IPS UN Bureau Report

Will Israel Defy Another Security Council Resolution?

The UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution for a temporary cease-fire in the ongoing conflict in Gaza— adopted by a 14-0 vote with the US abstaining –- marks a significant step forward in momentarily halting the five-month-old fighting which has claimed the lives of over 32,000 Palestinians and 1,200 inside Israel. But a lingering question remains: how will Israel respond? Clearly, Israel has had a longstanding notoriety for flouting UNSC resolutions ---and still never having to pay a price for such violations—primarily because of the unyielding support of the United States.

Building Resilience and Mental Health Capacity of Youth

Sri Lankan lawmaker Hector Appuhamy, in conversation with IPS ahead of a two-day conference aimed at educating  and involving university students in mental health issues, said parliamentarians were concerned about gaps in the programmes and financing for youth mental health. They were looking beyond the country's health budget for support in ensuring that youth were able to access mental health facilities in a supportive environment.

World’s Democracies Threatened by Disinformation Generated by Artificial Intelligence

Speaking at the third Summit for Democracy in South Korea last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that a malicious "flood" of disinformation is threatening the world's democracies—triggered in part by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). But AI is also a critical arena in which democracy is being challenged. “So, while we seek to harness the power of AI and other digital technologies for good, some governments are abusing those same technologies to do just the opposite,” he said.

Conservation Efforts by Ethnic Communities in Bangladesh Bolster Water Security

Just a few years ago, Sudarshana Chakma (35), a resident of the remote Digholchari Debarmatha village under Bilaichari upazila in the Rangamati Hill District, had to traverse a long hilly path to fetch water for her household because there were no local water sources. "Unchecked deforestation and degradation of village common forests (VCFs) led to the drying up of all-natural water sources in our village. We struggled to collect drinking and household water," Chakma explained to IPS. 

Fueling Future: Dabaa Nuclear Project Offers Light in Egypt’s Economic Gloom

Egypt’s economy continues to face significant challenges, but amidst these, the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant project emerges as a beacon of hope.

Women’s Land Rights in Farming Need Further Recognition

In the developing world, land rights for women remain tenuous in the agricultural sector. But if women farmers are recognized as landowners in their own right, it can lead to greater economic empowerment and be a positive step towards eradicating poverty. This formed part of the wider discussions that are being hosted during the 68th session of the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW68) in New York. The leading theme of CSW68 and its side events is the effort to accelerate gender equality by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions.

In Pakistan, Death Can Be Just a WhatsApp Share Away

Justice Zafar Yab Chadhar's March 6 order sentencing 22-year-old Junaid Munir to ‘be hanged by his neck till he is dead’ on charges of sharing blasphemous material over WhatsApp was devastating for his family. “The earth moved from underneath my feet,” is how 57-year-old Chaudhry Munir Hussain, Munir’s father, described his feelings as he heard the judge read out the judgment that day in a court in Gujranwala, a city in Punjab province.

Exploring New Depths: NF-POGO Centre of Excellence Driving Innovative, Diverse Ocean Observation

Picture yourself as an early-career ocean researcher. You have the opportunity to be at sea in addition to learning on campus. Through cutting-edge technology and immersive facilities, you experience the most realistic ocean exploration scenarios, including braving extreme cold and harsh environments. That’s the experience at the Launch, a 'living lab' at the Marine Institute of Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, located on the east coast of Canada. It’s an experience meant to prepare you for the real-world complexities of the type of ocean research needed to tackle urgent global issues like climate change.

How Women in Ahmedabad Slums Are Beating Back Climate’s Deadly Heat

Seema Mali is desperate. She has no defences against this changing climate’s brutal heat. Mali makes fresh flower garland the whole year, but her summer income has been plummeting by 30 percent over the last 8–10 years due to the extreme heat.

Beekeeping Offers Opportunity to Zimbabwean Farming Communities

Honeybees quickly react with a sharp and loud buzz sound as beekeeper Tanyaradzwa Kanangira opens one of the wooden horizontal Kenyan top bar hives near a stream in a thick forest in Chimanimani, 412 kilometres from Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. The 26-year-old puffs some smoke, a safety measure, as he holds and inspects a honeycomb built from hexagons by the honey bees.

