Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, IPS UN Bureau Chief, has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the daily Hong Kong 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 on the IPS team which who won the prestigious gold award for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, for the second consecutive year, he shared the gold medal, this time with the Associated Press (AP), 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 General Assembly sessions, Deen is currently editor-in-chief of the IPS U.N. Terra Viva daily electronic newsletter, published since March 1993. 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. 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, 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.

U.N. Targets Trillions of Dollars to Implement Sustainable Development Agenda

After more than two years of intense negotiations, the U.N.’s 193 member states have unanimously agreed on a new Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA) with 17 goals -- including the elimination of extreme poverty and hunger -- to be reached by 2030.

U.N.’s Post-2015 Development Agenda Under Fire

The U.N.’s highly ambitious post-2015 development agenda, which is expected to be finalised shortly, has come fire even before it could get off the ground.

UAE Described as Pioneer in the Field of Renewable Energy

When the government of Kenya hosted a U.N. Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy in Nairobi back in 1981, one of the conclusions at that meeting was a proposal for the creation of an international agency dedicated to renewable energy.

U.N. Leads Youth Battling Intolerance, Racism and Extremism

When the 21-year-old Crown Prince of Jordan, Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, presided over a Security Council meeting last April, he was described as the youngest ever to chair one of the U.N.’s most powerful political bodies armed with powers to wage wars and declare peace.

Mideast Arms Build-up Negative Fallout from Iran Nuclear Deal

The nuclear agreement concluded last week between Iran and six big powers, the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, is threatening to trigger a new Middle East military build-up – not with nuclear weapons but with conventional arms, including fighter planes, combat helicopters, warships, missiles, battle tanks and heavy artillery.

U.N. Remains Barred from Visiting U.S. Prisons Amid Abuse Charges

When U.S. President Barack Obama visited the El Reno Correctional Facility in Oklahoma last week to check on living conditions of prisoners incarcerated there, no one in authority could prevent him from visiting the prison.

Security Council Defies U.S. Lawmakers by Voting on Iran Nuke Deal

When all 15 members of the Security Council raised their collective hands to unanimously vote in favour of the recently-concluded nuclear agreement with Iran, they were also defying a cabal of right-wing conservative U.S. politicians who wanted the United Nations to defer its vote until the U.S. Congress makes its own decision on the pact.

The Myths About the Nuclear Deal With Iran

The single biggest misunderstanding about the nuclear agreement with Iran is that it is a bilateral deal with the United States.

Civilian Killings? West Literally Gets Away With Murder

The United Nations continues to come under heavy fire for singling out mostly non-Western states for human rights violations while ignoring the misdeeds of Western nations or big powers.

Civil Society Sceptical Over “Action Agenda” to Finance Development

Despite high expectations, the third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) ended on a predictable note: the United Nations proclaimed it a roaring success while most civil society organisations (CSOs) expressed scepticism over the final outcome.

Is Climate Change or ISIS the Greater Threat to Humankind?

The world at large is apparently divided over what constitutes the biggest single threat to human kind: the devastation caused by climate change or the unbridled terror unleashed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? According to a new Pew Research Center survey designed to measure perceptions of international threats, climate change is viewed as the “top concern” by people around the world.

Pledges for Humanitarian Aid Fall Far Short of Deliveries

When international donors pledge millions of dollars either for post-conflict reconstruction or for humanitarian aid, deliveries are rarely on schedule: they are either late, fall far below expectations or not delivered at all.

Global Tax Body Sticking Point at Financing Conference in Addis

When the four-day-long international conference on Financing for Development (FfD) concludes in the Ethiopian capital later this week, one of the lingering questions in the minds of departing delegates may well be: did we really achieve anything concrete after years of negotiations?

Science and Technology a Game Changer for Post-2015 Development Agenda

A group of international scientists, designated as advisers to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has conveyed a significantly timely message to him: science, technology and innovation (STI) can be "the game changer" for the U.N.’s future development efforts.

Humanitarian Emergencies Lend Urgency to World Population Day

On the eve of World Population Day, the United Nations is fighting a virtually losing battle against growing humanitarian emergencies triggered mostly by military conflicts that are displacing people by the millions – and rendering them either homeless or reducing them to the status of refugees.

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