Putting People First in AI – High Level Presentation of the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

Pic of AI presentation

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This meeting of the Slovak Republic/OECD: Putting People First in AI was convened to discuss OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence. Representatives from around the world gathered to discuss how we should act in this digital era.
First, H.E. Mr. Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen said that OECD has launched an AI policy that provides an online hub for open dialogue that implements AI principles. It is opened to any interested countries beyond OECD members. H.E. Darja Bavda Kuret, an Ambassador of Slovenia, said that digitalization like the Internet of Things, machine learning and AI transforms our economy. However, there is a huge gap since some people do not even have any access to the internet while big companies utilize AI. She asked, “How are we going to investigate that no one is behind?” Furthermore, H.E. Mr. Lazarous Kapambwe from Zambia asked, “How do we handle the inequality of social opportunities?”
Consequently, Knudsen answered the questions by saying that it is through accountability and transparency. He further questioned, “Who owns the data of this world? Is it an individual or the state or the party?” He said that it is a huge problem and we need a harmonization. Not only that, we need to care about AI and climate change. It is impossible to reduce CO2 without science, technology, and innovation. We should utilize AI to protect humanity from climate change.
Moreover, a representative from Canada said consumer protection is important. We need public education and should be responsible for innovation. We also need government funding for this. A representative from Columbia said that the government should commit this 4th industrial revolution. We should reduce inequality in this digital economy, and we should include trust and security.
Robert from UNDP said that development is redefined by technology. How to democratize technology such as big data, blockchain and IoT is important. We need a new business model that is more accessible to any income level. He emphasized that data is so important that the system gets more efficient with more data. Also, Steven from UNICEF said there should be human-centered AI. Nudsen concluded that the ethical issue is so important. Transparency is about consumers; consumers should know what they are consuming with a computer. Also, we need to share the data to become successful.

Meeting Title: Slovak Republic/OECD: Putting People First in AI

Date/Location: Thursday, 7 November, 2019; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 12; United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

H.E. Darja Bavda Kuret, Ambassador of Slovenia;

H.E. Mr. Lazarous Kapambwe, Permanent Representative of Zambia to the UN;

H.E. Mr. Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary General, OECD;

A Representative from Canada;

A Representative from Columbia;

Robert from UNDP;

Steven from UNICEF

Written by: WIT Representative, Won Ah Oh

Families, Education and Well-Being

This briefing was co-organized by the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) and the Department of Public Information Non-Governmental Organizations (DPI NGO) in observation of the International Day of Families on May 15th, 2017.

International day of families

World family organization

The speakers discussed the vital role of early childhood education in a child’s development and the role of parental education to ensure family well-being. In addition, the relation between corporate responsibility, work-family balance, and the global home index was depicted. Furthermore, the speakers conveyed the role of media within a child’s development and within the promotion of parental involvement.

 

 

Eduardo Garcia Rolland conveyed how the relationship between genes and the environment is closer than ever before. He expressed that within the first year of life, the brain grows at a pace of 700/1000 new neural connections per second. The plasticity of the brain is greatest within the first year of life. This stage is considered as the most important for a child’s development. Rolland discussed how 204 million children are not developmentally on track. He cited an increase in attendance to early childhood education as a way to augment a child’s development.

Patricia Debeljuh discussed how parents working long hours in a job that lacks flexibility can cause damage to the quality of their life. She expressed the necessity of families for the maintenance of sustainable societies.  Diego Barroso depicted how parenting education is highly effective. He cited the importance of legislative support for families. Following this, Michael Robb discussed how media can impact the development of a child. Background television was cited as an issue which can have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of the interaction between a parent and a child.

