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Hashtag Standards For Emergencies

January 20, 2015 Comments off

Hashtag Standards For Emergencies (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Key Messages

• The public is using Twitter for real-time information exchange and for expressing emotional support during a variety of crises, such as wildfires,1-3 earthquakes,4-6 floods,3,13 hurricanes,21 political protests,11, 25-27 mass shootings,15, 17 and communicable-disease tracking.31 By encouraging proactive standardization of hashtags, emergency responders may be able to reduce a big-data challenge and better leverage crowdsourced information for operational planning and response.

• Twitter is the primary social media platform discussed in this Think Brief. However, the use of hashtags has spread to other social media platforms, including Sina Weibo, Facebook, Google+ and Diaspora. As a result, the ideas behind hashtag standardization may have a much larger sphere of influence than just this one platform.

• Three hashtag standards are encouraged and discussed: early standardization of the disaster name (e.g., #Fay), how to report non-emergency needs (e.g., #PublicRep) and requesting emergency assistance (e.g., #911US).

• As well as standardizing hashtags, emergency response agencies should encourage the public to enable Global Positioning System (GPS) when tweeting during an emergency. This will provide highly detailed information to facilitate response.

• Non-governmental groups, national agencies and international organizations should discuss the potential added value of monitoring social media during emergencies. These groups need to agree who is establishing the standards for a given country or event, which agency disseminates these prescriptive messages, and who is collecting and validating the incoming crowdsourced reports.

• Additional efforts should be pursued regarding how to best link crowdsourced information into emergency response operations and logistics. . If this information will be collected, the teams should be ready to act on it in a timely manner.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

UN — World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015

January 20, 2015 Comments off

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2015
Source: United Nations

Global economic growth is forecast to increase marginally over the next two years at 3.1 per cent in 2015 and 3.3 per cent in 2016, compared with an estimated growth of 2.6 per cent for 2014. An expected US interest rate increase, remaining euro area fragility, a further slowdown in developing economies and geopolitical conflicts pose major concerns for the global economic outlook.

Committee against Torture — Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports of United States of America

December 3, 2014 Comments off

Committee against Torture — Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports of United States of America (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

“The Committee welcomes the State party’s unequivocal commitment to abide by the universal prohibition of torture and ill-treatment everywhere, including Bagram and Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, as well as the assurances that U.S. personnel are legally prohibited under international and domestic law from engaging in torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment at all times, and in all places. The Committee notes that the State party has reviewed its position concerning the extraterritorial application of the Convention, and stated that it applies to ‘certain areas beyond’ its sovereign territory, and more specifically to ‘all places that the State party controls as a governmental authority,’ noting that it currently exercises such control at ‘the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and over all proceedings conducted there, and with respect to U.S.-registered ships and aircraft.’ The Committee also values the statement made by the State party’s delegation that the reservation to article 16 of the Convention, whose intended purpose is to ensure that existing U.S. constitutional standards satisfy the State party’s obligations under article 16, ‘does not introduce any limitation to the geographic applicability of article 16,’ and that ‘the obligations in article 16 apply beyond the sovereign territory of the United States to any territory under its jurisdiction’ under the terms mentioned above.’

However, the Committee is dismayed that the State party’s reservation to article 16 of the Convention features in various declassified memoranda containing legal interpretations on the extraterritorial applicability of U.S. obligations under the Convention issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) between 2001 and 2009, as part of deeply flawed legal arguments used to advise that interrogation techniques, which amounted to torture, could be authorized and used lawfully. While noting that these memoranda were revoked by Presidential Executive Order 13491 to the extent of their inconsistency with that order, the Committee remains concerned that the State party has not withdrawn yet its reservation to article 16 which could permit interpretations incompatible with the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.

The Situation in Ukraine: Quick Guide

November 26, 2014 Comments off

The Situation in Ukraine: Quick Guide
Source: United Nations (Dag Hammarskjöld Library)

This guide provides Security Council documentation, news, and other resources related to the situation in Ukraine.

Categories: Ukraine, United Nations

UN Says Global Carbon Neutrality Should be Reached by Second Half of Century, Demonstrates Pathways to Stay Under 2°C Limit

November 21, 2014 Comments off

UN Says Global Carbon Neutrality Should be Reached by Second Half of Century, Demonstrates Pathways to Stay Under 2°C Limit
Source: United Nations Environmental Programme

In order to limit global temperature rise to 2°C and head off the worst impacts of climate change, global carbon neutrality should be attained by mid-to-late century. This would also keep in check the maximum amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be emitted into the atmosphere while staying within safe temperature limits beyond 2020, says a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Exceeding an estimated budget of just 1,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2) would increase the risk of severe, pervasive, and in some cases irreversible climate change impacts.

Released days ahead of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Lima, Peru, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report 2014 is the fifth in a series that examines whether the pledges made by countries are on track to meet the internationally agreed under 2°C target. It is produced by 38 leading scientists from 22 research groups across 14 countries.

Building on the findings of the Fifth Assessment Report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report shows the global emission guardrails that would give a likely chance of staying within the 2°C limit, including a peaking of emissions within the next ten years, a halving of all greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century; and in the second half of the century, carbon neutrality followed by net zero total greenhouse gas emissions.Released days ahead of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Lima, Peru, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report 2014 is the fifth in a series that examines whether the pledges made by countries are on track to meet the internationally agreed under 2°C target. It is produced by 38 leading scientists from 22 research groups across 14 countries.

Building on the findings of the Fifth Assessment Report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report shows the global emission guardrails that would give a likely chance of staying within the 2°C limit, including a peaking of emissions within the next ten years, a halving of all greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century; and in the second half of the century, carbon neutrality followed by net zero total greenhouse gas emissions.

Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries

October 31, 2014 Comments off

Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries
Source: United Nations

As the data in this new edition of the Innocenti Report Card series show, in the past five years, rising numbers of children and their families have experienced difficulty in satisfying their most basic material and educational needs. Most importantly, the Great Recession is about to trap a generation of educated and capable youth in a limbo of unmet expectations and lasting vulnerability. League Tables, the flagship tool of the Innocenti Report Card series, rank the change, since the onset of the crisis, in the poverty levels of children and the impact of the recession on youth. The Report also explores the effects of the recession on youth seeking to enter or remain in the labour force in the middle of a recession.

UN — Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

The present report in the fourth annual report submitted to the General Assembly by the current Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freesoms while countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson.

The key activities undertaken by the Special Rapporteur between 17 December 2013 and 31 July 2014 are listed in section II of the report. In section III, the Special Rapporteur examines the use of mass digital surveillance for counter-terrorism purposes and considers the implications of bulk access technology for the right to privacy under article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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