September 2021 – The COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate pre-existing problems such as food insecurity, economic inequality, and the digital divide, disrupting economies on a global scale with no end in sight.
In response to these pressing global challenges, UNITAR is working with its growing number of development partners to enhance the capacities of national officials to address the pandemic’s impact.
Bridging Inequality Through Financial Inclusion
UNITAR and the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) are offering accredited and affordable education on financial inclusion through a new global learning platform. The partnership hopes to work with an alliance of academic institutions to democratize education and bring more learning opportunities to a greater number of people around the world.
Women leaders and change agents from marginalized communities will be prioritized. While the initial focus is on Africa and the Middle East, we aim to eventually expand the offerings to a global scale. Calls for applications will be periodically issued through our platform. Scholarships will be available, and we encourage women applicants to apply.
Addressing Resilience Through Food Security
UNITAR’s partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in training government officials on food security has gone from strength to strength. Our courses bring together like-minded officials from government ministries across several countries to share common concerns and practical solutions, which shape their national policy discussions. The success of our unique methodology has established UNITAR and FAO as important providers of training on agriculture and international trade policy development across Africa, the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2020, three online courses were successfully delivered, despite the pandemic. Covering themes of trade and food security has generated tremendous interest across the English- and French-speaking countries in Africa as well as in Russian-speaking countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2021, the partnership continues to grow. We will be offering the trade and food security course to Arabic-speaking countries of the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region, and a new joint course on Agri-food Export Promotion Policy and Practical Tools is currently being rolled-out.
Addressing the Digital Divide
All sectors across the globe are experiencing digital transformation; it is intensifying the digital divide, considered the new face of inequality.
UNITAR launched the Digital Finance Initiative in early 2021 to address the growing need to understand the development opportunities brought about by digitalization as well as to address the impact of and vulnerabilities created by the digital divide. Upcoming courses on FinTech, blockchain, tackling the financial crime threat, and understanding the impact of digital finance on sustainable development will be launched in the last quarter of 2021.
One course to be launched shortly is Fintech: Financial Innovation, Transformation and Opportunities in the Digital Age, which will start on 13 September 2021. The training will cover financial innovations in mobile and internet banking and digital payment systems as well as the ways new technologies such as cryptocurrencies have changed the nature of the financial system.