GOINGS-ON

A UN Ensemble Whose Music Radiates Peace

The quiet work of diplomacy at the United Nations headquarters often makes for a dry atmosphere. But after sundown, it’s a whole different scene, thanks to a robust after-work culture of clubs — much as you would find at an American high school — under the umbrella of the UN Staff Recreation Council. Staff members … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

In a First, Trump Chairs the UN Security Council, but Nothing Happened

  President Donald Trump chaired a United Nations Security Council meeting on stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction and seized the occasion again to lambaste Iran, which he had earlier this month intended to make the sole focus of the Sept. 26 session. Pushback came from most of the other Council members, who … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Women’s Roles as UN Peacekeepers: A Status Report

Women have historically been underrepresented across the United Nations system, but notably in peacekeeping, one of the most highly visible activities of the world body. And while the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations publishes monthly data on troop- and police-contributing countries, by missions and by gender, the numbers are not easily comprehensible. There are some … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Why Israel Dropped Out of the UN Security Council Race: Not Enough Votes

From the start, it was a closely watched contest pitting Germany, Belgium and Israel against one another for their regional bloc’s two seats in the next term on the United Nations Security Council. Israel has never held a seat on the Council, and as it celebrates its 70-year membership in the UN in 2018, the country … Read more

Double your impact. Support nonprofit journalism.
TOPIC: WOMEN

A Taste of Running for Political Office Has Left This UN Retiree Ready for More

ORANGE, Conn. — Margaret Novicki is a 22-year veteran of the United Nations, having served in various regions in Africa and as the director of strategic communications at UN headquarters in New York. Upon her retirement in 2017 at age 62 from an eventful, complicated career at the UN, Novicki, an American, ran as a … Read more

UN Agencies Moving Into Blockchain to Help People in Crisis Settings

  Blockchain technology emerged alongside Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency powering digital payments through a peer-to-peer system, currency trading and even, in some cases, black-market transactions. Now, some United Nations agencies are using blockchain to provide basic identification to refugees and others in developing countries as well as for specific actions like helping refugees obtain food rations … Read more

GOINGS-ON

A German Diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger, Is Honored for Disarmament Work

A prestigious prize related to nuclear disarmament that has been given to Americans and Russians in the past has been awarded to a German, Wolfgang Ischinger, for the first time. The Nunn-Lugar Award for Promoting Nuclear Security honored Ischinger, a 71-year-old former diplomat, at the annual Munich Security Conference this month. The prize “recognizes individuals … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

China’s Notions of UN Reform: Filling the Growing Vacuum Left by the US

China has presented its position on United Nations reform, and it aligns with Secretary-General António Guterres’s own agenda. It pushes for practicalities, such as a transparent process, a stronger peace and security pillar, streamlined internal management and more geographic diversity in hiring practices in peacekeeping and the UN Secretariat. “The world is undergoing major developments, … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Art of Infinite Patience: Searching for Peace in South Sudan

The South Sudan Council of Churches is an umbrella organization for seven Christian denominations — African Inland Church, Catholic, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Evangelical Presbyterian and Sudan Interior Church — working on peace and reconciliation in South Sudan and based in Juba, the capital. The country has been fighting a civil war for exactly four years. … Read more

Double your impact. Support nonprofit journalism.
TOPIC: WOMEN

#MeToo Must Include All Women: A Chat With UN Women’s Director

November 25 marks the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which encompasses 16 days of activism through Dec. 10, with this year’s theme being “leave no one behind.” The annual commemoration couldn’t be better timed this year, coinciding with the #MeToo movement reverberating across the United States — and far beyond … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

A New Index Rates the Well-Being of Women in 153 Nations and US Ranks 22d

A new women, peace and security index was unveiled at the United Nations recently. At its core, the WPS index, as it is known, provides evidence for what advocates have been saying all along: that the active and equal participation of women in all aspects of society is critical for peace and security, especially in … Read more

UNGA72

Trump on the UN: ‘I Saw Great Potential Right Across the Street’

In a much-anticipated gathering, the United States led a high-level meeting on United Nations reform on Sept. 18, with President Donald Trump and UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaking to the assembled world leaders. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, also spoke briefly; in Trump’s entourage was his chief of staff, John Kelly, and … Read more

UN Security Council Slaps More Sanctions on North Korea, Capping Fuel Imports

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed an American-led resolution on Sept. 11, imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea, including a naval blockade and oil embargo, despite wariness from China and Russia. While the final resolution is a much-watered-down version of the original draft circulated to the Council by the United States last week, Resolution … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Trump to Force UN Reform Agenda at General Assembly Session in September

The United States is planning to hold a high-level meeting on United Nations reform during the opening days of the 72nd General Assembly debate. The Sept. 18 meeting is to be chaired by Donald Trump and held a day before he is scheduled to address the UN for the first time as America’s president in the … Read more

Double your impact. Support nonprofit journalism.
NIKKI HALEY WATCH

The US Ambassador’s Love Affair With TV News Shows

Nikki Haley has been appearing on American TV news programs an awful lot lately, so what gives? Some observers point to Haley as a refreshing and stable face amid an unpredictable White House and uncannily quiet secretary of state, while others herald her visibility as a sign of higher political ambitions. Another possibility is that … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

US Sends Mixed Messages to UN Mission in Iraq

Since the liberation of the Iraqi city of Mosul in early July, United Nations officials and diplomats in New York have weighed in on the crucial stabilization process for the ruined city. Part of the voices included, of course, the United States diplomatic mission to the UN. Those commenting on Mosul’s newfound freedom championed the … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

For the US, a Tale of Two Human-Rights Violations

Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is positioning herself as a champion of human rights. But she appears to be highly selective about which countries or regimes she accuses of committing human-rights abuses. At the same time, she has been pushing hard for cuts to UN peacekeeping missions, which could hurt their … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Did Equatorial Guinea Bribe Its Way to a UN Security Council Seat?

Amid the predominantly Francophone region in West Africa is tiny Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea, a country blessed — or cursed — with vast oil reserves. For most of its independent life, the country has been ruled by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has the distinction of being the longest-serving nonroyal head of state in the … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

UN Names Two Women to Highly Visible Envoy Posts

Two women have been named to highly visible posts at the United Nations: Pramila Patten of Mauritius is the new special envoy on sexual violence in conflict and begins in mid-June; and Virginia Gamba, an Argentine, is special envoy on children in armed conflict, beginning May 1. The latter is arguably the more controversial job because through … Read more

Double your impact. Support nonprofit journalism.

In South Sudan Camps, Radio Is a Powerful Tool

Jess Engrebretson is a different kind of humanitarian-aid worker. As an American journalist and Thomas J. Watson Fellow, she has worked with local radio projects in Indonesia, Rwanda and Liberia on post-conflict resolution and human-rights reporting. From 2014 to 2015, Engrebretson helped develop radio infrastructure in a camp for displaced people near Malakal, South Sudan. … Read more

Double your impact. Support nonprofit journalism.
Left Menu Icon

Sign up to get the smartest news on the UN by email, joining readers across the globe.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

Don’t Miss a Story:

Subscribe to PassBlue