What exactly do people mean by ‘agrodiversity’, ‘formal remittances’ and ‘sustainable development’? Do leaders and scholars use similar concepts in different ways? Do they know their PoCs from their POCs?
In our interconnected world, global discussions rely on a shared understanding of key concepts. To this end, the United Nations University (UNU) has developed a glossary app — the ‘UNU Jargon Buster’ — that clarifies hundreds of social, political and economic terms. This fulfils one of the missions of UNU: to act as a bridge between the UN, academia and the general public.
Launched on World Science Day for Peace and Development, 10 November 2015, at the UN Regional Information Centre in Brussels, the app gathers knowledge and recommended resources from five UNU sites: in Belgium (UNU-CRIS), Iceland (UNU-GEST), Japan (UNU-IAS), Malaysia (UNU-IIGH), and the Netherlands (UNU-MERIT — the lead institute for this app).
Adding further value, all terms are cross-referenced with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example, International Health terms are grouped under SDG#3; Gender Equality terms are with SDG#5; Innovation with SDG#9; Environmental Sustainability with SDG#13; and Regional Integration with SDG#16. In fact most terms fall under more than one goal, demonstrating the cross-cutting nature of UNU’s work. Additionally, some terms are defined by different institutes from different angles: to reflect their expertise while giving the fullest picture possible.
Version 1.0 presents around 450 entries, including almost 200 terms (with definitions, references and further reading), plus over 250 acronyms from across the UN (most with hyperlinks). The app will be expanded in 2016 to include more UN acronyms and more UNU terms, covering peace and governance, global development and environmental sustainability. We aim to scale up by a factor of 10 within a year: to become a comprehensive ‘metaglossary’.
This free app is available for Android and iOS as a searchable, offline, one-stop shop: designed for anyone seeking a UN glossary anywhere in the world, at a conference or in the field, be they students, scholars or policymakers. It was compiled at UNU-MERIT in the Netherlands by Howard Hudson, Diego Salama and Iulia Falcan, with design and technical support from Mediablenders and the Maastricht Premium programme.
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UNU Jargon Buster 2.0: Launch at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, 8 April 2016
WEEE? UNSSSS? New app unscrambles jumble of U.N. jargon (Reuters), 27 January 2016
A Roadmapp for the UNU Jargon Buster, 9 December 2015
UNU Jargon Buster 1.0, Launch at UNRIC, Brussels, 10 November 2015
by Dr. Michaella Vanore
UNRIC / M.Durickas; UNU / D.Salama; Flickr / J.Howie