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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.

Digital and Financial Inclusion: Pathways to promote an inclusive Post-COVID-19 socio-economic recovery

Virtual side event during the 2021 ECOSOC FfD Forum on Financing for Development

Date & time: April 12 from 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm EST

Register in advance for this meeting (by 5:00pm EST on April 11): https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcOGopj4tE9OFujGTOC3FTT_-z2aMJ0Sr

World Bank data (September 2020) indicates that 212 countries have planned, introduced, or put in place 1179 safety net payments and other social protection measures for the most vulnerable populations. But reports also show that digital exclusion and lack of access to a bank account, in the form of a transactional or savings account or a digital wallet, continues to pose immense challenges for those in marginalized communities, especially women youth, refugees, and migrant workers in the informal sector, to recoup benefits from government relief measures such as cash transfers and subsidies, the very measures intended to help tide them over, in a quick and timely manner. Women continue to face widespread barriers to financial inclusion. Globally, of the 1.7 billion people that remain unbanked, meaning they do not hold an account at a bank or a mobile bank provider, approximately 1 billion are women and in developing countries. The 9% gender gap that existed over the last decade continues to persist.

While businesses are increasingly offering consumers the option to transact through online and mobile platforms, two major barriers prevent consumers from adopting these digital options: lack of internet connectivity (digital exclusion) and or lack of a bank account to receive or make payments (financial exclusion). In addition, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) face considerable challenges in accessing digital financial services and credit, inclusive insurance schemes and online payment systems and retail platforms that will be keys for their survival in the post-COVID era.

Digital financial inclusion is ever more critical for marginalized communities, especially women, youth, refugees and informal migrant workers, to recover from the crisis and to ensure the survival and sustainability of MSMEs. Long-term risks and barriers of entry, including lack of access to Smartphone services due to marginalized populations’ inabilities to engage in contracts, complex lending practices, especially among women, poor digital literacy and financial literacy and numeracy skills, and lack of valid identification for refugees forced to leave all personal possessions behind, to name but a few, are significant obstacles that could cause more harm than good if not effectively managed. The Global community must act now to bridge the gaps and barriers restricting the world’s most vulnerable populations from meeting their financial needs.

Implementing appropriate regulatory measures in a timely manner is essential for consumer protection and to ensure the funds reach those whom it is intended for. In the July 1, 2020 Special Series Notes on COVID-19 of the International Monetary Fund, experts noted that while the need for social distancing has put a spotlight on digital financial services, scaling up too fast in times of crisis without appropriate regulatory mechanisms could pose a risk to stability and integrity.

The panel will explore the interlinkages between financial and digital inclusion, innovative advancement in fintech and digital infrastructure to advance last-mile connectivity and address the challenges to financial inclusion faced by marginalized communities and MSMEs, as well as propose measures to address regulatory challenges, and disparities in broadband connectivity.

Panelists:

  • Member State representative (TBC)
  • Ms. Lois, Bruu, Vice President, Humanitarian and Development, Master Card Speaking on innovative initiatives to advance digital financial inclusion for marginalized communities, especially women, and MSMEs and recommendations to address financial, economic, structural, and regulatory barriers to advancing financial inclusion for all
  • Ms. Purva Khera, Economist, International Monetary Fund Interlinkages between digital and financial inclusion, financing challenges and advancement in fintech to address the challenges faced by MSMEs and marginalized communities, including women
  • Mr. Jon Frost, Senior Economist, Innovation and the Digital Economy unit, MED, Bank for International Settlements Risks and emerging concerns around digital finance that could work contrary to goals to help marginalized communities
  • Representative from civil society speaking on an innovative initiative/s to ensure reliable broadband connectivity for advancing digital financial services, including last-mile connectivity (TBC)
  • Ms. Lydia Charles, Founder and Executive Director, Her Initiative, Tanzania Challenges to financial and digital inclusion at the grassroots level, especially for women, and steps to take to address these challenges.

Moderator: Anita Thomas, Representative to the UN, Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (DBA Women First International Fund); Chair, NGO Committee on Financing for Development

Co-sponsors:

Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, Sisters of Charity Federation, Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Loreto Generalate, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, New Humanity for the Focolare Movement, Salesian Missions Inc, Change Management Solutions, Startnoo

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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

Global Alliance for the Rights of Older Persons’ workshop for the 11th Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing session (OEWG11)

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older Persons (GAROP) and the NGO Committee on Ageing-NY are pleased to invite you to a workshop for the 11th virtual Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing session (OEWG11) on Thursday, March 25, 2021 – 7:00 – 9:00 EST (12:00-14:00 CET)

This preparatory event will be hosted with support by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA).

