Striving for a Safe and Secure Internet: Recent recommendations to protect the digital environment

The development of information and communications technologies (ICT) facilitated all three pillars of the United Nations’ work – peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development. The internet facilitated developmental progress by expanding opportunities for cooperation, even despite the global pandemic. 

However, the rapid growth of digital technologies around the world is creating new possibilities for conflict. The Security Council held its first-ever open debate on maintaining cybersecurity on Jun 29. Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, noted the rising number of malicious digital activities in recent years.

Existing and Emerging Threats

A number of states are developing ICT capacities for military purposes. Adoption of such offensive postures for the hostile use of technologies undermines trust, and might eventually result in unintended armed response and escalation. 

On a civilian level, infrastructures nowadays rely heavily on ICT to provide essential services to the public, such as medical facilities, financial services, energy, water, transportation, and sanitation. Malicious ICT activities against critical infrastructure and critical information infrastructures hamper the livelihoods and well-being of individuals. The lack of cybersecurity also hampers trust in public institutions.

No state, no individual is sheltered from these digital threats. Different sectors shall pool resources together and find a prompt solution to prevent online confrontations and attacks.

Effective Practices

The Open-ended working group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (OEWG) and the Group of Governmental Experts on Advancing responsible State behavior in cyberspace in the context of international security (GGE) published reports to affirm that international law and the Charter of the United Nations are applicable to maintaining peace and stability by promoting an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment. 

Concrete measures include confidence-building which enhances transparency to avoid misperception and misunderstandings and to reduce possible tensions. Regions, cross-regional and inter-organizational exchange of information are complementary to the work of the UN in promoting confidence-building measures. Another area was capacity-building, which improves the national ability to prevent or mitigate the impact of malicious ICT activities. As such, the UN assists member states to develop the skills, human resources, policies, and institutions to increase their resilience and security. Lastly, regular institutional dialogues are to be held to raise awareness and build trust. Regulatory efforts must be built on a multilateral platform to ensure uniform results. 

Current obstacles

Despite the need for international coordination against cyber threats, 75% of Africa’s population has insufficient or even no access to the internet at all. The international framework needs to be equitable and address the threats in underprivileged societies. The UN must leave no one behind and offer technical assistance to small developing countries. 

Cyber security is only possible when all stakeholders act collectively. Let us work together for safe and secure internet.

Written by: WIT-UN Intern Tracy Cheng


Creating and rolling out an effective cyber security strategy

A Rising Reign without Regulations: Responsible use of humanitarian data

Throughout the last two years, the pandemic has compelled humanitarians to rapidly meet evolving and growing needs of the population in a fast-changing landscape. Border restrictions and lockdowns have facilitated the development and use of new technologies and innovative techniques. Such technological advancements have fostered faster, more accessible and more effective humanitarian actions. 

On June 24, a High-Level Panel Discussion was held to discuss the use of new and emerging technologies and innovations in the collection of humanitarian data. Panelists shared the previous achievements in providing humanitarian aid with data collected. For instance, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) collaborated with Facebook to collect big data and identify the differentiated impacts to different groups of victims affected by the Australian bushfire. Providing such information to emergency managers significantly improved the response plan to future disasters. In general, collection of national demographic data allows humanitarian assistance to be more predictable and directed.

Responsible Data Usage

Despite the achievements, the use of big data analytics subjects beneficiaries to the risk of infringement of personal privacy. Humanitarian actors must preserve humanitarian principles and ensure responsible data usage.

Responsible data usage generally refers to a collective duty to prioritise and respond to the ethical, legal, social and privacy-related challenges that come from using data in new and different ways in advocacy and social change. It includes three principles: (a) provision of transparent and reader-friendly data policies while obtaining prior consent, (b) protection from using personal data for unfair discrimination, and (c) respect to the expectations of the people affect by prohibiting third-party access to the data. Public trust, which comes from responsible and ethical data usage, is a cornerstone for further digital innovation.

The main threat to responsible data usage is often monetary motives. Around the world, there have been little restrictions on sale and purchase of personal data, in addition to the legal defence of ‘consent’ even if regulations prohibit it. In fact, an estimate of over US$ 19 billion was spent by American companies alone in 2018 in acquiring consumer data, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. In the context of humanitarian assistance, this creates a novel form of corruption.