Meeting: Briefing entitled “Families, Education and Well-Being”

Date/ Location: Thursday, May 18, 2017; 11:00-12:45; Conference Room 4
Speakers: Esuna Dugarova, Policy Specialist, UNDP; Eduardo Garcia Rolland, Early Childhood Development ECD-Specialist, UNICEF; Patricia Debeljuh, IAE Business School, Austral University; Diego Barroso, Director of Family Enrichment Courses. Coordination and Expansion, International Federation for Family Development; Michael Robb, Director of Research, Common Sense Media
Written By: WIT Representative Donna Sunny

 

100th plenary meeting on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS held by the General Assembly

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The meeting was operated for countries to declare their commitment against AIDS as well as implement political declarations. The President began with the opening remarks on addressing the above importance. Soon after, Mr. Sey revealed the key to preventing AIDS was to monitor the HIV transmission together with maintaining economic growth, where prosperity could alleviate poverty, with fewer women getting HIV. In addition, Prof. Randrianarimanana stated AIDS could be eradicated by focusing on high impact intervention, effective decentralization, and strengthening the health-care system. He admitted the epidemic was still existed, even if the current prevalence was low.

On the other hand, Dr. Numbi recalled the dedication on the previous declaration cheered the international commitment, technical and financial partners with a multisector approach to combat AIDS. Meanwhile, Dr. Al-Jasser added with a compliment on the comprehensive national program, safeguarding the access on treatment, had enhanced the community responsibility, cooperation and civil societies’ engagement. Moreover, Mr. Hamach reminded the stigma and discrimination would implicitly harm the Universal Health Coverage program where social restructuring was demanding. He ended his speech by reiterating political leadership and devotion to international community were vital to the Fast-Track to ending AIDS. Then, Ms. Skogen appealed to all members, to provide funding to high-burden and developing countries on quality education, sexual education, reproductive services along with well-trained health-care workers.

Last but not least, the above speakers declared their unceasing allegiance to combating AIDS financially or putting efforts on regulation compliance, demanding stronger prevention of AIDS.

Meeting: 100th plenary meeting on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS held by the General Assembly

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, June 08, 2016; 15:00-18:00; General Assembly Hall

Speakers: His Excellency, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the General Assembly; His Excellency, Mr. Omar Sey, the Minister of Health & Social Welfare of Gambia; His Excellency, Prof. Dieudonné Randrianarimanana, the Minister of Health, Family Planning and Social Protection of Madagascar; His Excellency, Dr. Félix Kabange Numbi, The DRC Minister of Public Health; His Excellency, Dr. Sulaiman bin Mohammed Al-Jasser, the Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia; His Excellency, Mr. Masakazu Hamach, the Parliamentary Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Japan; Her Excellency, Ms. Tone Skogen, the State Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Written By: WIT Representative, Kelvin HO

Edited By: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

Photo: https://twitter.com/unaids

Making the World of Books Accessible to People who are Print Disabled

 

innovtech-pwdsMs. Bas began by presenting the Treaty of Marrakesh, which addresses the current relative lack of availability of print material to print disabled individuals, as the next step in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’s efforts of leaving no one behind. All of the efforts thus far tell us that mainstreaming disabilities is a successful but slow process. It is thus imperative that we encourage promotion and awareness of this new treaty.

Ambassador Webson approved the treaty because the world is now in a position in which it can address the problem of the “book famine”–just 1.7% of print material is available to people that are blind or otherwise print disabled. Thanks to Marrakesh, however, barriers to information are being removed and a new world is being opened up to the print disabled. This is especially significant when considering that access to information is key to getting an education, and education in turn is an proven path out poverty.

Mr. LaBarre discussed the Accessible Book Consortium (ABC), saying that it achieved three objectives:  (1) getting permission from rights holders so entities can exchange book copies across borders; (2) capacity building to enable countries to put books into accessible formats; and (3) accessible publishing, meaning all books are initially created digitally. Mr. Power added that the technology is in place to secure the achievement of such goals, but we must now enable this technology to be available internationally. Cost is also an issue for braille and audio reader technologies, but lower cost solutions are on the way.

Mr. Mitra asserted that addressing the print disabled is a central mission for UNICEF. The education system fails millions of children around the world, yet the technology exists to create book in formats that are accessible to all people. Of course, costs and resources are issues, but to create accessible books requires a one-time production cost at the beginning of the process. If we wish to meet goal number 4, he concluded, there is no other way than to ensure that all textbooks are available to all children.

