Yearly Archives: 2006
“North Korea said Wednesday that it was returning to nuclear disarmament talks to get access to its frozen overseas bank accounts, a vital source of hard currency…. In Washington, Bush cautiously welcomed Tuesday’s deal and thanked the Chinese for brokering it. But he said the agreement would not sidetrack U.S. efforts to enforce sanctions adopted by the U.N. Security Council to punish Pyongyang for the nuclear test. Those measures ban the North’s weapons trade and other items such as luxury goods.” More
“Ten years after the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) in Rome, which promised to reduce the number of undernourished people by half by 2015, there were more hungry people in the developing countries today – 820 million – than there were in 1996…. The report listed a series of steps which, it said, was needed to eradicate hunger in the years ahead. They included: focussing programmes and investments on “hotspots” of poverty and undernourishment; enhancing the productivity of smallholder agriculture; creating the right conditions for private investment, including transparency and good governance; making world trade work for the poor, with safety nets put in place for vulnerable groups; and a rapid increase in the level of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to 0.7 percent of GDP, as promised.” More
The next installment of UNF Insights explores some problems associated with using what economists call “Purchasing Power Parity” (PPP) to assess what each member state must pay in dues to the United Nations. Readers of The Economist might recognize the term from the magazine’s periodic “Big Mac Index,” which uses the price of a McDonalds hamburger to compare economies around the world. In short, PPP is a way to measure comparative standards of living by comparing the price of a “basket of goods” in one place (i.e. a Big Mac in Bengal) to the same “basket of goods” elsewhere (i.e. a Big Mac in Bologna.)
When applied to the price of a hamburger, PPP gives harmless anecdotal evidence about the relative strength of economies. But if used to calculate UN dues – as some key member states have argued – it would have debilitating consequences for UN operations. To find out why, click here for my short essay on the topic.
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.