Government’s Unprecedented and Rushed Decisions to Continue the Use of Toxic Chemicals Found in Children’s Toys

Earlier this month, an unprecedented agreement was made during 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the Stockholm Convention (SC) to add three toxic chemicals to the treaty while allowing loopholes for two of them, Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) and short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs).
Recent studies conducted by IPEN, a global network of over 500 organizations committing to a toxic-free future, find both toxic chemicals in children’s toys. Due to their nature of being persistent, highly toxic, traveling long distances and building up in the food chain, the SC’s expert committee did not recommend a lot of the proposed exemptions. However, the COP8 agreed to include a long list of exemption clauses in the SC’s Annex A. They include exempting the production and use of commercial DecaBDE for certain vehicle parts such as global positioning systems, components of radio disks, automobile seats, etc. Regarding SCCPs, members also agreed on specific exemptions such as its production and use for transmission belts, lubricant additives, and secondary plasticizers in flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC), except in toys and children’s products.

Discussing the meeting’s implications, Dr. Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair, was particularly concerned about the influence of the treaty’s amendments on developing countries, where customers are not well-informed due to the lack of labels. “Customers will unknowingly buy and expose their children to these chemicals because governments were not bold enough to demand that the industry labels them,” warned Dr. Speranskaya.
Another controversial decision made during the meeting include agreeing to allow recycling materials containing toxic flame retardants (PentaBDE and OctaBDE) found in furniture and e-waste, which would widely contaminate children’s products according to a new IPEN study.
Contrary to upholding the meeting’s theme, “A Future Detoxified,” IPEN Senior Advisor Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith mentioned delegates’ mockery that the meeting paved the way for “A Future Toxified,” by exposing workers, children’s toys and recycling streams to toxic chemicals.

Meeting: The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (SC COP8)

Date/Location: April 24 – May 5, 2017; Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG), 17 rue de Varembé, Geneva, Switzerland

Written By: WIT Representation Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi

 

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Making the Case for Marine Protected Areas

The meeting was in preparation for the first major conference on the ocean that will be held 5-9 June 2017. The panel was comprised of ambassadors from three Small Island Developing Countries (SIDs) including Nauru, Seychelles, and Palau, a science researcher, and an artist.

Marlene Moses from Nauru first started the panel discussion by reviewing the development history of international cooperation on the ocean. She emphasized that the ocean, as it accounts for 97% of the Earth’s surface, was “at the very heart of our identity”. Protection of the ocean, therefore, becomes a critical issue, as can be seen in the SDG 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Following that, participants offered important insights into the three aspects of marine protection: financial, scientific, and artistic.

Addressing the financial aspect, Ronny Jumeau from the Seychelles explained that marine protection was as much a practical problem as a moral one. The central issue was, how these SIDs can pay for marine protection. Despite the fact that only 30% of SIDs belong to low-income countries, most of them still need to take domestic welfare provision and existing debt into consideration. Jumeau, therefore, shared his country’s innovative fundraising methods such as blue bonds and debt swap. Similarly, Palau is facing this financial challenge as it has committed to protecting 500,000 square kilometers of its Exclusive Economic Zone. Ngedikes Olai Uludong introduced the new policy of the Palau government: Pristine Paradise Environment Fee (PPEF).

Addressing the scientific aspect, Narrissa P. Spies explained why setting up bigger, more isolated marine protection areas is important to safeguarding marine resources. Finally, addressing the artistic aspect, Asher Jay illustrated her artwork and the importance of communicating the message of marine protection to the public at large.

Meeting: Event on “Making the Case for Marine Protected Areas”
Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Marlene Moses, Permanent Representative of Nauru to the United Nations;
Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Permanent Representative of Palau to the United Nations;
Ronny Jumeau, Roving Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues for Seychelles;
Narrissa P. Spies, Native Hawaiian Scientist (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology, University of Hawaii);
Asher Jay, National Geographic Explorer;
Kate Brown, Global Island Partnership
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.

Corruption-free Institutions for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

 

 

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United Nations SDGs

The meeting was jointly organized by the Permanent Missions of Georgia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Qatar, Sierra Leone and Singapore to the United Nations together with the UNDP and the UNODC. These countries came together to share their experience fighting corruption.

The meeting was opened by the participants’ recognition that corruption-free institutions are critical to improving governance and the attainment of the entire 2030 Agenda. All the countries brought attention to the SDG 16, which underpins peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. They place further emphasis on the targets 16.5 and 16.6: substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms, and develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.

