MIL-OSI Translation: UNRWA, Gaza, Artificial Intelligence… Monday’s News

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THOUSAND OSI Translation. Region: Spanish/Latin America/UN –

Source: United Nations – in English 4

Headline: UNRWA, Gaza, Artificial Intelligence… Monday’s News

Guterres appoints independent experts to audit UNRWA

The Secretary-General, in consultation with the UNRWA Commissioner-General, has appointed an independent working group to assess the agency’s neutrality for Palestinian refugees, to be led by former French Minister Catherine Colonna, whose report will be released in April.

The group, external to the UN, will assess whether UNRWA is “doing all it can to ensure neutrality and respond to allegations of serious violations when they arise.” Colonna will work with three research organizations: the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden, the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Norway and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

The group will submit an interim report to the Secretary General by the end of March 2024, with a final report expected to be completed by the end of April 2024 and made public.

This independent external review was announced by UNRWA’s Commissioner General on January 17, prior to reports of the alleged involvement of 12 UNRWA employees in the October 7 attacks. These serious allegations are being investigated in parallel by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). The cooperation of the Israeli authorities, who made these allegations, will be critical to the success of the investigation, Guterres said.

UNRWA convoy in Gaza hit by naval artillery fire

In Gaza, an UNRWA convoy waiting to deliver food to the north of the Strip has been hit by Israeli naval artillery fire.

“Although we send notifications about all aid convoys and coordinate all our movements, convoys are still under attack. Civilians and aid to civilians must be protected at all times,” said Philippe Lazzarini in X.

The World Food Program reported last Friday that it had also failed to reach northern Gaza for the third time in a week.

“We managed only four convoys in the month of January, that’s about 35 truckloads of food for almost 130,000 people,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP director for Palestine. “It’s really insufficient to prevent a famine and we know that hunger in Gaza is reaching that level now.”

More than 27,400 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza by Israeli attacks and more than 66,800 injured.

Eight tech giants reach agreement with UNESCO for more ethical Artificial Intelligence

© Unsplash/Steve Johnson

Eight major technology companies have reached an agreement with UNESCO to build a more ethical artificial intelligence.

The companies, GSMA, INNIT, Lenovo Group, LG AI Research, Mastercard, Microsoft, Salesforce and Telefónica, are committed to integrating the agency’s recommendations on the use of artificial intelligence.

“This partnership between the public and private sectors is fundamental to building AI for the common benefit,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

This is the first time that private companies have engaged with the United Nations in this area.

The agreement establishes that safety standards must be met, adverse effects of AI must be identified and timely measures must be taken to prevent, mitigate or remedy them, in accordance with national legislation.

Disruptions to maritime traffic can make food more expensive

UN News/Daniel Dickinson

The chief economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that disruptions to shipping traffic in the Red Sea and other key routes such as the Black Sea and the Panama Canal could push up the price of food.

The attacks in the Red Sea make insurance more expensive; moreover, to avoid them, some companies change the route of the ships to longer ones, which will imply a higher cost.

In the Black Sea, the war in Ukraine has paralyzed maritime traffic. In Panama, the problem is drought.

“As there is less water, the speed of moving those ships is reduced, because there is congestion. They cannot move the same amount or the same size of ships at the previous speed, and that increases costs because there is more delay, so it is a very big cost, and also alternatives are sought, such as moving part of the content in smaller ships or through other mechanisms, using trains, etc. So this affects mobility in a channel that is very active in moving, for example, all of South America’s production of grains and high-value products to other continents, especially Asia. So we have to be very attentive, every effort is being made, but it is important to take this into account because it is what has been happening for several months now”, explains Máximo Torero.

The main product that could be affected is oil and, among foodstuffs, rice.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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