Next Steps Forward

Data coordination is currently an unchartered territory. The United Nations called for systematization of the guidance, framework and best practices on data responsibility to ensure a minimum common standard imposed across all stakeholders. A holistic approach to accountability must be adhered to by all humanitarians, not only UN organizations but also its local partners. 

Furthermore, the pace of technological advancement is nearly always faster than that of legislation and policy development. Enforcement of established rules and regulations may not be sufficient to eliminate unethical use or sale of data. Humanitarians and data-handlers must be trained to exercise their independent judgment to ensure responsible data usage at root. Authorities must also strengthen the incentives for better practices.

Writer: WIT Intern Tracy Cheng


14th session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Mr. Binota Moy Dhamai, as the opening speaker, set the scene for the meeting. On one hand, he indicated that the right of self-determination is a foundational right, without which indigenous peoples’ human rights, both collective and individual, cannot be fully enjoyed. The right of self-determination as recognized in article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Draft report on achieving the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with a focus on self-determination explained how indigenous people exercise, defend, and support the right of self-determination in local, regional, and international contexts. The importance of revitalizing the indigenous language and other cultural practices was emphasized, which was further illustrated by other speakers. Nonetheless, challenges in achieving self-determination lie in the lack of constitutional recognition of the indigenous people. The Expert Mechanism reports called upon states to recognize the land, participation, and consultation of indigenous peoples.

On the other hand, the Draft study and advice on the Rights of the Indigenous Child under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples took a human and children’s rights-based approach to tackle existing gaps in areas such as education and child welfare. The Draft study examined the current legal framework. Speakers further discussed the status of the exercise of the rights of indigenous children worldwide, which includes non-discrimination, the right to be heard, the right to life, the right to education, the right to health, the socio-economic rights, cultural and language rights, access to justice and interactions with child justice systems. They agree in general that states should take the necessary measures to protect indigenous children, particularly girls.

Date/Location: Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021 and the meeting was held virtually.

Speakers: Binota Moy Dhamai, Member Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Ambassador Sally Mansfield, Permanent Mission of Australia, Geneva; Group of Indigenous Children of Bangladesh, Child Participant (Supported by Save the Children); Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF Youth) Priscilla, (youth); New Zealand, Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Children) Charlotte Beaglehole, General Manager Policy; Dujuan, Aboriginal Youth, Australia (youth) (Video); UNICEF, East Asia and Pacific Region, Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Child Protection Specialist; Maleya Youth Group; Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Network on Climate Change and Biodiversity (BIPNet) and Maleya Foundation Jami (youth); Hannah McGlade, Member, UN Member Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; New Zealand Human Rights Commission (Item 3) Tricia Keelan, Deputy Chief Executive; Bangladesh Indigenous Youth Forum, Toni Chiran, Organizing Secretary; Ton Kla Indigenous Children and Youth Network, Pinsuda (youth), Vice President; Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus, Cleopatra Tripura; Whareroa marae, and the Ngāti Kuku Māori peoples (of Tauranga, Aotearoa New Zealand), Joel Ngātuere; Bangladesh Jatiya Hajong Sangathan, Mita Hajong; Indonesia, Anindityo Primasto, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia, Geneva; Inter State Adivasi Coordination Committee (ISACC), India, Elina Horo; New Zealand, Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Maori Development), Geoff Short, Deputy Secretary Policy Partnerships; Yingiya Guyula, Member of Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, Australia; Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples/Aotearoa Independent Monitoring Mechanism, Tina Ngata; Nineveh Center for Minority Rights; Indigenous Peoples Organisation (IPO) Australia, Cathy Eatock; Hawai’ Institute for Human Rights, Joshua Cooper; New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), Anne Dennis Chairperson; National Native Title Council -Australia, Kado Muir, Chair and Ngalia Leader; West Papua Interest Association, Ronald Waromi; Indigenous Peoples Organization (IPO) Australia, Virginia Marshall, Executive Board Member; New Zealand Human Rights Commission (Item 8), Tricia Keelan, Deputy Chief Executive; Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus, Gam A. Shimray; Whareroa marae, and the Ngāti Kuku Māori peoples (of Tauranga, Aotearoa New Zealand), Awhina Ngātuere; Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), Abdi Akbar; TAKAD (Taskforce Against Kaiduan Dam), Diana Sipail; Megan Davis, Vice Chair, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Written by: WIT-UN Intern Tracy Cheng

Informal plenary consultation on the review of the functioning of the Resident Coordinator system

The Resident Coordinator (RC) system is a reform adopted 4 years ago. It is an independent, empowered, and impartial system aimed at improving leadership and coordination in program countries.

