Analysis by J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) – Though 22 gay and transgender rights groups were excluded at the behest of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting resolved to put an end to the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The three-day meeting that concluded at the UN headquarters in New York on June 10 adopted what is being touted as a “progressive, new and actionable Political Declaration” that “includes a set of specific, time-bound targets and actions that must be achieved by 2020 if the world is to get on the Fast-Track and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

- Photo: 2020

U.S. Upsets Election of African Candidate for Top World Trade Post

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) – Backed by an overwhelming number of World Trade Organization (WTO) delegates, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was on a fast track to become the head of the global trade group.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was set to become the first woman and first African to lead the global trade watchdog. A selection panel of WTO trade ministers found she had far more support than a South Korean rival and it was expected that the Asian candidate would be withdrawn because the African candidate would be most likely to attract consensus among the members.

But the historic appointment hit a stumbling block with last-minute opposition from the Trump administration and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who threw their support to Yoo Myung-hee, the current Minister for Trade of South Korea, calling her a “bonafide trade expert”, and suggesting that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was unqualified for the job.

“The WTO is badly in need of major reform. It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field,” the U.S. office said.

Molly Toomey, a spokeswoman for Okonjo-Iweala, rejected the comments, saying “WTO members wouldn’t have selected a Director-General who is missing any skills or qualifications.”

A Nigerian-born economist and international development expert, Okonjo-Iweala sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and has held several key positions at the World Bank. She says the WTO should play a role in helping poorer countries access COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.

President Trump has shown animus to numerous world bodies and agreements, withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO) the Paris Agreement on climate change, the nonbinding Global Compact on Migration, the U.N. Human Rights Council, UNESCO, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, NAFTA, and the Iran nuclear deal, among others.

Trump has described the WTO as “horrible”, biased towards China and threatened to withdraw. Last month, the trade body found the U.S. had breached global trading rules by imposing multi-billion-dollar tariffs in Trump’s trade war with China.

“We’ll have to do something about the WTO because they let China get away with murder,” Trump grumbled after the ruling.

The U.S. has paralyzed the WTO’s appellate body by blocking appointments to the seven-person panel for more than two years. A global court for trade, it has been unable to issue judgments on new cases since December 2019 because there aren’t enough active members.

Yoo presents herself as a “bridge” candidate, aiming to overcome the divide between the United States and China, however she is reported to be having problems solidifying support from some major Asian members – including China and Japan. The deadline for the appointment is November 7. [IDN-InDepthNews – 02 November 2020]

Photo: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Source:Twitter

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