News in Brief 9 December 2016 (PM)

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Participants at the Internet Governance Forum; Photo:IGF

"Stubborn" digital divide exacerbates inequalities

A "stubborn" digital divide is exacerbating inequalities among countries and delegates attending the UN Internet Governance Forum are calling for it to be closed.

Particular attention was also paid to youth, gender and the technological gap that exists between developed and developing countries.

After four days of intense debates, recommendations were made to provide connectivity at affordable rates and raise people's awareness about the benefits of the internet.

On the forum's closing day, a lack of interest was cited as a serious obstacle to greater internet usage.

The lowest levels of Internet use are in sub-Saharan Africa with less than three per cent of the population online, in countries like Chad, Sierra Leone, Niger, Somalia and Eritrea.

Other issues tackled include human rights and freedom of expression online, multi-stakeholder cooperation and cybersecurity.

50 million jobs needed to ensure essential health care

Some 50 million jobs are needed to ensure essential health care, particularly with respect to highly infectious diseases like Ebola, a new UN study has found.

The report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) provides new data on the employment effects of so-called health economies, in 185 countries.

It takes an "unprecedented" approach by including all workers in the wider economy contributing to the delivery of healthcare and services in global health supply chains.

The data also shows how a large invisible workforce of 57 million unpaid workers fills in for the huge shortages of skilled health workers.

Most of them are women who gave up employment to provide care, for example to older family members.

Environmental crime threatening peace, security in countries

More than 80 per cent of countries view environmental crimes as a "national priority" and the majority believe it presents a threat to peace and security.

That's according to a new report conducted by researchers working for INTERPOL and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

According to the report, global environmental crimes amount to some $91billion to $258 billion annually and are frequently bound to other criminal activities.

For example, terrorist groups and other criminal networks fund their activities through the exploitation of resources in conflict zones.

The report estimates that at least 40 per cent of internal conflicts are linked to the exploitation of natural resources.

Elsewhere, criminal groups take advantage of poverty-stricken communities, creating incentives for people to resort to illegal poaching, logging, fishing, or mining.

Priyanka Shankar, United Nations.

Duration:3’02″

 

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