Connect with us

Newsdesk

Outer space is driver for disaster risk management, sustainable development

MD Staff

Published

on

Space applications related to telecommunications and global navigation can play a vital role in supporting disaster risk reduction, response and recovery efforts, a senior United Nations official said today at the UN forum on space as a socio-economic driver for sustainable development under way in Dubai.

The High-Level Forum on Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development is being hosted by the UN and the United Arab Emirates in Dubai from 20 to 24 November. It is the first of three such gatherings that will be held through 2018 in order to raise awareness about the importance of outer space in promoting sustainable development as well as bringing together a range of international actors in order to coordinate peaceful cooperation.

In a conversation with the UN News Centre, Luc St-Pierre, chief of the UN’s Space Applications Section, spotlighted the ways in which space technology is galvanizing international cooperation and scientific progress. Mr. St-Pierre noted the importance of various space technologies, including satellite imagery, global navigation systems, and satellite communications, all of which are ultimately related to socio-economic development.

For example, space technology is instrumental in effective disaster management as well as in monitoring the effects of climate change. Following a hurricane or earthquake, satellite maps show the extent of damage and can help reduce the vulnerabilities that families experience in the wake of disaster or climate-related events.

“Satellite imagery can help monitor the changes, the evolution, the constraints, the risks that populations, infrastructure, and the environment face,” explained Mr. St-Pierre.

“By being better prepared, we can certainly reduce the vulnerability of families and the impacts of those disasters,” he added.

UN-SPIDER (Space-based information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response) enables the UN to use space technology in real-life humanitarian settings. The platform promotes the use of satellite data for emergency response and disaster management and develops partnerships and collaborations, particularly with developing countries.

In the case of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, UN-SPIDER gathered and supported information from a range of actors who were producing maps, statistics, and lists of contacts. The platform provided a one-stop-shop for responders so that they could easily access data while working on the ground to save lives.

“We are developing collaborations to make sure that the information is discoverable and accessible by governments so that they have the capacity to develop their own plans and response strategy. We do that specifically with developing countries,” said Mr. St-Pierre.

Space is important to sustainable development,” he emphasized, “because it is a set of tools that help countries plan to reach the goals they have committed to and also measure their progress.”

Continue Reading
Comments

Human Rights

ICJ orders Pakistan to review death penalty for Indian accused of spying

Newsroom

Published

on

In a ruling delivered on Wednesday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Pakistan to review a death sentence handed down in the case of a former Indian Navy officer accused by Pakistan of spying, finding that the country’s authorities acted in breach of the Vienna Convention, which lays out rules for diplomatic relations between countries.

Kulbhushan Jadhav, said the Court, had not been informed of his rights by the Pakistani authorities, and that the Indian Government has been deprived of “consular access”: the right to communicate with him.

During the hearings, the ICJ had directed Pakistan not to carry out the death sentence until the Court’s final ruling. On Wednesday, the Court ordered a “continued stay of execution”, as a “indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence”.

Mr. Jadhav was arrested three years ago by Pakistani authorities, who say that he was in the restive Balochistan province, which is home to a separatist insurgency that Pakistan accuses India of backing. The charges levelled against Mr. Jadhav were of “espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan”.

Although a video was released shortly after Mr. Jadhav’s arrest, in which he was shown admitting involvement in spying, India has always questioned the alleged confession, saying that it was extracted under duress. The Indian authorities also deny that Jadhav is a spy and say that he was kidnapped in Iran, which borders the province, which he was visiting on business.

Following Pakistan’s pronouncement of the death penalty, in April 2017, India filed a case with the ICJ, calling the trial, which took place in a military court, “farcical”, and asked for a stay of execution and consular access to Mr. Jadhav. Pakistan countered that Mr. Jadhav was not given consular access because he is a spy who illegally entered the country in order to create “unrest and instability”.

Continue Reading

Newsdesk

WEF on Africa to Focus on Inclusiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Newsroom

Published

on

The 28th World Economic Forum on Africa will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, on 4-6 September. The theme of the meeting is Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The meeting will be the first that the World Economic Forum has held in sub-Saharan Africa since 2017, when leaders from government, business and civil society from around the world gathered in Durban, South Africa.

This year’s meeting falls in a year when 20 elections will take place across the region, and nearly 100 days since South African President Cyril Ramaphosa took office. While progress has been made politically in sub-Saharan Africa, economic growth is also expected to accelerate modestly in 2019 from 3.1% in 2018 to an average of 3.6% in 2019, according to the World Bank.

