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UN Trade Forum 2021: Towards a Green and Inclusive Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a health and economic crisis of tragic proportions for lives and livelihoods everywhere that is jeopardising continued progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Protecting lives while moving forward with implementation for sustainable recovery has become the world’s priority.

Reigniting global trade is indispensable for the recovery from this crisis. Trade is a source of income, jobs and opportunities for women and men in developed and developing countries. The crisis has also highlighted the fundamental role of trade in allowing goods and services to move from where they are efficiently produced to where they are needed. The crisis has exposed the fault lines of our development path, notably one that depends on effective participation in just-in-time global supply chains. The crisis has also exacerbated the vulnerability and inequality present in our world.

Yet COVID-19 is not the only crisis we face. A climate and environmental emergency may compromise the progress we have achieved and the development prospects of future generations. Thus, recovery is not enough. It must be green and inclusive, and trade and trade policy play a critical role in this process. The United Nations Trade Forum will serve as a space for dialogue on how trade can be harnessed for a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable world.

In the context of this year’s Forum, UNCTAD will also hold the seventeenth Raúl Prebisch Lecture. This prestigious Lecture is delivered periodically by a prominent thinker or Head of State, and while often tackles trade and development issues, also covers other topical global concerns. This iteration of the Lecture will be given by Nobel Laureate Esther Duflo, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States of America). Ms Duflo was co-recipient of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2019, with Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer, “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.

Participation

Registration should be completed online. Early registration is advised to allow timely approval. To do so, please use the following link: United Nations Trade Forum.

Communications concerning representation should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Support Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; email: meetings@unctad.org.

The forum is open to all member States of UNCTAD. Those wishing to attend the event are requested to provide the UNCTAD secretariat with the credentials of their representatives and the names of their alternative representatives and advisers by Monday, 7 June 2021. Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies wishing to participate in the meeting and non-governmental organizations in the general category and those in the special category who wish to participate as observers are requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives by the same date.

Logistics

A link to the formal virtual meeting will be sent to registered participants, at the email address used for registration, one day in advance of the start of the session. For all other enquiries, please contact: Graham Mott at graham.mott@unctad.org, or Tamar van Straten at tamar.vanstraten@un.org.

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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-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org

109th Session of the International Labour Conference

109th Session of the International Labour Conference

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Labour Office has organized extensive tripartite consultations with a view to enabling the Governing Body to finalize, at its 341st Session (15-27 March 2021), the exact format, dates, agenda, programme and participation modalities for the 109th Session of the International Labour Conference in 2021. The Office will inform in due course member States and invited observers of the decisions made in this regard by the Governing Body.

To stay apprised on information about participation, to view pertinent reports, and to view past International Labour Conferences, check ilo.org/ilc/ILCSessions/109/lang–en/index.htm.

Agenda – Standing items

I.  Reports of the Chairperson of the Governing Body and of the Director-General

A. ILO programme implementation 2018–19

B. Report of the Director-General

Appendix: The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories 2020  and 2021

C. Reports of the Chairpersons of the Governing Body for the periods 2019–20 and 2020–21

II. Programme and Budget and other questions

III. Information and reports on the application of Conventions and Recommendations

A. Application of International Labour Standards 2020. Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations 

B. Promoting employment and decent work in a changing landscape – 2020 General Survey published by the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) 

Items placed on the agenda by the Conference or the Governing Body

IV. Inequalities and the world of work (general discussion)

V. A recurrent discussion on the strategic objective of social protection (social security), under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on social Justice for a Fair Globalization

VI. Skills and lifelong learning (general discussion)

VII. Abrogation and withdrawal of international labour Conventions and Recommendations *

A. Abrogation of eight international labour Conventions and withdrawal of nine international labour Conventions and 11 international labour Recommendations

B. Withdrawal of one international labour Convention

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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-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org

Alternatives to Debt and Austerity in Latin America

Alternativas frente a la Deuda y Austeridad en América Latina | Alternatives to Debt & Austerity in Latin America

Panel:

  • Oscar Ugarteche, Coordinator of the Economic Observatory of Latin America (OBELA) from the Economic Research Institute (UNAM).
  • Isabel Ortiz, Director of Global Social Justice

Comments:

  • How do austerity policies affect workers? Jocelio Drummond, Regional Secretary of the Public Services International (PSI) for the Americas
  • How do austerity policies affect women’s rights? Verónica Serafini, Latindadd
  • How was the IMF´s return to Latin America? Mario Valencia, Latindadd

Moderator: Patricia Miranda, Latindadd

Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/5516215289568/WN_lCE-A_smQ_GEr946KztoZQ

Background:
Latin America is going through one of the worst social and economic crises, which drags structural failures of the economic model deepened during the pandemic.

