COVID-19

The Security Council Goes Silent as the Secretary-General Opens Up

United Nations Security Council Virtual Meeting

For the coronavirus outbreak, UN-Scripted, our podcast series, is ramping up its coverage by offering a bonus episode this week. This time, we look at how the United Nations Security Council is slowly restarting its program of work but offering few details on its operations to the media and all the countries that don’t sit … Read more

COVID-19

The UN Security Council Is MIA as the Coronavirus Ravages the World

Although much of the world is closing temporarily due to the rapid spread of Covid-19, the United Nations Security Council must stay open — meeting physically if possible and virtually if not — in order to fulfill its Charter responsibilities not only to address the threats posed by the pandemic but also to respond to … Read more

COVID-19

In a Crisis, Does the UN Have a Leadership Succession Plan?

António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, continues to go into the UN headquarters building in New York City to work — even as Covid-19 races throughout the region. “Right now, Guterres is probably the safest man on the planet,” said a former UN official familiar with the security protocol. “He’s working at an empty UN, … Read more

COVID-19

From Africa, News of an Evolving Coronavirus Threat

Many African governments, often insisting that all cases of coronavirus were imported from outside the continent by travelers, are now grappling with evidence of local community transmissions for the first time, according to a March 18 report from the World Health Organization’s regional headquarters. “While most countries on the continent have recorded sporadic and imported cases, seven … Read more

COVID-19

Can Global Diplomacy Survive Covid-19? Our Latest Podcast Episode

On March 13, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres ordered New York-based personnel to start working from home as of March 16, to last until April 13. His announcement came one day after the UN confirmed that a diplomat from the Philippines who represents her country at the UN in New York had tested positive for … Read more

COVID-19

The UN in New York Shuts Physically as Most Personnel Telecommute: Updates

The coronavirus has officially hit the United Nations at its New York City headquarters. On Thursday, March 12, the first reported case was confirmed by a diplomat with the Philippines mission to the UN, who said that a Filipino colleague had tested positive for Covid-19 and had notified the “UN medical director’s office.” The UN … Read more

COVID-19

A UN Diplomat From the Philippines Has the Coronavirus as It Hits New York

As the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus keeps rising in New York City this week, the United Nations remains open for business for diplomats and for staff members who are not telecommuting, while tourists were banned as of March 10. Yet as of early evening on March 12, it was revealed by the … Read more

COVID-19

Amid the Coronavirus Threat, the UN Tries Out a (Cyber) Security Council Meeting

The United Nations Security Council ran a secret cybermeeting simulation on March 9 to prepare for a possible lockdown of the UN building and the rest of New York City, amid the coronavirus outbreak. So far, the UN is trying to address the epidemic at its headquarters by asking diplomats to meet offsite a few … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Despite Years of Pledges and Plans, Gender Gaps Persist on a Global Scale

In health care, political participation, economic advancement, personal safety and justice, women across the world may be advancing on some fronts in various places. At the start of a new decade, however, the realities on a global scale are far from meeting promises made in past years. On March 9, when delegations from United Nations … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Mixing Politics and Religion, the US Stalls UN Work on Women’s Rights

President Trump with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed

It did not take long after the 74th General Assembly session opened this fall for the Trump team to signal that its strategy in key United Nations meetings would be to act as uncooperative and obstructive as possible, especially on human-rights agendas. The 2019-2020 UN year — September to September — is likely to be remembered … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

At the Nairobi Summit, Spotlighting the Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls

NAIROBI, Kenya — More than 6,000 delegates in the population development sector are gathering in the Kenyan capital here this week to renew the promise made to girls and women 25 years ago in Cairo. In firm voices, young girls from African countries called on delegates to ensure that young people have access to sexual … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

A New UK Hotline for Victims of Sexual Harassment Is ‘Constantly Ringing’

A new hotline is offering free, confidential legal advice to women in England and Wales who are experiencing sexual harassment at work. Launched in August, it is the only hotline of its kind dedicated to addressing a problem affecting women from all walks of life. Already, the hotline has been inundated with calls from women … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

US Money for Global Women’s Health Is Jeopardized Again

For the third year, the Trump administration and its Republican allies in the United States Congress are refusing to abandon their harsh restrictions on aid to health programs for women around the world. Instead, all amendments calling for a repeal of what is known as the “global gag rule” have been eliminated in the Senate … Read more

A Tapestry About Chernobyl and the UN’s Bungled Response to the Nuclear Disaster

The third floor of the United Nations headquarters in New York is coveted real estate for member states that have donated art to the organization. Not far from the Security Council Chamber and near the social hangout Express Bar, a giant tapestry hangs on a wall. A quick look reveals angels and demons, lightning bolts … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Global Abortion Laws, Split on a Clear North-South Divide

The most liberal laws on abortion are found in the richest industrial countries. Does that matter? Advocates for reproductive health care say yes, because the abortion gap is often a bellwether indicating that health care for women in many developing countries offers few or no reproductive choices or respect for reproductive rights. The issue has … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

An Assault on Trump’s Global Women’s Health Policy Begins

Syrian refugees stuck in Rukban camp, near the Jordan border

With a fierce national budget battle looming in the United States Congress, Democrats on a key committee have formally proposed legislation overturning Trump policies that deny millions of women and girls in developing countries access to vital reproductive health care, including family planning. The legislative bill that emerged on May 16 from the House of … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Will the US Stand With Victims of Rape in War?

The annual debate on sexual violence in conflict is about to take place in the United Nations Security Council. As the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, Pramila Patten, has said, this event — on Tuesday, April 23 — presents a critical opportunity to assess progress in the last 10 years, since the … Read more

In Numbers, Africa May Be a Force in the Christian World by 2060

Schoolgirls in Sierra Leone

New projections from a leading American research group suggest that the number of Christians in various denominations and sects is steadily rising in Africa and could dominate the faith numerically worldwide for decades to come. In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, only three African countries were included in the top 10 in numbers … Read more

Big Holes in the UN Development Goals Are Exposed by New Studies

Serious flaws in the system for tracking progress on the Sustainable Development Goals have been uncovered in a newly published collection of stunning, provocative research by eminent developing policy specialists. They are finding that the lofty visions that produced the SDGs, now in their fourth year of implementation, have from the start been undercut and … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Unsafe Food, a Killer in Poor Nations, Needs Government Action

A World Bank report on foodborne diseases says food-safety regulations are most deficient in low-income countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which can result in early deaths, especially among children. A dried-fish market in Kathmandu, Nepal, above.

Poverty’s companions — hunger, malnutrition and recurring sickness — do not have to be the inevitable fate of people in low-income countries, the World Bank said in a recent report. But from national governments to farmers to market stallholders and their customers, making food safer has not been recognized and tackled as a major deterrent … Read more

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