Despite overwhelming challenges women face at the workplace, “they are not helpless,” they will follow their dreams, work to the hardest and achieve their business goals, was a core message on day two of a United Nations forum on sustainable development.
“This is a chance for everyone around the world – policy makers, investors, those in technology – to realize that women are not waiting for handouts, they are looking for opportunities. An opportunity is not a handout,” Adot Killmeyer-Oleche, the Chief of UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Institute for Capacity Development, told UN News.
“This is an important message for all of us – the UN, development activists and practitioners, and change agents,” she added.
At a plenary panel discussion on the theme of Women in industry policy makers, business persons, officials from financial institutions and UN agencies, and women and young entrepreneurs came together to discuss the challenges confronting women entrepreneurs and how to overcome them.
Women entrepreneurs often find themselves at the end of the value chain, not just in terms of employment, but also when it comes to access to knowledge, technology and the basic resources – particularly finance – to do business.
Adding to these barriers, women face very high level of stigma – a universal problem – with their projects and ideas not given the same level of attention or simply ignored because of the fact it came from a woman.
“Women have challenges at all levels – traditionally they have had challenges getting education and training […] or made to enter trades ‘more associated’ with their gender,” explained Killmeyer-Oleche, also a panellist at the session.
This discrimination is also evident in the lack of equal pay for equal work in many sectors around the globe.
One of the key ways to address these challenges, the panel discussed, is reforming laws and policies, integrating the gender dimensions. Another area of focus is training and education to ensure that young women and men, are imparted with the necessary skills to become entrepreneurs and are able to carefully analyse risks.
Using technology and innovative solutions, such as crowd-sourcing or community financing can help overcome some challenges, in particular those relating to accessing finance, said many participants.
But, above all, mind-sets across the world have to be changed, they stressed, noting that changed mind-sets will automatically improve the situation in other sectors.
Attitudes change, but not overnight […] it is simply not acceptable to discriminate against women,” said Ina Cronje, Chairperson of the Board of Trade and Investment, KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), a panel participant.
The session also saw the designation of Azza Fahmy, a prominent business woman and the Chairwoman and Creative Director of Jewellery of Egypt, as the UNDIO International Creative Woman Entrepreneur.
The panel discussion on women in industry was a key event held on the second day of the World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum, organized by UNDIO in partnership with the Government of Bahrain.
Other key events today included a plenary session on global impact investing; a side-event on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development implementation in Bahrain, jointly organized by UNDP, UNIDO ITPO-Bahrain and UN Global Compact; and partnership events for entrepreneurs.
Mexico officially joins IEA: First member in Latin America
Mexico officially became the International Energy Agency’s 30th member country on 17 February 2018, and its first member in Latin America. The membership came after the signed IEA treaty (the IEP Agreement) was deposited with the government of Belgium, which serves as the depository state, following ratification by the Mexican Senate.
Mexico’s accession is a cornerstone of the IEA’s on-going modernization strategy, including “opening the doors” of the IEA to engage more deeply with emerging economies and the key energy players of Latin America, Asia and Africa, towards a secure, sustainable and affordable energy future.
The IEA Family of 30 Member countries and seven Association countries now accounts for more than 70% of global energy consumption, up from less than 40% in 2015.
“With this final step, Mexico enters the most important energy forum in the world,” said Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary of Energy. “We will take our part in setting the world’s energy policies, receive experienced advisory in best international practices, and participate in emergency response exercises.”
“It is a historic day because we welcome our first Latin American member country, with more than 120 million inhabitants, an important oil producer, and a weighty voice in global energy,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “The ambitious and successful energy reforms of recent years have put Mexico firmly on the global energy policy map.”
At the last IEA Ministerial Meeting, held in Paris in November 2017, ministers representing the IEA’s member countries unanimously endorsed the rapid steps Mexico was taking to become the next member of the IEA, providing a major boost for global energy governance.
They recognized that Mexico had taken all necessary steps in record time to meet international membership requirements since its initial expression of interest in November 2015. In December, the Mexican Senate ratified the IEP Agreement paving the way for the deposit of the accession instrument and for membership to take effect.
Mexico is the world’s 15th-largest economy and 12th-largest oil producer, and has some of the world’s best renewable energy resources. The IEA family will benefit greatly from Mexico’s contribution on discussion about the world’s energy challenges. The IEA is delighted to continue supporting implementation of Mexico’s energy reform with technical expertise, and further intensifying the fruitful bilateral dialogue of energy policy best practice exchange.
Guterres: Korean nuclear crisis, Middle East quagmire eroding global security
“Conflicts are becoming more and more interrelated and more and more related to a set of a new global terrorism threat to all of us,” Mr. Guterres said in his keynote address at the opening ceremony on Friday of the Munich Security Conference.
For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the world is facing the threat of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which he called “a development made in total contradiction to the will of the international community and in clear violation of several resolutions of the Security Council.”
He said that it was essential to maintain “meaningful pressure over North Korea” to create an opportunity for diplomatic engagement on the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula within a regional framework.
“The two key stakeholders in relation to this crisis, the United States and [DPRK]” must be able to “come together and have a meaningful discussion on these issues,” he said, adding that it is “important not to miss the opportunity of a peaceful resolution through diplomatic engagement as a military solution would be a disaster with catastrophic consequences that we cannot even be able to imagine.”
The situation in the broader Middle East, which the UN chief said had become a “Gordian knot,” was also eroding global security, with that are crises that are “crossing each other and interconnected.”
Pointing to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya, among others, Mr. Guterres said the entire Middle East has “became a mess,” with varied and intersecting fault lines.
He warned of the absence of a common vision in the region and said that even if interests are contradictory, the threats these conflicts represent would justify some efforts to come together.
Turning to cyber-security, Mr. Guterres called for a serious discussion about the international legal framework in which cyberwars take place.
“I can guarantee that the United Nations would be ready to be a platform in which different actors could come together and discuss the way forward, to find the adequate approaches to make sure that we are able to deal with the problem of cybersecurity,” he said, noting that artificial intelligence provides “enormous potential for economic development, social development and for the well-being for all of us.”
The Secretary-General said that Governments and others have been unable to manage human mobility. He warned that this had created mistrust and doubts about globalism and multilateralism.
“This is a reason why,” he said, “we need to be able to unite, we need to be able to affirm that global problems can only be addressed with global solutions and that multilateralism is today more necessary than ever.”
Supporting tourism development in Africa through better measurement
In an effort to better measure tourism growth and development in Africa, UNWTO signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation for the Strengthening of the National Tourism Statistical System of Nigeria and the Development of a Tourism Satellite Account.
UNWTO is committed to developing tourism measurement for furthering knowledge of the sector, monitoring progress, evaluating impact, promoting results-focused management, and highlighting strategic issues for policy objectives.
On the occasion of the meeting between UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, and the Minister of Information and Culture of Nigeria, Mr. Lai Mohammed, the agreement to host the Sixty-First meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa and the Seminar on ‘Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development’ in Nigerian capital, Abuja, from 4 to 6 June 2018, was signed.
The meetings will be open to the participation of UNWTO Member States and Affiliate Members, as well as invited delegations and representatives of the tourism and related sectors. Officials of immigration departments, national statistics bureaus, central banks and other relevant stakeholders will be invited to join.
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