The second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on plastic pollution (INC-2), held in Paris, France, from May 29 to June 02, 2023, concluded with optimism and the prospect of ending plastics pollution. Over 700 delegates from 169 Member States agreed to prepare a zero draft of agreement
ahead of the third session in November this year.
When the General Assembly elected its President for 2023-2024 last week, it continued a longstanding tradition of male dominance in the UN’s highest policy making body.
The new President for the 78th session, Ambassador Dennis Francis of Trinidad and Tobago, a longstanding career diplomat and a former Permanent Representative, was elected June 1 “by acclamation”.
Almost half of the world’s population lives in coastal zones. For islands in the Pacific and Caribbean islands such as Dominica, where up to 90 percent of the population lives on the coast, the ocean is fundamental to lives and livelihoods. From fisheries to tourism and shipping, this essential body which covers over 70 percent of the planet, is a lifeline.
The UN is hustling to play a role – perhaps even a leading role – in the revolution of Artificial Intelligence. To some degree this is perfectly natural.
The good news: oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97% of the world’s water, represent 99% of the living space on the Planet by volume, and are a major source of food and medicine. Much so that they are the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world.
Recently when I was asked to offer my thoughts on the phenomenal advances of artificial intelligence (AI) and
whether the United Nations play a role in its global governance, I was reminded of the Three Laws of Robotics
which are a set of rules devised by science fiction
author Isaac Asimov
and introduced in his1942 short story.
During the week of May 21, the UN held its annual week dedicated to the Protection of Civilians
. The themes of the week’s events, particularly the side events, I had the honor of participating in, mirrored many of the pressing issues in Yemen, as conflict continues.
The frighteningly rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have triggered the question: is there a UN role for monitoring and regulating it?
Citing a report from the Center for AI Safety, the New York Times reported last week that a group of over 350 AI industry leaders warned that artificial intelligence poses a growing new danger to humanity –and should be considered a “societal risk on a par with pandemics and nuclear wars”.
It’s time to get together and celebrate the environment! June 5th is the 50th World Environment Day, where each year, the significance of transformative action from across the world is crucial to help people and the planet. This year’s World Environment Day is being hosted by Côte d'Ivoire
in partnership with the Netherlands with a theme of ‘Finding Solutions for Plastic Pollution
The US has some of the strictest laws against smoking in public, including a 1997 executive order which bans smoking in all government federal buildings.
But still, the tobacco industry and its allies do not rest, says Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, Director of the Washington-based Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
A few weeks ago we celebrated the Girls in ICT Day
and I am wondering how can we keep moving the digital equality needle so that more women out of the 259 million that are disconnected today
can log in and become creators and not only beneficiaries in the digital economy?
There have been an array of proposals to sustain journalism around the world-- from tax incentives and subsidies to the idea of allocating 1% of governments’ GDP to a drastically increased ODA for independent journalism in the global South.
Please stop repeating all this softened wording, such as climate change, climate-related hazards, climate crisis, or extreme weather events... And just call it what it really is: climate carnage.
Reducing carbon emissions is critical for combating climate change. And one effective way to do this is through the use of carbon taxes.
In December last year, I launched our year-long commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We have since issued a series of initiatives calling on States and all others to make pledges, and to take clear steps to fulfil the promises of the Universal Declaration.
As a matter of global justice, the climate crisis has rightfully made its way to the world’s highest court.
On 29 March 2023, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) unanimously adopted
a resolution asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue an advisory opinion on the obligations of states on climate change. The initiative was led by the Pacific Island state of Vanuatu
, one of several at risk of disappearing under rising sea levels. It was co-sponsored by 132 states
and actively supported by networks of grassroots youth groups from the Pacific and around the world.
A new study estimates
that global heating will push billions of people outside the comfortable range of temperature and weather in which we have evolved.
This upcoming weekend, on May 28, we are commemorating World Hunger Day. The day serves as a reminder that more than 800 million people around the world are living with hunger and malnutrition. That number is staggering, but there is hope.
At the UN Water Conference in March 2023, the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina (UNC) along with several key partners, including UNICEF, Water Aid, the World Health Organization, and the governments of Ghana, Uganda, and South Africa, among others, organized a session centered around the elimination of lead in drinking water across the globe.
Global fisheries are worth more than US$140 billion each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. But this hefty sum does not capture the true value of fish to ocean health, and to the food security and cultures of communities around the world.
When the UN displayed a female robot back in February 2019, it was a peek into the future: a fast-paced, cutting-edge digital technology where humans may one day be replaced with machines and robots.
However, a joke circulating in the UN delegate’s lounge at that time was the possibility, perhaps in a distant future, of a robot-- a female robot-- as the UN Secretary-General in a world body which has been dominated by nine secretaries-general, all male, over the last 78 years.