Objectives of the meeting:

  • To build a common understanding of the current status of the OEWG process
  • To discuss our shared goals for the outcomes of OEWG11
  • To agree on collective action that NGOs can take throughout the week

Working language: The workshop will be run in English and there will be no interpretation provided. We are planning to have some breakout sessions and chat information accommodate French and Spanish speakers during the workshop.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUrcOqurDgqGtYpv8a1l9hmk3UpeWbUaen6

Draft Programme:

Welcome and opening remarks

  • Acknowledgements – Dr. Kiran Rabheru (Chair, GAROP) & Dr. Cynthia Stuen (Chair, NGO COA-NY)
  • Opening remarks – Ambassador Squeff, Chair of the OEWG

Scene-setting and connecting

  • Updates about the session (Amal Abou Rafeh, UNDESA)
  • Q&A

Developments since OEWG10

  • Intersessional events/outcomes
  • COVID-19 and political momentum

Breakout rooms: English / French / Spanish

Preparing our strategy for participation in OEWG11

  • Expectations and objectives for the session
  • Ways in which civil society can participate and have impact:
    • Visibility
      • Age With Rights and social media
      • Side events
    • Reviewing the timetable for the week ahead

Contacts: Susan Somers, NGO Committee on Ageing NY: sbsomers5@aol.com and/or Ellen Graham, GAROP Coordinator: ellen.graham@rightsofolderpeople.org

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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.

UN Webinar on the COVID-19 Impact on Transfer Pricing

The COVID-19 outbreak is not only a health crisis, but a jobs crisis, a humanitarian crisis and a development crisis of unprecedented scale and dimension and it demands unprecedented efforts, including to finance the response and recovery.

The UN Webinar on the COVID-19 Impact on Transfer Pricing will be a 4-hour virtual learning event on the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the policy and administrative aspects of the transfer pricing analyses for developing countries in their efforts to mobilize domestic resources for response and recovery. Given the relevance of the topic to stakeholders from all regions and multiple disciplines, the event will be open to the public. The forthcoming update of the Manual on Transfer Pricing for Developing Countries, approved by UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters in its 21st Session, will be considered in light of the COVID-19-related crisis.

Register here!

The webinar is designed to:

• Give participants a better understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business’ value chains and how the rapid changes and economic downturn have impacted the transfer pricing position of taxpayers and posed a challenge to tax administrations in assessing transfer prices under these circumstances.

• Identify some of the specific issues faced by developing countries on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the transfer pricing position of their taxpayers and suggest practical solutions to these challenges.

• Give particular attention to the issue of the lack of local comparables to undertake the transfer pricing analysis based on the arm’s length principle. It is acknowledged that this issue is not exclusive of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has been exacerbated by it.

• It is acknowledged that while many businesses have incurred losses, some may have experienced extraordinary gains. It is important for developing countries to identify these different circumstances and have a better understanding of how to deal with extraordinary losses, as undue treatment of losses can further erode the tax base.

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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

[Monthly Meeting] NGO Committee on Financing for Development

Dear Colleagues,

We hope all of you are doing well.  This is a reminder for the next NGO Committee on Financing for Development meeting that will take place by Zoom on March 3 from 1:00- 3:00 pm EST.

Registration for access to the Zoom link available here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0td-GspjsrHtfM9kwJmPggiJiHQMwHdCKc

Agenda includes:

  • Philipp Erfurth, Economic Affairs Officer, UN Financing for Sustainable Development Office will be providing a briefing on FfD matters
  • Briefing on the International Rescue Committee report “COVID-19 and Refugees’ Economic Opportunities, Financial Services and Digital Inclusion”
  • Anneleen Vos | Senior Policy Officer – Economic Programmes, International Rescue Committee and Prof Dr Hans-Martin Zademach , Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Germany

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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 Migration, please visit ngo-migration.org.

Linking Criminal Justice & the SDGs: Corruption Creates Wicked Legacies at Hazardous Sites

10th Session of the Conference of the Parties UN – Vienna official side event

Link :  us02web.zoom.us/j/81890759866

Meeting ID: 818 9075 9866

Kenncode: 599775

Programme

Welcome & Introduction: Ilona Graenitz, Chairperson Vienna NGO Committee on Sustainable Development “Prerequisites for achieving the SDGs”

Presentation: Univ. Prof. Drin. Verena Winiwarter, BOKU, Institute of Social Ecology “Eliminating and cleaning up of wicked legacies at hazardous sites by supporting transparent, public information and fighting corruption, thus providing a sound basis for achieving the SDGs”

Follow-up activities and a question/answer session to follow.

About wicked legacies at hazardous sites:

Advancing towards the Agenda 2030 goals hinges on progress with target “16.5: Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms” Corruption can lead to significant and serious environmental problems, if it jeopardizes the care, maintenance and clean-up of toxic legacy sites. These environmental problems can in particular impact women. The event makes a case for action and calls for a debate on an additional SDG Target, respectively indicators to draw attention to the dangers of toxic legacy sites worldwide; particularly in abandoned mines. The SDGs can only be achieved, if stocks as well as flows of toxic substances and pollutants are reduced and finally eliminated. Abandoned toxic sites and mines present not only challenges to the environment and people, but also a growing threat, as mines worldwide may increasingly be used for storing CO2 with possibly hazardous results due to chemical reactions. It is of utmost importance to clean up this toxic legacy and manage related risks, as this process is particularly vulnerable to corruption. A panel of experts will offer insight into the risks of toxic legacy sites; the problems of developing legal framework to minimize long-term environmental contamination and its negative impact on human health; and discuss the challenges of minimizing corruption in issues involving specialized technical knowledge. In order to underpin the rule of law and to expedite legal action respecting the “Polluter Pays” principle, the founding of an international High Court for Environment and Health under UN auspices is proposed.

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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-New York, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org

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