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ASEC hosts forum on education for its partners

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The ASEAN Secretariat hosted the ASEAN Partners’ Mini Forum on Education on 17 November to update ASEAN Dialogue Partners and other partners on the current status, achievements and opportunities on ASEAN education cooperation.

The event offered a rare opportunity of a dialogue between education practitioners from ASEAN Member States and representatives from the ASEAN Dialogue Partners and invited international organisations.

The Mini Forum focused on how education and its sub-sectors synergise with other ASEAN pillars and sectors to create a more holistic action in support of overall purpose of the ASEAN Community.  The dialogue identified converging points between priorities of ASEAN and ASEAN Dialogue Partners on issues such as inclusive education, vocational and skills training, internationalization of higher education, teachers’ competencies, and ASEAN awareness through education.

Representatives from the Republic of Korea (ROK), Switzerland and Norway shared their priority areas of support to ASEAN.  Specifically, ROK has expressed interest to support a proposal on ASEAN statistical capacity enhancement for basic inclusive education. Responding to emerging needs for teachers’ development, the Teachers Association of the Republic of Indonesia proposed for ASEAN to convene discussions on common teacher standards in ASEAN. Many ASEAN Dialogue Partners expressed appreciation and found value in a dialogue such as this to keep everyone abreast on the work of ASEAN sectors especially education.

Participants include education specialists from ASEAN, representatives from ASEAN Dialogue Partners, ASEAN entities and UN agencies.

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Africa Today

Nigeria becomes the first country in Africa to roll out Digital Currency

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The Central Bank of Nigeria joined a growing list of emerging markets betting on digital money to cut transaction costs and boost participation in the formal financial system.

“Nigeria has become the first country in Africa, and one of the first in the world to introduce a digital currency to her citizens,” President Muhammadu Buhari said in televised speech at the launch in Abuja, the capital. “The adoption of the central bank digital currency and its underlying technology, called blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s gross domestic product by $29 billion over the next 10 years.”

The International Monetary Fund projects GDP for Africa’s largest economy to be $480 billion in 2021.

The issuance of the digital currency, called the eNaira, comes after the central bank earlier in February outlawed banks and financial institutions from transacting or operating in cryptocurrencies as they posed a threat to the financial system.

Since the launch of the eNaira platform, it’s received more than 2.5 million daily visits, with 33 banks integrated on the platform, 500 million c ($1.2 million) successfully minted and more than 2,000 customers onboarded, central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said at the launch.

Central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, are national currency — unlike their crypto counterparts, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are prized, in part, because they are not tied to fiat currency. The eNaira will complement the physical naira, which has weakened 5.6% this year despite the central bank’s efforts to stabilize the currency.

“The eNaira and the physical naira will have the same value and will always exchange at one naira to one eNaira,” Emefiele said.

The digital currency is expected to boost cross-border trade and financial inclusion, make transactions more efficient as well as improve monetary policy, according to the central bank.

“Alongside digital innovations, CBDCs can foster economic growth through better economic activities, increase remittances, improve financial inclusion and make monetary policy more effective,” Buhari said. Digital money can also “help move many more people and businesses from the informal into the formal sector, thereby increasing the tax base of the country,” he said.

The Central Bank of Nigeria in August selected Bitt Inc. as a technical partner to help create the currency that was initially due to be introduced on Oct. 1.

Nigeria joins the Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in being among the first jurisdictions in the world to roll out national digital currencies. China launched a pilot version of its “digital renminbi” earlier this year. In Africa, nations from Ghana to South Africa are testing digital forms of their legal tender to allow for faster and cheaper money transactions, without losing control over their monetary systems.

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Development

Multilateralism ‘struggling’ to solve world challenges

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While multilateralism remains “committed to solving global challenges”, the deputy UN chief said on Sunday, United Nations Day, it is “struggling to find the path to effective implementation”.

“In the space of six months of the COVID-19 crisis, cooperation among the world’s top scientists had developed vaccines and multilateralism had delivered a vehicle to ensure their distribution across the world – the COVAX facility”, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said at Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“And yet today, we are still struggling to get the resources and cooperation required to ensure vaccine equity and to muster up a recovery that would put us on a better path”.

‘More to give’

In 2015, the landmark Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were established to deal decisively with the climate crisis and end poverty by 2030.

Yet, there have since been struggles to “translate global commitments and the goodwill of a host of stakeholders into national actions and international finance commensurate with the challenge”, explained the deputy UN chief.

And although the world has the tools, knowledge and forums to prevent conflict, it continues as the planet experiences “the largest humanitarian crisis since the beginning of the second world war”, she added.

“This points to an international order that is not yet capable of following through on its own best intentions”, said Ms. Mohammed. “International cooperation and the United Nations have come a long way, but we have so much more to give”.

