Monthly Archives: July 2009
Now, for readers not familiar with American sports, ’49ers’ refers to the San Francisco-based (American) football team, which were a dominant force in the late 1980s and 1990s. Contra the headline, Ban Ki Moon will not replace Joe Montana. Rather, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that a site once thought to be reserved for a new football stadium will now go to a new United Nations Global Compact center to study global warming. The San Francisco Chronicle says:
“The 80,000-square-foot United Nations Global Compact Center will include office space for academics and scientists, an incubator to foster green tech start-ups, and a conference center.”
A very nice get for the city that gave birth to the UN.
Image of San Francisco 49ers engaging in a form of collective security, from Flikr user ravencrest.
The 2009 MDG Report (pdf), leading into the 2010 MDG review conference that represents the last major recommitment before 2015, is both promising and disturbing. Actual progress has been made, but the economic crisis is cutting severely into those gains, and, at this pace, the world will fall far short of achieving the Goals.
Overall, the number of people living in poverty (under $1.25 a day) had dropped by 400 million from 1990 to 2005 (1.4 billion) despite the growth in world population, an astounding number that, on its own, is proof that the Goals are achievable. However, the economic crisis chiseled away at that progress, and 90 million more people are expected to be added back to those rolls this year. Success in reducing hunger worldwide is likewise being reversed.
The Afghan battlefield is spreading into residential areas where more people are being killed by air strikes, car bombs and suicide attacks, according to a U.N. report published on Friday.
The U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan said that 1,013 civilians were killed on the sidelines of their country’s armed conflict from January to the end of June, compared to 818 in the first half of 2008 and 684 in the same period in 2007. Commenting on the report, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said it was critical that steps be taken to shield Afghan communities from fighting.
Amid “applause and a smattering of hoots” Susan Rice signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilties at ceremony at the United Nations yesterday. Bravo.
Here are full remarks from Ambassador Rice and trusted aid to the Obamas, Valerie Jarret.
Ambassador Rice: Thank you all so much. It’s really a tremendous honor to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on behalf of the United States.
This Treaty, as you all know, is the first new human rights convention of the 21st century adopted by the United Nations and further advances the human rights of the 650 million people with disabilities worldwide. It urges equal protection and equal benefits under the law for all citizens, it rejects discrimination in all its forms, and calls for the full participation and inclusion in society of all persons with disabilities.
Scott Horton sounds a clarion call against the regular phenomenon of presidents’ rewarding campaign supporters with choice ambassador positions. He writes, “The process cheapens our diplomatic relations and sends a bad message to the states to which these ambassadors are sent. And it’s getting cruder and greedier.” I agree, but there is also a less stated reason for objecting to this process: the toll it takes on the foreign service bureaucracy.
About a third of the Ambassadorships historically go to political appointees. Among these are the choicest posts. If you are a career foreign service officer with a stellar record, your chances of being rewarded with a choice ambassadorship at the end of your career is severely limited. Crony appointments undermine the career prospects of ambitious, talented foreign service officers, and in so doing, undermines the ability of the State Department to retain and attract new talent. This does real damage to American foreign policy over the long run.
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.