The Tragic Paradox of the Doha Conference

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – The annual UN climate conference concluded in Doha on December 8 with “low ambition” both in emission cuts by developed countries and funding for developing countries. Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted many decisions, including on the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period in which developed countries committed to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Germany among World’s Largest Arms Sellers

By Jaya Ramachandran
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

STOCKHOLM (IDN) – Germany is among the world’s largest arms exporters, though estimates of the magnitude of the country’s arms sales and of its ranking among arms traders differ. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Germany was the fifth largest exporter of major conventional weapons in 2011 behind the USA, Russia, France and China.

The U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) on the other hand ranks the country as the sixth largest arms exporter. The CRS estimates the financial value of German arms deliveries in 2011 at $1.6 billion (in 2011 U.S. dollars), or approximately 4 per cent of global arms exports. This ranked Germany behind the USA, Russia, the UK, France and Italy.

International Outcry on the Congo Must Be Louder

By Bernadette Paolo*
IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have long been savaged. Perhaps that is why the international outcry over the M23 rebels overtaking Goma and wreaking humanitarian devastation has been muted. Everyone has grown used to hearing about the violence that has become endemic in the DRC.

The Obama Second Term: Business as Usual or a 21ST Century Lincoln?

By Jayantha Dhanapala*
IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – The US Presidential Inauguration ceremony will be held in Washington DC on Monday, January 21, 2013.The official theme for the 2013 inauguration is “Faith in America’s Future”. For many Americans, and indeed for many international observers, that faith is in desperate need of reaffirmation not only because of the domestic economic crisis, and the political paralysis in the US Congress over its solution, but also because of the decline of the US’s political power and influence internationally.

UN Urges Aid to Turn a New Chapter in Somalia

By Jerome Mwanda | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NAIROBI (IDN) – The United Nations has launched a $1.3 billion humanitarian appeal in Mogadishu to address the immediate needs of the Somali people over the next year and enhance resilience in the country, which has for decades been mired by conflict, drought, floods and food insecurity.

The appeal issued on December 4 is part of three-year strategy. It is expected to benefit 369 humanitarian projects targeting 3.8 million Somalis in need, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The strategy will be implemented by 177 national and international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies operating in Somalia.

The Evils of Bilateral Investment Treaties

By Julio Godoy | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – Between 1995 and 1998, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) prepared behind closed doors a so-called multilateral agreement on investments (MAI). The harmless sounding name concealed a Machiavelli-like treaty allegedly addressed at – as an OECD paper put it at the time – setting “clear, consistent, and transparent rules on liberalisation and investor protection, with dispute settlement, thereby underpinning the continued removal of barriers to market access and encouraging economic growth.”

Editorial Advisory Board

Radhika Coomaraswamy, formerly the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, has served as the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict from April 2006 to July 2012. She is an internationally known human rights advocate who has done outstanding work as Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (1994-2003). […]

Israel’s Punitive Expansion Plans Condemned

By Ernest Corea*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) — The Israeli government’s desire to extract revenge from the Palestinians for the recognition that the international community has bestowed on the Palestinian Authority (PA) is offensive and inconsistent with the norms of appropriate diplomatic conduct.

The planned revenge is doubly repugnant because Israel wants to direct its punitive ire at Palestinians for action taken by 138 of the world’s established nations.

Keeping Cyberspace Affordable for All

By Bernhard Schell
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

DUBAI (IDN) – “A digital divide has no place in the information age and 21st century knowledge economy,” according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Our overall objective must be to ensure universal access to information and communication technology – including for the two-thirds of the world’s population currently not online,” he says.

In a video message to a major meeting organized by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on December 3, Ban said the management of information and communication technology should be “transparent, democratic, and inclusive”.

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