 

Meeting: Innovative Technologies: Making the world of books accessible to people who are print disabled
Date & Location: 25 March 2015, Conference Room 9, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social policy and Development, united Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).   H.E. Dr. W. Aubrey Webson, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, New York.   Mr. Scott LaBarre, Board Member, Accessible Books Consortium and Representative, World Blind Union. Mr. Dave Power, President and Chief Executive Officer, Perkins, Watertown. Mr. Gopal Mitra, Programme Specialist, Children with Disabilities, Gender Rights and Civic Engagement, UNICEF, New York. Moderator: Ms. Lucinda Longcroft, Head, WIPO New York Office.
Written By WIT Representative: James Victory
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Child Labor & Slavery – DPI/NGO Special Briefing with 2014 Nobel Laureate

96300941Susan Bissell began this briefing by reminding the audience of the 168 million children toiling in child labor or slavery. These crimes deprive children of their right to a protected and healthy childhood and to an education. A great majority of countries have ratified legal frameworks for responsibilities and commitments to children and there is no lack of political commitment to tackle child labor and slavery. There is, however, still a need to challenge cultural norms at national and subnational levels that allow for its continued presence. There is demand by many actors to have stakeholders do more. Bissell recommends that greater data on child slavery be used in order to encourage more effective action.

Mr. Satyarthi added that for every statistic on child labor, there is a cry, and for every figure, a face. This cry is one for freedom; to simply be a child. He believes that we cannot achieve development goals without a strong commitment against child labor. We must dream that every child will achieve primary education instead of being forced into marriage or given guns instead of toys.

There is also a vicious cycle between poverty and child labor–children are preferred as workers because of their low cost. As a result, there must be clear language in the Sustainable Development Goals to combat child labor and slavery. In Mr. Satyarthi’s words, “The number of child laborers has been decreased and it is good news, but we have to work harder. The number of child slaves did not decrease at all. We did not make progress in the most heinous crime against humanity.” To combat child slavery, Satyarthi says we must (1) strengthen the UN system and build belief in multilateralism; (2) address the need for deeper and broader interagency cooperation; and (3) ensure that the UN be proactive rather than reactive.

 

Meeting: DPI/NGO Special Briefing with 2014 Nobel Laureate
Date & Location: 17 March 2015, ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Maher Nasser, Moderator, Director, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information; Susan Bissell, Chief of Child Protection, Programme Division, UNICEF; Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Chairperson, Global March Against Child Labor.
Written By WIT Representative: James Victory
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Panel discussion on the occasion of the World Toilet Day

world-toilet-day_50b8f4f685beb_w1500The panel discussion was in recognition of the 2nd World Toilet Day, which is a day marked to bring awareness to approximately ⅓ of the people around the world who do not have access to a toilet, despite the human right to water and sanitation. This event mainly focused on open defecation and the challenges of women and children in developing countries.

The UN- Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS) 2014 Report theme is increasing access to sanitation while reducing inequalities worldwide. The Chair of UN-Water stated that he is proud of the comprehensive data released in each GLAAS report, and that agencies must come together to ensure progress and environmental sustainability. From 1990 to 2012, 2.3 billion people gained access to improved drinking water. Within the same time period, the number of children deaths related to diarrhoeal diseases fell from 1.5 million deaths to about 600,000 deaths. There is a strong correlation between water quality, sanitation, and diarrhoeal disease.

According to the Deputy Secretary General, about 2.5 billion people around the world have no access to improved sanitation. Just 18 months ago, community efforts were started to eliminate open defecation by 2025. Ending open defecation would lead to a 30%-40% reduction of deaths due to diarrhea. The statement, “toilets bring dignity and equality” was brought up multiple times throughout the event.

A representative from UN Women discussed the importance of sanitation and toilets. Women before and after giving birth are at high risks of infection and infecting their children due to lack of sanitation. Something as simple as having access to soap and water to wash one’s hands can prevent the spread of disease. Overall, many representatives agreed that good health is the basis of human life and investments should be made to improve social lives and dignity.