US Delivers Both Life –and Death– to a Devastated Gaza

The Biden administration’s sheer hypocrisy is reflected in its policy of dropping food packages into a devastated Gaza, while at the same time, it continues to arm Israel with missiles and heavy artillery to kill Palestinian civilians suffering hunger and starvation. As US Congressman Ro Khanna (Democrat of California) said last week: "You can't have a policy of giving aid (to Palestinians) and giving Israel the weapons to bomb the food trucks at the same time"

ECW Announces New Grant Funding for Ukraine’s Education Programs for Children Impacted by War

Education Cannot Wait and the government of Ukraine launch new multi-year program to support education for children impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.

Thailand’s ‘Humanitarian Corridor’ for Myanmar Faces Pushback

The Maung family is rebuilding their lives in a foreign land. A freshly painted signboard with a play on the word Revolution declares their small restaurant is open for business, and breakfast features traditional Myanmar mohinga—rice noodles and fish soup.

State Fails to Stem Kidnapping For Ransom Crisis in Nigeria

Lilian Eze still shivers when she recalls the frequent attacks by kidnappers in the Kaduna community she once lived in, in north-central Nigeria. In February 2022, she fled with her children to Abuja, the nation's capital, to ensure their safety. In an interview with IPS, she explained that the kidnappers would invade the community on foot and with a horde of motorbikes in the evenings with little or no resistance from security agencies.

It’s Africa’s Time To Shine, says UN Under Secretary Claver Gatete

With 20 percent of the global population and vast untapped natural resources, not forgetting its human capital, it is time Africa had its rightful seat at the global table, the United Nations Under Secretary and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Claver Gatete, has called.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Inside Women Dominated Seaweed Farms in Kenya’s Indian Ocean Waters

Nearly two kilometers into the Indian Ocean from the Mwazaro beach coastline in Lunga Lunga Sub-County, Kwale County, women can be spotted seated in the shallow ocean waters or tying strings to erected poles parallel to the waves. It is a captivating sight to see rows of seaweed farms in the Indian Ocean.

Alarming Increase in Journalists Killed in Conflict Zones Last Year, says UNESCO

The Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), whose mandate includes promoting the safety of journalists and ensuring press freedom worldwide, has pointed out that 2023 has been a particularly deadly year for journalists who work in conflict zones. Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, said at least 38 journalists and media workers were killed in the line of work in countries in conflict in 2023, compared to 28 in 2022 and 20 in 2021.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Rural Tajik Woman’s Road to Empowering Women Living with HIV

Born and raised in a rural area in a traditional Tajik family, Takhmina Haidarova managed to finish high school with excellent grades and wanted to go to university. “[But] it was compulsory for my family to give higher education to boys, and girls were trained to be housewives,” she says. Her dream of higher education was instead replaced by an arranged marriage to a cousin.

UNWRA Chief Warns Agency’s Fate ‘Hangs in the Balance’

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini asked the UN General Assembly to urge member states to support the organization's mandate during this period of unprecedented crisis for the region and the agency. He also called for member states to facilitate a “long-overdue political process” for the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. Only then, in this context, should UNRWA be allowed to transition.

International Women’s Day, 2024
In a Fearless Gesture, Woman Police Officer Averts Mob Lynching

Since the start of the year, there has been very little to celebrate for Pakistanis. Disrupted social media, escalating electricity, fuel, and food prices, and newly-held elections mired in controversy. But then, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi, did something that brightened the days of despair. The 31-year-old’s courageous overture and foresight in the face of a potentially explosive situation have given Pakistan a reason to stand among the countries on this year’s Women’s Day with pride.

UN Whistle Blowers Fired for Challenging Risky Investment Policies of the Pension Fund

The UN Ethics Office, established in 2006, has promoted an organizational culture in the world body, including integrity, professionalism, respect for diversity and protection for whistle-blowers. But the UN Pension Fund, whose assets amount to a staggering $88.3 billion, is accused of firing four of its staffers, including senior investment officers, for challenging the wisdom of the Fund’s investment policies.

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