Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, UN Bureau Chief and Regional Director IPS North America, has been covering the U.N. since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the Hongkong daily, The Standard. He has been runner-up and 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 part of an IPS team which who won the prestigious gold award for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold medal with the Associated Press for his reporting on the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations. A former information officer at the U.N. Secretariat, and a one-time member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the U.N. General Assembly sessions, Deen is currently editor in chief of the IPS U.N. Terra Viva daily electronic newsletter, published since March 1993. Since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every single major U.N. conference: on population, human rights, the environment, social development, food security, water, energy and education. A former military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group in the U.S, a columnist for the Sri Lanka Sunday Times and a longtime U.N. correspondent for Asiaweek, Hongkong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London, he is a Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York.

Relief Organisation Urges Mandatory Funding for Humanitarian Appeals

The United Nations is not only overwhelmed by a spreading humanitarian crisis, largely in Africa and the Middle East, but also remains hamstrung by a severe shortfall in funds, mostly from Western donors.

Terror Groups May Be Winning Digital War on Extremist Ideology

The United Nations is quick to point out the increasing pace at which digital technology is racing across the world.

Failure of Review Conference Brings World Close to Nuclear Cataclysm, Warn Activists

After nearly four weeks of negotiations, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference ended in a predictable outcome: a text overwhelmingly reflecting the views and interests of the nuclear-armed states and some of their nuclear-dependent allies.

Minorities Threatened More by Governments than Terrorist Groups, Says Study

In the conflict-ridden Middle East, minority groups continue to be threatened, attacked and expelled from their home countries by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

U.N., World Bank Set 2030 Deadline for Sustainable Energy for All

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, an unrelenting advocate of sustainable energy for all (SE4All), once dramatised the need for modern conveniences by holding up his cell phone before an audience in the Norwegian capital of Oslo and asking: “What would we do without them?”

U.S. Hosts Arms Bazaar at White House Arab Summit

When the United States sells billions of dollars in sophisticated arms to Arab nations, they are conditioned on two key factors: no weapons with a qualitative military edge over Israel will ever be sold to the Arabs, nor will they receive any weapons that are not an integral part of the U.S. arsenal.

NGOs Urge Post-2015 Declaration Include Water, Sanitation as Basic Human Rights

Virtually every major international conference concludes with a “programme of action” (PoA) – described in U.N. jargon as “an outcome document” – preceded by a political declaration where 193 member states religiously pledge to honour their commitments.

NGOs Urge Commission of Inquiry to Probe Sexual Abuse in U.N. Peacekeeping

A rising tide of sexual abuse in U.N. peacekeeping operations has triggered the launch of a high-level campaign to end the continued attacks on women and children and an urgent call for the creation of an independent commission of inquiry.

Q&A: Nuclear Disarmament a Non-Starter, “But I Would Love to Be Proven Wrong”

Albert Einstein, the internationally-renowned physicist who developed the theory of relativity, once famously remarked: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Faith-Based Organisations Warn of Impending Nuclear Disaster

As the month-long review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) continued into its second week, a coalition of some 50 faith-based organisations (FBOs), anti-nuclear peace activists and civil society organisations (CSOs) was assigned an unenviable task: a brief three-minute presentation warning the world of the disastrous humanitarian consequences of a nuclear attack.

U.N. Staffers Secure at Home, Moving Targets Overseas

When the United Nations spent over 2.2 billion dollars refurbishing its ageing 65-year-old Secretariat building, one of its primary goals was to strengthen security to prevent any violent attacks on the glass house by New York city’s East River.

As Nuke Talks Begin, U.N. Chief Warns of Dangerous Return to Cold War Mentalities

Against the backdrop of a new Cold War between the United States and Russia, two of the world’s major nuclear powers, the United Nations is once again playing host to a four-week-long international review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Middle East Conflicts Trigger New U.S.-Russia Arms Race

The escalating military conflicts in the Middle East – and the month-long aerial bombings of Yemen by an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia – have triggered a new arms race in the politically-volatile region.

Riches in World’s Oceans Estimated at Staggering 24 Trillion Dollars

The untapped riches in the world’s oceans are estimated at nearly 24 trillion dollars – the size of the world’s leading economies, according to a new report released Thursday by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Saudis Compensate Civilian Killings with 274 Million in Humanitarian Aid to Yemen

Saudi Arabia’s right hand does not know what its left foot is up to, belittles an Asian diplomat, mixing his metaphors to describe the political paradox in the ongoing military conflict in Yemen.

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