Meeting Topic: Panel discussion on the occasion of the World Toilet Day (in accordance with General Assembly resolution 67/291, entitled “Sanitation for All”) (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Singapore and UN-Water)
Date/Location: Wednesday, November 19, 2014; 1:15 pm- 3:00 pm; Trusteeship Council Chamber
Speakers: Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Singapore Ambassador Karen Tan, Chair of UN Water Michel Jarraud, World Health Organization (WHO) representative from New York Jeni Oppenheimer, Unilever Representative Dr. Analia Mendez, UN Women, Dr. Jean Chamberlain video feed from Save the Mothers, Senior Responder to Cholera in Haiti, Representative from UNICEF, Representatives of India, Rwanda, Samoa, Vietnam, Suriname, Nepal, and Granada
Written by WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Alis Yoo

Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Human Rights to Water and Sanitation: Tools for their Realization and Remedies for Violations

imagesAn event was held concerning water and sanitation as human rights as well as the opportunities and challenges facing the extension of these rights to the global population. The representative of Germany began by noting that while support for these issues as human rights has increased, climate change and other factors could impede future access to sustainable water sources. Billions of people today live without reliable water and/or proper sanitation facilities. Germany believes that those in need should be included in creating policy for ensuring future access. Current SDG outlines call for universal access by 2030.

Ms. de Albuquerque explained that many states have not had the ability to turn political will into practice regarding protection of these rights. To change this, she created a handbook that provides guidance to states that need it. The handbook is separated into nine issues fundamental to the realization of water and sanitation rights. Mr. Alston hailed the handbook for its ability to “operationalize the wisdom that has been learned” during the rapporteur’s mandate. Further, the consensus created around water and sanitation as human rights is important because it connects them with internationally binding standards and obligations, thus transforming how the issues are approached. People, especially women, must now become empowered to demand their rights, and civil society must pressure governments to adhere to rights standards. UNICEF’s representative stressed the necessity of compiling information in the form of data that allows the international community to monitor the progress of states’ advancement of water and sanitation rights.

            The Spanish representative concluded by applauding the conceptual combination of water and sanitation, which has helped increase global awareness of sanitation issues. He also called on the international community to ensure the inclusion of meaningful water and sanitation goals in the post-2015 development agenda.

Meeting: The Human Rights to Water and Sanitation: Tools for their Realization and Remedies for Violations.”
Date:
22 October 2014
Location: Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, UN HQ, New York.
Speakers: Catarina de Albuquerque, Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation; Philip Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights; Representative of the Permanent Mission of Germany; Representative of the Permanent Mission of Spain; Representative of UNICEF; Representative of OHCHR.                      
Written by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey
Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

New ways to provide food assistance

ImageTo encourage innovative means to provide food assistance to regions in need of humanitarian aid, Ambassador Patriota convened a panel discussion on this matter. In doing so, the Ambassador highlighted the Brazilian application of cash transfer to implement the “Bolsa Familia” safety-net programme as a way to motivate families to send children to school and to clinic check-ups.

In the context of short-term action, Mr. Mogwanja highlighted the difference between direct provision of food aid and cash-transfer style food assistance, the latter being preferable as it is a more economically sustainable tool. Mr. Janz stated that cash-transfer is a viable form of food assistance, as it pinpoints to the problem of lack of purchasing power of disaster victims without having crippled the local agricultural market by flooding the market with relief food. Mr. Janz elaborated on the benefit of cash-transfer food assistance, stating that it gives disaster victims dignity by giving them choices in food and enhances efficiency of aid by reducing the logistical cost of transporting food aid. Ms. Souza stated how the World Food Programme implemented the cash-transfer in conjunction with local purchase of relief material to further enhance food assistance’s positive impact to the local economy, a point which Ambassador Boureima echoed when detailing the “Nigerien feeds Nigerien” initiative in his country.

Speaking on behalf of the donors, Ms. Fink-Hooijer stated that the donor community in general support the cash-transfer initiative, but adopts a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the effectiveness of large-scale implementation in disaster relief. Ambassador Shearman echoed this point, and added that he hopes future cash-transfer can be implemented in form of cash handout instead of voucher to further reduce its distortion of the local market.

