Stories written by Gustavo Capdevila

Q&A: “Some Individuals Are Now as Wealthy as Entire Countries”

As it turns 50, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) finds itself engaged in an ongoing struggle to reduce economic and social inequalities in the world.

UN to Investigate War-Time Atrocities in Sri Lanka

The bloody events that marked the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war between government and Tamil separatist forces will be the focus of an independent international investigation, according to a United Nations Human Rights Council decision.

Thorny Path Toward Syrian Peace Process

The future of the complex armed conflict in Syria, which involves religious and ethnic factors as well as pressures from neighbouring countries and the strategic interests of global powers, will begin to take shape next week at a conference known as “Geneva 2.”

U.S. and EU Frustrate Peasants’ Rights Declaration

Staunch opposition by the U.S. delegation and, to one extent or another, by European countries has blocked the approval this year of a draft multilateral declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, which is backed by the developing world.

WTO Chooses New Latin American Chief to Mark a Change in Course

Brazilian diplomat Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo was named the new director general of the WTO with broad support from the developing world, beating out his Mexican rival Herminio Blanco, who was backed by the industrialised nations.

WTO, Dubious Prize for a Latin American?

The complicated challenge of invigorating the debilitated World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the multilateral trade system that it governs will fall, for the next four years and for the first time ever, to a Latin American.

Q&A: Innovation Key to Sustainable Development Goals

Innovation, as the fruit of science and technology, will play a fundamental role in the Sustainable Development Goals that could go into effect in 2015, says Néstor Osorio, president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Q&A: A Healthy Verdict from India

India’s refusal to grant patent protection for the anti-cancer drug Glivec, developed by Swiss drugmaker Novartis, is a victory for the developing world, which depends on low-cost exports of generic medicines from the Asian giant, said public health specialist Germán Velásquez.

Uruguayan diplomat Fernando Lugris chairing the Minamata Convention on Mercury negotiations. Credit: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Uruguay

Q&A: New Binding Treaty on Mercury Emissions is “Ambitious”

The international community has adopted a binding treaty for reducing emissions of mercury, a poisonous heavy metal that harms human health and the ecosystems on which life depends.

Q&A: “Syria Needs a Political Solution with Peace, Justice and an End to Impunity”

The first woman to preside over the United Nations Human Rights Council, Uruguayan diplomat Laura Dupuy, has made it with flying colours through one of the periods of greatest tension and conflict since the council replaced the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 2006.

Human Rights Education Shows Its Potential

The impact of human rights education, a rising star, is highlighted in a short documentary sponsored by United Nations experts and civil society.

Demonstrators in southern Spanish city of Málaga protesting cuts in health and education. Credit: Inés Benítez/IPS

U.N. Warns of Social Fall-Out from Spain’s Austerity Plan

An expert body of the United Nations has warned the Spanish government that the severe budget cutbacks it is applying must not undermine its commitment to upholding the economic, social and cultural rights of the country's people.

Future of UNCTAD in Balance at Doha

Profound discord between industrialised nations and developing countries is threatening to ruin the UNCTAD meeting being held this week in Doha, and may even endanger the survival of this United Nations body that defends the interests of the developing nations of the South.

 Credit: UNCTAD

Speaking Out in Defence of UNCTAD

The reason the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is under attack is that rich countries do not want an organisation that carries out independent analysis, Rubens Ricupero, UNCTAD secretary general from 1995 to 2004, told IPS.

Full recovery of the global economy will take at least four or five years, says former head of UNCTAD Rubens Ricupero. Credit:  UNCTAD

Q&A: “Social Unrest Can Be a Creative Force”

Social unrest and demands for change are not a negative thing during times of crisis like today, says Rubens Ricupero, a prominent Brazilian diplomat and intellectual.

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