IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse

The Camel, the Needle– and the UN’s first Woman Secretary-General

A 2.0 version of an ancient Biblical saying reads: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a woman to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The male/female ratio for the Secretary-General stands at 9 vs zero. And the Presidency of the General Assembly (PGA), the highest policy-making body at the UN, is not far behind either.

World Leaders Must Look at the Big Picture to Solve Food Crisis

From the worst drought in four decades threatening famine across the Horn of Africa to extreme heat in South Asia, the war in Ukraine and the unequal pace of pandemic recovery, global food systems are under extraordinary pressure.

UN’s “No-Fly List” on Sexual Harassment Falls Short, Complains Rights Group

The United Nations has continued to crackdown on sexual harassment system-wide since 2017 while its “whistle blower protection policy” has provided “protective status” for nearly 68 UN staffers who reported wrong doing. But Equality Now, an international human rights organization, is accusing the UN of faltering on its longstanding “zero-tolerance” policy.

Jobs Will Not Empower Young Women Until We Address Sexual Harassment

What does empowerment for young women look like? For many, the answer would include jobs. But the belief that jobs bring empowerment through income, greater autonomy, and bargaining power within the family fail to recognise that these potential gains for young women are undermined by widespread sexual harassment.

Five Takeaways from the 2022 State of Civil Society Report

2022 is halfway through. It’s clear this is a year of immense disruption, mayhem and contestation. Horrendous war crimes are taking place in Ukraine. The conflict is spurring soaring living costs, impacting the most vulnerable people, already faced with the adverse impacts of the pandemic and extreme weather caused by climate change.

A Frightening View: Inside the Eye of the ‘Hurricane of Hunger’

When I first met Dr. Roland Bunch, I have to be honest—he scared me. As one of the most well-respected leaders on agronomy and resilient land management, he offers extremely prescient predictions on how famines take root when soils fail—and also has an admirably clear-eyed view of what we need to do better.

Afghanistan’s Devastating Earthquake Exacerbates Dire Humanitarian Crisis

Early estimates in the Afghan provinces of Khost and Paktika indicate that the earthquake took lives of over a thousand people, with the death toll likely to rise. Many more have been injured, lost their homes and everything they owned.

Who Should Be the Next UN Climate Change Head?

Patricia Espinosa’s six years as Executive Secretary of the UN’s climate change secretariat ends on July 15th. During her time in charge, she has led efforts to operationalize the 2015 Paris Agreement and inject greater urgency into the diplomatic process. Although progress has been difficult, COP26 in Glasgow added some momentum and arguably brought the UN process to the start of its next stage: implementation.

War in Ukraine Triggers New International Non-Alignment Trend

Numerous countries of the developing South are distancing themselves from the contenders in the war in Ukraine, using the debate on the conflict to underscore their independence and pave the way for a kind of new de facto non-alignment with regard to the main axes of world power.

Death Sentences in Myanmar

"The illegal military junta provides further evidence to the international community of its disregard for human rights as it prepares to hang pro-democracy activists," said Thomas Andrews and Morris Tidball-Binz, UN special rapporteurs in Myanmar for human rights and extrajudicial arbitrary executions, respectively on June 10, 2022.

US President Biden Refuses to Mention Worsening Dangers of Nuclear War While Media & Congress Enable His Silence

I’ve just finished going through the more than 60 presidential statements, documents and communiques about the war in Ukraine that the White House has released and posted on its website since Joe Biden’s State of the Union address in early March.

The World’s Worst Food Crisis for Decades – and What to do About It

This is what happens when you starve. With no food, the body’s metabolism slows down to preserve energy for vital organs. Hungry and weak, people often become fatigued, irritable and confused. The immune system loses strength. As they starve, people—especially children—are likelier to fall sick or die from diseases they may have otherwise resisted. Cholera, respiratory infections, malaria, dengue, and diphtheria kill more people in famines than starvation itself.

The UN Security Council is in Desperate Need of Comprehensive Reforms

Any fair analysis of the United Nations strongly suggests that the UN of today is not the same UN that was established in 1945. The United Nations Security Council in particular, which was intended to maintain international peace and security, has sadly outlived its usefulness in its current makeup.

UN System, Too Complex & Fragmented, is in Urgent Need of Reform

Few deny the huge role the United Nation plays in global multilateral system especially in the area of poverty eradication, sustainability and climate change. As enabler of the Agenda 2030, the UN system has the ability, stemming from its extraordinary convening powers, to bring around the table global leaders and key stakeholders for the most consequential decisions humanity must take.

“Gun Control” at the Pentagon? Don’t Even Think About It

New outcries for gun control have followed the horrible tragedies of mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo. “Evil came to that elementary school classroom in Texas, to that grocery store in New York, to far too many places where innocents have died,” President Biden declared over the weekend during a university commencement address.

A Global Food Crisis: Shortage Amidst Plenty

India is being asked by the US government and the IMF to reconsider its decision to suspend wheat exports. Their cited concern is that export restrictions will exacerbate food shortages amidst Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But the argument does not stand ground technically or morally.

Child Labour: No Quick End to Children Trapped in Tobacco Production

Despite World Day Against Child Labour launched in 2002 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), little has changed over the past two decades for the millions of children who remain trapped.

No Climate Transition Without Securing Land Rights

The landmark land tenure decision by parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 2019 offers a blueprint for upcoming climate negotiations in Sharm El Sheikh in November.

New Tactical Nuclear Weapons? Just Say No

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine, along with his implied threats of nuclear weapons use against any who would interfere, has raised the specter of nuclear conflict.

‘This is not about Russia, this is about Multilateralism’


 
Q: Liechtenstein has just initiated a resolution at the United Nations that mandates a meeting of the General Assembly whenever a veto is cast in the Security Council. What’s behind this initiative?

A Move to Undermine the Anachronistic Veto Powers in the Security Council Gains Traction

The five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council (UNSC) – UK, US, France, China and Russia – have exercised their veto powers primarily to protect their own national interests or the interests of their close political and military allies.

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