Living the goals

With 192 nations represented, the deputy UN chief described the Expo is “an auspicious occasion” to mark 76 years of multilateralism, guided by the founding UN Charter.

“The focus of Expo 2020 on sustainability and connecting minds to change the future is at the heart of…Our Common Agenda…vision for ensuring that multilateralism ensures that we – as one human family – breakthrough together”, said the UN official.

Against the backdrop of a global crisis of confidence, trust and collective action, she upheld the need for more effective multilateralism, renewed social contract, deepened solidarity, and stronger investments in youth – with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its core.

It is only through inclusion that we can renew our social contract and rebuild trust. And inclusion can only be achieved if we place our youth and women at the centre of the equation”, Ms. Mohammed spelled out.

UN works toward ‘decisive breakthrough’

As the UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow fast approaches, the world “must do better” at ensuring both women and young people are shaping “the critical decisions we need to make as a global society”, argued the UN official.

“What gives me immense hope is that UN staff right across the world are dedicated to nothing more and nothing less than securing that decisive breakthrough”, she stated.

From troubled corners like Afghanistan or Ethiopia to the world of diplomacy, common ground and solutions in New York or Geneva and from teams on the ground in Small Island States to UN Country Teams around the world, UN staff is working hard to achieve the Organization’s aspirations.

And sustainability is not only a common theme in all pavilions but the SDGs are incorporated in many of the Expo’s presentations and exhibits.

“Let us mark this day in full knowledge of the fact that the United Nations is not some abstract international organization but the will and commitment of the nations and peoples of the world to secure a better future”, said the Deputy Secretary-General.

“And let us capitalize on the powerful opportunity Expo offers us to unite in solidarity to end poverty, protect the planet, secure peace and improve the lives of everyone, everywhere in this critical Decade of Action”, she concluded.

Work together for peace

The Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra also performing a special “Hymn to the United Nations”, which was composed 50 years ago by legendary cellist, composer and conductor Pablo Casals to commemorate the UN’s work on 24 October 1971.

“Our presence at Expo 2020 offers the opportunity to build awareness about and support for the SDGs, the importance of individual actions, solidarity, hope and engagement”, said Maher Nasser, Commissioner-General of the UN at Expo 2020.

“To build a world in which everyone thrives in peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet, we need to work together”.

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Tech News

Do You Really Need Name-Brand Cartridges?

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Cartridges from printer manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard are notoriously expensive.  Considering the price of their basic equipment, ink may cost almost as much as the machines. This economic model has been raising eyebrows for many years.  Customers are looking for affordable alternatives, and this global demand is met by the generic cartridge industry. Discovered the best ways to buy inkjet cartridges in Canada.

In recent years, the market for alternative replacements has evolved a lot. You can get excellent quality of printing, free shipping and extended warranties from stores like Smart Ink. For example, the HP 950 ink you can buy at this shop costs under $28, while the full pack from the manufacturer costs well over $100. Here is how to choose the best cheaper replacement for your inkjet cartridge whatever the brand.

How to Save Money

Consumers can slash their expenses if they purchase original products from independent brands or recycled OEM cartridges. Both options offer substantial savings, particularly in the long run. The best providers comply with international quality standards, which guarantees trouble-free printing (CE, ISO 9001, ISO 14000, Reach, STMC). Here is how these types of products compare.

1.      Remanufacturing

Original cartridges may be recycled. This process is known as remanufacturing, and it is based on the reuse of the original shell and internal components (with selective replacements if necessary). Essentially, used cartridges are emptied, thoroughly cleaned and filled with fresh ink, so they can be installed again.

This is the most sustainable method, as it reduces waste. Instead of buying a brand-new cartridge every time you need ink, you get a recycled product. Previously, consumers would take their old products to service providers at physical locations. Today, it is much easier to purchase these products online with free shipping, a money-back guarantee, and other benefits.

2.      Compatible Products

Since the first compatible cartridges emerged, printer manufacturers have tried to prohibit them. Fortunately for consumers, their lawsuits have failed. Products from third-party brands are legal, and they are also much more affordable than the OEM supplies. Both the cartridges and the ink come from the same companies. These products are designed for particular models of printers.

The equipment manufacturers may issue firmware updates preventing the machines from recognizing non-original ink. This restriction is easy to circumvent — just turn off the updates and use any supplies you like. When shopping around, pay attention to the following:

  • Certified quality (compliance with standards listed above)
  • Positive reputation of the store
  • A money-back guarantee
  • Updated chips
  • XL volume
  • Free shipping
  • Sustainable production
  • Reliable packaging

Printer Economics

Popular printer manufacturers sell affordable equipment with expensive consumable supplies. This lets them attract new buyers and profit from the ink for years. However, savvy customers know better than to follow their recommendations. Generic cartridges and remanufactured products offer great value for money — just do a bit of research to find trusted stores in your area.

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