Mr. António Guterres, General Secretary of the United Nations (UN), was pleased to report the achievements of the RC system. Immediate objectives were met as the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) came in line with national priorities and agency mandates. Significant improvement in transparency and accountability from country to global levels was also seen. As such, program states responded more effectively to cross-border challenges and rendered greater support for sustainable development goals.

Despite the early success, Mr. Guterres recommended introduced some areas of improvement, including effective allocation of the skillset of RC tailored for the local setting, acquisition of the right tools to make a transformation with partnerships, especially financial institutions, and provision of unique and adequate incentives to prompt reforms at scale. Mr. Guterres further called upon the General Assembly to reinforce the dual accountability function to enhance transparency and facilitate mutual information exchange.

The key challenge faced by the RC system is that the current hybrid funding model has failed to provide an adequate and predictable level of resources. UNDP cannot continue its programs without additional funds. Mr. Guterres proposed that every member state shall contribute no less than 1.5% of assessment to the UN system. He suggested pooling capital from the Regular Budget of the UN or, alternatively, imposing a 1% levy on tightly earmarked funding.

Member states recognized unanimously that the RC system had brought about crucial improvement in coordinating the pursuit of SDG sustainable development goals. With regards to the proposed increase in financial contribution, formal consultation will be held in due course.

Date/Location: Monday, Jun 7, 2021, 3:00-4:30PM and the meeting was held virtually.

Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Mr. Movses Abelian, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management [Moderator]; Representatives of Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Denmark, Eritrea, France, Guinea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Tajikistan, Russian Federation

Written by: WIT-UN Intern Tracy Cheng

A Call for the Collapse of Colonialism: Decolonization in a nutshell

Earlier this month (June 14), a Special Committee meeting was convened virtually to discuss the longstanding issue of decolonization, particularly the question of Gibraltar, Tokelau, and West Sahara. Decolonization appears to be a global trend, yet it continues to bring heated debates onto the international platform. Here is a simple overview of the contemporary view of decolonization.

Colonialism and its Impacts

Modern colonialism emerged in the 15th century when the New World became subjected to Spanish, French, Portugese, and Dutch colonial rule. Colonialism was at its peak before World War I and colonial rivalries contributed significantly to the outbreak of the war. The largest wave of decolonization in history was achieved after the Second World War pursuant to the right to self determination, which was embodied in Article I of the United Nations Charter.

It is widely known that the control by one power over a dependent area or people brings about coercion and forced assimilation. Human rights violations are prevalent. Additionally, colonial powers exploited natural resources of colonies and caused environmental degradation. Indigenous cultural development has been undoubtedly hindered with ethnic suppression. However, one must not shed light only on the downside of the story.

Colonial governments often invested in infrastructure and trade in the local territory, which laid a solid foundation for their future economic growth. To facilitate modernization and suit the needs of the governing countries, access to education was improved and literacy was encouraged. Medical and technological knowledge was also disseminated. We shall not disregard the positive effects of colonialism entirely, but allow a step-by-step decolonization process to ensure smooth transition. We must act responsibly and make sure dependent territories can stand on their own before independence.

Decolonization Today

Today, less than 2 million people live under colonial rule in 17 non-self-governing territories. Among them, diverse attitudes towards administering countries are exhibited. At the Special Committee meeting, Gibraltar and Tokelau both showed appreciation to the developmental support given by their respective administrators, the United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand. 

However, petitioners from Western Sahara illustrated their disapproval of the Moroccan administration. The human rights of the people in refugee camps are threatened. For instance, underaged detainees have been subjected to indoctrination, forced to attend military training, and sent overseas. Some member states showed support to the petitioners while some stood with Morocco and its autonomy to settle its own territorial dispute.

The contemporary obstacle to decolonization must be tackled at its root cause. The international community shall continue to strive to eliminate colonialism with a realistic, practicable, and enduring political solution based on compromise.