Images from http://www.en.wikipedia.org and http://www.masenoteamblogspot.com

The six countries shared how they localized the implementation of the targets. Juan Carlos Mendoza illustrated Costa Rica’s anti-corruption efforts such as its national strategy and public accessible information. Nikolaj Hejberg Peterson from Denmark, the cleanest country according to Transparency International, discussed his country, and that it would host the International Anti-Corruption Conference in 2018. Zurab Sanikidze from Georgia focused on the country’s institutional framework, key anti-corruption reforms, and open government partnership strategies. Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi from Qatar talked about the importance of achieving peaceful, just and inclusive societies to his country, even before the adoption of the SDGs. Felix Alie Koroma from Sierra Leone reported steady progress made in his country. The last panelist Joseph Teo from Singapore highlighted its strict anti-corruption approach. He added that society and culture in Singapore eschew corruption. This cultural aspect was surprisingly not mentioned by other country representatives.

As an important benchmark of anti-corruption efforts, representatives from Georgia, Qatar, Sierra Leone discussed how their countries had already established independent anti-corruption bodies to fight against corruption. Witness protection, intelligence sharing and training for judges are also common.

Meeting: Corruption-free Institutions for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 11:00-13:00; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Juan Carlos Mendoza, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations;
Nikolaj Hejberg Petersen, Director of the Department of Quality Assurance and Financial Management of Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark;
Zurab Sanikidze, Director of the Analytical Department, Ministry of Justice and Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Council of Georgia;
Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi, Deputy Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations;
Felix Alie Koroma, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations;
Joseph Teo, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Singapore to the United Nations

Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.

Indigenous Voices, Indigenous Rights: The Role of Community Media

Mr. Jeff Brez gave welcoming Remarks and outlined some of the existing policies that protect indigenous rights. Ms. Suzanne Benally discussed her work at Cultural Survival, and the right of all indigenous groups to their own community media, in their own languages. She further explained the need for access to non-indigenous media, without discrimination.

Mr. Shaldon Ferris shared the benefits of local radio stations, which include providing people with a voice and preserving community identities. Mr. Ferris grew up with mainstream American media, and while it was a good form of entertainment, no one ever looked or sounded like the indigenous people watching. Under the Apartheid regime, all media was controlled and consisted of news from other places. The indigenous need local radio to preserve their identity and culture. They have stories to share, but they have no platform.

Ms. Avexnim Cojití gave statistics on the Guatemalan population and indigenous languages. They are the poorest of the population; they are malnourished and do not have access to electricity and media. Newspapers do not reach indigenous communities, and most are not literate in Spanish, leaving radio as the best form of communication. Even though the government is supposed to support and allow indigenous media, current radio stations do not attend to the needs of local communities, and most operate unsupported by the government. While there is still pride for indigenous history, it is becoming shameful to be indigenous in Guatemala. Community Media would help spread pride, and advocate for human rights, indigenous rights, etc.

Mr. Dev Kumar Sunuwar explained that the indigenous people of Nepal lack resources, and have low access to education in technical knowledge and skills. The speakers were followed by a round of questions, reinforcing the need to spread media outlets to indigenous communities around the world.

Meeting: Briefing on “Indigenous Voices, Indigenous Rights: The Role of Community Media” (co-organized by NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section, Outreach Division; and the Strategic Communications Division, Department of Public Information (DPI))

Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 11:00-12:30; Conference Room 11, UNHQ NY

Speakers: Jeff Brez, Suzanne Benally, Shaldon Ferris, Dev Kumar Sunuwar, Avexnim Cojití

Written By: WIT Representative Renée S. Landzberg

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi

Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: From victims to change agents through decent work

The side-event was part of the Sixteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Its main purpose is to launch its new report “Indigenous peoples and climate change: From victims to change agents through decent work”.

Martin Oelz from ILO first reported the key findings. He highlighted that indigenous peoples, despite their vulnerability to climate-induced threats and challenges, can be agents of change to achieve the SDGs and spur green growth based on their traditional knowledge. Oelz further demonstrated the contribution of the indigenous peoples by presenting some numbers. For example, indigenous peoples account for 5% of the world population, but they care for about 22% of the earth surface and protect 80% of remaining biodiversity on the planet.

UN SDG 8

United Nations SDGs 

Panelists then expressed their views in support of protecting indigenous peoples and their traditional knowledge. Sudatta Chakma from Bangladesh presented with his country’s efforts to protect the livelihood of ethnic minorities. Robert Glasser, Sille Stidsen, and Rishabh Kumar Dhir agreed with the ILO report that indigenous peoples are “at the vanguard of running a modern economic model based on the principles of a sustainable green economy”. They strongly believed that governments should learn from their traditional wisdom to achieve economic empowerment and environmental protection simultaneously.

