Women and Children Worst Hit in Afghanistan Conflict

NEW DELHI | KABUL (IDN) – The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan is causing extreme harm to the civilian population and taking huge toll particularly on women and children, says the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which blames anti-government elements such as the Taliban and Islamic State, the country’s government and the international military forces.

Civilian deaths and injuries caused by pro-government forces resulted in 17 per cent of civilian casualties – 14 per cent from Afghan security forces, two per cent from international military forces, and one per cent from pro-government armed groups.

Between Promise and Peril – UN Honours the Memory of Boutros-Ghali

NEW YORK (IDN) – The 193-member United Nations General Assembly recalled the legacy of former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in helping the world body find its footing in a new global landscape during the tumultuous early 1990s. Boutros-Ghali passed away on February 16 at the age of 93,

Addressing the Assembly’s special tribute at UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Boutros-Ghali, whose second term was blocked by the U.S., had both the fortune and the misfortune to serve as the first post-Cold-War UN Chief.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali – The Nobility of Ideas and Ideals

ROME (IDN) – It is no coincidence that Boutros Boutros-Ghali (BBG), who died on February 16, was the only Secretary-General in the history of the United Nations to have served only one of the two terms that have always been allowed. The United States vetoed his re-election, in spite of the favourable vote of the other members of the Security Council. He was considered too independent.

We have now forgotten that in 1992, on U.S. request, BBG authorised a UN intervention in Somalia, run by a U.S. General, the aim of which was to distribute 90 million dollars of food and aid to the former Italian colony, shaken by an internal conflict among several war lords. The intervention cost 900 million U.S. dollars in military expenses, and ended with the downing of two Black Hawk helicopters and the tragic death of 18 American soldiers, dragged through the streets of Mogadishu.

UN Stresses Need to End Use of Child Soldiers

NEW YORK (IDN) – Tens of thousands of boys and girls are associated with armed forces and groups in conflicts in more than 20 countries around the world, says Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

In a press release marking the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, observed every February 12 since 2002, she said that an upsurge in global conflicts and brutal war tactics continues to make children extremely vulnerable to recruitment and use by armed groups.

Advisors Hired to Make UN System Fit for 2030 Development Agenda

NEW YORK (IDN) – An independent team of 12 advisors headed by two former senior UN officials has been tasked with making the United Nations development system fit for supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that took effect on January 1.

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Bureau – headed by Oh Joon, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea – announced on February 12 the establishment of the team to support the second phase of the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN development system in the context of the 2030 Agenda.

Countries, Not UN, Responsible for Implementing 17 SDGs

NEW YORK (IDN) – Since all the world’s governments adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 and it took effect on January 1, two important questions being discussed around the world are: How will we measure progress in translating the Agenda into practice, and who is responsible for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to a Blue Paper, progress in implementing the Agenda will be measured with the help of ‘SDG Indicators’. Though, the list of SDG Indicators as published on January 28 will not be the last word on this matter; but it is certainly the first.

Boost for South-South and Triangular Cooperation

BRUSSELS (IDN) – Representatives of governments, civil society, and the private sector as well as global development partners have pledged to build new South-South and triangular partnerships to empower women and youth through jobs and entrepreneurship with a view to ensuring integrated rural development.

While South-South cooperation (SSC) is between and among developing countries, triangular cooperation (TrC) involves a traditional donor from the ranks of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), an emerging donor in the South, and a beneficiary country in the South. READ IN JAPANESE

UN’s Trust Fund Facilitates ‘Digital Ports’ in Latin America and the Caribbean

NEW YORK (IDN) – The Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund (PGTF), managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), has partnered with the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) to map current trends, share best practices and promote sound and cooperative policies for ports in Latin America and the Caribbean.

PGTF was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1983, to support activities in economic and technical cooperation among developing countries members of the Group of 77, comprising 134 out of 193 member countries of the UN.

‘Ratify Treaty to Ban Nuclear Testing Before Fatigue Creeps in’

Interview with CTBTO Chief Dr Lassina Zerbo

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) – Twenty years after it was opened for signature, the CTBT has come to stay as a de facto global treaty banning all nuclear testing – “if we take North Korea outside of the scope” – but Dr Zerbo Lassina wants to see it de jure because he is concerned that the longer it takes for its entry into force, the greater is the risk of a “fatigue” creeping in that could lead to people saying: “Why are we investing in something if we don’t know when the treaty will come into force?”

Rescuing Multilateral Disarmament

KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) – The International Peace Institute, since its inception as the International Peace Academy in 1970, has focused on strengthening the multilateral process in the conduct of international affairs with the United Nations as its focal point. It is appropriate that in the 70th anniversary year of our indispensable global institution, the UN, an Independent Commission on Multilateralism should be established by the IPI to address 16 topics of relevance to the global agenda.

It is a necessary corollary to the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals that the international community has agreed to pursue. I welcome especially the Commission’s choice of “Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nonproliferation and Disarmament” as one of them.

Seventy years ago on January 24, 1946, the United Nations General Assembly meeting in London adopted its very first resolution and, significantly, by consensus. This historic resolution established a commission of the UN Security Council to ensure:

The “control of atomic energy to ensure its use only for peaceful purposes,” and

“The elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.”

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