Financing the UN: Payers, Pipers and Tunes

GENEVA — Change is in the air again on First Avenue. Among numerous reform options being bandied about, none will be more consequential than those on financing the United Nations system. There are the sledgehammer arguments: drastic slashes in funding by Washington and other donors could precipitate dramatic change. As we have argued in these … Read more

An SDG Fund: Supporting the 2030 UN Development Agenda

There is an ongoing process of change in the United Nations development system, albeit a slow one given the size of the challenges. At the country level, more UN country teams (UNCTs) are endorsing the principles of Delivering as One, which have spread from the original eight pilot countries. There is evidence of more joint … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Advice to António Guterres: A Leaner UN Could Be a Better UN

GENEVA — Whether or not he is a fan of Chinese characters, António Guterres will have to discover the double meaning of a crisis as opportunity. United Nations corridors on First Avenue in New York are buzzing with anxiety about the possibility of impending cuts in funding from the United States, with hints from a … Read more

The UN’s Ninth Secretary-General Takes Office Amid Loud Calls for Change

António Guterres, the new United Nations secretary-general, was chosen on merit and takes over the UN during an especially turbulent period and after a decade of low-key leadership and low staff morale. The “first” UN of governments includes the five veto-wielding members of the Security Council (P-5) that are stoking conflict, flouting international humanitarian law, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Next Best in 2016? The UN Secretary-General Must Be a Reformer

GENEVA — For only the second time — the first was in 1996 — the electoral campaigns for the American president and the United Nations secretary-general are running in parallel. Both promise to be long and protracted. Each already has a growing slate of presumptive candidates pounding flesh and employing lobbyists. But the next two … Read more

How Is the UN’s Development Machinery Perceived? Does Anyone Care?

One year ago, the report of a high-level panel of world leaders and renowned development specialists proposed 12 goals and 50 indicators for the United Nation’s post-2015 agenda. These were already unwieldy numbers, but after a year and a half of juggling and negotiations, member states in New York on the Open Working Group (OWG) … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Development Program: A New Crisis or a New Opportunity?

GENEVA — For those with longer memories, the latest dip in resources for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the staff cutbacks and restructuring announced by its administrator, Helen Clark, in May are merely the onset of another cycle, just in time for the agency’s 50th anniversary but part of its history since its … Read more

New Development Goals, Plus Ça Change?

“If we want things to change, some things will have to stay as they are.” This inversion of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa‘s aphorism summarizes a key finding of a recent global survey on the future development goals. A select group of development commentators favors maintaining most of the familiar Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015. … Read more

Can the UN Regional Commissions Survive?

Solar panels in Croatia

Are the numerous United Nations regional commissions worthwhile? The first such commission sprang up in Europe, amid the aftermath of World War II, when a Polish-inspired resolution, passed by the General Assembly in 1947 to organize the recovery of the continent, led to the creation of the Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. Soon, other … Read more

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