Aid To Sub-Sahara Expected To Decline

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

PARIS (IDN) – While the trend of rise in international development assistance, which increased by 6.1 percent in real terms in 2013, is expected to continue in 2014 and stabilize thereafter, the declining share of aid for sub-Saharan countries, which need it most, looks likely to continue, according to an annual survey of donor spending plans by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Development aid reached the highest level ever recorded in real terms in 2013 despite continued pressure on budgets in OECD countries since the global economic crisis, says the DAC report. Donors provided a total of USD 134.8 billion in net official development assistance (ODA), marking a rebound after two years of falling volumes, as a number of governments stepped up their spending on foreign aid.

Strategic Pause in Iran’s Nuke Program Likely

By Arch Roberts* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) – The new round of talks opened on April 8 marks another step in the race against time to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The powers have given Iran until July 20 to reach comprehensive agreement on denuclearization. But what if Iran believes it has enough nuclear potential and the time has come for a strategic pause in its nuclear program? From a technological standpoint, Iran is in much the same class – in the sense of possessing the technical ability to build nuclear weapons – as Germany, Brazil, Japan, Korea and some 10 other nations. Iran grabbed the golden ring against fierce opposition, with a lot of help from A.Q. Khan of Pakistan, and is hardly likely to relinquish its nuclear gains after investing an estimated $100 billion.

Hiroshima Meet Falls Short Of Outlawing Nukes

By Monzurul Huq* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TOKYO (IDN) – The mere fact that the two-day foreign ministerial meeting of the 12-nation coalition of non-nuclear states took place in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, gives the clue to its symbolic significance. Being the first city in the world to witness the horrors of atomic destruction, Hiroshima, from that very fateful day almost 70 years ago, remains at the forefront of global efforts to learn about the devastating impact weapons of mass destruction can cause and also serves as a reminder of the necessity of eliminating nuclear weapons. That symbolic gesture of holding the meeting in Hiroshima on April 11-12, 2014 received added value as the ministers listened to the stories of atomic bomb survivors before starting their formal discussion.

Sri Lanka Remains Committed To Reconciliation

By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

COLOMBO (IDN) – Rejecting the resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 27 to mount an ‘independent’ international investigation into alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapkase said that Sri Lanka would continue with its own reconciliation process that was started after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was defeated in May 2009.

The resolution, which was adopted by 24 votes to 12 with 12 abstentions, has been described by the government as a lop-sided vote where most of those voting for it were Europeans. “The EU votes as a block and the US had more than a dozen votes already in the bag while we started with none,” Rajapakse pointed out in a meeting with foreign media representatives in Colombo.

Financing Aid in a New Era

By Jon Lomøy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

PARIS (IDN | OECD) – By the end of 2015, when the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) come to term, the international community is expected to approve a new sustainable development agenda. All indications are that this will be a unique and universal agenda, focusing on the eradication of extreme poverty, but also addressing broader environmental, economic and social sustainability challenges. Finding the means to finance this broad agenda, and to make that financing work to produce maximum results without duplication or gaps, will be a challenge.

Cambodian Monk Maps Development Path

By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNewsFeature

SIEM REAP (IDN) – Somnieng Hoeurn, deputy abbot of Wat Damnak, one of the largest Buddhist temples in this capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and a popular resort town as the gateway to Angkor region, laments that the Khmer Rouge completely destroyed Buddhism in Cambodia. He adds with a grin, “We not only have to build temples but also do a lot of mind building.”

He believes that both the government and the monastic system need each other to help Cambodia – one of the world’s poorest countries – progress. “A Buddhist temple must respond to 21st century demands,” he says.

His life story is as unique as his attempts to rebuild Cambodian Buddhism in which the temple is an integral part of community development.

Death Sentences in Egypt ‘Mockery of Justice’

By Jaya Ramachandran

NEW YORK (IDN | UN News) – A group of eight United Nations human rights independent experts have urged the Egyptian authorities to quash the 529 death sentences announced in Egypt and give the defendants new and fair trials, in line with international human rights law.

“The right to life is a fundamental right, not a toy to be played with. If the death penalty is to be used at all in countries which have not abolished it, international law requires the most stringent respect of a number of fundamental standards,” the experts said in a news statement.

Summary of Nuclear Abolition Treaty Provisions

By Frederick N. Matti* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay

ANNAPOLIS, USA (IDN) – Nuclear weapons are the most devastating of instruments, with their quadruple means of dealing mass death and destruction: blast, heat, radiation, firestorm. Surely, the last thing even the nuclear-armed states want is a nuclear “exchange,” anywhere on earth. But those states in general have not fully considered the security advantages of worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons, and a likely reason is that they have not been presented “satisfactory” answers to fundamental issues for abolishing nuclear weapons.

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