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

TOPIC: WOMEN

Feminists Rev Up for Beijing+25 Reviews as the US Resists

This year will be an urgent moment for the United Nations and its 193 member countries to renew their commitment ensuring women’s equality in all walks of life. Twenty-five years have passed since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was ratified at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. That document was designed … Read more

Trump vs. Iran: What’s the UN for, Anyway?

President Trump, Vice President Pence and advisors

Donald Trump may have dodged the big one in the Middle East for now. But recent events make clear that the president and his tragic idea of leadership may yet drag the United States into a major war with Iran — and there’s good reason to believe it wouldn’t be pretty. He may still dazzle … 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

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

For Census-Takers Worldwide, 2020 Could Be a Rough Year

For more than a week, protesters of all faiths have been marching by the hundreds of thousands on the streets of many Indian cities and towns to condemn a divisive new citizenship law targeting Muslims across the South Asian region. The trouble had been brewing for months, after the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Rosemary DiCarlo, the Top-Ranking American at the UN, Describes Her Work Crisscrossing the World

Rosemary DiCarlo, the highest-ranking US official at the UN

On a busy day of a busy week and year, Rosemary DiCarlo, the United Nations under secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, spoke frankly in an interview about her role as the first woman to be appointed to this position and as the highest-ranking American now serving the UN. DiCarlo discussed the challenges and rewards … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Kelly Knight Craft’s Menu for the UN: Bourbon, Basketball and Bonding

GLASGOW, Kentucky — “There’s no place like home for the holidays” is the United States’ theme for the Security Council presidency in December, while at the same time, in a slight contradiction, the US wants to tackle the problem of the Council’s credibility. To illustrate her point about the Council’s “credibility,” as she said, Kelly … 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

Politics and Understaffing Delay US Funding to the Main UN Budgets

Politics and understaffing are the main reasons the United States has still not paid its outstanding dues to the general budget of the United Nations, after much news coverage of the problem in early October. The UN is experiencing an unprecedented financial crisis that threatens its peacekeeping operations globally and severely hampers its work in … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Britain’s Plan for the UN Security Council Presidency: Forget About Brexit

Karen Pierce of Britain and Riyad Mansour of Palestine at the UN

While Britain struggles to find an orderly way to exit the European Union after several years of attempting to do so, the country will highlight how other world problems affect ordinary people in its role as Security Council president in November. That focus definitely means avoiding the subject of Brexit! Britain, which has been in … Read more

‘Cowboys’ May Be Running the World Food Program, but Donations Keep Coming

The World Food Program may be receiving millions of more donations from the Trump administration than under past presidencies, but its management is skidding around amid complaints of sexual harassment, retaliation, abuse of authority and, most startling, rape, according to a new external survey. Under the leadership of David Beasley, a former South Carolina governor, … 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 Cold War Returns as Russia and Iran Disrupt UN Work to Protest Visa Denials by the US

Russia and Iran are disrupting the new cycle of United Nations committees’ work to pressure the United States to stop denying visas to their diplomats from attending the meetings in New York. While Russia often brings up visa issues to try to hold up work at the UN, such actions are no déjà vu for … 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

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

The UN Can Do Much More to Resolve Khashoggi’s Murder, Says Agnès Callamard

Agnès Callamard

Exactly a year after Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi-born, American-based journalist, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnès Callamard, remains categorical: UN Secretary-General António Guterres can and should do more about the murder, and so should member states. “I am asking the secretary-general … Read more

Salvaging the SDGs: New Thinking to Spur Action Takes Shape

Poverty in India

For the first time since a new development agenda was adopted in 2015 to make the world a better place for everyone, government leaders assembled at the United Nations in late September to take stock of progress. The verdict of this summit was not good. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the centerpiece of Agenda 2030, … Read more

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