Monthly Archives: September 2005
“Facing dire warnings of an impending global pandemic of avian influenza, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today announced the appointment of a United Nations system coordinator for the virus, which is presently decimating poultry stocks in Asia and could cross over to humans to deadly effect.
“We expect the next great influenza pandemic to come at any time now,” David Nabarro, a senior public health expert in the UN World Health Organization (WHO), told a news briefing, recalling that the 1918 flu pandemic had killed over 40 million people.” [Full story]
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Outside the Beltway: “The UN is warning that the Asian bird flu could spread to humans and kill up to 150 million people.”
Fed Blog: “John Bolton made clear Wednesday that he believes the United Nations has systematic management problems, but the new U.S. ambassador to the world body said he held out hope that those problems could be fixed.”
American Future: “Reassuring words from Tony Blair’s speech at the Labour Party Conference: “British troops whose bravery and dedication we salute, along with those of 27 other nations, have been in Iraq with full United Nations authority and in support of the Iraqi Government.”
Balloon Juice: “I am a little fuzzy on the science of this: “Capturing and storing the carbon dioxide generated by power plants and factories could play an important role in limiting global warming caused by humans, says an international climate research group associated with the United Nations. In a new report the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says doing so could cut the cost of stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere as much as 30 percent compared with other options, like switching to cleaner technologies.” So they will capture it, pipe it somewhere, and store it in big tanks and wells forever?”
Centerfield: “Reuters: With Katrina and Rita dominating the news recently, there’s a good deal of talk out there about the relationship between hurricanes and climate change (or global warming). And it comes down to this: Are these larger, more powerful hurricanes related to climate change, or not? Reuters: “Scientists say it’s not easy to tell if global warming caused hurricanes Katrina and Rita but on Monday they forecast more unpredictable weather as Earth gets hotter. ‘Global warming, I think, is playing a role in the hurricanes,’ said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. ‘But a lot of what is going on is natural. What global warming may be doing is making them somewhat more intense,’ said Trenberth, a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.’”
Nuno Macedo: “Today was the first day of the UNHCR annual consultations with NGOs that will last the whole week. As intern of the UN Liaison Office of the General-Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, I could not miss it! So there I go to the plenary session… We then had a very inspirational speech from Gil Loescher, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Relations of Notre Dame University, who was nearly killed in the bombing at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003. At a moment of the speech he said something that made the entire assembly hold its breath, more or less like this: …it was with them (speaking about refugees) that I learnt how to survive and live under difficult conditions which, ultimately, has been very useful for my own recovery (he made his speech in his wheel chair).”
New York Times: “Dr. Kees Waaldijk began surgery shortly before 10 a.m. one recent Saturday in a cement-walled operating room in this city near Nigeria’s northern border. More than five hours later, orderlies carried the last of four girls to the recovery ward. In the near-90 degree heat, Dr. Waaldijk’s light blue surgical garb had turned dark with sweat.
What brings the girls to Dr. Waaldijk – and him to Nigeria – is the obstetric nightmare of fistulas, unknown in the West for nearly a century. Mostly teenagers who tried to deliver their first child at home, the girls failed at labor. Their babies were lodged in their narrow birth canals, and the resulting pressure cut off blood to vital tissues and ripped holes in their bowels or urethras, or both.
Were it widely available, the United Nations agency states, a $300 operation could repair most fistulas. But Mozambique, with 17 million people, has just three surgeons who consistently perform those operations. Niger, population 11 million, has but six, the organization reported in 2002.”
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To support UNFPA’s campaign to End Fistula, visit One By One Project. One By One is a volunteer-led initiative that enables people to make a difference by creating giving circles to raise enough money to cover the cost of fistula surgery, post-operative care and rehabilitation for one woman.
To learn more ways to get involved, visit The Woman Tour
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
Annan Urges All Sides to ‘seize opportunity’ of Northern Ireland Disarmament: “United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all sides in the Northern Ireland dispute to seize the “unique opportunity” offered by the decommissioning of weapons by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to advance the 1998 Good Friday agreement laying out a framework for a peaceful and democratic settlement.”
“For the past decade, UNHCR has been issuing Refworld as the most comprehensive, reliable and updated refugee information resource available anywhere. Sometimes referred to as the “Refugee Encyclopaedia”, Refworld is a collection of more than 90,000 full-text, searchable documents from UNHCR specialists and information partners around the world.” [Read more]
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Beautiful Horizons: “The United Nations has just adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights and the International Commission of Jurists are all hailing the document in a joint announcement. They are also urging all nations to ratify the document.”
Brian Barder: “Blair’s great failure lay in not having insisted from the outset, as an absolute and immutable condition of UK participation in the use of force against Iraq, that military action must have the prior approval of the Security Council in a new and explicit resolution. To go ahead without it was a plain breach of our international law obligations: it was, and is, an illegal war and its authors are war criminals. It’s no good Blair arguing that we couldn’t get UN approval because France would have vetoed any resolution that would have granted it: that’s a disgraceful lie, as anyone who takes the trouble to read the transcript of the relevant Chirac television interview must realise.”
Cuanas: “In an indispensible article, from National Review, Michael Ledeen warns that we had better do something Iran very soon: While most media attention has been devoted to the “diplomatic” United Nations visit of Iran’s brand new terrorist president, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nezhad, the fascinating turmoil within Iran, both inside the mullahcracy and between the mullahs and the Iranian people, has gone largely unreported.”
Dean’s World: “The United States is in sharp contrast with Britain, where laws against self-defense combined with the toughest firearm restrictions of any democracy coincide with a rapidly rising crime rate: “In a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world’s crime league, with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people.” Given these facts, it’s clear that the anti-defense Left is basing their ideas on wishes and dreams, not reality.”
Insecurity Forum: “We are living in a world that is growing smaller, and in a period when the agenda of peace and human security is assuming increasing priority. Beginning from the early years of the post-cold war era, and more prominently since the fateful events of “9/11″, the agenda of human security has increasingly assumed an urgency of global proportions. It is quite clear that research on peace and security is now subject to broad national, regional and international debate. Besides several Seminars and Conferences held such as this one by EADI, discussions are under way in major international forums, such as the African Union, the United Nations and other forums to find lasting solutions to conflicts.”
Thomas Paine’s Corner: “Bush and his minions lied to Congress to launch the invasion, defied the UN and international law, and, according to John Pike of GlobalSecurities.org, are establishing 12 of what the Pentagon propagandists call “enduring bases” in Iraq…. The US government needs to respect international law, treaties, human rights, and the autonomy of sovereign nations, and to participate fairly in the UN.”
Window Washer: “The United Nations 2005 World Summit came to a close Friday, leaving many disappointed that little was achieved in regards to the Millennium Development Goals. But activists pledge not to be disheartened by this failure of world leaders to take action against poverty. Read IPS coverage of the summit that, despite its shortcomings, likely will set the stage for future international relations and development.”
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.