WORLDVIEWS

The Role of the Private Sector in Building Peace Is Essential

Another year of Secretary-General António Guterres’s reform of the peace and security pillar of the United Nations is ending without fully addressing a main obstacle to peacebuilding in conflict-torn countries under UN intervention: sustainable economic recovery. The key question facing the UN is how to support economic reconstruction amid the political, security and social reforms that … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Numbers Are People: Where Will They Be in 2050?   

Right now, the population of the world is growing, paradoxically, at both ends of the age spectrum, for different reasons and with different results. In the developed world, the widely reported concern is that fewer births, and longer lives among the old, whose numbers are rising, will altogether wreak havoc on social security and health … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

China’s Priorities in the UN Security Council: Peacekeeping

Ma Zhaoxu, China's ambassador to the UN

Welcome back to our monthly column, Security Council Presidency, providing insight into the United Nations Security Council member sitting in the rotating seat of the presidency every month and featuring a capsule of the country itself. The column kicked off in July when Sweden was president, led by the country’s ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog. … Read more

BOOKS

Mexico City, 1975: When the Year of the Woman Was Born

From 1975 to 1995, the United Nations sponsored four international conferences on women that produced wildly optimistic blueprints for concrete gains. Some people dismiss these forums and the programs for action that they generated as lacking strategies to carry them out. Others insist that the conferences raised awareness, shaped aspirations, fostered activism and, in countless … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Can the UN Finally Get Serious About Inefficiencies in Its Development System?

BONN, Germany — Member states of the United Nations are now negotiating reform proposals for the world body’s development system. In the latest draft resolution, they welcome the secretary-general’s proposal for “advancing common business operations” and “request” for their “implementation,” in line with earlier decisions by the General Assembly (a previous draft requested “full implementation”). This … Read more

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A Hindu-Muslim Friendship That Helped Shape How the World Measured Poverty

They were two young men studying at Cambridge University when they met in the wake of the bloody Partition of British India. One was a Kashmiri-born Muslim and the other a Hindu-born Bengali. But the two, Mahbub ul Haq of Pakistan and Amartya Sen from India, soon formed an intellectual bond and deep friendship. “It … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Lessons From African Kings, Real and Imagined

As ticket sales for the film “Black Panther” rocketed into the stratosphere in the United States and around the world after its opening in February, a real king in the poor West African nation of Burkina Faso won a peace prize for his part in averting bloodshed in a political crisis. On Feb.23, Mogho Naba … 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

WORLDVIEWS

Least-Developed Countries, a Status That Many Nations Can’t Leave Behind

Since 1971, the United Nations has recognized least-developed countries as those deemed highly disadvantaged in their development strides because of structural, historical and geographical reasons. The aim has been, and still is, to support these countries to graduate to higher levels of self-sufficiency and economic independence, not in the sense for a privileged minority but … Read more

Come to Armenia: Russia Backs a UN Project to Develop Rural Tourism

BJNI, Armenia — The riverside village of Bjni possesses all the ingredients to blossom into a tourist haven for visitors new to this landlocked country in the South Caucasus and for Armenians themselves. What visitors don’t see right away in Bjni, where a $3 million Russian-financed United Nations tourism project is in the works, is … Read more

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Getting to Know Mediterranean Farmers: Agritourism Hits Sicily

BELPASSO, Italy — The Oasi di Francesca farm-stay hotel is situated in an unlikely spot here in Sicily, about a kilometer from an Italian naval air base and a half hour to the large port city of Catania in the east, facing the Ionian Sea. Among the acres of low-lying artichoke plants — as well … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

A Guide to Trump’s Global Edicts on Women’s Reproductive Health

The Trump administration, which announced early this year that it would curtail American-funded women’s health services around the world that may be involved in any way in abortion, has turned its attention to curbing family planning in the United States. Rules have been issued with immediate effect that American women can no longer obtain contraceptives … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

With US Funds Gone, UN Population Fund Faces Brutal Choices in Helping Women

It will soon be two years since the United Nations adopted a new 15-year development policy encapsulated in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This sprawling, ambitious agenda was designed partly to address the shortcomings of the Millennium Goals, the most disheartening of which for women was the failure to meet promises of improved maternal health … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Warning: Too Much Reliance on Data Can Undermine the UN’s SDGs

At the United Nations, the buzz around a “data revolution” has taken the role of numeric indicators to new heights. Once thought to be a technical issue for statisticians, data questions were a recurring theme in conversations among the thousands of politicians, officials, activists and researchers who gathered in mid-July at the UN’s High-Level Political … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Mass Tourism: Bad for Culture but Good for Women?

FLORENCE, Italy — This month, Italy’s tourism season kicks into high gear. Florence, which receives more than 16 million tourists a year, is one of many cities to be marred by mass travel. In the famously picturesque Piazza della Signoria, groups plod through the cobblestoned square, shepherded by flag-waving guides. Vendors peddle selfie-sticks in broken … Read more

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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

TOPIC: WOMEN

Women’s Rights Must Be Backed by Legal Rights, a New Coalition Insists

More than two decades have passed since a series of dynamic international conferences in the 1990s — on human rights, reproductive choices and broad empowerment for women — inspired and encouraged women around the world to raise their hopes in many ways. Subsequently, there have been gains in female education at all levels, a bigger … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Message to Trump: The US Needs the UN and Vice Versa

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Strong American leadership at the United Nations would greatly enhance President-elect Trump’s foreign policy agenda. United States investment in the UN is an effective use of taxpayer dollars to serve the US military, diplomatic, economic and national security interests. UN peacekeepers, for example, cost one-eighth the expenses of US boots on the … Read more

A Poverty-Easing Plan to Help Displaced People and Their Host Countries

WASHINGTON, D.C. — One year ago, almost 1 percent of the world’s population, about 65 million people, had been forcibly displaced from their homes. That is a population size that would constitute a nation larger than Britain or would be the world’s 21st-largest country. But instead of creating their own country, the majority of the 65 … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Glassed In: Why Women Are Unhappy in the Workplace

It is not only “glass ceilings” limiting women’s career progress but also “glass floors” and “glass walls” blocking gender equality in the workplace. These hurdles actually limit the entry and mobility of both women and men in predominately gender-defined jobs. If women are to achieve gender equality with men at high levels in the workplace, … Read more

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