Jul 14, 2020

UNRWA - Mobilizing collective action in a challenging world

Kayleigh Shooter
3 min
hands
We take a closer look at UNRWA, a relief and works agency who were featured in our April magazine...

 UNRWA is a UN agency created in December 1949 to support the relief and human development of Palestinian refugees. The UNRWA definition of “refugee” covers Palestinian who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Palestine War. UNRWA also provides assistance, but not refugee status, to those who fled or were expelled during and following the 1967 Six-Day War. They also apply refugee status to their patrilineal descendants. Originally intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, today UNRWA provides education, health care, and social services to the population it supports. 

UNRWA is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict and is separate from UNHCR.

UNRWA partners with businesses and foundations, ranging from small local tech companies to large multinationals; they tailor each partnership to make the best use of our partner's expertise and ensure mutual benefit. They also work closely with small community-based organizations and with international NGOs, drawing on their unique resources and strengths to deliver effective services for Palestine refugees.

The agency has recently signed an agreement with the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) that aims to enhance livelihood and human development opportunities for Palestine refugees in Gaza. The agreement will also enable the UNICC to benefit from the capabilities of UNRWA in the areas of ICT technical capacity augmentation, ICT end-to-end solution delivery, and ICT operation and maintenance support. 

Kaan Cetinturk, UNRWA CIO and Director of Information Management and Technology Department, on the partnership: “Through this joint project, young and skilled Palestine refugees will be able to contribute to the digital transformation of the UN in the IT domain without the restrictions of geographic borders.”

In addition, Mr Sameer Chauhan, Director of UNICC added: “This agreement will strengthen the UNICC capacity to deliver reliable ICT services driven by best practices. With its world-class technology and state-of-the-art infrastructure, together with the vast cross-domain experience of its very knowledgeable staff, ICC is always ready to offer UN-friendly shared solutions to United Nations organizations and international institutions with similar missions and value.”

It is well known that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a detrimental impact on the most vulnerable in our society. UNRWA are committed to not letting this happen to the Palestinian refugees. 

UNRWA has worked tirelessly throughout the outbreak and are holding a flash appeal. Japan recently contributed US$289,319 to UNRWA Jordan in response to the appeal. The contribution allows the Agency to address the emerging health needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Jordan and ensure the continuity of The Government of Japan is a dedicated donor to UNRWA, having supported the Agency since 1953. 

With the enduring support of donors like the Government of Japan, the Agency is able to provide vital services to Palestine refugees across the Middle East in the face of its continuing challenges with provision of essential health care services to Palestine refugees through 25 UNRWA health centres across the country. 

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Jun 11, 2021

G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve

G7
Sustainability
G7Summit
EU
3 min
Business Chief delves into what the G7 is and represents and what its 2021 summit hopes to achieve, in terms of sustainability and global trade

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration. 

 

Who are the G7?

The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like. 

The merry band comprises:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.

 

Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda. 

 

When was the ‘G’ formed?

Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s. 

 

Why does the G7 exist?

At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted. 

 

The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability. 

 

It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations. 

 

Where is the 2021 G7 summit?

This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall. 
 

What will be discussed this year? 

After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”

 

The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values. 

 

According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.” 

 

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