Joann Mae Spotted Bear, a representative from Lakota, one of the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains of North America, made interventions during the panel discussion. She condemned the US government for threatening their clean water and land by approving the construction of Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline.
Overall, participants emphasized that the report launched by ILO enriched the ongoing discussion on the indigenous people’s related issues, including human rights, social justice, employment, traditional knowledge and climate change.

Meeting: Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: From victims to change agents through decent work
Date/Location: Wednesday, April 26, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 5, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Martin Oelz, Senior Specialist on Equality and Non-Discrimination – Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch, International Labour Organization (ILO)
Sudatta Chakma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Chittatong Hill Tracts Affairs, Government of Bangladesh;
Robert Glasser, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, (UNISDR);
Sille Stidsen, Senior Adviser, Human Rights and Development, Danish Institute of Human Rights;
Rishabh Kumar Dhir, Technical Officer, Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch, International Labour Organization
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.

Identifying and Mitigating Long-term Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Building the Case for Continued International Cooperation

 

The Round Table Discussion was co-organized by Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations, Project Chernobyl, and Russian American Foundation. It brought together representatives from different countries, international organizations and scientists to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day. Its main purpose was to showcase the post-Chernobyl experience and discuss its implication for continued international cooperation on other technological threats.

Country and international organization leaders expressed their appreciation of the global collaboration efforts to identify and mitigate Chernobyl’s consequences. Representatives from Belarus, the Russian Federation, UN DESA and Kazakhstan especially thanked UNDP for its leadership, and scientists as well as the WHO for their quantitative studies on medical consequences in the affected region. Participants of the Round Table Discussion including the representatives from Belarus, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, WHO, IAEA, the United States, and Chernobyl Children International also shared the important contribution of their countries and organizations.

The invited scientist Valentina Drozd from Project Chernobyl turned the attention to the greater challenge now: helping to solve the puzzle of a virtual epidemic of thyroid cancer around the world. Her research identified this phenomenon in Belarus and other countries including the United States. Mary H. Ward found that contamination of drinking water with nitrates caused by agricultural fertilizers, animal, and human waste was one of the leading factors for the dramatic rise in the radiation-induced thyroid cancer in Belarus. At the same time, Yuri E. Nikiforov also suggested genetics mechanisms of post-Chernobyl cancer.

Throughout the meeting, participants emphasized that the terrible suffering experienced by millions after Chernobyl can be alleviated in part through the efforts of the international community to advance medical and scientific knowledge, which will benefit untold millions around the world.

Meeting: Round Table Discussion “Identifying and Mitigating Long-term Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Building the Case for Continued International Cooperation”
Date/Location: Wednesday, April 26, 2017; 15:00-18:00; Conference Room 8, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Dmitry Mironchik, Head of Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus;
Sergey Kononuchenko, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations;
Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UNDESA;
Rusian Bultrikov, Deputy Permanent Representative, Minister-Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations;
Dr. Nata Menabde, Executive Director, Office at the United Nations, WHO;
Valentina Drozd, MD, PhD, Head of International Department of “Project Chernobyl”;
Xolisa Mabhongo, Representative of the IAEA Director General, Director of the IAEA Office in New York;
Matthew Dolbow, Counsellor for Economic and Social Affairs, United States Mission to the United Nations;
Mary H. Ward, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Occupational and Environmental (Rockville, USA);
Kathleen Ryan, Chairperson of US Board, Chernobyl Children International;
Yuri E. Nikiforov, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology; Vice Chair of the Department of Pathology; Director, Division of Molecular & Genomic Pathology (Pittsburgh, USA)
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Committee of Experts on Public Administration Sixteenth Session

The sixteenth session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) aims at exploring public administration solutions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Divided into two parts, the meeting first discussed ideal institutional arrangements for the SDGs, then reviewed the latest implementation progress.

First, expert panelists Allan Rosenbaum, Jan Ziekow, Rowena Bethel and Pontso Sekatle agreed on several features which governments should adopt in their institutional arrangements. They include integrated policies, effective budget planning, and strong capacity of local governments, etc. They also recognized that among all goals and targets trade-offs are inevitable. A multi-stakeholder approach that characterizes synergies and arbitration is thus vital so that “all groups are given the opportunities to make their case”.
Representatives from regional organizations and countries then shared their experiences in implementing the SDGs. Marion Barthélemy urged the governments worldwide to further strengthen their legislative framework and civic engagement. Tishka Francis stressed the importance of partnerships to Small Island Developing States due to their vulnerability to climate change and external economic shock. Luis Alberto dos Santos presented Brazil’s achievements and challenges in realizing the SDGs. Obstacles such as lack of governance and financial crises were highlighted. Rolf Alter also reported on OECD’s actions taken to achieve the SDGs.
When the floor was open for the interactive dialogue, Margaret Saner, Vice Chair at UN CEPA from the UK, expressed her regret that the UK government does not seem to have the political will to drive progress. Hezu Ma, Member of CEPA from China, conversely, said China had “played a leading role” among developing nations and would continue to join the international community to help achieve the SDGs.
The central message from the first day of the CEPA sixteenth session is unambiguous: there is much more yet to be done.

