By Reinhardt Jacobsen
BRUSSELS (IDN) – In an unprecedented move, representatives from the 79 member states of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group are meeting with top officials from the United Nations agencies as well as other influential international and regional groupings to accelerate work towards implementing the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.
High level participants in the gathering in Brussels on March 22-23 include: the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Cañete, who will deliver the keynote address; UN Environment Programme Director Achim Steiner; the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director General José Graziano Da Silva; and Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Petteri Taalas.
GENEVA (IDN) – “What we are doing to improve human rights situation around the world is not enough,” stated the American attorney and diplomat Alfred Moses in a critical reflection on the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) stressing that the state of human rights has broadly deteriorated with atrocities being committed worldwide.
“What we need is action. We must ask ourselves why is it that the UNHRC has done so little,” noted the Ambassador speaking on a panel at the Geneva Summit on Human Rights and Democracy in Switzerland on February 23.
The inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 member states, which are elected by the UN General Assembly, was created in 2006. It replaced the functional Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) within the overall framework of the UN.
The Egyptian’s time as Secretary General was marked by a casual indifference to genocide.
By Pádraig Belton*
Scion of a distinguished Coptic family, grandson of an assassinated Egyptian prime minister, a Fulbright scholar with a doctorate from the Sorbonne — there’s no doubt you’d have done well to have Boutros-Ghali sat beside you at a dinner party.
He took office as Secretary General of the UN on the first day of 1992. The Soviet Union had dissolved on 25 December 1991.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who passed away on February 16 at the age of 93, was the only UN Secretary-General (1992-1996) to be denied a second term in office because of a US veto in the 15-member Security Council.
The U.S., which preaches the concept of majority rule to the outside world, exercised its veto even though Boutros-Ghali had 14 of the 15 votes in the Security Council, including the votes of the other four permanent members of the Council, namely the UK, France, Russia and China.
VIENNA (IDN) – The UN General Assembly will hold a Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem in April 2016 with a view to achieving the goal of “a better tomorrow for world’s youth”.
In preparation of this session, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has reiterated the importance of a balanced approach to drug control policy and practice, in order to work towards the health and welfare objectives of the three international drug control treaties.
ZURICH (IDN) – A new report has expressed grave concern about the huge amount of money and influence the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) wields, accused it of “dangerously skewing” development agenda, and called for the foundation to be the subject of an independent international review and evaluation.
The report by the UK-based campaign group Global Justice Now doubts that the Gates Foundation is “always a force for good”, and wants an independent evaluation to be managed and administered by the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, by involving a transparent commissioning process and including the participation of various stakeholders, notably those affected by foundation-funded projects.
DAVOS – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced on January 20 an important agreement which is the next step towards unlocking opportunities for smallholder farmers in the developing world.
NEW YORK | VIENNA (IDN) – While the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the lifting of sanctions on Iran, the Security Council announced on January 17 that it has removed Iranian Bank Sepah and its international subsidiary from a sanctions list.
The initiative followed the announcement previous day of a UN report confirming that Iran has completed necessary preparatory steps to start the implementation of a plan of action aiming to resolve the nuclear issue.
VIENNA (IDN) – Political will and multilateral diplomacy marked a milestone as U.S. President Barack Obama revoked a 20-year system of sanctions against Iran and Federica Mogherini, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and a Council member of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), announced the lifting of EU economic blockade against Tehran on January 16.
NEW YORK (IDN) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the role played by ‘Group of 77’ (G77) developing countries and China, comprising 134 out of 193 member states of the United Nations, “in cementing historic 2015 successes”, as South Africa handed over Chair to Thailand on January 12.
At the handover ceremony of the Group’s Chairmanship, Ban expressed appreciation for South Africa’s “able stewardship as the Chair of the Group of 77 and China throughout such a historic year for multilateralism”, and warmly welcomed Thailand’s leadership.