As dire economic predictions for 2023
did not materialise, pundits began 2024 far more optimistically
. But policy ghosts from the last half-century will likely undermine such wishful thinking.
Together religious identity and demographics play an important role
in the decades-long conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians. If the Palestinians, who are largely Muslim and Christian, had been Jewish, they would have been allowed to live in their homes on their lands and be entitled to be Israeli citizens.
The United Nations and its Member States are up against what the Secretary-General António Guterres calls existential challenges for the world, and they must be organized in taking a united approach to addressing these issues through ambitious plans and widespread reform.
In his statement to the General Assembly on February 7, 2024, Guterres laid out his priorities for the coming year, consisting of various ongoing issues that call for urgent action. He has called for member states to fulfill their obligations to the UN Charter, under which every person’s right to life and dignity should be guaranteed. But at present, governments are undermining the tenets of multilateralism with no accountability, he said.
“Middle East” or “West Asia?” This somewhat divided nomenclature adds another layer to the region’s already “complicated” label. Is it the “Middle East” because it is in the “middle” of the East? Is it “West Asia” because it is in the western part of Asia? So, why is the region mostly called the Middle East? It is “geographically ambiguous” to some, as it is “East” only from the “West’s” perspective. The term West Asia has fewer challengers, but it isn’t used as much.
Two centuries ago, Percy Shelley wrote that “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Yet elite power has routinely vetoed their best measures. Still, the ability of poetry to inspire and nurture is precious, including when governments are on protracted killing sprees.
As one of America’s closest allies, Israel has remained heavily dependent on the US —politically, economically, and militarily—since its creation in 1948.
US arms supplies, mostly provided gratis, are channeled via US Foreign Military Financing (FMF), Military Assistance Program (MAP) and Excess Defense Articles (EDA).
The reason I wanted to speak to you was to outline something very specific about Gaza, of course, which is about the approach being taken and planned by the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies to provide aid to Gaza.
Unless Israel establishes an exit strategy and an end-game that will lead to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in full coordination with the US and Saudi Arabia, the war against Hamas will only be another brutal violent episode that will prepare the ground for the next conflagration that will engulf the West Bank and potentially set the entire region on fire.
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