Meeting: Committee of Experts on Public Administration Sixteenth Session
Date/Location: Monday, April 24, 2017; 10:00-18:00; Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Marion Barthélemy, Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs;
Allan Rosenbaum, Director of the Institute for Public Management and Community Service and Professor of Public Administration at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida;
Jan Ziekow, Director of German Research Institute for Public Administration;
Rowena Bethel, Director and Chief Executive Officer of National Insurance Board of the Bahamas, Member of United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration;
Pontso Sekatle, Minister of the Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs of the Government of Lesotho, Member of United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration;
Tishka Francis, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the United Nations;
Luis Alberto dos Santos, Legislative Consultant in Public Administration, Federal Senate of Brazil;
Rolf Alter, Director of Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate, OECD
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

 

 

 

 

Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature to Commemorate International Earth Day.

 

Earth Day

costaricaguide.com

The meeting commemorates the International Mother Earth Day. With a focus on Earth jurisprudence, the meeting is separated into two parts. The first part addresses how Earth jurisprudence is currently being applied across different disciplines. The second part examines how Earth jurisprudence and Rights of Nature can forge a thriving relationship between humans and the Earth.

In the first panel discussion, Chandhra Roy-Henriksen urged governments to include the indigenous peoples in the on-going dialogue. Liz Hosken agreed by sharing her experiences in working with indigenous peoples in Africa and Amazon since 2004. She encouraged governments to revive indigenous traditions and adapt them to the modern world. Klaus Bosselmann focused on the role of nation-states. In order to gain legitimacy, he prompted them to draw the examples of Germany and New Zealand, and act as “trustees of the natural environment”. Peter G. Brown and Linda Sheehan both condemned the current economic models as “absurd” and unsustainable. Instead of measuring GDP, they suggested taking the energy flow into consideration.

In the second panel discussion, Jean-Paul Mertinez encouraged the arts and media industry to transmit more Earth-central world views nationally and internationally. Germana de Oliveira Moraes discussed how harmony with nature is a precondition for all the 17 SDGs. Pallav Das referred to a recent court ruling from India. As innovative as the decision may seem, he argued that it could be counterproductive due to the difficulty of defining the rivers’ rights and responsibilities.
Throughout the meeting, a common theme that was re-emphasized is that human beings are not superior but depend on nature. The challenge is, however, how to get all the Member States involved.

Meeting: Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony with Nature in Commemoration of International Mother Earth Day

Date/Location: Friday, April 21, 2017; 10:00-18:00; Trusteeship Council, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Chandhra Roy-Henriksen, Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
Liz Hosken, Director, The Gaia Foundation, South Africa;
Klaus Bosselmann, Professor of Law and Founding Director of the New Zealand Center for Environmental Law, University of Auckland; Chair, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law Ethics Specialist Group;
Peter G. Brown, Director, Economics for the Anthropocene Project, McGill University, Canada;
Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of Planet Pledge, USA;
Jean-Paul Mertinez, Producer I Studio Director, Illumina Studios & Media Ltd., UK;
Germana de Oliveira Moraes, Professor of Constitutional Law in the Federal University of Ceará and Federal Judge in Ceará, Brazil; Co-founder of Pachamama Nation (Violeta Molina);
Pallav Das, Co-founder of Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group, India; Environment and Communications Consultant
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

The Transatlantic Slave Trade

The impact the transatlantic slave had on the world’s history reveals the importance of the contributions of each individual involved in it. As Professor Abena Busia noted, when people think of the slave trade, the stress is on the word “slave,” not on the word “trade,” and looking at it with the focus on trade in a historical and contemporary context reveals its significance and present effects.

In the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade, before being slaves, each individual was part of a family, played a role to contribute to their family, and led normal lives. Although we learn of the harsh conditions slaves went through while traveling to the Americas and other territories, the slaves flourished in Latin America early on. With a robust African population, Africans in Spain that traveled early to Latin America were essential in the destruction of regimes and construction of lands. In the 1500’s Africans helping conquer lands were free to work, entrusted with arms, and helped build forts and buildings. African conquistadors were even given gold and entrusted to be translators, but the wealth and status they acquired was soon lost as white settlers seized the lands. With white settlers wanting to take over land and not wanting to perform the functions needed to do so, they turned the Africans into slaves for free labor.

