UN Committee on Information: Speaking to Global Audiences | UNICEF: Learning Passport Powers National Curriculum for Children on the Move | ITU: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day
ITU celebrates World Telecommunication and Information Society Day by highlighting the need to bring connectivity to LDCs | WHO: Launch of the World Health Statistics Report this Friday
Presented by Microsoft
Microsoft Airband to connect nearly 40 million people across Latin America and Africa
Learn more about Microsoft’s engagement with the UN here.
Learning Passport: UNICEF and Microsoft Partner to Deliver Education to Children on the Move
Interview with Mac Glovinsky, the lead on the partnership between Microsoft and UNICEF to bring formal education to children and adolescents that are forced to flee their homes. That happens because they are either internally displaced in their own countries due to civil strife, or they are refugees from post-conflict and war zones, as well as are escaping their countries after extreme weather events that destroy their cities, their homes, and schools, and cause them to interrupt their regular schooling.
The Learning Passport works in partnership with local governments to make sure that children and adolescents do not lag behind on their formal education during a period for them that is already very trying on their physical and mental health.
The programme has been deployed for children and adolescents refugees from Ukraine in Poland and other neighbouring countries from the start of the hostilities.
UNICEF uses the curriculum of country of origin developed in partnership with national governments departments of education. Since some areas have poor connectivity, no broadband access, they figured a hybrid model that allows kids to use their computers off-line too. UNICEF Learning Passport has also been focusing on the mental health of refugee teachers to help them to integrate in the host country.
World International Telecommunication and Information Society Day
Watch the livestream here.
Theme this year is the need to bring connectivity to LDCs and SIDS.
WHO: Preparing for the World Health Assembly
Wednesday, 17 May
High-level resource mobilization conference to eliminate viral hepatitis
WHO will be participating in the inaugural high-level Global Hepatitis Resource Mobilization Conference taking place in Geneva on 17 May. Organized by The Hepatitis Fund and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) the event is a global call to action to boost financial and political commitment towards the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030.
Friday, 19 May
Launch of the World Health Statistics Report 2023
WHO will release the 2023 edition of its annual World Health Statistics report– the latest comprehensive set of statistics on progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Updated data on COVID-19 excess deaths, burden of noncommunicable diseases will be released.
The annual report includes a section on climate change and health for the first time.
How to End Violence Against Children
As decision makers are getting ready for the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly, children speak out on what the health sector should do to end violence against children.
Violence against children is a prevalent human rights violation that affects the health, well-being, and life opportunities of children everywhere. Violence is preventable and the health sector has an essential role to play in preventing, detecting and addressing violence against children, particularly in the most vulnerable communities.
Children’s lived experience is invaluable to finding solutions that work.
For more information, click here.
Ethics of Artificial Intelligence for Health
WHO issued a statement calling for significant precaution to be exercised in using artificial intelligence (AI) generated large language model tools (LLMs) for health information.
Rapid diffusion of LLMs, which include some of the most rapidly expanding platforms such as ChatGPT, GPT-3, among others, and their use for healthcare related purposes, is generating significant excitement for its potential to support people’s health needs.
However, there are concerns, that should be assessed, which call for rigorous oversight to be put in place for the technologies to be used in safe, effective and ethical ways that protect and improve people's health.
Thursday, 18 May
Access to Morphine Report
This report, to be published on Thursday, will highlight the inequity in access to morphine across the world.
Pain is a major global health problem. Each year the global population lives between 6-21 billion days in physical pain and psychological, serious health-related suffering. Morphine is a low-cost fast-acting essential medicine for managing moderate to severe pain. Despite inclusion on the WHO Essential Medicines List in 1977, the difference in access from low income countries to high income countries is stark and does not correspond to medical needs in the countries.
This report is an in depth review of the global distribution of morphine for medical use, explains why people do not have safe access to morphine when there is a clear medical need and offers improvements to improve safe access to morphine for medical use.
UN COMMITTEE on INFORMATION
How the UN Communicates with Global Audiences
Country-members review activities of the UN public information and strategic communications around the globe from mid-to-late-2022 to January 2023.
“The Committee on Information adopted the report by consensus, providing the Department of Global Communications with clear direction & strong support in our work to advance the important work of the United Nations, combat misinformation and more.” Maher Nasser, UN Department of Global Communications.
