2022: Year Ahead at the UN
A few upcoming events as we grapple with COVID's twists and turns in Europe
We hope that you all had a very restful end-of-year and celebrations went smooth, without much travel disruption. As the year gears-up we picked a few upcoming online events, run by the UN and its specialised agencies, taking place this month and in February, so you can get up to speed on UNESCO’s Ocean Decade. Also check ITU’s series on AI in Robotics and Health.
A heads-up to the now canceled UNIDO conference that was to take place in Qatar later this month, on Least Developed Countries and Climate Change. As you probably know, some of these LDC countries are small islands that will be bearing the brunt of melting ice caps, and landlocked countries that are seeing draughts decimate their crops and forcing population displacement to nearby countries.
What will we be focusing on at The UN Brief in 2022?
Expect more coverage on diplomatic history, how nations can deploy their soft power arsenals, oceans and climate change, as well as AI governance and its myriad opportunities for doing good as well as its attendant risks and ethical quagmires.
Human rights, women’s rights, the rights of the child, refugees and climate change, are high up on our agenda too, as will be cybersecurity, LAWS, and disarmament.
Trade for development, subsidies to fisheries that harm the environment, and how international trade can positively impact the UN Sustainable Development Goals also will be the focus of our coverage.
We will cover WTO country-members as they consider Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the proposal put forward by India and South Africa for a temporary waiver of IP payments to Big Pharma to allow countries in the Global South to manufacture vaccines in response to COVID-19.
Last year, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged country members to address the proposal advanced by South Africa and India for an intellectual property waiver and access to essential COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and medical equipment.
TRIPS allows for waivers, when we need to address major international public health threats that cannot be left to pharmaceutical companies and their commercial interests alone, to solve. COVID-19 calls for that, as a global health crisis that requires concerted action between nations and the private sector. “None is safe until all are vaccinated and have access to therapeutics and medical equipment”, called WTO members at meetings in Geneva, in 2021. Let’s hope this spirit of solidarity continues.
Contribute to The UN Brief
We are looking for contributors on the aforementioned topics, opinion pieces, please do send me a reply here to discuss. It can be once a month, or maybe a one-off? As your time permits. We are keen on expanding our coverage to other languages as well, with op-eds and articles in French, Spanish or Portuguese. These languages only for now.
And do let us know what topics you would like to see us cover more.
Highlights of 2021
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The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, or for short, the Ocean Decade, was started in 2021 and the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organisation, (UNESCO), is leading a series of programs through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
The first event of 2022 takes place on the 19th January, online. More information below. This upcoming event is co-organised by the UK government. On the agenda: marine robotics, data collection, AI/ML, extreme weather mitigation measures, early warning systems, and much more with the aim to address climate change.
Engaging Early Career Ocean Professionals
ITU - AI for Good in Health, Climate Change, and Robotics
The International Telecommunication Union has been running a series of events online since the onset of the pandemic, their very own AI for Good annual conference has already a few interesting events lined-up on climate change, autism diagnostics, robotics, and - in partnership with the World Health Organisation - the establishment of a standardized assessment framework for the evaluation of AI-based methods for healthcare, diagnosis, triage or treatment decisions. The group is open to all.
Can AI improve weather and climate prediction? Yes, it can. Discover how on Wednesday 12 January, at 17:00 CET, with this online event run by the good people at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Register here.
Refusing AI Contact: Autism, Algorithms and the Dangers of ‘Technopsyence’
This Thursday 13 January, the focus is on AI for Autism Diagnostics, and the risks of oversimplification and the danger of pseudoscience when employing AI/ML for diagnosing neurological disease. Register here.
ITU and DARPA
Search-and-Rescue Robots, Safety, and Operating in Very Challenging Conditions
That will be on Thursday, 20 January. All events are at 17:00 CET. Discussion will be centered on the latest technology for underground work, DARPA’s latest, and what is the potential for using AI/Robotics in disaster management, in situations that pose a great risk to humans, such as after a hurricane, or other extreme weather events.
ITU-WHO Focus Group Meeting on AI for Health
It will take place in February from the 15 to the 17.
Open to all stakeholders, register here.
“Working groups (WGs) consider crosscutting subject matters that affect a specific aspect of an AI health application.” ITU
This event is in partnership with the World Health Organisation - and this session will focus on the “establishment of a standardized assessment framework for the evaluation of AI-based methods for health, diagnosis, triage or treatment decisions”.
Take a look at our past interview with ITU’s Simão Campos, Head of the Secretariat at the ITU Standardisation Sector, who is leading the working group.
UNIDO is the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, a specialised agency of the United Nations that assists nations so they can accelerate they economic and industrial development. It was created by the UN General Assembly in 1966 to support the decolonisation process.
Its headquarter is in Vienna, Austria, but it is also present and works in 60 countries. Its 170 member states are responsible for the organisation's policies, programs, and principles through their biannual General Conference.
Its upcoming conference, that is going to be hosted by the government of Qatar, on Least Developed Countries, has been postponed, it was to take place from the 22 of January to the 26th. Keep an eye on their site for the new dates.