A record number of regional heads of state or government will participate in the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 11-13 September. The meeting will take place under the theme ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In all, eight ASEAN countries will be represented by their prime minister, president or state counsellor.
Among the registered heads of state or government are President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Philippines; newly elected Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia, meeting his regional peers for the first time on the international stage, and Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar, participating for the first time since the meeting took place in her home country in 2013. They and four more ASEAN government leaders will be hosted by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc of Viet Nam.
“We are honoured to be welcoming this record delegation of regional government leaders,” said Justin Wood, Head of Asia Pacific and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. “The ASEAN region is currently one of the world’s bright spots for economic growth, and their presence shows the commitment they have to ensure this remains the case as the Fourth Industrial Revolution expands in economic scope and impact, and the geopolitical environment around them changes rapidly.”
The full list of ASEAN heads of state or government who have confirmed their participation so far are:
- Cambodia: Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen
- Indonesia: President Joko Widodo
- Laos: Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith
- Malaysia: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad
- Myanmar: State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi
- Singapore: Prime Minister Lee Hsien-Loong
- The Philippines: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
- Viet Nam: Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc
They are joined by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, as well as several senior cabinet ministers from the Republic of Korea, Thailand and other countries.
More than 800 leaders from business, government, civil society and media will join these heads of state and senior ministers to discuss issues ranging from the region’s geopolitical friction points to entrepreneurship and employment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They will do so with the help of leaders of 100 early-stage start-ups, whose companies represent the dynamic nature of entrepreneurial spirit of ASEAN.
Issues to be discussed at the meeting include Asia’s New Balance of Power, Factory Asia’s Next Frontier, the Future of Jobs in ASEAN, Asia Economic Outlook, Accelerating the ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN Pluralism and Designing Cities 4.0. Topics surrounding the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles, blockchain, drones and fintech, will be highlighted. The meeting will also include workplace sessions on topics such as Sexual Harassment at Work, and Workplace 4.0.
The meeting Co-Chairs are Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Chief Executive Officer, Plan International, United Kingdom; Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia; Kang Kyung-Wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea; Nguyen Manh Hung, Acting Minister of Information and Communications of Viet Nam; Nazir Razak, Chairman, CIMB Group Holdings, Malaysia; and Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company, Hong Kong SAR.
EU-Egypt relations: Investing in socio-economic development and inclusive growth
The EU and Egypt undertook closer cooperation in many areas, notably on socio-economic development, scientific research, energy, migration, countering terrorism and regional issues.
The report on the partnership between the EU and Egypt for the period from June 2017 to May 2018 was issued today and highlights key developments in EU-Egypt cooperation with a particular focus on achieving the objectives set under the Partnership Priorities 2017-2020, adopted during the EU-Egypt Association Council in July 2017.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “Egypt, its stability and development are key to the European Union, its Member States and the entire region. That is why we signed our partnership priorities last year and reinforced our already strong engagement with and for the Egyptian people. We are determined to continue our work, together, to address all the challenges we have to face, for the sake of our citizens.”
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn added: “In the last year we stepped up our action to support Egypt reforming its economy, working for a sustainable and inclusive growth. For the EU it is imperative that the young generation, women and the most vulnerable members of the society are included in this process. The EU will continue to support Egypt tackling socio-economic challenges and will keep working together for the stability and prosperity of the region.”
During the reporting period, the EU’s commitment vis-à-vis Egypt was reaffirmed through regular political dialogues, bilateral visits by the EU and Egyptian sides and continued implementation of the EU’s financial assistance.
Egypt also continued to engage as regional player on key regional and international issues, notably in the perspective of its African Union presidency next year, such as the Middle East Peace Process, Syria, Libya, Africa, the situation in Gulf and the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.
Overall, the conclusions of the report show that the implementation of priority areas is well on track, with notable challenges remaining in particular in the field of the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and space for civil society. The next EU-Egypt Association Council that will be held in Brussels on 20 December will be the occasion to further discuss the EU-Egypt partnership for the months ahead.
The overall EU financial assistance commitments to Egypt amount to over €1,3 billion in grants. This amount mainly targets social development and jobs creation, infrastructure, renewable energy, water and sanitation/waste management, environment, but it also supports the improvement of governance, human rights, justice and public administration reform in Egypt.
Through the multiannual programme Facility for Inclusive Growth and Job Creation the EU supports the business enabling environment and promote economic reforms in favour of enterprises, including easier access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises. The EU is also promoting labour- intensive community services and public works as an effective and well-targeted social safety net. Via the EU programme Emergency Employment Investment Project (EEIP) completed in January 2018, more than 50,000 young people, many of them women, have acquired new skills and been given access to jobs. Nearly 10,000 of them have received specific support to get permanent jobs or start their own business.
A number of high-level visits and meetings contributed to enhance the partnership between the EU and Egypt in 2017-2018 and to discuss regional and international issues of concern. Those include meetings between Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk in September 2017; High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini’s meetings with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry in the margins of various international forums; the visit of Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, in October 2017, to reaffirm EU’s support to Egypt’s migration management inside and outside its borders with the signature of a €60 million programme under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa; the visit of Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, in April 2018 during which he signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on energy cooperation; and the launch by Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, in December 2017 of the EU-Egypt Migration Dialogue, aimed at improving bilateral cooperation and discussions on the overall topic of migration.
