Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, Director & Senior Editor, UN Bureau, Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency Thalif Deen has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s. Beginning with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every major U.N. conference: on population, human rights, the environment, social and economic development, food security, humanitarian aid, nuclear disarmament, water, energy and education. As the former UN Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service, he was cited twice for excellence in U.N. reporting at the annual awards presentation of the U.N. Correspondents' Association (UNCA). In November 2012, he was on the IPS team which won the prestigious gold medal for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold, this time with the UN Bureau Chief of Reuters news agency, for his reporting on the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations. A former information officer at the U.N. Secretariat, he served twice as a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UN General Assembly sessions. His track record includes a stint as deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News and senior editorial writer on the Hong Kong Standard. A former military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group, a columnist for the Sri Lanka Sunday Times and a longtime U.N. correspondent for Asiaweek, Hong Kong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London, he is a Fulbright scholar with a Master’s Degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York.

A Key Role for 1.8 Billion Youth in UN’s 2030 Development Agenda

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is convinced that the world’s 1.8 billion adolescents and youth-- a quarter of the global population—have a key role to play in helping implement the UN’s 2030 Development Agenda.

Will Sanctions Undermine 1947 US Treaty with UN?

When Yassir Arafat was denied a US visa to visit New York to address the United Nations back in 1988, the General Assembly defied the United States by temporarily moving the UN’s highest policy making body to Geneva-- perhaps for the first time in UN history-- providing a less-hostile political environment for the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Will Palestinian Refugees Pay a Heavy Price for UNRWA Bungling?

A crisis that has threatened to undermine the future of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is expected to have a devastating impact—not only on the credibility of the United Nations-- but also on the lives of over five million Palestinian refugees whose very survival depends on the humanitarian services provided by the beleaguered UN agency based in Amman and Gaza.

UNRWA Faces Donor Backlash Amidst Charges of Sexual Misconduct & Nepotism

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which has been undermined by a sharp cut in US contributions, has been embroiled in a scandal that threatens to jeopardize its very future.

How Widespread is Human Trafficking in the US?

The United States is no exception to the practice of modern day slavery—a crime for which it is rarely held accountable at the United Nations.

Treaty Violators Make Mockery of Refugee Convention

With the rise of rightwing nationalism, primarily in the Western world, an increasingly large number of countries are not only abandoning multilateralism but also violating international treaties and conventions signed and ratified in a bygone era.

Will a Global Fund Help Deliver UN’s Development Agenda?

The United Nations, which has been tracking both the successes and failures of its highly-ambitious Agenda for Sustainable Development, has warned that “progress has been slow” in many of the 17 Goals after four years of implementation.

US Defunds UNFPA for Third Consecutive Year– on Misconceived Assumptions

The Trump administration, in its continued hostility towards the United Nations-- and as part of its policy aimed at undermining multilateral institutions and international commitments-- has withheld its annual contributions to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) – for the third consecutive year.

A Relentless Battle Against Poverty & Hunger in World’s Most Populous Region

The world’s two most populous nations-– China and India—have been making steady progress in eradicating extreme poverty, but have fallen short in their attempts to eliminate extreme hunger, according to the Bangkok-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Will the UN & World Bank Continue to Lag Behind Europe in Ending Male Leadership?

The nominations of Christine Lagarde of France as the first woman to head the European Central Bank (ECB) and Ursula von der Leyen of Germany as the first woman to lead the 28-nation European Commission, have been described as significant landmarks in the higher echelons of international institutions long dominated by men.

How Effective is a Non-Binding Treaty Aimed at Ending Harassment at Work Places?

Against the back drop of widespread charges of sexual abuse and harassment at workplaces-- including the United Nations-- the International Labour Conference (ILC) last week adopted a “Convention” and a set of “Recommendations” to protect workers and employees worldwide.

World’s Poorest Nations Weighed Down by Fastest Growing Populations

With a new report projecting a rise in population, specifically in Asia and Africa, the United Nations has warned that continued rapid population growth presents enormous challenges for sustainable development in the world’s 134 developing nations.

Rising Population Trends Threaten UN’s Development Goals in Asia & Africa

The world’s developing nations, currently fighting an uphill battle in their attempts to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are facing another stark demographic reality: a rise in world population by 2.0 billion people in the next 30 years: from 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050.

UN’s Development Goals Remain Largely Elusive

The United Nations, in a new report to be released next month, has warned “there is no escaping the fact that the global landscape for the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has generally deteriorated since 2015, hindering the efforts of governments and other partners”

Asia-Pacific Region Falters on UN Development Goals

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a Chatham House meeting in London last week that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), one of the legacies of the late Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “spawned tremendous progress” in the battle against poverty worldwide.

World’s Displacement Crises Worsened by Lack of Funds, Political Will or Media Attention

The world’s 10 most under reported displacement crises— which have rendered millions of people homeless– have continued to worsen due either to political neglect, a shortage of funds or lack of media attention, according to a new report released by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

US “Emergency” Arms Sales to Mideast Nations Under Fire

When the UN Security Council met last week to discuss the deaths and devastation caused to civilians in ongoing military conflicts and civil wars, the killings in Yemen and the air attacks on hospitals, schools, mosques, and market places—whether deliberate or otherwise-- were singled out as the worst ever.

US Threats to Dismantle Palestinian Refugee Agency Trigger Protests

As it relentlessly pursues its strongly pro-Israeli policy – along with its disdain for multilateralism – the Trump administration continued to display its hostility towards the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies at a meeting of the UN Security Council focusing on the recent escalation of violence in Gaza.

UN’s Mandate to Protect Human Rights Takes Another Hit

The UN’s longstanding mandate to promote and protect human rights worldwide –- undermined recently by right-wing nationalist governments and authoritarian regimes – has taken another hit.

Do We Need a Global Convention of Common Principles for Building Peace?

When the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) concluded a three-day forum on “Peace and Development” on May 16, the primary focus was the daunting challenges threatening global security, including growing military interventions, spreading humanitarian emergencies, forced migration, increasing civil wars, extreme weather conditions triggered by climate change and widespread poverty and conflict-related hunger.

Rise of Right-wing Nationalism Undermines Human Rights Worldwide

The rise of right-wing nationalism and the proliferation of authoritarian governments have undermined human rights in several countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

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