Against this backdrop, the World Economic Forum on Africa will address a number of key issues facing the region’s inclusive development. These include:

· Supporting growth and integration through the African Continental Free Trade Area

· Creating high-quality employment opportunities and protecting workers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

· Employing drones to address health, infrastructure and other societal needs

· Using emerging technologies to advance healthcare and prepare for epidemics

· Implementing growth strategies that address environmental challenges and deliver industrialization

The Co-Chairs of the meeting are:

· Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer, The END Fund, USA

· Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom

· Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva

· André Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman, Roche, Switzerland

· Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman, A.T. Kearney, USA

· Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank, Nigeria

· Sipho M Pityana, Chairman, AngloGold Ashanti, South Africa

“Africa’s successful development depends on building the right conditions for its new generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. This means smart, agile institutions; an enabling environment for innovation that includes access to skills and capital; and a determined approach by policy-makers to level the playing field and implement policies that prioritize sustainable, inclusive growth over short-term imperatives,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of the Regional Agenda, Africa, and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.

Continue Reading

Newsdesk

Increasing Data Accessibility and Usability for Prosperous Nepal

Newsroom

Published

on

Over 75 Nepali professionals from the academia, media, and private and non-profit sectors successfully completed the first phase of the Nepal Data Literacy Program today.

The first of the three-phase data literacy program which began on 23 June provided 40 hours of classroom-based introductory lessons on data analysis, visualization and data-driven decision making and storytelling to participants.

An initiative of the World Bank’s ‘Partnership for Knowledge-based Poverty Reduction and Shared Prosperity Project’ supported by DFID, the Nepal Data Literacy Program aims to sustainably transfer data literacy skills to Nepali professionals to strengthen their capacity to proactively engage in evidence-based policy making, increase data literacy of Nepalis, and support federalism in the country.

“Data literacy is an essential skill in today’s data driven world, especially for Nepal as the country works towards implementing its development vision,” stated Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Manager for Nepal. “This presents a unique opportunity to build a consortium of data institutions from the public and private sectors and civil society to support evidence-based policymaking and innovations for the economic growth and wellbeing the people of Nepal.”

The curriculum developed through this course has been published in an open source format to be adapted and used to increase data literacy capacity for groups of diverse backgrounds. With the completion of the training, the participants are expected to provide data literacy training to their colleagues within their organizations while representatives from the academia are expected to incorporate concepts from the data literacy program in their existing courses.

“I have been impressed to see participants’ engagement at the program and to hear them voice their dedication toward engaging in evidence-based policy-making discourse. It was also really heartening to see the impact of the training on participants who came in quite nervous but went away much more confident in their ability to use data with new skills they had gained,” reflected Craig Irwin, Statistics Advisor, DFID UK in Nepal.

The next two subsequent phases of the program scheduled for July to September of 2019 will cover intermediate lessons and guide participants in writing contextual analysis papers and blog posts to get hands-on experience with data-driven storytelling and decision making.    

On the sidelines of the program, an interactive workshop on Open Government Data with officials from the Government of Nepal was also organized in Kathmandu on 26 June under this project in collaboration with the World Bank’s Public Financial Management Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The workshop discussed the importance of Open Government Data in accelerating government priorities and increasing access to government data in Nepal, together with ideas to pilot initiatives to increase quality use of government data in the country.

“Open Government Data has enormous potential in Nepal, and I look forward to partnering with the World Bank to make our data publicly available in a user-friendly way so everyone can benefit more from our data,” said Ramesh Siwakoti, Joint Financial Comptroller General.

Continue Reading

Latest

Economy2 hours ago

Iran travel sector: Ups and downs since U.S. reimposed sanctions

Last November, the Trump administration reinstated sanctions on Iran, mainly the ones that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear...

Hotels & Resorts4 hours ago

Unveiling Twenty Grosvenor Square: Four Seasons Private Residences

Finchatton, the renowned property development and design firm, in partnership with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world’s leading luxury...

Human Rights6 hours ago

ICJ orders Pakistan to review death penalty for Indian accused of spying

In a ruling delivered on Wednesday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Pakistan to review a death sentence handed...

Newsdesk8 hours ago

WEF on Africa to Focus on Inclusiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The 28th World Economic Forum on Africa will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, on 4-6 September. The theme...

Economy10 hours ago

Russia races for the African market

Russia plans to offer trade subsidies and investment guarantees as an emergency support for Russian companies to penetrate into African...

Reports12 hours ago

Asia and Pacific Growth Steady Amid Global Trade Tensions

Developing Asia will maintain strong but moderating growth over 2019 and 2020, as supportive domestic demand counteracts an environment of...

Newsdesk19 hours ago

Increasing Data Accessibility and Usability for Prosperous Nepal

Over 75 Nepali professionals from the academia, media, and private and non-profit sectors successfully completed the first phase of the...

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Modern Diplomacy