Written by: WIT-UN Intern Tracy Cheng


Smart Home to Smart City – Technology for Ageing


As a side event for the 58th Session of the Commission on Social Development, experts gathered together to demonstrate the challenging and innovative solutions from the best practices under the name of “Smart Home to Smart City – Technology for Ageing”.

Prof. Naoko Iwasaki, Waseda University APEC Director on Smart Silver Innovation, suggested that DX technologies will be the key to solve the issues on the damages of loneliness, mobility, jobless, and disasters in the ageing society, and UN should be leader to strengthen and develop capacity building on ‘Smart City’ and for a new framework for Smart Home project to increase citizen’s Quality of Life (QoL) under SDGs.

Dr. Wantanee Phantachat, Executive Director, Research center for Assistive technology and medical devices, National Science and Technology Development Agency, illustrated inclusive care model at community level using ICT. The model was successful in collecting health data, promoting primary care and preventive care, and promoting health literacy recognition among Thai people.

Prof. J.P. Auffret, George Mason University, President International Academy of CIO, demonstrated about the successful usage of AI on health caring. Dr. Stephen Ezell, YP, Vice President of Information and Technology Innovation Foundation, also emphasized on the need to adopt telehealth facilitating remote care provision and to use digital technology to help address social isolation. The experts voiced together on the need of policy consideration and engagement of seniors in developing products.


Meeting: The 58th UNCSocD Side Event: Smart Home to Smart City – Technology for Ageing

Date/Location: Friday 14th February 2020; 15:00 to 18:00; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY


Prof. Toshio Obi, Waseda University, Ex-chair OECD Digital Ageing Project

Mr. Toshiya Hoshino, Ambassador of Japan to the United Nation

Prof. Naoko Iwasaki, Waseda University APEC Director on Smart Silver Innovation (Japan)

Prof. Alexander Ryzhov, RANEPA (Russia)

Dr. Wantanee Phantachat, Executive Director, Research center for Assistive technology and medical devices, National Science and Technology Development Agency (Thailand)

Prof. Theng Yin Leng, Nanyang Technology University (Singapore)

Dr. Stephen Ezell, YP, Vice President of Information and Technology Innovation Foundation (USA)

Prof. J.P. Auffret, George Mason University, President International Academy of CIO (USA)

Mr. Akihiko Sasaki, Director, North-American Center of NICT, MIC (Japan)

Written by WIT Representative Hakeoung Ellen Lee

CSocD58-IFFD Briefing: Our Frist Home Adequate Housing

Source :

    This meeting was convened to discuss about Frist home adequate housing and the specific topic was Evidence – based Policy Recommendations Supporting Family Formation and Adequate Housing.

    Professor Stern of Business School Cabral Stressed that the right to housing is interdependent with other socio-economic human rights. Mr. Cabral said Good neighborhoods nurture success a key point and talked about the importance of relationship between lower-poverty neighborhoods and higher-poverty neighborhoods.

    Ms. Ferrari stressed about How to make policy. She said housing policy should be supported through fundraising and that the UN should provide guidelines on public relations and social welfare. And also, she stressed house condition for young people such as share houses and rental houses.

    Mr. Luiz emphasized the role of local government, focusing on the problems of the cities. Over all, many speakers stressed about the role of government and organization and demanded immediate response from them.

Meeting : CSocD58-IFFD Briefing: Our Frist Home Adequate Housing

Date/Location : Tuesday 13th February 2020, 13:15 to 14:30, Conferenceroom12, United Nations Headquarter, New York, NY

Speakers :

Mr. Mario Armella – World President of the International Federation for Family Development

Mr. Azril Abd Aziz – Minister Counselor, Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the Untied Nations

Luis M. B. Cabral – Stern School of Business of New York University

Mr. lgnacio Socias – Director of International Relations at IFFD

Ms. Francesca de Ferrari – Programme Management Officer at UN-Habitat, New York

Mr. Luiz Alvaro Sales Aguiar de Menezes – Secretary for International Affairs at the Municipality of Sao Paulo

Written by : WIT Representative, Sungyeon You

2020 United Nations Public Service Forum and Awards : “Action Today, Impact Tomorrow”


The United Nations Public Service Forum is organized annually by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs to mark United Nations Public Service Day (23 June). Recognized for its leading role in public service innovation and digital government, the Republic of Korea will host the 2020 United Nations Public Service Forum from 23 to 26 June in Busan. 

