Stories written by Isolda Agazzi
Isolda Agazzi is a journalist with IPS, covering the United Nations, the WTO and international affairs. She lives in Geneva, where she also writes for Swiss and other international media in English, French and Italian.She holds a master’s degree in international relations and for more than 15 years has worked in international cooperation for donor agencies and NGOs, mainly in Switzerland and North Africa. She has taught in several universities, in Italy and elsewhere.

Q&A: Sperisen Trial “A Further Step in the Fight Against Impunity Across the Board”

Erwin Sperisen was chief of Guatemala’s National Civil Police from 2004 to 2007, when he left the country for Switzerland. In August 2010, the Guatemalan authorities issued an international arrest warrant, accusing him, among others, of extrajudicial executions in the prisons of Pavon and Infiernito.

Executions Rising in Iran

As many as 700 people were sentenced to death in Iran last year, according to United Nations estimates. Most were charged with drug-related crimes and belonged to ethnic minorities, new studies show.

How to Break the Stalemate on Global Sustainability

The current growth model is not sustainable. Neither the green economy nor alternative sources of energy can prevent global warming. Solutions will come from concerted actions at the local and national levels, from the adoption of instruments and practices borrowed from other disciplines like peacebuilding, and from the move to a “no-waste economy”, according to experts here.

Transparency Could Tighten Drought Policy

Scientists gathered in Geneva for the first High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP) in over 30 years have identified data collection and sharing as some of the main challenges to effective prevention of drought. Clear goals and strong political will are vital to building policies at the national level, they say.

Drought Hits Policies

Drought has dramatically increased as a consequence of climate change. Most countries react to it only after it has occurred, but don’t have national policies to prevent it. The high-level meeting on national drought policies in Geneva this week is trying to match scientific knowledge with political awareness.

‘Tsunami’ of Diseases Waiting to Hit

A tsunami is looming on the horizon and the world is unprepared for it. This one won’t be a massive wall of water but a tidal wave of disease – and experts say the international community needs to act fast to keep it from crashing.

Youth Call for ‘Change of Course’ to Solve Climate Crisis

While world leaders were wrapping up the United Nations conference on climate change (COP 18) in Doha, Qatar this past weekend with the annual vague promise to tackle the enormous crises brought on by extreme weather and global warming, a delegation of youth gathered far from the high-level conference halls to say “no” to advocacy without action.

Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Credit: Communications and Information Unit/UNCTAD

Q&A: Turning Remittances into National Profits in LDCs

Remittances to the world’s poorest countries reached a record 27 billions dollars in 2011, according to a report released Monday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.

Fixing the ‘Silent’ Sanitation Crisis

Organisers of this year’s World Toilet Day, which falls on Nov. 19, are using the slogan ‘I give a shit – do you?’ to break the silence around the crucial issue of sanitation and remind the international community that 2.5 billion people around the world don’t have access to clean and private toilets.

‘Getting Worse for Minorities in Pakistan’

Since the restoration of democracy in 2008, Pakistan has undertaken steps to uphold human rights, but the situation of minorities has only worsened, according to a group of NGOs. Dalits are in the worst state, facing both religious and social discrimination, they say.

Death Penalty Campaigners Worry About the Steps Back

Ten years of campaigning by the World Coalition against the Death Penalty have brought fruit: the number of countries that have abolished capital punishment in law or practice has gone up to 140. But some countries have resumed executions this year.


India’s Economic Growth Leaves Human Development in the Dust

Ahead of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of India, a coalition of NGOs denounced the gap between the country’s growth rate and the rate of poverty, malnutrition and lack of health and sanitation.

Sam Smith, Jim Leape and Stuart Orr at the presentation of the 2012 Living Planet Report in Geneva. Credit:Isolda Agazzi/IPS

“We Are Living As If We Had One and a Half Planets”

The new WWF Living Planet Report warns of a significant decline in biodiversity, particularly in low-income countries, and a huge increase in the ecological footprint of high-income countries.

With extremist violence on the rise, many Tunisians believe the revolution never ended, and that a second wave of protest is not far off.  Credit:  scossargilbert/CC-BY-2.0

Tunisia’s Revolution is Just Beginning

Lingering violence, intolerance and oppression in Tunisia, following the ousting of former dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, tells the revolutionaries who sparked the Arab Spring that their work is just beginning.

Corporations Win Big in Battle Against Investment Regulation

In a world where governments are increasingly subservient to global finance capital, multinationals are gaining ground in the fight against state regulations that aim to protect the environment, public health or social policies.

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