A further step in EU-Egypt cooperation includes the signing of an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation for Egypt’s participation in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) in October 2017.
70 years on, landmark UN human rights document as important as ever
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reaches its 70th anniversary on Monday, a chance to highlight the many important breakthroughs brought about by the landmark UN document, and to remind the world that the human rights of millions are still being violated on a daily basis.
Thanks to the Declaration, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted, untold human suffering prevented and the foundations for a most just world have been laid.
High Commissioner hails continued relevance of Declaration
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement released on Wednesday that the document has gone from being an “aspirational treatise” to a set of standards that has “permeated virtually every area of international law.”
The Declaration has shown itself to be as relevant today, as it has always been, and is applicable to situations and scenarios that could not have been foreseen at its inception, such as the need to govern artificial intelligence and the digital world, and to counter the effects of climate change on people.
Ms. Bachelet said the she remains convinced that the human rights ideal, laid down in the Declaration, has been one of the most constructive advances of ideas in human history, as well as one of the most successful.
The human rights chief pointed out that women played a prominent role in drafting the document: Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the drafting committee, and women from Denmark, Pakistan, the Communist bloc and other countries around the world also made crucial contributions. Consequently, the document is, for its time, remarkably free from sexist language, almost always referring to “everyone,” “all” or “no one” throughout its 30 Articles.
Human rights violations perpetrated ‘on a daily basis’
Celebrating the resilience of the human rights system, and the contributions of the Declaration to advancing human progress, peace and development, a team of independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, in a statement published on Friday, echoed Ms. Bachelet’s comments, noting that the “protection provided by the international human rights system has increased including by addressing new and emerging human rights issues and demonstrating its capacity to evolve and respond to people’s needs and expectations.”
However, the experts detailed some of the many violations of international law and human dignity that are perpetrated on a daily basis in many countries: “Recent memory is replete with multiple examples of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Impunity reigns supreme in many countries undergoing conflicts or political upheavals, encouraged by narrow national objectives, geopolitics and political impasse at the United Nations Security Council.”
They also said that the upsurge of nationalism and xenophobia seen in countries of asylum, at a time of rising forced-migration, is “reversing the gains of international humanitarian cooperation of the last 70 years.”
This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day.
In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, the UN is urging people everywhere to “Stand Up for Human Rights”: www.standup4humanrights.org.
Preparing teachers for the future we want
At its annual meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from 5-9 November, the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 adopted a declaration focused on ensuring that teacher issues stay at the centre of the global education agenda.
Through this declaration, the Teacher Task Force reinforces its vision that at the heart of the right to education is a highly valued, qualified, and well-trained teaching profession. It therefore recommends that:
International partners should intensify efforts to develop robust definitions and classifications of qualified and trained teachers and strengthen cooperation and reporting mechanisms to ensure full monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal target 4c.
Governments should ensure adequate financing for all public goods, including the teacher workforce, and this should be achieved primarily through domestic resource mobilization based on socially just fiscal policies, rigorous measures against corruption and illegal financial flows, efficient and effective teacher policies and deployment practices, developed with the full involvement of teachers and their organisations, and continued focus on external resource mobilization to complement domestic resources for countries.
Moreover, the dual focus of the Education 2030 agenda on equity and learning puts teachers at the heart of policy responses that should foster equal participation and learning globally. Teachers can be an impactful equalizing force to overcome unequal life chances from birth. The massive recruitment of new teachers, particularly in least develop countries, with little or no training is a real cause for concern.
The Teacher Task Force also expressed its concern over the fact that teacher education has not kept pace with preparing new teachers to face the rapid changes in globalization, migration, demographic change, and technological advances that will mark the future of education.
Furthermore, teacher education in this increasing complex world must be forward-looking and prepare teachers who are continuous learners themselves. It must enable teachers to think about the kind of education that is meaningful and relevant to young people’s needs in the different 21st century’s learning environment.
The Teacher Task Force acknowledges the ever-growing importance of Information and Communication Technologies in education. However, technology should be treated as a supportive tool for teachers and not a replacement. Teacher education should therefore empower teachers to use technologies to support learning within a holistic and human-centred educational framework.
The Teacher Task Force also called attention to the fact that teacher education needs to be seen as career-long education and special attention should be paid to the nature of teachers’ professional development, competency frameworks, curriculum development and professional learning communities/communities of practice. As teaching is a knowledge-based profession, teachers and trainers should be supported to continually update their knowledge base.
Through this declaration, the Teacher Task Force advocates for a teacher education that allows teachers to prepare learners to manage change and to be able to shape a just and equitable future, leaving no one behind.
This declaration reflects UNESCO’s belief that the right to education cannot be fulfilled without trained and qualified teachers. Teachers are one of the most influential factors to the improvement of learning outcomes and UNESCO has for long been an advocate of better training for teachers to ensure inclusive and quality education for all.
UNESCO, which is one of the founding members of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, has supported its work since its creation in 2008 and hosts the Teacher Task Force Secretariat.
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