WORLDVIEWS

Can UN Development Be Reformed? Not at This Rate

UN Development Program Cambodia Workshop August 2019

GENEVA — Like his predecessors, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has been pushing a reform program to help the organization adjust to the demands of contemporary global governance. Over nearly 75 years, the UN has innovated and adapted. At first, humanitarian assistance was not envisaged to go beyond the needs of people displaced by global … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

My Beautiful Christmas in Kabul

A street scene in Kabul, Afghanistan

The Christmas spirit finally found me drinking whisky on a rooftop in Kabul. Given my multinational background — I’m from Boston but my father came from Iraq and my mother from London — it’s not surprising that I chose a career in foreign affairs. When people learn I spent nearly a decade in Afghanistan, they … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

For South Sudan, the Promise of Full Dialogue Lies Ahead

ROME, Italy — The clock is ticking for South Sudan. Many powerful players in the international community have expressed openly their disappointment at the reluctance of South Sudan power-brokers to resolve their violence-prone country. Meanwhile, the people of South Sudan are clearly signaling their readiness for peace and their support for new approaches that could … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

‘Sextortion’: The Worst Form of Corruption Across the Globe

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For more than a year, a BBC television team went undercover at the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana, where young female students are routinely extorted by professors. They are vulnerable because they either seek to gain admission to the universities or to secure good grades to allow them to … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

It’s Time to Increase Parliaments’ Engagement With Human Rights

As protection of human rights seems to be sliding everywhere, the international human-rights system has responded by focusing on national implementation, to ensure that states’ international commitments are translated into meaningful changes felt by people on the ground. While often overlooked, parliaments can provide a critical link between global agreements and domestic progress on human-rights … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The New Boss at the UN’s Nuclear-Power Watchdog Is Inheriting Many Problems

VIENNA, Austria — Ensconced near the Danube River in this European city is the headquarters of the world’s single-most important means of ensuring safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy. Created in 1957, four years after United States President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his famous “Atoms for Peace” speech at the United Nations, the International Atomic … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Rape Prosecution Must Drive the New Rohingya Genocide Court Case

The recent case lodged by The Gambia with the International Court of Justice against Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya is the first time that rape will be prosecuted as genocide at the court, which is based in The Hague. The case has the potential to enhance feminist international law, while reinforcing the need to carry … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Myanmar’s Neighbors Must Build Trust Among Rohingya Refugees

At the 33d summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore last year, the issue of Myanmar’s Rakhine/Rohingya crisis was high on the agenda. The chairman’s closing statement expressed the group’s readiness to support Myanmar in repatriating refugees by conducting a needs-assessment overview in Rakhine State. The Muslim Rohingya had fled ethnic persecution … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Big Powers at the UN Are Hanging Western Sahara Out to Dry

A stunning policy reversal by the United States regarding Western Sahara occurred last week, but it didn’t make many headlines. What happened? When the United Nations Security Council adopted a new resolution on Western Sahara, renewing the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission —Minurso — there for another 12 months, the action meant America’s ambitions … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

A Plan From Darfuri Women to Make Sudan’s New Democracy Work

Niemat Ahmadi, the founder and director of the Darfur Women Action Group, has a plan for the new Sudan. The Strategic Framework for Sustainable Change was presented to the country’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, during his participation in the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly in September — only three weeks after he … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Why Wait Until Trump Starts Talking to the Paintings?

President Donald Trump

In early 1974, fresh out of journalism school, I walked into the offices of the newly created Federal Energy Office in Washington and asked for a job. Within days I was back — a freshly minted writer-editor in the public affairs office of an agency launched in response to an oil embargo imposed on the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Global Leaders Missed a Crucial Chance to Propel the SDGs, Especially on Good Governance

Governments and other parties involved in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals missed an important opportunity to provide more impetus to the goals’ success at the recent opening session of the General Assembly, held in September. By engaging largely in self-congratulation, with few exceptions, the three-minute speeches by world leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development … 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

WORLDVIEWS

In Projecting the UN Through New Media, Is Quality at Stake?

In 2012, after almost five years as chief of the video unit in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I reached the compulsory UN retirement age of 62 and had to leave. I loved my work, but after four decades working in film and television production on five continents … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

They Call It Multistakeholderism. Where Does That Leave the UN?

Global governance is slipping away from the United Nations. Whether it is in managing the Internet, where the UN’s governing structure offers only an advisory role for governments; or climate change, where the most exciting actions are now corporate-led partnerships outside the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; or the Gates Foundation-sponsored Gavi, The Vaccine … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Dear UN Security Council: Remember to Protect the Children

Every time the budget committee of the United Nations meets, as it did in June, child-protection advocates enter a familiar existential crisis: will the United States and China cut UN budgets specifically allocated to specialists on child protection in peacekeeping missions? I am often asked by people in the UN why a child-rights advocate like … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

An Ode to Joy: The UN Expert on LGBTIQ Rights Stands

I woke to a flurry of messages from LGBTIQ activists across the world, coordinating activities. It was July 12 and the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva was about to vote on renewing the mandate of the independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity — the SOGI expert, as it is called in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Future of UN Peacekeeping Will Resemble What It Is Now

The United Nations was not even three years old when it launched its first peacekeeping mission in 1948. For the last 70 years, it has been continuously involved in such operations, often with mixed results. Over that time, peacekeeping and the wars to which it has been applied have changed. The challenges peacekeepers face have … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Women’s Rights Defenders Are Tired of Being Told to ‘Push Back’ Against the Opposition

As a human-rights defender and women’s rights campaigner, I continue to be struck not by the many challenges now facing women’s rights organizations but by the constant calls for women to “push back against the pushback.” This call for women to push back against the many forces oppressing women’s rights organizations was repeated in a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

It’s Coming Soon: Can the UN Rethink Its Future in One Year?

A year from now, on June 26, 2020, the international community will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter. That doesn’t leave much time to hammer out a “concise, substantive, forward-looking and unifying declaration” that captures member states’ commitment to multilateralism and to the UN before the world leaders summit … Read more

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