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Picture from: http://www.un.org

 

Although the slaves endured much, their trauma created significant socioeconomic contributions. Their work created wealth for families, increased trade of goods through their labor, and developed economic enterprises. Their political activism of resistance to slavery was and continues to be one of the biggest impacts the slaves left for people of African descent. Their experiences have passed on essential values that continue to impact the world today.

Meeting: The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Socio-Economic Contributions of People of African Descent

Date/Location: Thursday, March 30, 2017; 11:00 to 12:45; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Hawa Diallo, Public Information Officer, NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events, Department of Public Information; Abena P.A. Busia, Professor, Rutgers University; Ben Vinson III, Dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, George Washington University; Verene A. Shepherd, Professor, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus; Joseph E. Inikori, Professor, University of Rochester; Cy Richardson, Senior Vice President for Economics and Housing Programs, National Urban League;

Written By: Leticia Murillo, WIT Representative

ITCs for Development

itcs-meeting

Marie Paule Roudil, the director of UNESCO, discussed the importance of community media. UNESCO is attempting to conclude crimes against journalists, as one of its goals is to facilitate media development. The significant impact which information and communications technologies (ICT) can have on sustainable development was also discussed from various angles. Financial inclusion, a broadened distribution of information and an increase in the quality of education were predicted from a future with greater ICT access. Ms. Roudil continued by explaining that press freedom and access to information are sustainable development goals.

In making a comparison, Ms. Roudil elucidated that 6.7% of households situated in least developed countries (LDC) have access to the Internet, while 34.1% of household in developed countries have access to the Internet. Statistical discrepancies also exist between the amount of ICT access in rural and urban areas, financially secure and financially insecure areas and between males and females.

Ms. Pitchaporn Liwjaroen of Thailand called for inclusive sustainable development. Often, due to gender-based prejudice, females are not afforded the same opportunities that their male counterparts are to access these resources. Inclusive development is called for in Agenda 2030.

To help promote the value of ICTs, various nations are instituting technology-based programs that offer scholarships and other opportunities to their respective pupils. Masud Bin Momen described IPOA, a scholarship for students in Bangladesh. Also, according to Ye Yongfeng, programs to teach coding in schools are being integrated in Singapore. The majority of delegates gave their condolences to the nation of Thailand for the death of their king, Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Ashish Kumar Sinha expressed that the integration of ICT in India has been through e-governance, which provides open, governmental information. This has helped empower vulnerable populations, including rural people. He discussed how better, real time information has been transforming public policy.

Meeting: Information and communications technologies for development

Date/ Location: Thursday, October 13th, 2016; 15:00-18:00; Conference Room 2

Speakers: Shamika Sirimanne, Director of ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division of. UNESCAP; Marie Paule Roudil, Director of UNESCO; Ms. Pitchaporn Liwjaroen, Second Secretary of Development Affairs Division of Department of International Organizations of Thailand; Dato Abdul Ghafar Ismail, New Permanent Representative of Brunei Darussalam; Pennelope Althea Beckles, new Permanent Representative of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh; Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Maldives; Maria Angela A. Ponce, Career Minister of Philippines; Ina Hagniningtyas Krisnamurthi, Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia; Ashish Kumar Sinha, First Secretary of India; Michael Ronen, Ambassador of Israel; Roman V Lopyrev, Delegate of Russian Federation; Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka; Abdullah Mohammed A Alghunaim, Ambassador of Afghanistan; Ana Silvia Rodríguez Abascal, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba; William José Calvo Calvo, Minister-Counselor of Costa Rica; Ye Yongfeng, Permanent Representative of Singapore; Carlos Sergio Sobral Duarte Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Embassy of Brazil; Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah, Deputy Permanent Minister of Malaysia;  Nirmal Raj Kafle Deputy Head of Nepal; Ali Alnuaimi, Delegate of United Arab Emirates; Salvador De Lara Rangel, Counsellor of Mexico; Mounkaila Yacouba, Delegate of Niger; Tamara Kharashun, Counsellor of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus; Anthony Andanje, Ambassador/ Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya; Liu Jun, Ambassador of China; Tekeda Alemu, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia; Ilkin Hajiyev, Third Secretary of Azerbaijan; Bankole Adeoye, Director of Second United Nations Division of Nigeria; Mr. Biljeek, Ambassador of Bahrain; Kadiatou Sall-Beye, International Telecommunication Union

Written By: Donna Sunny, WIT Representative