Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, a Senior Consulting Editor at Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, 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.

Big Powers Set to Grab High Level UN Posts

When Antonio Guterres, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, takes office as the new UN Secretary General on January 1, his top management team is likely to be dominated by nominees from the five big powers, namely the US, Britain, France, China and Russia (P5).

UN Security Council’s “Perilous Interventions” in War Zones

When the UN Security Council last week discussed the “deliberate” attacks on medical facilities in war-ravaged Syria and Yemen, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon implicitly criticized some of the warring nations lamenting that “even a slaughterhouse is more humane” than the ongoing indiscriminate killings of civilians in the two devastating conflicts.

Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund Finances 278 Projects in Developing Nations

The Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund for South-South Cooperation (PGTF), described as one of the most successful ventures of the Group of 77, has provided $13.2 million in “seed money” for 278 small-scale projects in developing countries.

UN Shaky on Protection of Journalists and Right to Information

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, one of the strongest advocates of press freedom, is facing two politically-sensitive issues which are beyond his decision-making jurisdiction: a proposal for a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) aimed at providing journalists with the right to access information, and the creation of a UN Special Envoy ensuring the safety of journalists worldwide.

Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund Finances 278 Projects in Developing Nations

The Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund for South-South Cooperation (PGTF), described as one of the most successful ventures of the Group of 77, has provided $13.2 million in “seed money” for 278 small-scale projects in developing countries.

UN Chief Laments Nuclear Dead End

As Ban Ki-moon readies to step down after completing his two term, 10-year tenure as UN Secretary-General on December 31, he regrets that one of his biggest single disappointments is the “lack of progress on eliminating nuclear weapons.”

US, EU Accused of Paying Lip Service to Global Arms Treaty

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which was aimed at curbing the flow of small arms and light weapons to war zones and politically-repressive regimes, is being openly violated by some of the world’s arms suppliers, according to military analysts and human rights organizations.

US To Push for UN Security Council Ban on Nuclear Tests

As part of his nuclear legacy, US President Barack Obama is seeking a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution aimed at banning nuclear tests worldwide.

The Day a Soviet Leader Banged His Shoe at the UN

During the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and particularly in the 1960s, the United Nations was the ideological battle ground where the Americans and the Soviets pummeled each other– metaphorically speaking — either on the floor of the cavernous General Assembly hall or at the horse-shoe table of the Security Council.

Developing Nations Seek Tax Body to Curb Illicit Financial Flows

Despite Western opposition, the 134-member Group of 77 is continuing to pursue a longstanding proposal for an inter-governmental UN-affiliated tax body aimed at combating corporate tax dodging and curbing illicit financial flows, including money laundering and off-shore banking.

UN Pension Fund Claims its Assets are Safe, Future Secure

The UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF), whose current assets are estimated at over $54.2 billion, has no plans to “privatize” and is in “solid” financial health, according to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Fund Sergio Arvizu.

G77 & IPS Launch Monthly Electronic Newsletter

The Group of 77 (G77) has sustained a longstanding symbiotic relationship with Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency linked together by a single political commitment: promoting the interests of developing countries.

UN Staffers Protest Plans to Privatise $53 Billion Pension Fund

The Coordinating Committee for International Staff Unions and Associations of the UN system (CCISUA), which represents over 60,000 staffers worldwide, has expressed serious concern over the future of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UJSPF) which guarantees the economic survival of retirees.

Global Coalition Seeks Ban on Mercury Use

A coalition of over 25 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has launched a global campaign to end a longstanding health and environmental hazard: the use of mercury in dentistry.

China-led Development Bank Pledges $500 Million to Asian Projects

The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which was launched last year with the aim of funding projects on a continent with some of the world’s most populous nations, has pledged over $500 million in four concessional loans to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

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