IPS UN Bureau Report

Countdown to Critical Conference for Small Island Developing States

Delegates from small island developing states (SIDS) worldwide are meeting in Antigua and Barbuda to strategize for the next decade.

International Court of Justice Orders Israel to Halt its Military Offensive in Rafah

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offense in Rafah. "In conformity with obligations under the Genocide Convention, Israel must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah Governorate which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," the court said in it's revised order, which was passed by 13 votes to 2. South Africa approached the court on May 10, 2024 for a modification of provisional measures as prescribed by the court. The court also ordered that Israel must take effective measures to ensure the unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip of any commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission, or other investigative body mandated by competent organs of the United Nations to investigate allegations of genocide. Israel was also ordered to ensure that humanitarian aid should be “unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” and that Israel should maintain open land crossing points, in particular the Rafah crossing. The full order can be read here. IPS UN Bureau Report
 
  

Slovakia PM Assassination Attempt Sparks Journalists’ Safety Fears

Fears for the safety of journalists in Slovakia are growing in the wake of an assassination attempt on the country’s prime minister, which some politicians are blaming in part on local independent media. Relations between some media and members of the governing coalition, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Smer party, have become increasingly tense since the government came to power in October last year.

Lessons From Youth-Focused ‘Future Action Festival’ Ahead of UN Summit of the Future

The world has crossed the halfway point to the end of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era amid multiple, unprecedented, and significantly destructive global shocks. Two of the most pressing global challenges are the climate crisis and the threat of nuclear armament. Of serious concern is a severe lack of youth engagement on issues of critical global importance. Speaking to IPS during the 2024 UN Civil Society Conference, the outcome of which will inform high-level discussions when the UN hosts hundreds of world leaders, policymakers, experts, and advocates in September at the Summit of the Future in New York, Tadashi Nagai stressed the importance of coalition and movement building and youth engagement to escalate progress towards attainment of the SDGs.

International Community Urged to End Impunity for Violence Against Healthcare in Conflicts

Governments and international agencies must do more to end impunity for violence against healthcare, campaigners have urged, as a new report shows that attacks on healthcare during conflicts reached a new high last year.

ICC Move to Seek Warrants for War Crimes in Gaza Triggers a Backlash from US

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to seek warrants on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has triggered a strong backlash both from the Biden administration and a group of pro-Israeli Senators in the US Congress. The names in the ICC arrest warrants also include Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri (Deif) and Ismail Haniyeh—all leaders of Hamas.

Biodiversity Meet Suggests New Guidelines on Synthetic Biology Amid Persisting Questions

After a week-long discussion by delegates from 196 countries, the 26th meeting of the Subsidiary Body of Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advisors (SBSTTA) of UN Biodiversity has concluded with a set of recommendations on several issues, including living modified organisms (LMOs) and synthetic biology. All nations must consider the recommendations, discuss them, and possibly adopt them at the Biodiversity COP in October. However, many questions remain unanswered and unclear.

International Diplomat Erik Solheim on Politics, Climate Change, Much-Needed UN Reform and Trump

Erik Solheim, a senior internationally renowned politician and diplomat, has long been an advocate for combining development assistance with private investment and better taxation systems in recipient countries. 

Rising Temperatures Drive Human-Wildlife Conflict in Zimbabwe

Rising temperatures are being blamed for an increase in human-wildlife conflicts in Zimbabwe as animals such as snakes leave their natural habitat earlier than usual.

Women Organize to Fight Coastal Erosion in Southeastern Brazil

Coastal erosion has been aggravated by climate change and has already destroyed more than 500 houses in the town of Atafona in southeastern Brazil. Movements led largely by women are working to combat the advance of the sea and generate economic alternatives.

US Senators Threaten Criminal Court & Advise Israel to Nuke Gaza

As the ancient Greek saying goes: those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first drive them mad. Perhaps destruction is too far-fetched here, but madness is closer home—in Washington DC With the 7-month-old Israeli-Gaza conflict showing no positive signs of a permanent solution, there is a lingering sense of growing political craziness in Capitol Hill, the seat of the US government, once described as Israeli-occupied territory.

Ocean Action on Global Agenda as Negotiations to Save Biodiversity Deepen

The oceans are as fascinating as they are mysterious. Home to the largest animals to ever live on Earth and billions of the tiniest, the top 100 meters of the open oceans host the majority of sea life, such as fish, turtles, and marine mammals. But there is another world far below the surface. In the belly of the ocean, there are seamounts—underwater mountains that rise 1,000 meters or more from the seafloor.

SBSTTA and SBI—Biodiversity Meetings Crucial for the Global South Begin

The 26th meeting of the Subsidiary Body of Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advisors (SBSTTA) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) started in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday. Over 1,400 delegates, including 600 representing signatories or parties from over 150 countries, are present for the seven-day meeting at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A large number of members from Indigenous Peoples and other observer organizations, including women’s groups, are also attending the meetings.

Biodiversity Masterplan: Negotiations on Crucial Science, Technology for Implementation Underway

The triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and waste are escalating. At the current pace, the world is on track to lose one quarter of all plant and animal species by 2030, with one species already dying out every 10 minutes. One million species face extinction. Human activity has already altered three-quarters of the land on Earth and two-thirds of the ocean.

General Assembly Strengthens Palestine’s Status at UN — with New Privileges

The United States and its closest political and military ally, Israel, once again found themselves isolated last week when 143 of the UN’s 193 member states approved a resolution enhancing the role of Palestine providing it with new diplomatic privileges. And the US, meanwhile, has implicitly threatened to cut off funding-- if and when the UN provides legitimacy to Palestine. But that legitimacy is not likely to be achieved as long the US continues to exercise its veto to deny Palestine the status of a full-fledged UN member state.

Latin America and the Caribbean Hit with Record-Breaking Heat and Other Climate Effects in 2023

Every year for the last four years, a collaborative effort involving scientists and other experts has assessed the state of the climate in Latin America and the Caribbean. The findings have revealed increasingly alarming trends for the world’s second-most disaster-prone region.

Inclusivity, Impact, and Innovation Needed to Meet SDGs, UN Civil Society Conference Hears

The world is neither on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nor is it leveraging emerging opportunities to effectively address global concerns such as extreme hunger, poverty, conflict, and climate change. Global concerns have outpaced existing structures for international cooperation and coping.

Dissenting Voices at Nairobi Soil Health Forum Over Increased Fertilizer Use

As the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit convened in Nairobi to review the progress made in terms of increasing fertilizer use in line with the 2006 Abuja Declaration, experts, practitioners, activists, and even government officials pointed out that accelerated fertilizer use may not be the magic bullet for increased food production in Africa.

Beyond the Fields: Unraveling Zambia’s Drought Crisis and the Urgent Call for Climate-Health Solutions

For most families in Zambia, April is traditionally a month of plenty—it is typically the beginning of a harvest season for various food and cash crops. Both fresh and dried maize, groundnuts, pumpkins, and a whole variety of both traditional and exotic food crops are usually in full supply and readily available for consumption, supporting household food security and nutrition.

Amid Record Displaced Persons, Migrant Remittances Spike—New IOM Report

While there have been a record number of displaced people worldwide, according to a new report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), migrant remittances are promoting human development.

A Russian Veto Threatens to Trigger a Nuclear Arms Race in Outer Space

When the 15-member UN Security Council failed last month to adopt its first-ever resolution on outer space—co-sponsored by the US and Japan—the Russian veto led to speculation whether this was a precursor for a future nuclear arms race in the skies above. The vetoed resolution was expected to “affirm the obligation of all States parties to fully comply with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, including not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.”

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