COVID-19

The Security Council Goes Silent as the Secretary-General Opens Up

United Nations Security Council Virtual Meeting

For the coronavirus outbreak, UN-Scripted, our podcast series, is ramping up its coverage by offering a bonus episode this week. This time, we look at how the United Nations Security Council is slowly restarting its program of work but offering few details on its operations to the media and all the countries that don’t sit … Read more

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

COVID-19

A UN Diplomat From the Philippines Has the Coronavirus as It Hits New York

As the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus keeps rising in New York City this week, the United Nations remains open for business for diplomats and for staff members who are not telecommuting, while tourists were banned as of March 10. Yet as of early evening on March 12, it was revealed by the … Read more

Look Out, UN, Here Comes More Kentucky

Mitch McConnell, the United States Senate Majority Leader, is known for his obstructionist role as Donald Trump’s enforcer and enabler of domestic policies and executive orders. Lately, the senator from Kentucky has also begun maneuvering in foreign policy and diplomacy, notably involving United Nations appointments. Last year, he lobbied Trump for months to get Kelly … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Top 10 PassBlue Stories of 2019: From Strongmen to Sexual Harassment

Once again, 2019 marked incredible upheaval and change across the world, just as 2018 did so universally, signaled by the continued rise in nationalism and revolts by women against repression and violence in their daily lives. Reporting on how United Nations member states — all 193 of them — acted in 2019 was a challenge … 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

Russia, Iran, the US and Visas: The Cold War Heats Up at the UN, a Podcast Explains

While Turkey has carried out its plan to invade northeast Syria and the United Nations Security Council has failed to react in a unified way, Russia and Iran have been making their own moves in the UN headquarters in New York, to achieve a political goal: disrupting crucial General Assembly committees. Welcome back to UN-Scripted, … 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

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

Pakistan to India: ‘There Will Be Bloodshed’

Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan

War clouds hovered again when the leaders of India and Pakistan, the South Asian adversaries that have failed over decades to end their perilous standoff over Kashmir, spoke on the same day at the United Nations, Sept. 27. India has been holding its Kashmiri Muslim population in a near-total communications lockdown since Aug. 5, when … Read more

The Oscars of International Politics: A #UNGA74 Recap

This year’s opening session of the United Nations General Assembly stood out for revealing the stark divide now defining international relations: the split between globalists and patriots. On this week’s UN-Scripted podcast, PassBlue reporters Kacie Candela and Stéphanie Fillion look at the similarities in speeches at the high-level debates, between Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Women Sighted at #UNGA. Plus: Iran’s Warnings to the US and Russians Denied Visas

How women’s issues could be more prominent at the United Nations General Assembly’s annual opening session remains an enigma. The topics of women’s rights and gender equality pop up in speeches by world leaders, including those by women, but their remarks just don’t stand out — especially this year. “As the UN rightly tries to … Read more

Globalists vs. Patriots at the UN: A ‘Great Fracture’ Revealed

After most of the world leaders spent a day teaming up to fight climate change at the Climate Action Summit, the next day strongmen opened the high-level debate of the United Nations General Assembly, showing a growing split between nationalist and globalist leaders. “I fear the possibility of a great fracture,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres … 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

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

A Tapestry About Chernobyl and the UN’s Bungled Response to the Nuclear Disaster

The third floor of the United Nations headquarters in New York is coveted real estate for member states that have donated art to the organization. Not far from the Security Council Chamber and near the social hangout Express Bar, a giant tapestry hangs on a wall. A quick look reveals angels and demons, lightning bolts … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

Russia Is Busy as Security Council President, but Putin Is Staying Home

Russia is president of the United Nations Security Council in September just as nearly 200 heads of state and government and even a prince or two will soon travel to New York City to attend the opening session of the General Assembly. President Vladimir Putin will not be taking part in any event this month … Read more

Strongmen to Kick Off the UN General Assembly Session in September

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil with President Donald Trump

Donald Trump will shake hands with Emmanuel Macron, Jair Bolsonaro and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But will Benjamin Netanyahu; Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel be there, too? The 74th opening debate of the United Nations General Assembly, which starts on Sept.17 and ends on Sept. 30; the general debate begins on Sept. 24. With most member … Read more

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