Monthly Archives: May 2007
Long before Susan Rice was Obama’s pick for UN Ambassador, she contributed this piece to UN Dispatch. Originally published May 31, 2007.
When Americans see televised images of bone-thin African or Asian kids with distended bellies, what do we think? We think of helping. For all the right reasons, our humanitarian instincts tend to take over. But when we look at UNICEF footage or a Save the Children solicitation, does it also occur to us that we are seeing a symptom of a threat that could destroy our way of life? Rarely. In fact, global poverty is far more than solely a humanitarian concern. In real ways, over the long term, it can threaten U.S. national security.
Though far from the television screens of most Americans, some of the fighting in Ethiopia and Eritrea resembles a war with which they might be familiar. At its peak, hundreds of kilometers of trenches snaked their way around the border region of the two neighboring countries in the Horn of Africa, raising frequent comparisons to World War One. And like World War One, the toll of the trench warfare on conscripts has been exacting. Though no one knows for sure, 70,000 people are estimated to have been killed. There have also been as many as 700,000 displaced or made refugees from the war, which at one point cost these desperately impoverished countries $1 million a day to sustain.
In a 10-0 vote yesterday, the Security Council backed the creation of a tribunal to investigate and prosecute a series of political assassinations in Lebanon, including the February 2005 car bombing that killed Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. From the Washington Post:
The vote will lead to the creation of the first U.N.- backed criminal tribunal in the Middle East, raising expectations that Hariri’s killers will be held accountable. But that has stoked fears among Lebanese authorities and some council members that supporters of Syria — which has been linked to the assassination — will plunge Lebanon’s fledgling democracy into a bloody new round of internal strife
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme Against HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have called for increased care and prevention services related to HIV.
The prevailing model now is voluntary testing and counselling, where individuals actively seek diagnosis. But experts say this system is impeded by the fear of stigma and discrimination, limited accessibility to services and the perception of many – even in areas with high rates of HIV infection – that they are not at risk.
Approximately 80 per cent of people living with HIV in low-income countries are unaware that they’re infected with the disease.
The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced its support for a $11.5 million development project in Cambodia to help the rural poor.
“The project will not only boost incomes, it will also lay foundations for sustainable social and economic development in the future,” said Youqiong Wang, IFAD’s country programme manager for Cambodia, noting that it is the agency’s first to target the poor, ethnic population living in remote areas of the country.
Today is the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. From the UN News Center:
Last year marked the fourth in a row when more than 100 men and women died in the service of UN peacekeeping, Mr. Ban noted. “Now, with our deployment at a record high, more soldiers, police and civilian staff face danger in places like Sudan, the Middle East and Haiti,” he said, citing Friday’s killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Ehab Nazih, a UN peacekeeper from Egypt working in Darfur, as but the latest example of this.
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.