel
Co-founder and CEO of Greater Pacific Capital


Donato Kiniger Passigli (Moderator)
Vice President, World Academy of Art & Science


Garry Jacobs (Concluding remarks)
President & CEO, World Academy of Art & Science

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Due to COVID-19, it is expected that 13 million more child marriages could take place by 2030 than would have otherwise. Families are more likely to marry off daughters to alleviate the perceived burden of caring for them, especially in the anticipated economic fallout of the pandemic.

In turn, the fight to end obstetric fistula, one of the most serious and tragic injuries that can occur during childbirth, could be threatened by COVID-19.

Obstetric fistula is preventable; it can largely be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy; the cessation of harmful traditional practices; and timely access to obstetric care. Unfortunately, the current pandemic affects all these preventive measures in developing countries where obstetric fistula still exists – countries in which health care systems, even before the coronavirus outbreak, failed to provide accessible, quality maternal health care.

The pandemic is also expected to cause significant delays in programmes to end female genital mutilation (FGM) – something that could lead to a spike in FGM cases, according to UNFPA, which is a contributing factor for obstetric fistula.

As the virus advances in these countries, health services become overloaded, or provide a limited set of the services that women need. At the same time, many women and girls also skip important medical check-ups for fear of contracting the virus.

With this possible future scenario of preventive measures in danger, now more than ever, it is important to call on the international community to use the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula to significantly raise awareness and intensify actions towards ending obstetric fistula, as well as urging post-surgery follow-up and tracking of fistula patients.

To read personal testimonials and learn more about how the UN commemorates this day, visit un.org/en/observances/end-fistula-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee for Rare Diseases, please visit ngocommitteerarediseases.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org. ngocsw-geneva.ch.

International Day for Biological Diversity

Biological diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms, but it also includes genetic differences within each species — for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock — and the variety of ecosystems (lakes, forest, deserts, agricultural landscapes) that host multiple kind of interactions among their members (humans, plants, animals).

Biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant‐based medicines for basic healthcare.

But loss of biodiversity threatens all, including our health. It has been proven that biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses – diseases transmitted from animals to humans- while, on the other hand, if we keep biodiversity intact, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics like those caused by coronaviruses.

While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities. Given the importance of public education and awareness about this issue, the UN decided to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity annually.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org.

Conversation with Mr. Kazuki Yamada on ‘The Decade of Healthy Ageing Digital Platform: A Vehicle for Change’

IFA Global Cafe: In Conversation with Mr. Kazuki Yamada on ‘The Decade of Healthy Ageing Digital Platform: A Vehicle for Change’

As to share some of the features and explain how the Decade of Healthy Ageing Digital platform works and how individuals can engage with the variety of content available to drive the decade of healthy ageing forward, the IFA is honored to invite Mr. Kazuki Yamada, Project Manager and Administrator for the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing Platform to be our key speaker.

Register here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYtf-2rqDopHNVPlJ5XcCNi1KLqD-d1yqWE

This Global Cafe takes place at 07:00 am (Eastern Standard Time) on Friday 21 May 2021 (additional time zones below):

London, UK 12:00
Geneva, Switzerland: 13:00
Lagos, Nigeria: 12:00
New Delhi, India: 16:30
Perth, Australia: 19:00

This Global Cafe will be recorded and streamed live on Facebook. Should you be unable to participate, a recording will be available on the IFA Facebook page at facebook.com/intfedageing and resources will be available at: ifa.ngo/ifa-virtual-town-hall-resources

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-NY, please visit ngocoa-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Vienna, please visit ngoageingvie.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Geneva, please visit ageingcommitteegeneva.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com. 

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Cultural events cancelled, cultural institutions closed, community cultural practices suspended, empty UNESCO World Heritage sites, heightened risk of looting of cultural sites and poaching at natural sites, artists unable to make ends meet and the cultural tourism sector greatly affected… The impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector is being felt around the world. This impact is social, economic and political – it affects the fundamental right of access to culture, the social rights of artists and creative professionals, and the protection of a diversity of cultural expressions.

The unfolding crisis risks deepening inequalities and rendering communities vulnerable. In addition, the creative and cultural industries (CCI) contribute US$2,250bn to the global economy (3% of GDP) and account for 29.5 million jobs worldwide. The economic fall-out of not addressing the cultural sector – and all auxiliary services, particularly in the tourism sector – could also be disastrous. (source “Culture & COVID-19: Impact and Response Tracker – Issue 2

Why does cultural diversity matter?

