Where Is the Worst Place for a Child to Be Born?

By one measure — the chances of surviving to young adulthood — sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have the highest rates of child deaths at every stage of childhood. By contrast, the best place to be born this year was Australia or New Zealand, where only two of every 1,000 babies die in their first … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

US Congress Starts Slicing Away at 2018 National Budget, Sure to Hurt UN

The first round in the battle to write a federal budget, working off the Trump administration’s ruthless proposals announced in May, has ended in the House of Representatives appropriations committee. As feared by advocates for women, the poor, refugees, global health programs and even foreign language study, the Republican-led appropriations committee, which sets budget goals … Read more

NIKKI HALEY WATCH

‘I Don’t Go Rogue on the President’: Nikki Haley’s Contradictory Testimony to Congress About the UN

Photo: Nikki Haley and the Egyptian ambassador to the UN, Amr Aboulatta

Five months into her stint as United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley faced two days of often-sharp questioning on June 27 and 28 by influential panels of the United States Congress. They demanded justification for the Trump administration’s decision to slash funding to the United Nations, particularly cuts to the UN Population … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

America’s Financial Support to the UN: What’s at Stake?

With White House proposals to slash United States assessments and donations to international organizations now in play in the writing of a federal budget for 2018 — as an April 28 deadline approaches — the extent of potential losses to the United Nations is coming into sharp focus. The US, for example, has immediately begun … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Advice to António Guterres: A Leaner UN Could Be a Better UN

GENEVA — Whether or not he is a fan of Chinese characters, António Guterres will have to discover the double meaning of a crisis as opportunity. United Nations corridors on First Avenue in New York are buzzing with anxiety about the possibility of impending cuts in funding from the United States, with hints from a … Read more

Universal Breast-Feeding Goals Blocked by Industry, UN Report Suggests

Although more countries have been passing laws to promote and to protect breast-feeding, the breast-milk substitutes industry continues to present a formidable challenge to achieving universal breast-feeding goals, a new report by United Nations agencies and a large advocacy group reveals. The laggards? Some of the richest regions in the world. Europe, for example, remains … Read more

The ‘Children of Nobody’: Street Kids in West Africa

A street child crying consoled by his friend in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Tasséré Ouedraogo, 33, appears to have spent his childhood comfortably, as reflected in the colorful tailor-made suit he wears as an adult. Yet, from age 11 to 16, he was a bakroman, or street child, in local slang. Here in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa of around 18 … Read more

Failing Public Schools Spur Global Boom in Private Education

Chinese Children

While governments bask in data showing that the development goal of universal access to primary education has largely been achieved, attention is turning to what that really means in the classroom. Educators and human-rights advocates question whether acceptable standards are being met in many schools, as evidence mounts of the proliferation of private education in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

How Trauma Therapy Can Help to Reduce Cycles of Violence

ÉCHENEVEX, France — While psychological trauma affects perhaps as many as 500 million victims worldwide, and adversely impacts human and social development on a massive scale, its most devastating — but least suspected — effect may well be the potential for peace. How? Because people who have been traumatized by violence or abuse could easily … Read more

A New Campaign, #EveryHourMatters, Urges Instant Post-Rape Care

Maureen Phiri, a young girl from a poor family in Malawi, was only 11 years old when she was raped by the man who had hired her to do housework for him and his wife. Not only did Maureen continue to experience sexual abuse from the man she worked for, he left her with another long-term … Read more

In UN Refugee Camps, Sports Soothe Trauma for Children

Somali Refugees in Kenya

“Sport is the only area of human existence that has achieved universal law,” said Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee when he announced that elite athletes who were refugees could compete in the 2016 Olympics under that flag. “Regardless of where in the world we practice sport, the rules are the same … Read more

The UN’s Support of Midwifery and the Serious Gaps That Remain

Midwifery is one of the world’s most ancient vocations, its practitioners playing a prominent role dating back to the Bible. In much of the world, midwives continue to play an important role in maintaining the health of women and newborns. It should come as no surprise, then, that investments in this occupation, according to the … Read more

Understanding Burundi as It Implodes Again

Carolyn McAskie is a Canadian expert in international development who was awarded the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest honors, in 2007. She headed the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African country of Burundi from 2004 to 2006, when a new political system was created and hopes were high. Later, as … Read more

Report Damns the UN for Its Response to Sex Abuse Cases in Central Africa

A strongly worded independent report released Dec. 17 condemned the United Nations for bungled and deceptive responses to reports of sexual abuse of children by primarily French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic in 2014. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his “profound regret” and accepted blame for the organization’s systemic failures. The report implicated at least … Read more

A Monastery’s Farm in Burkina Faso Feels the Impacts of Climate Change

KOUBRI, Burkina Faso — More than 2,500 miles away from this village, world leaders met recently in Paris to try to save the earth from severe climate change and its deadly effects. Here in West Africa, people in rural communities scrape together livelihoods in a region that is extra-vulnerable to drought and hunger, problems brought … Read more

A New UN Nutrition Program Financed by Africans for Africans

African foreign ministers attending the Unitlife launch at the UN

The first United Nations development aid program financed solely by African countries for their own benefit was announced recently at the UN headquarters in New York. Unitlife, which was presented as world leaders convened at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, will tax the sale of oil, gold and other natural resources in … Read more

France and the UN Pressured to Act on Troops’ Sex Abuse in Central Africa

The uproar over accusations that French soldiers assigned to peacekeeping had sexually abused about a dozen boys in the Central African Republic from late 2013 through mid-2014 has shifted focus from the apparent behavior of the soldiers to the role the United Nations played in dealing with the allegations. The French soldiers were not part … Read more

Maternal Death Rates Fall in Zimbabwe, With Outside Support

HARARE, Zimbabwe – As maternal mortality remains the most lagging Millennium Development Goal and a new set of development goals is being written this year, one focus will undoubtedly stay fixed on decreasing maternal death rates in the developing world. Nations there account for 99 percent of global maternal deaths, with countries in sub-Saharan Africa … Read more

With Mali in Political Turmoil, High FGM Rates Persist

BAMAKO, Mali — In the primarily Francophone and Anglophone region of West Africa, Mali is said to have one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation, with about 91 percent of girls and women having undergone the circumcision — a rate that has not only stayed stubbornly high but may also be inching upward. … Read more

Ebola’s Treacherous Claw Reaches Women the Most

A pregnant woman lays by herself on a stretcher as people watch from a distance, afraid to touch her as she is suspected of having Ebola, in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The United Nations has been almost the sole international body to ring any alarm bells about the disproportionate effect of the Ebola disease outbreak on women and children, where it has found that up to 75 percent of reported cases are women and approximately 2.5 million children under 5 years old live in Ebola-affected areas. … Read more

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