While climate change is relentlessly progressing, threatening life on earth, world leaders continue to meet while planning for a future where this immense menace to human existence remains a minor item on the agenda.
Not all wars are fought on the battleground. The Cold War has taught us that certain wars could go on for decades, without overt violence. Perhaps, we are in the middle of another one with China as the new rival to the United States of America
. This time, the ‘battlefield’ is Africa.
In recent years, the global landscape for human rights defenders (HRDs) has become more difficult and complex, with both new and heightened challenges. With hundreds of defenders killed every year
, the scale and magnitude of threats faced by HRDs is unprecedented.
All my life was wasted, said Anwar*, as he told me recently about his traumatic experiences living under the Islamic State (IS) armed group in Northeast Syria.
Around 2018, when Anwar was 14 or 15 years old, his father, a member of IS, forced Anwar to train with the group as a young teenager. He even made Anwar watch as he inflicted brutal punishments on people who broke IS’ rules.
The United Nations system has an agreed leadership framework
that is inclusive and respectful of all personnel and stakeholders, embracing diversity and rejecting discrimination in all its forms.
Reducing carbon emissions is critical for combating climate change. And one effective way to do this is through the use of carbon taxes.
The latest synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes for grim reading: Every fraction of a degree of warming comes with escalated threats, from deadly heatwaves to severe hurricanes and droughts, affecting all economies and communities.
The world is in permanent crisis mode. In addition to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, the war in Ukraine and other violent conflicts, a worldwide cost of living crisis and an intensified debt crisis in more and more countries of the global South are affecting large parts of humanity.
As many as 45 African countries –out of the Continent's 54 nations–, all of them grouped in what is known as Sub-Saharan Africa, have now been further squeezed to their bones, as funding shrinks to lowest ever levels, and as a portion of the so-called aid goes back to the pockets of rich donor countries.
As signs of a new Cold War are fast emerging at the United Nations, the US continues its war of words with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The rivalry, which extends from Russia and Taiwan to Iran and Myanmar – where the UN’s two permanent members are on opposite sides of ongoing political or military conflicts– has now triggered a battle on semantics.
Israel of today as a Jewish and democratic state is a contradiction
of terms and as such may possibly become transformed into a genuinely democratic Israel tomorrow with justice and equality for all.
The Venezuelan parliament, in the hands of the ruling party, is moving towards passing a law to control non-governmental organizations (NGOs) so that, in practice, they could not exist independently.
An African proverb notes that “when two elephants fight, it is the grass underneath that suffers”. Many states in the global south are, therefore, seeking to avoid getting caught in the middle of any future battles between the US and China. Instead, they are calling for a renewal of the concept of non-alignment. This was an approach employed in the 1950s by newly independent countries to balance
between the two ideological power blocs of east and west during the era of the Cold War
The G20 India Presidency is marked by unprecedented geopolitical, environmental, and economic crises. Rising inflation threatens to erase decades of economic development
and push more people into poverty
. Violent extremism is also on the rise as a result of increasing global inequality, and the rule of law is in decline
everywhere. All of these challenges impact the G20's goal of realizing a faster and more equitable post-pandemic economic recovery.
But as India prioritizes its agenda for 2023, it is corruption that is at the heart of all of these other problems- and which poses the greatest threat to worldwide peace and prosperity.
Denial at the top of the Democratic Party about Joe Biden’s shaky footing for a re-election run in 2024 became more untenable over the weekend. As the New York Times reported
, investigators “seized more than a half-dozen documents, some of them classified, at President Biden’s residence” in Delaware.
The multilateral system, even in the face of heightened geopolitical tension and big power rivalry, remains the uniquely inclusive vehicle for managing mutual interdependencies in ways that enhance national and global welfare. The complex challenges of a global pandemic, climate emergency, inequality and the risk of nuclear conflict cannot be dealt with by one country or one region alone. Coordinated collective action is required.
President Biden and leaders of 49 invited African countries and the African Union
met in Washington last month for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
— a meeting that all parties hope will launch a strengthened partnership to deliver benefits for the peoples of both the U.S. and Africa
With 2023 underway, Democrats in office are still dodging the key fact that most of their party’s voters don’t want President Biden to run for re-election. Among prominent Democratic politicians, deference is routine while genuine enthusiasm is sparse.
The reform of the Security Council, the most powerful body at the United Nations, has remained a never-ending political saga.
According to the President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi of Hungary, 43 years have passed since the question of Security Council reform first appeared on the UN agenda.
The UN Charter mandates the Security Council to maintain international peace, but wars rage on and nations arm themselves with ever more lethal weapons. No wonder that the Council’s critics are so many and calls for its reform so urgent.
Day after day, international humanitarian organisations launch desperate appeals for funding to continue saving some of the many lives at high risk. When they get a handful of dollars –even just one million– from a rich country, they welcome it as manna from heaven.