Global Governance

Pledges for Humanitarian Aid to Syria Fall Short of Target by Billions

When United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stood before 78 potential donors at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait Tuesday, his appeal for funds had an ominous ring to it: the Syrian people, he remarked, "are victims of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time."

U.N. Water Report Not “Doom And Gloom”, Says Author

The lead author of a United Nations water report has spoken out about media depictions of his findings, denying the report lays out a “doom and gloom” scenario.

Former Military Man Declares Victory in Nigerian Polls

Showing a “commendable determination to register their vote and choose their leaders,” Nigerians by the hundreds of thousands lined up at polling stations across the country to select the next president and National Assembly of their country, U.S. and British witnesses to the hotly-contested presidential polls observed.In a joint statement by the British Foreign Secretary and the U.S. Secretary of State, the observer governments “welcomed the largely peaceful vote on March 28.”Concerns over the possibilities of fraud were quietly swept away when the national election commission called the winner of the country’s presidential poll as Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).Buhari edged out his rival by around two million votes. A phone call from the defeated president, Goodluck Jonathan, reached Buhari’s headquarters about five minutes before five with congratulations on the victory.After 35 of the 36 states’ vote totals were tallied, Buhari appeared to have captured 14.9 million votes compared to Jonathan’s 12.8 million.The massive balloting and collection was marred by missteps as the new voter cards failed, sensitive materials were snatched, election officials were held captive, and protestors were tear-gassed.Thousands of ballots were rejected and some polling stations were closed without notice including in major cities such as Lagos.Even before preliminary tallies were recorded, the opposition APC rejected the process in Rivers state and denounced the vote there as "a sham and a charade".A similar complaint came from Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who complained of soldiers harassing voters, shootings, ballot boxes mishandled, and the arrest of his senior special advisor. “This is the worst act of militarisation of democracy,” the governor said.The new imported biometric machines “largely failed to read voter cards,” commented Kayode Idowu, spokesman for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).Even the president was affected as three machines failed to recognise the fingerprints of Goodluck Jonathan and his wife.Unlike in previous years, social media captured many of the conflict images, which were quickly uploaded on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This moved one commentator, Daniel M. Bijimi, to call out on Twitter: “Everyone with an internet enabling phone is now a journalist in #NigeriaDecides and #Nigeria2015!”Among the citizen photos were two from Rivers state where women are seen in clouds of teargas as they struggled to reach the office of INEC to demand suspension of the electoral commissioner who they claimed was rigging the election for the outgoing president.In southern Akwa Ibom state, citizen journalists captured the governorship candidate from the opposition displaying sheets of ballots discarded allegedly by rogue staff of INEC and officials of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).The number of rejected ballots around the country was disturbingly high. Nassarawa, in the nation’s center, registered 10,094 rejected ballots – enough to put either of the candidates way over the top.In the final hours before victory was called, the major contenders - President Jonathan of PDP, seeking re-election, and Muhammadu Buhari of APC, an ex-military man seeking a return to power – were running neck and neck.In addition to the PDP and APC, 13 other parties were vying for the nation’s top job in polls across 36 states and 68 million registered voters.Among those commenting on the polls was Nigeria’s foremost man of letters, Wole Soyinka, who lamented: “This has been one of the most vicious, unprincipled, vulgar and violent election exercises I have ever witnessed…I just hope we won’t go down as being the incorrigible giant of Africa.”

A “Year of Eye-Catching Steps Forward” for Renewable Energy

Driven by solar and wind, world investments in renewable energy reversed a two-year dip last year, brushing aside the challenge from sharply lower oil prices and registering a 17 percent leap over the previous year to stand at 270 billion dollars.

Nicaragua’s Future Canal a Threat to the Environment

The new interoceanic canal being built in Nicaragua has brought good and bad news for the scientific community: new species and archeological sites have been found and knowledge of the local ecosystems has grown, but the project poses a huge threat to the environment.

Opinion: Cuba and the European Union – The Thaw Begins

The visit to Cuba of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Mar. 23-24, and the forthcoming visit in May planned by French President François Hollande, have fast-tracked the agenda of relations between the European Union and Cuba.

U.N. Staffers Caught in Deadly Crossfire in Ongoing Conflicts

The deadly Syrian military conflict - now entering its fifth year - which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 mostly civilians, including women, children and aid workers, has not spared the United Nations either.

Opinion: A Major Push Forward for Gender and Environment

Experts from around the world gathered in New York recently to launch work on the Global Gender Environment Outlook (GGEO), the first comprehensive, integrated and global assessment of gender issues in relation to the environment and sustainability.

Why So Many Palestinian Civilians Were Killed During Gaza War

The U.N. investigation into Israel’s devastating military campaign against Gaza, from July to August 2014, has been delayed until June and in the interim Israel and the Palestinians are waging a media war to win the moral narrative as to why so many Palestinian civilians were killed during the bloody conflict.

Opinion: Crisis Resolution and International Debt Workout Mechanisms

Debt restructuring is a component of crisis management and resolution, and needs to be treated in the context of the current economic conjuncture and vulnerabilities.

The U.N. at 70: U.N. Reform Must Benefit All Countries

U.N. anniversaries are occasions for stocktaking - not all of it positive. But there is a lot of good that the U.N. has done and is doing and there are many good, dedicated people working silently but effectively within the U.N. system where I have also worked for a part of my long diplomatic career.

Nuclear Threat Escalating Beyond Political Rhetoric

As a new cold war between the United States and Russia picks up steam, the nuclear threat is in danger of escalating – perhaps far beyond political rhetoric.

Cash-Strapped U.N. to Seek Funds for Syria at Pledging Conference in Kuwait

A cash-strapped United Nations, which is struggling to reach out to millions of Syrian refugees with food, medicine and shelter, is desperately in need of funds.

Palestine Crisis at Its Worst Since 1967, Says United Nations

In 2014, the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) saw the worst escalation of hostilities since 1967, said a report by the United Nations Office of Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), released on March 26.

“My Number Was Six”

Outwardly, Feras Fayyad is stoic in face of the immense turmoil both he and his country are going through. All of 30 years old, Fayyad, who runs Sout Raya, a radio station in Turkey, exudes calm. His voice is almost soothing.

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