News in brief 26 April (PM)

26 April 2017

Innovation turns problems into progress, UN says on World IP Day

Innovation is making our lives healthier, safer, and more comfortable, turning problems into progress, the UN said on World Intellectual Property Day.

The Day is observed annually to learn about the role intellectual property rights or IP rights, such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyright, play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

Speaking at the Geneva-based headquarters of the UN global forum for intellectual property services, WIPO, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised the agency for helping people cope with challenges that come with new technologies and shifting labour markets.

WIPO also helps resolve IP disputes and is currently developing an international legal IP framework in line with society’s needs.

This year’s campaign also celebrates “risk takers and future shapers” who develop new technology, products or services that make the world better, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said.

“We don’t think sufficiently about the improvements in the quality of our life that is brought about by innovation. One only has to compare the way in which we live today to the way we lived 100 years ago and we see an extraordinary transformation in the quality of our material life as a consequence of the new... the introduction of new things.”

Innovation continues to make a significant contribution to economic growth and creates opportunities for new and better jobs, he noted.

UN officials condemns destruction of hospitals in northern Syria

Two senior UN officials in Syria have condemned the damage and destruction of medical facilities in the northern part of the country.

On Tuesday, a hospital in Kafr Takharim was reportedly hit by airstrikes, putting it out of service. Three days earlier, an underground field hospital in Abdin town in Idlib governorate was shelled, killing four civilians.

Four other airstrikes impacting medical facilities were reported in April alone.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric has more.

“The Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Ali al-Za’atari, and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syrian Crisis, Kevin Kennedy, issued a joint statement today on the appalling damage and destruction of medical facilities in northern Syria which is depriving hundreds and thousands of people of basic services.”

Mr. al-Za’atari and Mr. Kennedy called on the parties to the conflict to comply with international law by protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure such as hospitals.

Indigenous peoples’ role in tackling climate highlighted at UN

A new report highlighting the role of indigenous peoples in tackling climate change has been launched by two UN agencies.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) made the announcement on Wednesday, on the margins of the 16th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The report shows the vulnerability of indigenous peoples to the effects of climate change while calling to attention their use of traditional knowledge and unique occupations to help mitigate and adapt to the effects of the changing weather.

Indigenous peoples make up five per cent of the world’s population, but take care of an estimated 22 per cent of the Earth’s surface and protect 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity, the report found.

ILO and UNISDR also make recommendations on how to create opportunities for indigenous persons so they can have access to decent work, and thrive as innovators and contribute to policies to address climate change.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3'37''


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