Yearly Archives: 2009
It’s been a rough year for a lot of us. Personally, we’ve seen jobs lost, promotions deferred, unemployment, uncertainty, and unease. Globally, we’re facing climate change, terrorism, and long, bloody wars. We’ve had a lot to face, and no one knows when it will get better. If you can read this, though, you are better off than most people on this planet. You’re literate, you have internet access, and you’ve got leisure time to spend reading blogs. You can probably give a little bit and be part of making things better.
I just saw this link on twitter – it’s old, but I thought it was a great end of year reflection: 60 Ways the UN Makes a Difference. In the midst of global financial crisis, climate change, and rapid globalization it’s easy to forget just how much the United Nations is part of our global history. Of the sixty ways, these are six of my favorite:
A new UN report shows that he number of returning Afghan refugees fell significantly in 2009 compared to 2008. The UN Refugee Agency says the drop is attributable to insecurity and limited economic opportunities for returning refugees. From the UN News Center:
The UN’s Conduct and Discipline website now has a new section. Called “Statistics,” it will make public the aggregate data on peacekeeper abuses. It’s an impressive demonstration of transparency – or at least it will be. The data isn’t up there yet.
Here’s what the statistics page says at present:
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”.