When heads of government and foreign ministers make their annual pilgrimage to the United Nations in September, it is rare to hear hard-hitting, headline-grabbing political statements from the podium.
On this very day, exactly 18 years ago, riotous celebration erupted after Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons. Just 17 days earlier, India had experienced a similar moment. Then, one year later, Pakistan once again saw mass jubilation during the officially sponsored Youm-i-Takbir. But, in sharp contrast, today`s nuclear celebrations are barely audible. One hopes that this signals increased national maturity and sobriety.
The world's poorest countries are making development gains, yet challenges remain, particularly for so-called fragile countries affected by conflict or other disasters.
The recent announcement of the Nicaraguan government’s 80-million-dollar purchase of 50 Russian tanks caught the attention of the press in Latin America and caused alarm in the international community.
As targeted killings of individuals with unorthodox views and members of minority communities continue unabated in Bangladesh, so does the debate on whether international terrorists have made inroads to the country. The question has been whether the claims of the Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) of their presence in Bangladesh should be taken at face value. In the past months, both these organisations have been claiming responsibility for a series of killings. Until recently, these claims have not been accompanied by justifications, but that pattern seems to be changing. The AQIS affiliate Ansar-al Islam, issued a long statement after the murder of Xulhazs Mannan, an LGBT activist and USAID staff member. The government, on the other hand, has continued to deny the existence of these organisations and insists that these are the acts of 'homegrown' militants. In April, the English magazine of the IS, Dabiq, published an interview with the so-called Amir of the Bangladeshi chapter of the IS to bolster its presence. Ansar-al Islam claims to represent the AQIS in Bangladesh. This is a mutated version of the organisation Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which came into being in 2007.
The UN World Humanitarian Summit takes place in Istanbul, 23-24 May. So what hopes do the humanitarian organisations, which deliver aid on the ground, have for the outcomes?
Boats carrying refugees and boats carrying aid supplies will be on the agenda at the World Humanitarian Summit this week, but advocates say discussing the free flow of shipments carrying bombs and guns might be even more critical.
For the millions of people whose lives have been uprooted by conflict and natural disasters the average amount of time before they can return home is now 17 years.
Refugees are now more likely to live in cities than in refugee camps, bringing with them planning challenges but also opportunities for economic growth.
While Canada’s long-awaited support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples brought hope and celebration last week, it's not yet clear whether the rights of Indigenous people in developing countries harmed by Canadian mining companies will also be included.
“This is a humanitarian crisis,” said Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres, referring to the generalised violence in Mexico and in Honduras and other countries of Central America, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and is a product of transnational crime, but is invisible to the international community.
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is very seriously deteriorating, said Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) Operations Director John Ging.
"We don't want charity, we want a long-term solution."
In a world where annual defence spending is over 1.6 trillion dollars and the UN Peacebuilding Fund receives less than 700 million dollars, it would seem that the military industrial complex is unwaveringly entrenched.
“If you’re going to talk about Colombia and the peace process, do it somewhere else,” was heard at a regional preparatory meeting for the World Humanitarian Summit, according to Ramón Rodríguez, with the Colombian government’s Unit for Attention and Integral Reparation for Victims (UARIV).