Three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.

Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. This is captured in the culture conventions, which provide a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.

At the same time, acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity – in particular through innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) – are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.

To read more about the origin of this observance and peruse relevant materials, visit un.org/en/observances/cultural-diversity-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org

 

A National Day of Remembrance: Honoring Nursing Home Lives Lost

Please join us for a national online event to honor more than 182,000 nursing home lives lost to COVID-19.

This program will feature shared remembrances, spiritual reflections, musical tributes and statements by elected officials. Register here!

Presented by Gray Panthers NYC

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-NY, please visit ngocoa-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Geneva, please visit ageingcommitteegeneva.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Vienna, please visit ngoageingvie.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com. 

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a frontline technology with profound implications for human beings, cultures, societies and the environment. AI has the potential to be our ally in the struggle for a more equitable, fair, and sustainable future. It is remarkable that AI generated some of the earliest alerts about the COVID-19 outbreak, even before it was confirmed, by routinely scanning hundreds or thousands of governmental and media data sources in multiple languages. This analytical capacity has also helped accelerate the discovery of the vaccines, and even understanding the protein structures. Self-learning algorithms and smart machines are playing an increasingly important role in our efforts to recover from the current crisis. Digital platforms and infrastructure have been broadened to keep our economies, our schools and our societies going.

We must always keep in mind that AI technologies also possess significant risks and challenges, especially in terms of deepening the existing divides, exacerbating gender disparities, and infringing on human dignity and human rights. This is why there are many initiatives that have emerged to ensure that these technologies help to overcome the current crisis and mitigate future risks, while tackling the downsides. Thus, the European Union is launching its AI rulebook and UNESCO member states are negotiating the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI.

This high level session is aimed at taking stock of where we are and how to move forward with the tools that we have and that are about to be developed. Speakers will share their perspectives on how to make sure that developments in these technologies do not create new forms of exclusion and inequalities, including gender, and how to justly distribute the benefits.

Register here: itu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KKDgPi8ESj6ACfGeMhB9ng

View the full program and list of speakers here: itu.int/net4/wsis/forum/2021/Agenda/Session/353

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CoNGO Notes: CoNGO is a civil society focal point with the WSIS Forum. See former CoNGO President, Cyril Ritchie, in this interview with ITU: youtube,com/watch?v=cYA8UauD28U.  For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit  ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org

NGO Committee on Status of Women-NY [monthly meeting]

Join NGO CSW-NY for our May Monthly Meeting about racial justice and gender. More information coming soon. At the beginning of the meeting, we will discuss the NGO CSW/NY Executive Committee elections taking place in June.

Register here!

If you missed April’s monthly meeting on the intersection of climate change, gender, and migration, you can watch the recording on Youtube here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org.

AI Readiness Check: Policy Impact, Opportunities and Challenges

World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021

Advances in Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), machine learning and the analysis and use of data are transforming all aspects of our lives, economies and societies, in both visible as well as unforeseen ways. Bringing with them the potential to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, the use of such AI technologies also raises many new technical, ethical and socio-economic issues.

In order to prepare for this AI revolution, Governments, in collaboration with other stakeholders, are taking various steps such as monitoring developments in AI, data use and data protection; developing national strategies for AI; introducing and enhancing data protection legislation; adopting and adapting e-government and AI in public services; creating and upgrading national databases; upgrading national infrastructure; establishing university programmes and courses; funding and incentivizing AI research and AI start-ups and registering AI patents; introducing regulatory guidance (e.g. self-driving vehicles); and so on.

This high-level dialogue will explore progress by nations with respect to AI readiness. It aims to enable exchange of knowledge and best practices within the WSIS community on policies and strategies that could be most effective to facilitate the inclusive use of AI for good.

Register here: itu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_aR2ctpJzRaCUeJYpLp8i4g

View the full agenda and list of panelists here: itu.int/net4/wsis/forum/2021/Agenda/Session/352

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CoNGO Notes: CoNGO is a civil society focal point with the WSIS Forum. See former CoNGO President, Cyril Ritchie, in this interview with ITU: youtube,com/watch?v=cYA8UauD28UFor more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org.

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