IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse

Profound Reform or Redundancy – United Nations’ Quandary?

Three recent developments bring about again the reasoning on the dire need to immediately reform the United Nations (UN) and avoid its predictable slide to redundancy.

The UN Security Council and the “New US-China Cold War”

Commentators talk about a “new Cold War” between the United States and China. They sometimes conclude that the geopolitical rivalry between these two major powers has ruined the effectiveness of the UN Security Council through hostile vetoes and other barriers to Council action.

Palestinians are Suffering from Hunger, Poverty, Conflict & a Global Pandemic

The Trump administration’s decision to cut off assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) caused considerable hardship for Palestinian refugees during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those in Gaza where a majority of the population are refugees and poverty is rampant due to Israel’s blockade, Khaled Elgindy, a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute (MEI), told IPS.

Syrians are Victims of a War “We Did not Choose”

Syrians are among the greatest victims of this century, according to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen. Indeed, we are.

Recipes with a Taste of Sustainable Development on the Coast of El Salvador

Salvadoran villager Maria Luz Rodriguez placed the cheese on top of the lasagna she was cooking outdoors, put the pan in her solar oven and glanced at the midday sun to be sure there was enough energy for cooking.

Developing Countries COVID-19 Debt Crisis Could Put SDGs & Climate Agreement Completely Out of Reach

The inability of developing nations to spend on post COVID-19 recovery and resilience has placed the world on the "the verge of a debt crisis". “We face the spectre of a divided world and a lost decade for development,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday, Mar. 29, during a high-level meeting on financing development post COVID-19.

In Syria, a Decade of Death, Destruction, Displacement, Disease, Dread & Despair

The conflict in Syria is now ten years old. A decade of death, destruction, displacement, disease, dread and despair. I have spoken to Syrians in many parts of the country in recent weeks.

Humanitarian & Food Aid Can Never be Enough to Manage Cascading Disasters

The intersection of crisis, climate change and COVID-19 has resulted in a “rapid rise in hunger”, according to United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Deputy Executive Director Amir Abdullah.

Water Governance and Data Collection is Key to Reach Development Goals

Prioritising water governance and ensuring data collection and investment in groundwater use around the world are some of the key issues that need to be addressed with regards to achieving development goals.

Human Rights Groups Demand an end to Myanmar Military’s Crackdown on Journalists

Two human rights groups have called on the military in Myanmar to release journalists arbitrarily jailed and allow them to work without harassment and prosecution. Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) told IPS that they will double down on those demands until all journalists are released and the operating licenses of newsgroups are restored.

How Technology Reproduces & Amplifies Harassment & Abuse of Women Journalists

“Email and social media access attempts, extremely aggressive comments, photo montages, massive defamation and intimidation campaigns on WhatsApp. This is what women journalists are facing for doing our job,” said Brazilian journalist Bianca Santana.

UN Sanitizes Killings of Children in Armed Conflicts

The horrendous killings of children in military conflicts and civil wars – both by national armed forces and militant groups – have triggered widespread condemnation by human rights organizations worldwide.

Achieving Gender Equality for Women’s Re-entry to the Labour Force Post COVID-19

During the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns, while many sought safety being at home, women in the healthcare, child care, aged care, teaching and services fields — who hold the majority of jobs in those occupations — went to work everyday. 

A Global South Organization – a Sine Qua Non for Developing Nations’ Influence in World Arena

I observed the Group of 77 (G77) shortly after the 1964 Geneva Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the 1968 UNCTAD 2 in New Delhi and the 1972 UNCTAD 3 in Santiago. The Group was influential at the time, benefiting from several factors helpful for its functioning which are no longer present, namely:

‘Living Hell’ – Concerns Mount over Dramatic Deterioration in Yemen Conflict

The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen has warned that the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, is rapidly deteriorating as Yemenis, including women and children, face hunger, injury and death.

Failing to Collect Data About Women is no Trivial Offence

Women get freezing cold in trains and in big city offices because the air conditioning is set for men’s sensitivity to the cold. They spend the whole theatre interval (when visits to the theatre were still possible) in the queue because there are too few toilets.

Are High-Ranking UN Jobs the Political Birthright of Big Powers?

The United Nations has continued to pursue a notoriously longstanding tradition of doling out some of the highest-ranking jobs either to the five big powers, who are permanent members of the Security Council—namely the US, UK, China, France and Russia – or to Western industrialized nations such as Spain, Italy, Canada, Sweden, Germany, plus Japan.

How to Achieve Peace in Afghanistan

There is much expectation about US President Joe Biden's Afghanistan strategy to end the United States' longest war effectively. So far, he continues to rely on Ambassador Zalmai Khalilzad, the Special Envoy for Afghanistan, appointed by Mr. Trump.

Women Will Not Reach Parity at the Pinnacle of Power for Another 130 Years, Predicts UN

The United Nations says the highest levels of political power remain the furthest from achieving gender parity in an increasingly male-dominated power structure worldwide.

Only Small Percentage of COVID-19 Recovery Allocated to Green Initiatives

Last year, only $368 billion of a $14.6tn budget geared towards COVID-19 recovery measures across the world’s largest 50 countries took into account green recovery initiatives, according to a report launched yesterday, Mar. 10.

More ‘Can & Must be Done’ to Eradicate Caste-Based Discrimination, Says UN Rights Chief

There is hardly a better way to promote human rights in Nepal than celebrating Muskan Khatun for being one of the winners of the prestigious International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award, released on the International Women’s Day by the Government of the United States of America.

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