COVID-19

The UN’s War Plan Against the Coronavirus as It Attacks the Globe

Secretary-General António Guterres holds a virtual press briefing

The coronavirus officially hit the United Nations at its New York City headquarters on March 12, when the first reported case was announced by the Philippines mission to the UN that one of its diplomats had Covid-19 and was recovering. Twenty-four hours later, the UN announced that its personnel in New York — with exceptions … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Battle Lines Are Drawn on Women’s Rights Before #CSW64 Even Begins

From the start, the diplomats leading the negotiations on the new political declaration for the United Nations’ women’s rights conference in March wanted to keep it short and sweet. That meant five pages maximum, one diplomat told PassBlue before the discussions began, inevitably frustrating diplomats who had hoped to produce a generous endorsement of women’s … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Fannie Munlin, the Face of the African-American Community at the UN

Fannie Munlin has led a long life of helping others, making her a natural fit to chair the NGO Executive Committee, the liaison for the 1,600 civil society organizations affiliated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications. She is also “the face of the African-American community at the UN,” as she said, as the … 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

At the Nairobi Summit, Spotlighting the Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls

NAIROBI, Kenya — More than 6,000 delegates in the population development sector are gathering in the Kenyan capital here this week to renew the promise made to girls and women 25 years ago in Cairo. In firm voices, young girls from African countries called on delegates to ensure that young people have access to sexual … 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

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

Highlights of the UN General Assembly’s Opening Session: A Podcast on What to Expect

The 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on Tuesday, Sept. 17, which means that the world’s leaders — mainly heads of state and heads of government and their entourages — are heading to New York City for the climate change meeting on Sept. 23; the annual speechmaking, called the general debate, beginning … 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

TOPIC: WOMEN

The UN Headquarters Says Adiós to Single-Use Plastic

People who regularly work or visit the United Nations headquarters in New York have surely noticed something new in the cafeteria this summer: no more single-use plastic, not even for takeout. The change also means that only metal cutlery is available at the condiment stations and the straws are now paper (plastic ones are available … Read more

As the SDGs Falter, the UN Turns to the Rich and Famous

Amina Mohammed with Borge Brende, António Guterres and Klaus Schwab

The Sustainable Development Goals are in trouble. United Nations officials are concerned and say so publicly. Secretary-General António Guterres  joined in raising an alarm in mid-July when he introduced the most recent official UN report. “It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Climate Change and Risk of Conflict: The Links Grow Clearer

There is growing evidence that climate change can increase the risks of conflict and violence. When government authorities are unable or unwilling to mitigate and adapt to climate shocks such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts, these extreme weather events are more likely to be followed by surges in crime, including homicide, robbery and sexual violence. … Read more

With Scandals Rife Across the UN, Are Managers at Fault?

A sea of new or lingering allegations of harassment and corruption in numerous agencies and programs in the United Nations system appears to be washing over a sprawling organization battered by scandal. Poor or careless management and oversight, from top to bottom, is partly to blame, but so is persistent, overt politicization of high-level appointments … Read more

Big Holes in the UN Development Goals Are Exposed by New Studies

Serious flaws in the system for tracking progress on the Sustainable Development Goals have been uncovered in a newly published collection of stunning, provocative research by eminent developing policy specialists. They are finding that the lofty visions that produced the SDGs, now in their fourth year of implementation, have from the start been undercut and … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Three Ex-UN Leaders Form a Women’s Group to Save the World

As multilateralism takes a beating from President Trump amid the “new world disorder,” as one European diplomat put it, three women who know the United Nations inside and out through previous top leadership jobs have originated a Group of Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion. The goal is to bring together former UN female colleagues … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

10 Ways to Push the Climate Change and Conflict Agenda, Despite the Deniers

THE HAGUE — It is now well documented that global warming is a multiplier of insecurity and conflict, but holding debates on the topic presents ever-more complex challenges as multilateralism and climate change are increasingly questioned if not dismissed by some of the world’s top leaders and biggest polluting nations. In that light, here are … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Unsafe Food, a Killer in Poor Nations, Needs Government Action

A World Bank report on foodborne diseases says food-safety regulations are most deficient in low-income countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which can result in early deaths, especially among children. A dried-fish market in Kathmandu, Nepal, above.

Poverty’s companions — hunger, malnutrition and recurring sickness — do not have to be the inevitable fate of people in low-income countries, the World Bank said in a recent report. But from national governments to farmers to market stallholders and their customers, making food safer has not been recognized and tackled as a major deterrent … Read more

Reform Clouds Darken the Future of the UN Development Program

As the first effects of Secretary-General António Guterres’s ambitious organizational reform plans become apparent, former and current officials of the United Nations Development Program see the future of the internationally influential agency as uncertain if not in peril. Fears center on aspects of the reform plan for development that would allow more political interference by … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

How Will Women Fare as Cities Grow Dramatically? The Data Are Missing

Improving the lives of women is woven into each of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, markers that all 193 member states aim to reach by 2030. Goal 5 is quite specific: nothing short of gender equality. Attaining this lofty goal means being able to put one’s hands on data that have been broken … Read more

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