Peace Planners: Awake!

By René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens GENEVA. 23 July 2023 (IDN) — The recent NATO Summit in Vilnius is an indication that the war planning community is busy at work in the spirit of Von Clausewitz that war is a continuation of politics by other means. Thus, there is a need for the peace […]

Modern Day Slavery – Even in the US

By Thalif Deen* UNITED NATIONS. 22 July 2023 (IDN) — The United States banned slavery centuries ago—going back to December 1865, along with a 13th amendment to the American constitution. In 2021, the US declared “Juneteenth” —June 19—a federal holiday commemorating Emancipation Day and celebrating black history and black culture and the final days of […]

UN Women Launches a Landmark Media Compact

Analysis by J Nastranis

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) – The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women, has launched an innovative partnership with media organizations from every region of the world that work in print and broadcast or are online news media to ensure wide reach and robust efforts towards women’s rights and gender equality.

While Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka explained the rationale behind the move.

“Media have great influence over how we perceive and understand the world around us. That influence has many dimensions. Even when reporting is entirely factually accurate, if it is reported predominantly by men, about men, it is actually misrepresenting the real state of the world. At UN Women, we want to address this through partnership to change the media landscape and make media work for gender equality,” she said.

Kazakhstan Proposes Ways to Implement Agenda for Global Development

By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN | INPS) – As the international community explores funding sources for implementing “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity”, embodied in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, attention is shifting to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s proposals for a new world order combined with a New Future concept when he addressed the UN General Assembly and the Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015.

Introducing an innovative proposal for financing development, he urged each state to transfer every year 1.0 per cent of its military budget to a Special United Nations Fund for Sustainable Development. Explaining the rationale behind his proposal he said: “Negative trends are exacerbated by conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The current immigration crisis is caused not only the war but also by the development of imbalances.”

UN Survey Finds Opiates Less Lucrative but Critical for Afghan Economy

By Jaya Ramachandran

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) – Despite a decrease of 45% in 2015, opiates still constitute a sizeable share of Afghanistan’s economy, according to a socio-economic analysis of the latest Opium Survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) based in the Austrian capital.

The gross value of the country’s opiate economy was estimated at USD 1.56 billion as compared to USD 2.84 billion the precious year. Corresponding to 7% of the country’s GDP, the value of opiates is comparable to the value of the export of illicit goods and services in 2014.

According to the survey by UNODC and the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics, in 2015, the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 183,000 hectares, a 19% decrease from the previous year.

Strong Plea for a Female UN Chief, Kudos for Ban Ki-moon

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) – United Nations General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have expressed their support for choosing a woman as the next UN Chief.

Speaking on ‘women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development’ at the opening of the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on March 14, Lykketoft said: “. . .the drive for Gender Equality has been the business of this Commission long before the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“And the empowerment of women and girls has been advanced by courageous feminists, women activists, government officials and others long before the 2030 Agenda was agreed.” So what exactly has changed since September 2015?

Nuclear Weapons Challenge the World’s Highest Court

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | THE HAGUE (IDN) – After ten days of public hearings involving teams of eminent international lawyers – some backed by staunch proponents of ‘nuclear zero’ and others clinging to the doctrine of ‘nuclear deterrence’ – the world’s highest court is faced with a challenging task of far-reaching significance.

Not the least because this year marks the twentieth anniversaries of the 1996 ‘advisory opinion’ by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the opening for signature of the CTBT, the treaty banning all nuclear tests everywhere – nuclear tests that are at the heart of nuclear proliferation.

Explaining the core subject for ICJ’s deliberation, a famous Dutch lawyer Phon van den Biesen said, “from a legal perspective”, the issues presented by the three legal cases “are ordinary ones, but a positive outcome will, spectacularly, change the world”.

Reminiscences of the United Nations and Japan’s Asia Strategy

By Prof. Makoto Taniguchi*

TOKYO (IDN) – When the United States was bashing the United Nations as an ‘Useless presence’ in the 1980s, young bureaucrats of the rank of Minister-Counsellors, who were dispatched as government representatives to the UN in New York, were using a deprecating term – a “zombie” group -to describe the situation in which they found themselves.

Counsellor Mr. Sergey Lavrov of the Soviet Union, who was like a leader among his peers, was convinced that something needs to be done about the world body. Otherwise he and others will not be respected back home. So he was inspiring the group that was otherwise beginning to lose sight of a vision to strengthen the United Nations. SPANISH | GERMAN | HINDI | JAPANESE

2016 Crucial for Promoting a Nuclear Weapons Free World

By Jamshed Baruah

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN | INPS) – The 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and the twentieth anniversaries of the opening for signature of the treaty to ban all kinds of nuclear tests as well as of the unanimous advisory by the world’s highest court are three significant hallmarks of the year 2016.

“These historical dates are an important occasion for pooling the efforts of all countries to promote a nuclear-free world,” said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on March 2 during a meeting in Astana with the heads of foreign diplomatic missions accredited in the republic.

“These historical dates are an important occasion for pooling the efforts of all countries to promote a nuclear-free world,” said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on March 2 during a meeting in Astana with the heads of foreign diplomatic missions accredited in the republic.

The Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS or Semipalatinsk-21), also known as “The Polygon”, was the primary testing venue for the then Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk from 1949 until 1989 with little regard for their effect on the local people or environment. The full impact of radiation exposure was hidden for many years by Soviet authorities and has only come to light since the test site closed in 1991. READ IN JAPANESE

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