20 April 2021, New York, USA – Mr. Nikhil Seth, Executive Director of UNITAR, is visiting New York to discuss strategic matters with officials from the United Nations. During his first day, he had a meeting with Mr. Abdel Abdellatif, Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation. The two discussed the cooperation between both offices through the Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) focusing on the use of maps, reports, and data from satellite images to assess the impact of flooding as the most frequent type of disaster. This initiative is to better support and provide technical assistance to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with the cooperation of the Government of India, South Africa, and possibly China.
Mr. Seth also mentioned the significant approach both offices can have to work on projects related to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Since 77% of all NCD deaths are in low and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization, the cooperation between the UN Office for South-South Cooperation and UNITAR can provide driving solutions to avoid unhealthy diets and the use of tobacco and alcohol at the time they promote solutions like physical activities, among others.
The meeting with Mr. Abdellatif aimed to discuss also projects with knowledge on climate change. Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) must be included in all types of initiatives and programmes to interact on the importance of this phenomenon. They agreed that follow-up conversations must be promoted between governments to assess the application of common practices to help avert climate change.
Mr. Seth will also take part in a UNITAR virtual conference on Digital Finance designated to raise the awareness of the essential role of creativity and innovation in harnessing the economic potential of nations and provide solutions to some of the most pressing problems. Accompanied by a message from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres that the Executive Director quoted that
the advances in technology and science have left no aspect of life untouched. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has been deeply transformative, connecting and networking the world in hitherto unimaginable ways, generating innovation and being a driver of progress for sustainable development.
In his official visit to New York, Mr. Seth is expected to also meet with the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Ms. Amina Mohammed, the Acting Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs of the United States of America Mission H.E. Mr. Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN H.E. Mrs. Valentine Rugwabiza, the Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union H.E. Mr. Silvio Gonzato, and a number of UN officials in charge of support and coordination for sustainable development, as well as for economic and social affairs. The next Geneva Lecture Series Edition to take place in second half of 2021 will be at the heart of discussions of Mr. Seth, given that it is organized and hosted by UNITAR.