In three cycles I spent all together more than 15 years in Rome, at the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and between my last two assignments in Rome my responsibilities in Budapest included FAO related issues. This made it possible for me to witness the development of this organization under the leadership of four Directors-General. Edouard Saouma, Jacques Diouf, Jose Graziano da Silva and Qu Dongyu. This long association and “historic” view of FAO would definitely help me in fulfilling the role of the Independent Chairperson of the Council of FAO (ICC). As conventional wisdom suggests, in order to make good decisions for the future we need to know, understand and learn from the past. The Independent External Evaluation, commissioned by the FAO Council in 2004, was an important milestone in this regard. It was followed by inclusive discussions among FAO Members about the recommendations and finally an Immediate Plan of Action was adopted by the FAO Conference. It was the most significant reform in FAO and I had the privilege to contribute to this process.
In February the killing of the Italian ambassador, Luca Attanasio, in the vicinity of the Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, did for a short while put the global spotlight on this troubled area, where warfare, poverty and general insecurity generate immense human suffering.
A new report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)—focusing on nuclear weapons spending-- following on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recent decision that their Doomsday Clock, should be set as close as it has ever been to nuclear catastrophe. should serve as a wake up calls for humanity.
Increasingly, youth are rising up to declare that they've had enough of the cyclical exploitation of the environment that jeopardizes their own future.
The leaders of the G7 group of nations will soon gather in Cornwall, United Kingdom, (June 11-13) to devise plans to ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic. The summit takes place in the wake of a crisis that has both revealed and further exacerbated existing economic and social inequalities, including gender inequalities.
With the pandemic setting back past, modest and uneven progress, huge disparities in containing COVID-19 and financing government efforts are widening the North-South gap and other inequalities once again.
A hilarious anecdote, recounted in the New York Times years ago, related to the widespread corruption embedded in the political culture of a Southeast Asian country where crooked politicians were willing to provide receipts every time they received a bribe—big time bribes.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the words, women and power? The accepted wisdom is that women can be powerful, but not without the constant reference to their gender - which is often based on a set of unconscious biases towards them. Is she competent enough, effective, articulate without being too assertive or too aggressive. Is she a straightjacket, is she too emotional, will her family life impact her work or vice versa. Is she smart enough to camouflage her intelligence, is she ready for a key position, is it worth making her powerful?
You don’t have to look too hard to find some news network or media outlet talking about water pollution, plastic waste, CO2 emissions, and climate change.
You want to breathe fresh air and have access to clean water? I guess you do, just like all of us. As populations in the so-called developed countries, we love to go for holidays in places where on high mountains you get to breathe deeply and enjoy the fresh air, where the oceans or lakes are clean and refreshing. And how do we arrive there? Mostly by airplanes or cars, polluting the air whilst travelling to the desired destinations, causing harm to people and the planet. Interestingly, many people today, calculate their flight’s CO2 footprint and pay a certain amount of money to invest in renewable energy projects, in order to feel better about their travelling and to receive tax deductibility (depending on regulations of their country).
Requiring in-person voting to elect the governing bodies of UN agencies may exclude the countries most affected by travel restrictions derived from the pandemic
Every two minutes
, a girl or woman dies from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications, including unsafe abortions. Every year, around 12 million
girls are married while in their childhoods. An additional 10 million
are now at risk of child marriage due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
June 4, 2021 marks 30 years since the killings of an undisclosed number of Chinese protestors at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. For many years, the Chinese government and its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with characteristic understatement, called it the ‘June Fourth incident’.
The United Nations has been in the forefront of an ongoing battle against the growing hazards of climate change, including the destruction of different species of plants and animals, the danger of rising sea-levels threatening the very existence of small island developing states (SIDS), and the risks of oceans reaching record temperatures endangering aquatic resources.
This week*, the Committee on World Food Security
(CFS) is expected to endorse recommendations on agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable food systems, after an intense period of negotiation involving governments, UN agencies and institutions, Indigenous People’s organizations, civil society, and the private sector.
Recently, Naomi Osaka, the number 2 ranked women’s tennis player in the world, said
she would not participate in the press conference at the French Open (Rolland-Garros) because she wanted to protect her mental health.
President of the United Nations General Assembly Volkan Bozkir has told a high-level debate on oceans that the world cannot afford to delay action on ocean protection. “There is simply no scenario wherein we live on a planet without an ocean,” he said.
With the climate negotiations getting more and more intense in the light of ensuring meaningful achievements in the upcoming COP- 26 summit in Edinburgh, an event that is key to move forward the pathway towards a net zero future started in Paris, this year World Environment Day
on June 5 assumes an even more emblematic meaning.
This year is being described as pivotal for climate change. That’s not only because we’re reaching a point of no return when it comes to the rise in global temperature, it’s because the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties – commonly known as COP26 – is due to take place in November in Glasgow.
Pandemic relief measures in developing countries have been limited by modest resources, fear of financial market discipline and policy mimicry. COVID-19 has triggered not only an international public health emergency, but also a global economic crisis, setting back decades of uneven progress
, especially in developing countries.
Results from the 2020 population censuses in the United States
recently made headlines. But rather than recognizing the social, economic and environmental benefits of slower rates of population growth for the U.S., China and the planet, much of the media stressed the downsides of slower growth and wrote about population collapse
, baby bust
and demographic decline