IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse

The Age of Holy War & Poetics of Solidarity – (Part 1)

“Holy War” is how the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church referred to the Russian war on the Ukraine, and indeed, on “the West”1 . “Holy War”, aka “jihad” is a foundational principle of “the Base” or “al-Qaeda”, which has grown into a non-state hydra with too many names and atrocities to list here (but if you are curious, one of the hydra faces is ISIS).

Violent Deaths by “Small Arms & Light Weapons”: UN Chief’s Warning Dead on Target

Perhaps two of the biggest misnomers in military jargon are “small arms” and “light weapons” which are the primary weapons of death and destruction in ongoing civil wars and military conflicts, mostly in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In a statement last week, at the opening session of the Fourth Review Conference of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was dead on target when he said there is nothing “small” or “ight” about the damage these weapons cause.

When U.S. Officials Show You Who They Are, Believe Them

"When someone shows you who they are,” Maya Angelou said, “believe them the first time." That should apply to foreign-policy elites who show you who they are, time after time.

A Move to Out-Maneuver US Veto on Palestine

The United States—which has continued to use its veto power to block Palestine from UN membership —may be out-maneuvered by a growing new campaign by some UN member states planning to establish full political and diplomatic relations with Palestine outside the confines of the United Nations. The latest recognitions of the Palestinian territory as a sovereign State are by Norway, Ireland, Spain and Slovenia, which comes after the General Assembly overwhelmingly voted -- with 143 votes in favour to nine votes against- - to back Palestine’s bid to become a full-fledged member of the United Nations on last month.

Free Speech Under Siege—across West Africa

Authoritarian overreach is re-defining itself across West Africa, fuelled by armed conflicts, military coups, and electoral manipulation and violence, as the region experiences a decline in democracy.

Fiscal Policy Can Help Broaden the Gains of Artificial Intelligence to Humanity

New generative-AI technologies hold immense potential for boosting productivity and improving the delivery of public services, but the sheer speed and scale of the transformation also raise concerns about job losses and greater inequality. Given uncertainty over the future of AI, governments should take an agile approach that prepares them for highly disruptive scenarios.

Sustainable Development of 39 Small Island Developing States – No Time to Wait

Today Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the environmental threats they confront require our urgent attention ---and the global spotlight needs to be trained deliberately and maintained consistently on their concerns, in particular, climate change, marine biological diversity loss and sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Restoring Trust: Confronting Corruption and Championing Integrity

58 percent of respondents to a worldwide survey believed that their political system has been captured by an elite that is corrupt, obsolete, and unreformable. Corruption thrives in environments characterized by weak governance, where transparency, accountability, and public decision-making are compromised by conflicts of interest and political interference.

UN’s Development Goals: Rich Nations Lead While World’s Poor Lag Far Behind

When the 193-member UN General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution, back in September 2015, the goals were highly ambitious: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, eliminate inequalities, protect human rights, promote gender empowerment and ensure economic, social and environmental development—and much more. The deadline for achieving these targets was set for 2030.

Bangladesh Can Boost Growth & Climate Resilience by Investing in Women

Bangladesh has made major gains for its population, the world’s eighth largest with more than 170 million people. Per capita incomes, one of the best measures of broad economic well-being, have risen seven-fold in the past three decades while poverty has been reduced to a fraction of former levels.

UN Probe Finds Israel Guilty of ‘Extermination,’ Torture, and Other War Crimes in Gaza

A United Nations commission tasked with conducting an in-depth investigation of Israeli military actions in the occupied Palestinian territories has concluded that Israel's government is responsible for multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip, including "extermination," torture, forcible transfer, and the use of starvation as a weapon of warfare.

Power of Acknowledging White Privilege in Addressing Racism Within United Nations

As we commemorate the 103rd anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre this month, organizations and communities should focus on white privilege as it is a critical but often overlooked component of effective racial justice change processes. White privilege, rooted in European-led colonization, provides unearned advantages to white individuals, often unnoticed due to their perception as universal experiences.

Proud to be an Ally: Standing with LGBTQ+ Communities Across the World

The events of this year’s PRIDE month are showing the world the power of inclusivity. It is by only insisting on acceptance, and rejecting criminalization, discrimination and stigmatization, that we can ensure a fairer, safer, future for all. We are all invited to be allies.

Will European Momentum Help Generate a Move to Recognize Palestine as a Sovereign State?

Since the eviction of Palestinians from their homeland pursuant to the controversial Balfour declaration of 1917, the quest for regaining Palestinian statehood has continued as a means towards lasting peace and security within and between Israel and Palestine.

A Nuclear-Armed European Union? A Proposal Under Fire

The continued veiled threats from Russia, warning of nuclear attacks on Ukraine, have prompted some politicians in Europe to visualize a nuclear-armed European Union (EU).

Youth Speak Out Against Big Tobacco

Each year, millions of children worldwide fall prey to the targeted tactics of the tobacco industry in its attempts to lure new customers. This year’s World No Tobacco Day (May 31), aptly themed “Protecting children from tobacco industry interference”, saw global youth unite to confront the pervasive influence of Big Tobacco.

European Nuclear Deterrent a Harebrained Illegal Proposal

It is quite astonishing and clearly insane, that Manfred Weber, the German leader of the European Union’s center-right European People’s Party, now expected to come in first in the European Parliament election scheduled on June 6-9th, is calling for the EU’s own nuclear “deterrent”—arguing that the US-stationed nuclear weapons in five NATO states, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherland, and Turkey, may be inadequate protection for Europe’s security should Trump, that great friend of Russia, be elected!

World Environment Day: UN Secretary-General Reckons with ‘A Moment of Truth’ on Climate Action

Coming at a time of record-breaking global temperatures over the last twelve months, the UN chief calls on world leaders, including the G20 and G7 members, to commit to their climate action goals as laid out in the Paris Agreement. Experts across multiple industries are also encouraged to do their part to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis.

Europe Can Reap Sizable Energy Security Rewards by Scaling Up Climate Action

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered Europe’s worst energy crisis since the 1970s and put energy security back at the top of the policy agenda. Policymakers reacted swiftly by securing alternative natural gas supplies, improving energy efficiency, and expanding renewables.

Peace or No Peace, Israel Stands Accused of Genocide & War Crimes in Gaza

The Biden administration, which is frantically attempting to finalize a shaky peace agreement between Israel and Hamas, is being stymied by at least two far right-wing politicians in Netanyahu’s cabinet—Foreign Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir—and also by the Israeli Prime Minister himself who wants to totally eradicate Hamas before he agrees to a cease-fire.

Unregulated Autonomous Weapons Systems Pose Risk to Africa

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on countries to conclude by 2026 negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS).

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