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

In Newark’s Portuguese Community, UN Secretary-General António Guterres Is Unknown

NEWARK, N.J. — In the Portuguese-speaking section of New Jersey’s most populous city, virtually no one, when asked, had heard of António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations and a one-time prime minister of Portugal. At a popular restaurant on Ferry Street, the main drag nicknamed Portugal Street, one person eating his platter lunch … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Who Says the UN Is Boring? Intrigue Always Abounds in Its Inner Core

Bureaucracies do not have a great reputation, and the United Nations bureaucracy is no exception. They are seen as inefficient, cumbersome and rigid, adjectives that are also routinely associated with the UN Secretariat. At best considered a “necessary evil,” bureaucracies tend to attract scorn rather than analysis. The UN Secretariat, however, is different. Although it … 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

TOPIC: WOMEN

Women Descend on the UN, Riding on the Heels of #TimesUp

As women across the world battle systemic harassment and worse abuses for merely being female, the United Nations has opened its annual gathering of women in one of its biggest conferences of the year. This time, the 12-day meeting focuses on the status of rural women, but since it follows closely on the heels of … Read more

A Sexual Assault Claim at Unaids Suggests a Cover-Up by Its Management

As allegations of sexual abuse and harassment in the offices, field operations and peacekeeping missions continue to plague the United Nations, a case that has recently come to light reveals that in 2016 a woman who worked for Unaids accused a high-level official of the entity of sexual assault. The woman’s claim has been publicized this … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

How Stormy Was It? The First Year of Trump, Haley and Guterres at the UN

LONDON — President Donald Trump marked a year at the helm of the United States on Jan. 20. Secretary-General António Guterres marked a year at the helm of the United Nations on Jan. 1. How has their first year gone relative to the UN? The short answer is: not as badly as you might expect, … 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

TOPIC: WOMEN

Sexual Harassment at the UN Is Alive and Persistent

As its people of the year, Time magazine recently named the Silence Breakers — people who have spoken against sexual harassment and launched the hashtag #MeToo into an international phenomenon with more than seven million hits on social media. Just before the announcement, more than 230 women who work in national security for the United … 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

António Guterres, Please Reform the UN’s Human Rights Tools

When recently asked what keeps him up at night, António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, gave a straight answer: bureaucracy as well as “fragmented structures, byzantine procedures, endless red tape.” Such flaws also apply to UN human-rights mechanisms, and Guterres should ensure that his UN-wide reform agenda prioritizes strengthening such tools, which can be done … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Long Overdue: A New Boss at the UN Pension Fund and a Reformed Board

An important change was made to the United Nations pension fund last month, when Secretary-General António Guterres announced he was appointing Sudhir Rajkumar of India to succeed Carol Boykin as his representative for investments of the $61.5 billion fund. Guterres needs to make another major change, however, to address serious problems at the joint staff … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Judging the UN in Haiti: ‘We Let the Haitians Down’

The population it serves can misunderstand a United Nations peacekeeping mandate. In the host country, with people’s lives, infrastructure and administrative systems often rendered dysfunctional by conflict, the population expects peacekeepers to restore order, build roads and other essentials, provide work, render justice and make life like it was before if not better. They don’t … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

A New Index Rates the Well-Being of Women in 153 Nations and US Ranks 22d

A new women, peace and security index was unveiled at the United Nations recently. At its core, the WPS index, as it is known, provides evidence for what advocates have been saying all along: that the active and equal participation of women in all aspects of society is critical for peace and security, especially in … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Guterres’s Grand Plan to Remake the UN’s Peace and Security ‘Pillar’

António Guterres, the UN secretary-general

Considerable restructuring of the peacekeeping, political affairs and peace-building departments of the United Nations is being proposed by Secretary-General António Guterres as he continues to embark on reforming the world body, which contends with increasingly complex crises and conflicts each year. In a 16-page document obtained by PassBlue and to be submitted soon to the UN’s 193 … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Saudis Dispute Casualty Numbers in New UN Report on Children in War

Saudi Arabia is vehemently disputing a decision by the United Nations that it is to be named and shamed again for its violations of children’s rights in the Yemen war. The Saudis, who lead a regional bombing coalition against the Houthi opposition forces in Yemen, have landed in the annual report from the UN office … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Guterres’s UN Reform Agenda? It Couldn’t Be Vaguer

Secretary-General António Guterres, encouraged by the United States, has embarked on new reforms, so it is appropriate to scrutinize their policy content. Are they meaningful or are they hollow? With all due respect to the secretary-general of the United Nations, these are for the most part hollow reforms. They have the scent of snake oil. … Read more

Political Will: The Missing Link to Ending Sex Abuse in UN Peacekeeping

It is not surprising that António Guterres, the first United Nations secretary-general to be rooted in a life of politics and the first to have been a head of government, would look for a political strategy to address one of the UN’s most self-inflicted wounds: persistent sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping missions. When he … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

New Wine in Old Bottles: Germany and Conflict Prevention at the UN

BERLIN — Just as Germany’s run for a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-20 term is gathering steam, its government has published a new white paper, titled “Preventing Crises, Managing Conflicts, Building Peace.” In this release, Germany promises to become more active in the mostly civilian aspects of conflict prevention … Read more

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