The coronavirus—which has claimed the lives of over 538,000 people and infected more than 11.6 million worldwide—has destabilized virtually every facet of human life ever since its outbreak in late December.
More than three months after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made an urgent appeal for a global ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Security Council has finally passed a resolution supporting his call
As the nations of the world prepare to gather virtually to assess progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), society is just beginning to imagine what a post-COVID world might be like.
Seventy-five years ago, on July 16, the United States detonated the world’s first nuclear weapons test explosion in the New Mexican desert. Just three weeks later, U.S. Air Force B-29 bombers executed surprise atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing at least 214,000 people by the end of 1945, and injuring untold thousands more who died in the years afterward.
The ongoing battle between China and the United States is threatening to paralyze the most powerful body at the United Nations – the 15-member Security Council (UNSC)—which has virtually gone MIA (missing in action) on some of the key politically-sensitive issues of the day.
Being the sole candidate from the Asia Pacific region for the non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), India was elected by 184 votes in the 193-member United Nations’ General Assembly. on June 17, 2020.
The recent approach of the US to the UN and its agencies has left many shaking their heads. The US, under President Roosevelt, played a seminal role in creating the UN and its key agencies after World War II and subsequently nurturing them.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed economies into a Great Lockdown, which helped contain the virus and save lives, but also triggered the worst recession since the Great Depression. Over 75 percent of countries are now reopening at the same time as the pandemic is intensifying in many emerging market and developing economies. Several countries have started to recover. However, in the absence of a medical solution, the strength of the recovery is highly uncertain and the impact on sectors and countries uneven.
The coronavirus pandemic is beginning to transform the United Nations into an institution far beyond recognition.
The Secretariat building has been shut down since mid-March, and the UN campus will continue to remain a ghost town through end July-- and perhaps beyond-- with nearly 3,000 staffers, delegates and journalists working, mostly from home.
The Covid-19 pandemic has spread across the world. Although the numbers of infections and deaths vary between countries, they are increasing dramatically in some places, threatening people's health as well as the basis of their economic and social lives.
The world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons—estimated at over 13,400 at the beginning of 2020 – have a least one thing in common with humans: they are “retired” when they reach old age.
Many UN supporters expressed disappointment that Secretary General Antonio Guterres said almost nothing, until last week, about police violence against African-Americans in the United States, or about the massive protest movement that has erupted and the repressive response to the protests by US authorities and police forces.
The massive protests in more than 120 US cities over racial injustice and police brutality went global last week-- amidst presidential threats of military force on demonstrators in Washington DC.
Six months after the outbreak, the new global scenario resulting from the impact of COVID-19 is gradually becoming much more defined. From the very beginning, we sensed that little good could result from a situation so surprising and unexpected. Now it is becoming increasingly clear that we are entering times of extreme volatility in the international sphere. Times of uncertainty and incandescence as we have not seen for years.
Earlier this year, just before the coronavirus virtually shut down international travel, I sat under a mesquite tree and listened to a rambling speech by a South Sudanese general at a military base outside of the capital, Juba.
As a spiraling financial crisis threatens to undermine the UN’s day-to-day operations worldwide, a proposal being kicked around, outside the empty corridors of the UN, has triggered the question: will senior officials, including the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), Under-Secretaries-Generals (USGs), including 60 heads of UN agencies, Funds and Programs, and Assistant Secretaries-Generals (ASGs), volunteer to take salary cuts— even as a symbolic gesture?
Sub-Saharan Africa has a debt problem. According to the most recent World Bank debt statistics
, in 2018 the region had about $493 billion in long term external debt.
US President Donald Trump’s battle with the World Health Organization (WHO) hides two important issues. One, the long running love-hate relationship between the US and the UN, and two, a better understanding of how global public health is governed and in the overall context of global governance.
“Are you a senior medical executive with expertise in healthcare management with oversight of clinical services and occupational health at a facility, state, national or international level? The United Nations Secretariat is seeking a Medical Director at the D-2 level in the Department of Operational Support,” an ad posting on the UN’s job portal reads.
After six weeks of negotiations, the United States shot down hopes for a resolution to be approved in the United Nations Security Council on May 8, refusing to back worldwide cease-fires as the US continues to castigate China and the World Health Organization for the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, momentum behind tenuous cease-fires is vanishing, experts say.
Even during this pandemic, perhaps especially during this pandemic, the global institutions to help prevent the spread of biological and chemical weapons to proliferators or terrorists must continue their work.