Under the theme of “Action Today, Impact Tomorrow: Innovating and Transforming Public Services and Institutions to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals”, the event draws together ministers, government officials, international and regional organizations, schools of public administration, the private sector and civil society to present and discuss initiatives and best practices in public administration. It aims to further promote transformative governance and innovative public administration and services in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Dr. In-jae Lee, Deputy Minister of the Interior and Safety of the Republic of Korea, announced roughly 1,500 participants from more than 100 countries, including high-level officials, are expected to attend the Forum. The Forum includes following: High Level Opening and Keynote Addresses, Plenary Panel on ‘Action Today, Impact Tomorrow’, Plenary Panel on ‘Global and Regional Trends in Digital Government’, 6 Capacity Development Workshops, Ministerial Roundtable, UNPSA Awards Ceremony, Launch of UN E-Government Survey, Exhibition of the 2020 UNPSA Winning Initiatives, Study Tour Organized by the Government of the Republic of Korea.

Meeting: Briefing on the 2020 United Nations Public Service Forum and Awards (organized by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea) 

Date/Location: Tuesday 11th February 2020; 11:30 to 13:00; Conference Room 6, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY


Mr. Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs 

Dr. In-jae Lee, Deputy Minister of the Interior and Safety of the Republic of Korea

H.E. Mr. Yashar T.Aliyev, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations (UNPSF Host 2019; UNPSA Winner 2015) 

Ms. Elizabeth Niland, UNPSF coordinator, Governance and Public Administration Officer, Public Services Innovation Branch, Division of Public Institutions and Digital Government, UN DESA 

Ms. Zohra Khan, Global Policy Advisor, Governance and National Planning, UN Women (UNPSF co-organizer) 

Mr. Woong Joe Ko, Director for Plaaning and Operation, 2020 UNPSF Preparatory Office, Ministry of the Interior and Safety, Republic of Korea 

Mr. John-Mary Kauzya, Chief, Public Services Innovation Branch, Division of Public Institutions and Digital Government, UN DESA 

Written by WIT Representative Hakeoung Ellen Lee

People and Nature – Solutions to Accelerating Progress Towards the 2030 Agenda and Averting Planetary Catastrophe

Co-organised by Costa-Rica, the Delegation of the European Union with YouNGO, UNEP, WWF and UNDP, delegations and civil organizations convened to discuss solutions that can accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030. The meeting specifically called for collaborative climate action, where the balance between nature and humans can then be restored and sustained.

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Families, Education and Well-Being

This briefing was co-organized by the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) and the Department of Public Information Non-Governmental Organizations (DPI NGO) in observation of the International Day of Families on May 15th, 2017.

International day of families

World family organization

The speakers discussed the vital role of early childhood education in a child’s development and the role of parental education to ensure family well-being. In addition, the relation between corporate responsibility, work-family balance, and the global home index was depicted. Furthermore, the speakers conveyed the role of media within a child’s development and within the promotion of parental involvement.



Eduardo Garcia Rolland conveyed how the relationship between genes and the environment is closer than ever before. He expressed that within the first year of life, the brain grows at a pace of 700/1000 new neural connections per second. The plasticity of the brain is greatest within the first year of life. This stage is considered as the most important for a child’s development. Rolland discussed how 204 million children are not developmentally on track. He cited an increase in attendance to early childhood education as a way to augment a child’s development.

Patricia Debeljuh discussed how parents working long hours in a job that lacks flexibility can cause damage to the quality of their life. She expressed the necessity of families for the maintenance of sustainable societies.  Diego Barroso depicted how parenting education is highly effective. He cited the importance of legislative support for families. Following this, Michael Robb discussed how media can impact the development of a child. Background television was cited as an issue which can have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of the interaction between a parent and a child.

Meeting: Briefing entitled “Families, Education and Well-Being”

Date/ Location: Thursday, May 18, 2017; 11:00-12:45; Conference Room 4
Speakers: Esuna Dugarova, Policy Specialist, UNDP; Eduardo Garcia Rolland, Early Childhood Development ECD-Specialist, UNICEF; Patricia Debeljuh, IAE Business School, Austral University; Diego Barroso, Director of Family Enrichment Courses. Coordination and Expansion, International Federation for Family Development; Michael Robb, Director of Research, Common Sense Media
Written By: WIT Representative Donna Sunny