Meeting Title: Cash Transfers, Local Purchases and Social Safety-Nets: Bridging the Divide between Assistance and Development
Speakers: Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF; H.E. Ambassador Boubacar Boureima, Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations; Darana Souza, Programme Coordinator for World Food Programme; Udo K. Janz, Director of UNHCR Office in New York; Israel Klug, Project Coordinator of PAA Africa Programme; Minister Counsellor Nuria Mohammed, Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations; Florika Fink-Hooijer, Policy Director of ECHO; Martin Shearman, Ambassador for Development and Human Rights, UK Department for International Development; H.E. Ambassador Michael Grant, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations; Jordan Ryan, Assistant Administrator of UNDP; Scott Paul, Humanitarian Policy Advisor of OXFAM; Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Chief of Policy Development and Studies Branch of UN OCHA
Location: Conference Room 5, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 24 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

 

A new generation of Analytical Tools for Preparedness and Resilience

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This morning, a panel discussion on analytical tools for humanitarian decision-making was held at the United Nations. Ms. Hooijer opened the discussion by stressing the fundamental need of analytical tools to assist policy makers in visualising multi-layer crises and making informed evidence-based decisions.

Mr. Williams took the floor and introduced InfoRM (The Index for Risk Management), the first global, objective and transparent tool for understanding the risk of humanitarian crises. He pointed out the birth of InfoRM provided the capacity to build people’s resilience through prioritisation, risk profiling and trend analysis that allowed different actors to be well prepared and make better responses. Mr. Williams commented InfoRM was an adaptive tool due to its global coverage, transparent data and flexible methodology and had been widely adopted by FAO, OCHA, ECOSOC, UNICEF, World Food Programme etc. Mr. Williams hoped for a broader adoption of this tool so that resources can be aligned.

Ms. Scott presented a roadmap that can help build resilience after risk assessment. Ms. Scott stressed that resilience can only be brought about when it is integrated in all parts of the system. Ms. Scott pointed out current humanitarian focus was simply on adaptive capacity, as systems become less exposed to shock. She saw the urgency for transformation mainly in the individual/household level and also national level to make a total system change where the shock will no longer be an impact. Ms. Scott emphasised that social capital and role of host family were most critical in resilience building.

Ms. Ribeiro, on behalf of Brazil, was in favour of analytic tools in helping the country to get informed, prepared and making sure money was well spent in a sustainable and preventive manner. Ms. Ribeiro highlighted the success story of the adoption of cash transfer programme and local purchases of food as resilience-building instruments to alleviate extreme poverty, reduce risk and promote resilience.

Meeting: A new generation of analytical tools for preparedness and resilience
Speakers: Ms. Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director for Strategy, Policy and International Cooperation, ECHO; Mr. Craig Williams, Chief of the Field Information Services Section (FISS), OCHA; Ms. Rachel Scott, Senior Humanitarian Advisor, OECD; Ms. Adriana Telles Ribeiro, Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations
Location: Conference Room 5 NLB, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 24 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

UN Coordinated Emergency Response Fund in Humanitarian Situations

Today a meeting was held to discuss the use of the UN’s Coordinated Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in large-scale emergency situations. Beginning the meeting, Ms. Amos, the Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, spoke about CERF’s response and effectiveness in Syria, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. She said the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is increasing, and that CERF needs to systematically leverage the limited amounts of funding it has in order for its response to have the greatest impact in conflict areas.

Following, Mr. Mogwanja from UNICEF gave a statement about CERF’s partnership with UNICEF, and how CERF makes humanitarian responses faster, more predictable, and more coordinated. Since its launch in 2006, CERF has helped to shine a light on otherwise ignored emergency situations.

UFE Round I 2014

Next, Mr. Moustapha, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), emphasized how CERF can help respond to large scale cross boarder emergencies, like the humanitarian crisis in the DRC and the Central African Republic. Mr. Moustapha praised CERF for its flexibility, and its ability to efficiently unite and focus acute relief efforts in grave humanitarian situations. However, he called for CERF funds to be allocated in a more fair and inclusive manner, and for there to be a more serious reporting system on its progress.

Concluding the meeting, Mr. Guterres from UNHCR spoke about how to deal with a dramatic rise in the need for CERF funding. Population growth, climate change, water scarcity, and food insecurity are contributing to global humanitarian crises. New ways of funding for humanitarian situations are gravely needed. Mr. Guterres concluded the meeting by emphasizing that overall CERF works well because it is not bureaucratic, has low transaction costs, clear rules, and is speedy in its response.

 

Meeting Title: Use of CERF in Large-Scale Emergencies
Speakers: Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF; Moustapha Soumare, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of Congo; Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Date: 24 June 2014
Location: Conference Room 2, United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan