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.

Cash-Strapped Human Rights Office at Breaking Point, Says New Chief

After six weeks in office, the new U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein of Jordan launched a blistering attack on member states for insufficient funding, thereby forcing operations in his office to the breaking point "in a world that seems to be lurching from crisis to ever-more dangerous crisis."

Curbing Biodiversity Loss Needs Giant Leap Forward

When political leaders from climate-threatened Small Island Developing States (SIDS) addressed the U.N. General Assembly last month, there was one recurring theme: the urgent need to protect the high seas and preserve the world's marine biodiversity.

Cycle of Death, Destruction and Rebuilding Continues in Gaza

When the international pledging conference to rebuild a devastated Gaza ended in Cairo over the weekend - the third such conference in less than six years - the lingering question among donors was: is this the last of it or are there more assaults to come?

2015 a Make-or-Break Year for Nuclear Disarmament

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month singled out what he described as "one of the greatest ironies of modern science": while humans are searching for life on other planets, the world's nuclear powers are retaining and modernising their weapons to destroy life on planet earth.

Zero Nuclear Weapons: A Never-Ending Journey Ahead

When the United Nations commemorated its first ever "international day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons," the lingering question in the minds of most anti-nuclear activists was: are we anywhere closer to abolishing the deadly weapons or are we moving further and further away from their complete destruction?

Obama Blasts Brutality and Bullying, but Not by Israel

When U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday, he was outspoken in his criticism of Russia for bullying Ukraine, Syria for its brutality towards its own people, and terrorists of all political stripes for the death and destruction plaguing Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

Climate-Smart Agriculture is Corporate Green-Washing, Warn NGOs

On the sidelines of the U.N.'s heavily hyped Climate Summit, the newly-launched Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture announced plans to protect some 500 million farmers worldwide from climate change and "help achieve sustainable and equitable increases in agricultural productivity and incomes."

U.N. High-Level Summits Ignore World’s Political Crises

As the 69th session of the General Assembly took off with the usual political pageantry, the United Nations will be hosting as many as seven "high-level meetings", "summits" and "special sessions" compressed into a single week - the largest number in living memory.

U.N. Urged to Reaffirm Reproductive Rights in Post-2015 Agenda

The U.N.'s post-2015 development agenda has been described as the most far-reaching and comprehensive development-related endeavour ever undertaken by the world body.

Is Newly-Renovated U.N. Readying For Balkanisation of World?

When world political leaders arrive next week for the annual ritual of addressing the United Nations, they will be speaking inside a newly renovated General Assembly hall - part of a hefty 2.1-billion-dollar, seven-year refurbishing project - with an extended seating capacity for 204 member states, 11 more than the current 193.

U.N. Climate Summit: Staged Parade or Reality Show?

The much-ballyhooed one-day Climate Summit next week is being hyped as one of the major political-environmental events at the United Nations this year.

U.S. Bypasses Security Council on Impending Invasion of Syria

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC), the only international body empowered to declare war and peace, continues to remain a silent witness to the widespread devastation and killings worldwide, including in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine.

Mideast Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Remains in Limbo

After four long years of protracted negotiations, a proposal for a nuclear weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the strife-torn Middle East remains in limbo - and perhaps virtually dead.

Developing Nations Set to Hit Back at New York City Banks

The Group of 77, the largest single coalition of developing countries, is hitting back at New York City banks that arbitrarily cancelled the accounts of more than 70 overseas diplomatic missions, leaving ambassadors, senior and junior diplomats and non-diplomatic staff without banking facilities.

Ban on Nuke Tests OK, But Where’s the Ban on Nuke Weapons?

As the United Nations commemorated the International Day Against Nuclear Tests this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lamented the fact that in a world threatened by some 17,000 nuclear weapons, not a single one has been destroyed so far.

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