The UN Moves Toward ‘Climate Neutrality,’ but Is It Fast Enough?

The United Nations system has instituted some important changes toward becoming what it calls climate neutral. Some employees and former employees, however, think the UN could be doing much more to reduce the organization’s carbon footprint globally and to be a stronger role model in mitigating climate change. After all, Secretary-General António Guterres recently said … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Will the UN-75 Declaration Signify More Than a Birthday Party?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres used his annual State of the World speech to the General Assembly last month to outline his 2020 priorities. He stressed four threats to progress in the 21st century: growing geostrategic tensions and mass violence in fragile states, creating an unprecedented refugee crisis; the climate catastrophe; rising mistrust in … Read more

Melissa Fleming Wants to Change the UN’s Public Image. Can She Do It?

Melissa Fleming, the new head of the UN’s Department of Global Communications

The United Nations turns 75 this year, all year long. As its purpose is being questioned by some of its biggest donor nations, including the United States, the UN has a new person to reshape its public image through its global communications office, starting with how it presents its news. PassBlue obtained an exclusive copy of … Read more

The Topic Was the UN Charter, but the Backdrop Was a Just-Averted US-Iran War

Six days after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran by the United States and high-wire threats sent between President Trump and top officials of Iran, the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council and other nations finally had a chance to speak about the fight in an open forum. As fears … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Moment to End Turkey’s Other War, in Cyprus, Is Fading Fast

Anywhere from the capital of Nicosia, day and night, Greek Cypriots can see a giant flag painted into the mountains in the north, in a separate region that calls itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It is an area that is recognized only by Turkey and isolated internationally. From the Greek side of the … Read more

The $67 Billion UN Pension Fund: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Since 2014, when staff members of the United Nations Pension Fund blew the whistle on serious mismanagement in its secretariat, a change in leadership has been made on both sides — assets and liabilities — of the $67.4 billion fund. Yet the turmoil persists. Stabilizing the fund’s management and investment decisions has been mandated by … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Stalling the UN Report on Dag Hammarskjold’s Death Is Regrettable

Fifty-eight years ago, Dag Hammarskjold, the United Nations secretary-general at the time, set off on a perilous journey across the African heartland. Taking off at 4:51 P.M. from Léopoldville, in the capital of the newly independent Congo, he was due to meet the leader of the secessionist Katanga province. The venue chosen was Ndola, a … Read more

Where’s Kelly Knight Craft? She Is Neither in Ottawa Nor at the UN

Donald Trump must have known just what he was getting into when he named Kelly Knight Craft to be the United States ambassador to the United Nations. But does Knight Craft understand the humiliating position the president is putting her into? Knight Craft, the soft-spoken wife of a billionaire coal executive from Kentucky, demonstrates scant … Read more

Kashmir May Be an Old Crisis at the UN, but the World Is Now Riveted

A familiar refrain often heard when the burgeoning crisis in Kashmir rises to the top of the news is that this is an old story from long ago; we have moved on. The United Nations is discovering, however, that there is less tolerance for indifference since India’s decrees on Aug. 5-6 to singlehandedly remake the … Read more

Kashmiri Muslims in Danger as Hindu Politicians Cancel Their Rights

It has always been relatively easy for Indian governments from both the political left and right to keep Kashmir from the eyes of the world. At no time has this been more obvious than now. Landlocked, under the guns of half a million Indian troops and paramilitaries, cut off sporadically from all modern communications and … Read more

The UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Is in Hot Water, Again

Pierre Krahenbuhl

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has been undermined by a sharp cut in United States contributions, has been embroiled in a scandal that threatens to jeopardize its very future. A report from the agency’s Ethics Office has found “credible and corroborated” evidence that the senior management of Unrwa engaged in “sexual misconduct, … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

The Goal of Gender Parity in the UN: Proving That Women Are Equal to Men

Ana Menéndez is a former Spanish diplomat who oversees the gender parity strategy at the United Nations, working directly for Secretary-General António Guterres for a year and a half now on one of his main priorities at the institution. Menéndez is tasked with the role — besides being responsible for overall UN policy — after a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Elusive Truth About the Death of Dag Hammarskjold and My Father

My clock radio clicked on. The morning news bulletin announced that United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane was missing. It was Sept. 18, 1961. I was 16. Over the next hours, my mother and sisters and I learned that Mr. Hammarskjöld, accompanied by Dad and 14 others, had flown from Leopoldville, in the Congo, to … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN’s Gender Parity Goals: The Backlash Begins

One year into the United Nations’ new strategy for gender parity among staff members at all levels, a gendered backlash has emerged, even as parity has been achieved at the highest echelons of the world body. Political will from UN leaders beyond the secretary-general and member states is needed to ensure that where the UN … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Another UN Harassment Case Quietly Disappears

Amid a busy December, when the United Nations was focusing on important conferences on climate change and migration and year-end holidays loomed, a case of harassment that never got the traction it arguably deserved ended in a traditional UN way: it disappeared. On Dec. 14, the chairman of the International Civil Service Commission, which regulates … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Role of the Private Sector in Building Peace: It’s 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

GEOPOLITICS

Pressures Mount for UN to Create a Probe Into Khashoggi Murder

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, right, with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, Nov. 19, 2018

Secretary-General António Guterres is now the focus of concerted demands for the United Nations to establish an independent international tribunal to investigate the brutal murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. International action has been stymied amid changing accounts from the Saudis, uncertainty over which party … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Is Under Siege, So Where Is the Secretary-General?

Was it only two years ago that so many people were elated by the appointment of António Guterres as secretary-general of the United Nations? After public debates organized by the president of the General Assembly and informal ones by the 1-for-7-Billion “Find the Best UN Leader” coalition, he emerged as the top candidate in the … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Atrocity Crimes Are Being Committed by All Warring Parties in Yemen: UN Experts

The numerous parties to the war in Yemen, which began in 2015, have perpetrated and continue to commit violations of international law by indiscriminately murdering civilians, blocking humanitarian-aid deliveries, arbitrarily detaining people and possibly torturing those imprisoned, recruiting child soldiers and raping women and men, according to a new report by a United Nations panel … Read more

The UN Pension Board Rejects an Audit of Its Work

The United Nations Pension Board’s recent meeting in Rome ended with a record number of disagreements and much acrimony. The chief cause of distress was the results of the internal governance audit requested last December by the General Assembly. At the meeting, held July 29 to Aug. 3, board members directed much of their angst … Read more

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