Yearly Archives: 2009
Q&A with Diane Coyle, co-author of the UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation report New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts.
What key advantages does use of social media and new technologies bring in disasters?
I’m sure Lindsay, Aaron or Abhishek will have more on this later, but I wanted to flag Secretary Clinton’s big announcement that the United States will help set up a $100 billion fund to help poor countries adapt to the consequences of climate change and help developing countries grow in non-carbon intensive ways. This has always been an important part of the international diplomatic puzzle.
The San Francisco Chronicle ran an editorial yesterday by three leading global health experts, calling for the US and other wealthy countries to immediately donate ten percent of their H1N1 vaccine stocks. This isn’t as radical as it sounds – the sticking point is the time frame, not the quantity. The US has already committed to donating ten percent of its swine flu vaccines to low income countries.
When a disaster strikes somewhere in the developing world, the UN Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) generally issues an appeal for donations to assist in recovery and clean-up. Sometimes, the disaster makes global headlines and funds come pouring in (think: the 2004 Tsunami). Sometimes, though, disaster can unfold slowly, like drought in the Sahel. And sometimes, the disaster occurs in a country whose leadership has generally hostile relations with donor countries (e.g., Zimbabwe).
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”.