UN agency teams with Japanese university to boost technology transfer in AsiaPacific

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Waseda University in Tokyo calls for the school to provide academic expertise and technical assistance in new technologies and distance-learning, primarily to senior managers and executives drawn from private and public organizations in the ICT sector in the Asia and Pacific region.”This partnership between the ITU and an academic institution brings a new dimension towards creating an environment in which relevant information and knowledge may be more readily accessed and exchanged” said the head of the ITU, Yoshio Utsumi when signing the MoU. “In today’s global and networked economies, knowledge is a main weapon of success. To enable developing economies to compete fairly in this new environment, human resource development must be improved in quantum terms.”The ITU, which became a specialized UN agency in 1947, is composed of 189 Member States and over 655 sector members representing public and private companies and organizations. They cooperate to develop telecommunications technology and to harmonize national telecommunication policies. read more

UN blue helmets in DR Congo on standby after blast in arms

The blast occurred on Friday when a lightning strike apparently sparked a fire in a military barrack in Mbuji Mayi, one of the DRC’s largest cities.“Over 20 people died, more than 50 were injured and many houses destroyed by the blast, causing desolation in the city,” according to today’s statement from the UN peacekeeping mission known by its French acronym, MONUSCO. MONUSCO head and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Martin Kobler, expressed his deep sadness by the loss of lives and extended his condolences to the families who lost loved ones. “I wish a speedy recovery to all the injured,” he said, adding “I have instructed our office in Mbuji Mayi to stand by and support local authorities in dealing with the situation”.One of the main objectives of MONUSCO peacekeepers, also known as “blue helmets”, as mandated by the Security Council, is to assist the Government in protecting civilians in the country.In a Newsmaker interview with the UN News Centre earlier this month, Mr. Kobler stressed the importance of a political solution to addressing the underlying causes of violence in the DRC and the overall Great Lakes region.“The region of the Great Lakes has to integrate more economically above all for the benefit of all populations in the different countries,” he said. “Everybody has to be convinced that stability, economic integration, regional political integration, confidence-building between the States – this is the right way to go in the long-term.” read more