Civil Society

Olympian Turned Volunteer Keeps Traffic Running in Busy Lagos

Bassey Etim Ironbar is a rare example of an Olympian that transformed from an athlete to a volunteer who does menial jobs like sweeping the streets and clearing debris from open sewers.

Multilateral Peace Operations in 2020: Developments & Trends

The first year of the Covid-19 pandemic saw wide-ranging impacts on multilateral peace operations. The crisis simultaneously affected all operations, host nations, headquarters and contributing countries. It caused major disruption—from the political-strategic level where mandates are drawn up, down to the operational and tactical levels.

After Vilifying the UN, US Returns to the World Body

Ed Koch, a sharp-tongued Mayor of New York city (1978-89), once stopped short of using a four-letter word to denounce the United Nations. Instead, he opted for a five-letter word dismissing the UN as a “sewer” relegating it to the lower depths of degradation.

Civil Society Leading Covid-19 Mask Campaign in South Asia – Podcast

Footage of flames engulfing bodies at makeshift funeral pyres and stories of people dying in cars as drivers desperately raced from hospital to hospital seeking a bed. These scenes marked the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India just months ago.

Latin America Sets an Example in Welcoming Displaced Venezuelans

The exodus of more than five million Venezuelans in the last six years has led countries in the developing South, Venezuela's neighbours, to set an example with respect to welcoming and integrating displaced populations, with shared benefits for the new arrivals and the nations that receive them.

UNFPA Calls for Protection & Justice for Women & Girls in Tigray

The 2018 Nobel Laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist celebrated for his work with survivors of sexual assault in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Panzi Hospital once said: “Rape is a strategy of war – it is meant to destroy women and communities physically and mentally”.

Beware UN Food Systems Summit Trojan Horse

Undoubtedly, the world needs to reform existing food systems to better serve humanity and sustainable development. But the United Nations World Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) must be consistent with UN-led multilateralism. For the first time ever, the World Economic Forum (WEF), a partnership of some of the world’s most powerful corporations, is partnering the UN in launching the Summit, now scheduled for September, with its ‘Pre-Summit’ beginning today.

Conceptual Advances for United Nations 2.0

The UN Secretary-General’s forthcoming “Our Common Agenda” report, to be released before this year’s UN General Assembly High-Level Week, is expected to offer ambitious recommendations to accelerate the realization of the UN75 Declaration as the world comes to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fight for the “Lost Souls.”

In June, the Department of Homeland Security made a critical announcement. For the first time in U.S. history, more than 15 national and local agencies and civilian organizations conducted a simultaneous major binational operation to find missing children inside and outside the United States.

The New Social Contract: an Opportunity for Deliberative Participation

These days there hasn’t been certainly a shortage of reports portraying the decline of liberal democracy around the world. With rising popularism and a divisive use of social media, we should not be surprised about a general malaise taking roots in most advanced liberal democracies.

Calls to Halt Construction of Massive Oilfield in One of Africa’s last Wildernesses

Wildlife and environmental campaigners have called for international action as concerns grow over a project to create a massive oilfield in one of Africa’s last wildernesses.

Why we Need to Build Economies– not Walls– to Stop Migration

If you speak to farmers in El Salvador, many will tell you about the time they were driven to head north across Central America towards the US. The routes to the border are many, but the origins are so often the same: desperation and hope that better employment opportunities can be found elsewhere.

UN Ready for Breakaway Nations but the Pace Remains Slow

When the United Nations renovated its building at a cost of over $2.1 billion, as part of a seven-year refurbishing project back in 2014, the seating in the cavernous General Assembly hall was increased from 193 to 204—primarily in anticipation of at least 11 new member states joining the world body sooner or later.

Flaws in Asia’s Pearl

For well over a century Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, has been known to the world as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ for its multifaceted attractions. That is until blurb writers ruined it all with hyperbolic epithets that obscured the country’s magnetic charms, which attracted visitors from around the globe.

Stopping Marine Plastic Pollution: A Key IUCN Congress Goal

Documented images of albatross chicks and marine turtles dying slow deaths from eating plastic bags and other waste are being seared into our consciences. And yet our mass pollution of Earth’s seas and oceans, fuelled by single-use plastics and throw-away consumerism, just gets worse.

Universal Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Are Critical for Truth, Trust and COVID Recovery in Asia and the Pacific

With health systems at a breaking point, hospitals at capacity and desperate family members searching for oxygen for loved ones, the devastating second wave of COVID-19 that has swept across South Asia has felt ¬surreal. Official figures have indicated record-breaking daily coronavirus cases and deaths, not only in South Asia, but across the entire Asia-Pacific region during the latest surge. As devastating as it has been, the truth is we may never know how many people have died during the pandemic.

Towards an Equal Future in Parliaments

In elections last October in Georgia, women’s share of seats in parliament went up by nearly seven percent, following the enforcement of a 25 percent quota for women candidates.

Weaponizing Science in Global Food Policy

In July, the United Nations will convene “Science Days”, a high-profile event in preparation for the UN Food Systems Summit later this year. Over the course of two days, the world will be treated to a parade of Zoom sessions aimed at “highlighting the centrality of science, technology and innovation for food systems transformation.”

Water Harvesting Strengthens Food Security in Central America

At the school in El Guarumal, a remote village in eastern El Salvador, the children no longer have to walk several kilometers along winding paths to fetch water from wells; they now "harvest" it from the rain that falls on the roofs of their classrooms.

Maldives’ UN General Assembly Presidency Renews Hope for Small Island Developing States

Earlier this month, Abdulla Shahid, the Maldives’ foreign minister, was elected President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which commences in September.

From Climate Change to Covid, Are We Ready to Deal with Disasters?

In the last 20 years, disasters affected over 4 billion people. At global level we witness on average one sweeping disaster a day, the majority of which are floods and storms. From the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, calamities are taking new shapes and sizes, infiltrating every dimension of society. From the emotional to the political, how do we deal with disasters? How can we create a whole-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction?

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