We interviewed Maher Nasser, Director, UN Department of Global Communications, in New York, to speak about the annual report and the priorities set up by the Committee on Information on the work of the UN News and Media Division, the outreach section, the office of the spokesperson, advertising campaigns, ambassador programmes with celebrities in sports and film, and the overall strategic communications’ plan using social media platforms.
With an annual budget of roughly $90 Million USD, the Department of Global Communications plays a crucial role on shaping the public perception of the organisation around the globe.
Building Trust and Combating Misinformation
Full document here
The Department of Global Communications continued to implement its COVID-19 communications response initiative, on the theme of science, solutions and solidarity, to promote reliable information and address misleading and harmful narratives.
Through the Verified initiative, the Department worked with civil society groups, media broadcasters, activists and companies around the world to gain access to mainstream audiences and vulnerable groups, including those with lower rates of uptake of vaccines, and to deliver trustworthy content in support of global efforts to stop the pandemic.
Between 1 July and 31 October 2022, the Verified initiative reached more than 18.2 million people and engaged over 500,000 people globally through a series of online activities and live events, with efforts focused in particular on audiences in Brazil, India, Kenya, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.
In India, the Verified initiative included the launch of two campaigns aimed at increasing vaccine uptake among migrant workers and tribal communities in New Delhi, the capital city, and in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The campaigns, through which community leaders were engaged to share content with the above-mentioned groups, reached more than 18,700 people, online and offline, through audiovisual content, which helped to ensure that the messaging was accessible to communities with lower literacy rates.
By expanding its network of trusted messengers in India to include health-care workers, doctors, scientists, content creators, journalists, resident welfare associations, sanitation workers, corporate leaders, automobile drivers, youth leaders and influencers with millions of followers, such as Mithila Palkar and Satshya Tharien, and engaging those partners to share content addressing misinformation on COVID-19, the Verified initiative reached over 3.6 million people in the country.
In Africa, the Verified initiative engaged with celebrities and content creators to achieve its goals. In Kenya, it partnered with Nairobi-based celebrity DJ Grauchi to remind people about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine.
That collaboration included two performances that garnered a total of 454,000 views on social media, reached over 190,000 people and engaged more than 5,000. In South Africa, the initiative partnered with content creator Mashudu Modau and celebrity DJ Frypan, who used their social media channels to reach more than 71,800 people with COVID-19 messaging related to employment, entrepreneurship and music.
The global network of United Nations information centres also played a key role in sharing Verified content with audiences at the national and local levels. To support COVID-19 vaccination efforts, the United Nations information centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, produced a video in collaboration with the Brazilian screenwriter KondZilla, the music group Trilogia da Escócia and Equipe Halo, a group of scientists and health-care professionals who volunteered their time to address COVID-19 vaccine concerns and misinformation. The video garnered 300,000 views on TikTok and YouTube with the help of more than 100 influencers who contributed to its promotion.
In November 2022, in partnership with the instructional website wikiHow, the Verified initiative launched a free digital literacy course entitled “How to spot and counter disinformation online”. Available in six languages – Czech, English, French, German, Russian and Spanish – the course was aimed at helping audiences to recognize disinformation narratives and stop their spread.
A multilingual digital literacy course on combating misinformation online – launched in 2021 by the Verified initiative in partnership with wikiHow – continued to help audiences to learn how to identify and resist misinformation and how to fact-check and respond to false content. The course also provided advice on how and when to take a break from social media altogether.
In line with the recommendation put forward by the Secretary-General in his report entitled “Our Common Agenda” (A/75/982), the Department continued its work on developing a global code of conduct to promote integrity in public information.
The Department began a desk review of threats to information integrity across the world and of applicable regulatory efforts occurring at the national and regional levels. The Department also intensified its exchanges with stakeholders in the field of information integrity, including think tanks, academia, media institutions and the United Nations system.
In addition, the Under-Secretary-General undertook speaking engagements and published a series of articles on Medium and other platforms addressing information integrity, misinformation, disinformation and hate speech.
The Department also continued to engage with major social media platforms, such as Meta, TikTok and Twitter, to advocate transparency and promote action to address disinformation, hate speech and freedom of expression, including in crisis situations, during which the spread of harmful content posed an especially urgent challenge.
The Department also worked to ensure a coordinated, consistent and effective approach across the United Nations system in its discussions with the platforms.