Monday’s Daily Brief: the future of food and digital tech, labour justice in focus, denuclearization, and Kosovo

©Veejay Villafranca/NOOR for FAO Digital technology being used to improve agricultural methods in the Philippines: Department of Agriculture experts, working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) using drones to gather visual data on recently damaged rice crops in Magalang town in Pampanga province.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


This Monday, top stories includes: a new report on risks and opportunities of digital technology; social justice for all at the centenary UN labour conference; updates on Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programmes; tackling today’s problems with food; and updates on the relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

UN makes ‘declaration of digital interdependence’, with release of tech report

The digital future must be safer and more inclusive, says a new tech report, “the Age of Digital Interdependence”, released on Monday by the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, almost a year after the Panel was launched by Secretary-General António Guterres.

The digital future must be safer and more inclusive, says a new tech report, “the Age of Digital Interdependence”, released on Monday by the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, almost a year after the Panel was launched by UN chief Guterres.

Find our full coverage of the report here.

The future of work ‘with social justice for all’ tops agenda of centenary UN Labour conference

The Centenary International Labour Conference got underway on Monday at the UN in Geneva, with ILO chief Guy Ryder, calling on hundreds of delegates from around the world to help “construct a future of work, with social justice for all”.

The Director-General of the International Labour Organization said that with the possible adoption of a landmark declaration looking to the future, at a time of transformative change, it was time “to tell the world that we have the confidence, the common purpose, the will and the means”, to continue making social justice a top priority.

Read our full story here.

Concern, as tensions rise over Iranian nuclear issue

The head of the UN atomic watchdog agency expressed his concern on Monday over “increasing tensions” surrounding the Iranian nuclear issue.

On 8 May, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council issued an order to stop some of the measures agreed under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal reached by Iran, China France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, told a regular board of governors meeting that the agreement was still “a significant gain for nuclear verification”, and as such, hoped “that ways can be found to reduce current tensions through dialogue”. It is essential that Iran fully implements its nuclear-related commitments under the nuclear deal, said the IAEA chief.

On North Korea, he said that using open source information and satellite imagery the Agency also continues to monitor the country’s nuclear programme. Mr. Amano assured IAEA’s readiness “to play an essential role” in verifying denuclearization if a political agreement among the countries concerned is reached. He called on the country “to comply fully with its obligations under Security Council resolutions”.

Future food systems centre stage at Rome symposium

The food systems of the future must deliver healthy and quality food for all, while preserving the environment, the UN agriculture chief said on Monday, kicking off an international Future of Food symposium in Rome.

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO), called for a transformation of food systems to improve people’s diets.

“We need to change our focus from producing more food to producing more healthy food,” he asserted.

Moreover, hunger is no longer the only major nutrition problem facing humanity. Currently over two billion adults are overweight, some 670 million of whom are obese. It is estimated that the number of obese people in the world will very soon overtake the number suffering from hunger, which currently accounts for about 820 million.

“The whole food system needs to be readdressed,” Mr. da Silva spelled out.

Kosovo-Serbia relations could ‘slide backwards’ warns head of UN mission

Twenty years after the adoption of a key resolution on the conflict in Kosovo, the UN Security Council heard from the head of the UN mission there (UNMIK), Zahir Tanin, that tensions are rising with Serbia and that, “in the absence of a genuine and necessary process of engagement… the situation can slide backwards”.

Citing a tariff dispute since November, “multiple inconsistent public signals”, he called on leaders from all sides to “exercise their responsibility of steering this complex situation clear of any serious escalations.”

Special Representative Tanin also briefed the Security Council on the arrest and injury of two UNMIK staff this part 28 May, stating that this was a violation of their immunity and that an enquiry has been launched. “Regardless of events such as the ones on 28 May, UNMIK continues to focus its efforts and resources toward the objectives of peace and stability in Kosovo and the region,” he stressed.

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