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

A New Peace-Building Podcast Series Delves Into East Africa’s Complexities

A new series called “Peacebuilders,” offering a weekly podcast of interviews with a diverse array of African and other professionals on vital issues they confront in their work in East Africa, has been introduced by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The nine-part series debuted on May 1, with the first one focused on the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Why Syria Will Need a UN Peacekeeping Force (Called Unshams)

After seven years of horrific fighting, it appears that the Syrian civil war is inching toward a conclusion. In the wake of recent alleged chemical attacks unleashed in Eastern Ghouta, Bashar al-Assad’s regime is squeezing remaining rebel forces, largely herding them — and thousands of civilians — into the northwest in Idlib Province, where an … Read more

For Victims of Sexual Violence in War, Stigma Can Kill

In a year in which swaths of territory were liberated in Iraq and Syria from the grip of ISIS, enabling the release of women and girls and others from the extremists, the United Nations’ annual report on conflict-related sexual violence highlights the stigma that the victims encounter — from physical pain to profound depression — … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

Speaking Loudly Even While Wielding the Big Stick

Whatever else came out of the latest American-led strikes on Syrian chemical weapon sites, it put on display rare signs of diplomatic skill on the part of the Trump administration, even if those signs first surfaced at the Pentagon rather than at the White House, the United Nations or Washington’s rudderless Department of State. After … Read more

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GEOPOLITICS

Confronting Possible Gas Attacks in Syria, the UN Security Council Succumbs to Chaos

In a week of reversals, semireversals and blatant backtracking by some of the most powerful countries on earth, diplomacy showed its head-spinning underside in the United Nations Security Council, as three Western allies — Britain, France and the United States — conveyed their outrage against Russia for its perceived role in allowing the Syrian government … Read more

As the UN Strives to Modernize Peacekeeping, the US Still Vows to Cut Funding

As peacekeepers sweat and toil and risk their lives in some of the world’s most lethal settings — South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo — it is incumbent on the United Nations and its 193 members to alleviate the suffering and deaths of troops as fatalities keep rising. In 2017, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

With UN Security Council Reform, Bigger Is Not Better

Much ado — during 25 years of fruitless negotiations — has been made about the need for the United Nations General Assembly to achieve more equitable geographical representation in the UN Security Council. Article 23(1) of the UN Charter, however, also requires the Assembly, in electing the nonpermanent members of the Council, to pay due … Read more

In an Unusual Move, the UN Security Council Is Heading to Sweden for a Retreat

The United Nations Security Council, perhaps needing a change of scenery from its chamber overlooking the East River in New York, is traveling to the southern Swedish coast in April for an annual retreat whose theme this year is “a new narrative on peace operations.” The retreat will be held in a newly renovated farmhouse … Read more

The UN Secretary-General Pushes Ahead on Peacekeeping Reform

Responding to a December request from the General Assembly for details on how he proposes to staff and pay for sweeping changes in political affairs and peacekeeping at the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres has drafted a 50-page explanation for member states to consider. The General Assembly had agreed in principle to his original 16-page … Read more

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P5 MONITOR

Playing Fair With Sanctions: Is There a Method to the Madness?

Criticisms over a lack of fairness of United Nations sanctions and inconsistencies in their application are frequent and routine — and not without justification. For decades, human-rights experts have pointed to the paradox that unreliable practices, in the words of one expert, render “the UN sanctions system noncompliant with the UN’s human rights standards.” This … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

A Trove of Resources for Navigating Our Angry World

In the dark shadows of rising populism and hypernationalistic leaders, attempts to intimidate reporters and curb the exchange of information are taking on less visibly crude but still dangerous forms. The menace, highlighted in the United States by Donald Trump’s contemptuous accusations against the press, television and social media, has global echoes. There is no … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Unprepared and Unprotected: UN Peacekeepers’ Lives Must Be Saved

The 15 deaths and 43 injuries to United Nations troop personnel in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December would not, sadly, have surprised those of us who have served in peace enforcement missions with the UN. These are difficult and dangerous places, where rebels have many advantages of … 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

Words Ring Hollow From the UN After Attacks on Peacekeepers

The horrific attack on United Nations peacekeepers from Tanzania in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in early December and the ensuing hours-long battle was a severe blow to one of the UN’s more prized forces, leaving 15 soldiers dead. But the UN was already so concerned with a rise in peacekeeper fatalities — almost … Read more

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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

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Secretary-General’s Disappointing Peace-Building Proposal

Since the end of the Cold War, a diverse group of countries at low levels of development emerged from intrastate conflicts and embarked on a complex transition to peace, stability and prosperity. All aspects of such transitions are closely interrelated and reinforce each other. Simultaneous security, political, social and economic activities compete for scarce resources … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

After 50 Years of UN Sanctions, Is the System Broken?

With only few of the current United Nations sanctions cases accomplishing their political objectives, it is not unreasonable to wonder why the system seems broken. As the 50th anniversary of the first use of this important political tool is duly noted, the short answer is that nothing is wrong with sanctions. The problem is with the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Keeping a Close Eye on the UN’s Use of Unarmed Drones

In 2007, for the first time in history, United Nations forces operated an unmanned aerial vehicle — a small prototype for a short period by the UN mission in Haiti. In 2013, the UN officially launched drones (formally known as unmanned aerial systems, or UAS) for surveillance in a peacekeeping mission. Despite the controversies around … Read more

UNGA72

Trump Blows Up the UN, Metaphorically Speaking

Can a rebuttal happen before an event occurs? United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres took pre-emptive strikes against President Donald Trump in his speech at the opening session of the 72nd General Assembly, on Sept. 19, 2017. Rumors were rampant that Trump would deliver a strongly nationalistic speech, reportedly written by Stephen Miller, author of Trump’s … Read more

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