UN Secretary-General Current Affairs

UN Secretary General sets up panel on digital cooperation to tackle cybersecurity threats

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres has established first-of-its-kind panel on digital cooperation aimed at addressing concerns of cybersecurity threats and rise in hate speech. The high-level panel on digital cooperation will be co-chaired by US philanthropist Melinda Gates and China-based Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Key Facts

The panel will have 20 members in total and include leaders from technology, public policy, science and academia etc. Senior Indian diplomat Amandeep Singh Gill along with former diplomat Jovan Kurbalija will be executive directors of panel’s secretariat. It will map trends in digital technologies, identify gaps and opportunities and outline proposals for strengthening international cooperation. It will focus on cyber-bullying, abuse rise, fake news, cyber crime and security aspects.

Background

Digital technologies are expanding rapidly and are changing economies and societies at warp speed. At the same time, world is only beginning to address its dark side– such as cybersecurity threats, risks of cyberwarfare  magnification of hate speech and violations of privacy. Global community is also facing uncertainness about security, equity, ethics, and human rights in digital age. Fake news, poisoning of data, electoral manipulation are concerns that have been highlighted by recent developments. So there is need to seize potential of technology while safeguarding against risks and unintended consequences.

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Antonio Guterres sworn in as UN Secretary General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres (67) was sworn in as the 9th UN Secretary-General.

He was administered the Oath of Office by Peter Thomson, President of UN General Assembly at special plenary meeting. He succeeds Ban Ki-moon and shall have five-year term beginning January 1, 2017.

Antonio Guterres was unanimously appointed by the UN General Assembly after the 15-nation UN Security Council had approved him in October 2016.

About Antonio Guterres

  • Antonio Guterres is Portuguese politician and diplomat. He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.
  • He had entered politics in 1976 during Portugal’s first democratic election after the “Carnation Revolution” which had ended five decades of dictatorship.
  • He was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from June 2005 to December 2015.
  • He led the UNHCR through during one of the world’s worst present refugee crises, including those in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

About Secretary-General of United Nations

The UN Secretary-General is the head of the United Nations Secretariat. He is de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN. The role Secretary-General has been mentioned in Chapter XV (Articles 97 to 101) of UN Charter. The post lasts for five years and is limited to a maximum of two terms.

Summary

The post of Secretary-General of United Nations is not as powerful, but he serves as the UN’s top diplomat and chief administrative officer. He has to run an unwieldy bureaucracy and manage the competing demands of the world’s big powers. His role is to step in both publicly and privately to prevent escalation of international disputes.

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