In the face of confinement decisions, developed countries have responded with fiscal stimuli and monetary emissions, and some poor countries have managed to access temporary debt service suspensions. However, middle-income countries -that is to say, almost all countries in Latin America- face difficulties in accessing the neccesary financing to address health and economic emergencies.

Concerns in the region grow around the need to alleviate the situation of millions of people living below the poverty line, closing the deepening gender gaps, applying urgent measures in the face of job losses, preventing lack of education from becoming a structurally lagging factor and also, preventing countries from continuing to depend on the extractive economy as the only form of economic growth, among others.

The financing needs to face the crisis have led countries to borrow, increasing their external and internal debt in the midst of a critical fiscal situation, as well as to implement austerity measures. The IMF has returned to the region and there are no signs of a sustainable recovery in this new lost decade for Latin America. In this seminar we seek to address responses and solutions to the situation in Latin America, in the midst of a multiple crisis. Additionally, we seek to address alternatives leading to the recovery of the region.

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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 Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. 

Access Ends Hunger: How Can We Improve Access to Essential Resources?

This last year has highlighted incredible disparities in access to essential resources. The World Food Programme estimates that, due to COVID-19, 111 million more people are without access to sufficient nutrition. And UNICEF has determined that 500 million students are cut off from remote learning options at a time when remote learning is their only option.

Equitable access to critical resources such as education, technology and healthcare is an essential part of ending hunger. With access, people are able to leverage their own capacity and build better futures for themselves and their communities. So, how exactly does bridging gaps in access end hunger and poverty?

Join us Thursday, May 27 from 9:00 – 10:15 AM ET to find out!

Join Hunger Project leaders and our Goodwill Ambassador, Dora Nyambe, in a conversation about the importance of improving access to technology, health care and education. Importantly, they’ll also explore the challenges of removing barriers that prevent equitable access in Africa.

Speakers:

  • Irene Naikaali Ssentongo, Head of Programs in Uganda
  • Samuel Mutambo, National Program Director in Zambia
  • Dora Nyambe, Goodwill Ambassador to The Hunger Project
  • Moderated by our President & CEO Tim Prewitt

Learn more about the speakers and register for the event here.

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CoNGO Notes: 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 Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org

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. 

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

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.

Accelerating Digital Transformation of Government Services

World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2021

This session will provide a platform for high-level dialogue between the representatives of international and regional organizations, government, civil society, and private sector, on the challenges and possible solutions, including the offering of GovStack initiative, that aims at accelerating digitalization of the governmental services across the world.

Register here: itu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4waiI4cJTRCpn5f8M6jdWg

Digital government services are vital for developing a digital economy that benefits all citizens by expanding access to critical services such as health, education, and social protection. Countries seeking to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the next ten years are increasingly looking to national digital strategies and agendas to transform the way they do business and improve the lives of their citizens. Current challenges to digital government include lack of coordination, the habit of working in siloes, funding constraints, and the absence of scalable solutions, all posing significant constraints to digital transformation in government. Amid the increasing pressure to act, countries do not have the time nor the luxury to reinvent the wheel or review fragmented and duplicated investments. This further increases costs and inefficiencies.

A “Whole-of-Government” platform approach to developing government services through the reuse and minimal customization of quick and easy to adopt building blocks is at the heart of the success of digital government services projects. Open-source models for a government platform that is built from modular and reusable components, leveraging a secure and standards-based approach, are an optimal solution to solving these issues in a cost-efficient and scalable manner.

This session will provide a platform for high-level dialogue between the representatives of international and regional organizations, government, civil society, and private sector, on the challenges and possible solutions, including the offering of GovStack initiative, that aims at accelerating digitalization of the governmental services across the world.

For more information, full agenda, and the list of panelists: itu.int/net4/wsis/forum/2021/Agenda/Session/416

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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-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN.

COP15 to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity

The fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will review the achievement and delivery of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It is also anticipated that the final decision on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be taken, together with decisions on related topics including capacity building and resource mobilization.

The “zero draft” for a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has included a focus on ensuring work to preserve biodiversity contributes to “the nutrition, food security, and livelihoods of people, especially for the most vulnerable.”

Read more and stay apprised of forthcoming planned events here and/or here.

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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 facebook.com/NGOCSDNY. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org

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