Opinion

Private Finance and Agenda 2030: Way Off-Track

Four years ago, UN member states proclaimed their ambitions for development in a document named “Transforming Our World”, also known as Agenda 2030. Today, according to several assessments including of the UN’s inter-agency task force on financing for development (FfD) transformation has fallen off-track. It has received too little money, political commitment and action to change the workings of the global economy. Agenda 2030 spells out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needed to ‘transform our world’.

Trump Poised to Withdraw from Open Skies Treaty

The Trump administration is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, according to lawmakers and media reports. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, first sounded the public alarm in an Oct. 7 letter to National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien.

Religious Leaders’ Plea to Member States: Honour Your Commitment to the UN

On the 8th of October, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the organisation is running out of money by the end of October - "member States have paid only 70 percent of the total amount needed for [our] regular budget”.

Governments, Donors and Investors Must Put Their Money Where Their Mouths are on Gender and Climate Change

Climate change has a disproportionate impact on women and girls. This is clear when it comes to water, for instance. The Global Commission on Adaptation Report launched at the United Nations General Assembly last week states that the number of people who may lack sufficient water, at least one month per year, will soar from 3.6 billion today to more than 5 billion by 2050.

Holding Transnational Corporations Accountable for Human Rights Abuses

In Geneva this week, a treaty process is underway that promises to usher in a new era for human rights around the globe. The process—the intergovernmental working group on the binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights—could mean that for the first time, human rights would be prioritized above corporate profits.

Let Plants be Thy Medicine – You Are What You Eat

United Nations World Food Day is celebrated around the world on October 16 under the theme: “Our Actions ARE Our Future. Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World”. This theme is timely, especially, because across Africa and around the world, there has been a gradual rise in malnutrition and diet-related non communicable diseases, as highlighted in The Lancet study and a United Nations Report published earlier this year.

Global Challenges for the ‘NextGen’

Success has many parents – so the saying goes. In the case of the massive successes of international agricultural research, no one person can claim parentage. There are heroes along the way such as Norman Borlaug and his early cereal breeding, and the team that eliminated the cattle disease Rinderpest from the world – smallpox is the only other disease that has been totally eradicated. Another is the founder of The Crawford Fund, Derek Tribe, who was also instrumental in the creation of what is now the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which I chair. However, it would be more correct to highlight the thousands of scientists who have contributed to the world’s greatest feat of feeding an extra three billion people when pundits said it was impossible.

OECD Tax Reform Proposal Could Be Better

The OECD Secretariat published its proposed ‘unified approach’ to reform international tax rules to address tax challenges posed by digitalization on 9 October 2019. Under current rules, there is little chance of a company being taxed without its physical presence in the country concerned. But digitalization enables many businesses to remotely conduct economic activities affecting a national economy without a direct physical presence.

Vibrant Civil Society Essential for Sustainable Development in Iran

2019 has not been a good year for Iranian human rights activists. At a time where civic space had completely closed, many watched in disbelief as the regime mounted even more restrictions on civil society. Over recent months, many activists have been arrested, like Noushin Javari (a photographer), Marzieh Amiri (a journalist), and Javad Lal Mohammadi (teacher).

The IPCC’s Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere – What it means for Africa’s coastal cities

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate highlights the urgency of prioritising ambitious and coordinated actions to address the unprecedented and continuing changes that are taking place in the ocean and cryosphere (Earth’s frozen lands).

Free Trade is Dead

In recent years, global trade and trade policy have become central socio-political issues. The planned EU-US trade agreement TTIP triggered an unprecedented storm of indignation and resistance.

Rural Poverty Is Still a Scar on the Soul of Colombia, but a New Program Supporting Agri-Entrepreneurship Can Help Heal the Wounds

Rural poverty and inequality continue inflicting large swaths of population in Colombia, especially in rural areas. This situation, endemic since at least the beginning of the twentieth century, was at the root of the 50-year long conflict that shattered the country, leaving 220,000 deaths and 5.7 million displaced persons, and devastating a significant part of the rural areas, where government services and infrastructure vanished.

The #MeToo Movement’s Powerful New Tool

If one dreamed up an ambitious global #metoo success story, it might involve governments around the world enthusiastically supporting legal norms and action on sexual harassment with active support and cooperation from businesses and workers.

Justin Trudeau´s Blackface

Politics is a dodgy game, maybe even more so if you represent political views based on a moral approach. When the charismatic Justin Trudeau, son of a cosmopolitan liberal who served as Canada´s Prime Minister for 16 years, in 2015 was elected Prime Minister it was within a global political climate different from what it is today. Barack Obama was in the White House, Angela Merkel served her third period as German Chancellor, and the UK Government had not yet announced its country's withdrawal from the EU. Nevertheless, Russia had three months before Trudeau´s election annexed Crimea, while Viktor Orbán´s Hungarian government the month before initiated the construction of a 4 metres high barrier along its nation´s eastern and southern borders to keep immigrants out.

Wanted: Bold Leadership by António Guterres: On Sustainable Funding of United Nations

The United Nations is faced with a financial crisis once again. Leaders of as many as 64 countries who paraded and pontificated at the UN General Assembly and its multiple Summit meetings in September 2019 were deadbeats, who had not paid their dues in full to the UN for this year.

Austerity, the “New Normal”

While this week Ministers of Finance and economists meet in Washington to confront global economic challenges at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings, the majority of the world population lives with austerity cuts and see their living standards deteriorating. World leaders must reverse this trend.

The Role of Emerging Technologies in Military Conflicts

Throughout history, technology has transformed armed conflict. The carnage of First World War battlefields is a stark example of what happens when advances in weaponry outpace the normative frameworks around its use.

The Most Important Meeting You’ve Never Heard Of — & the Grand Challenge on Inequality

Last month 195 world leaders once again met in New York for big speeches and grand events. But on inequality, when all is said and done, more has been said than done.

UN Faces its Worst Cash Crisis in Nearly a Decade

The Secretary-General wrote to Member States about the worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade. The Organization runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors.

Beware High-Fat Diets

Two decades into the 21st century, all too many people still associate being ‘overweight’ with prosperity, health and wellbeing, mainly because being thin has long been associated with being emaciated due to hunger, undernourishment and malnutrition. Overweight and obesity can easily be assessed by anthropometric measures, including the body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. But BMI thresholds for overweight and obesity may differ by ethnic group or country.

Reforms Will Grant Nationality to Children of Iranian Women

After more than a decade of women’s rights activism, Iran’s Guardian Council has finally approved an amendment that would grant Iranian citizenship to the children of Iranian women married to foreign men.

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