Author Archives: Peter Daou
Successive American administrations have had sometimes rocky, sometimes rosy relations with the UN, but one feature which all US governments have universally admired at the UN has been its peacekeeping missions. These undertakings have over the decades prevented the outbreak of conflict, disarmed combatants, overseen elections and trained police forces – all without involving US troops and saving Washington millions of dollars.
Today they number eighteen and involve over 100,000 UN soldiers. But now they may be in trouble. The US owes almost $500 million in back-dues to support these operations because several years ago Congress insisted that our nation should pay only 25% of the overall costs of these endeavors though we could afford more. Without these US outlays, these vital enterprises may now be crippled or forced to end.
Josette Sheeran, the new chief of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) officially took up her duties yesterday by calling for a renewed commitment to combating hunger.
Executive Director Josette Sheeran said “despite enormous efforts by WFP and its donors and partners, we are losing ground on hunger with 4 million more people malnourished each year than the year before. Together, we can turn that tide.”
The United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation) and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, released today “Confronting Climate Change: Avoiding the Unmanageable and Managing the Unavoidable,” the final report of the Scientific Expert Group on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. The report, prepared as input for the upcoming meeting of the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), outlines a roadmap for preventing unmanageable climate changes and adapting to the degree of change that can no longer be avoided.
A new United Nations-backed study says that one third of today’s Iraqi population lives in poverty with more than 5 per cent living in extreme poverty.
“Prepared by the Iraqi Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology with the support of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the statistics show that a high percentage of people in Iraq live under various levels of poverty and human deprivation despite the country’s huge economic and natural resources.” More
Right now, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is holding an open hearing on “The Future of the United Nations under Ban Ki-Moon” with Tim Wirth, former Senator and current President of the UN Foundation, John Bolton, the former U.S. Perm Rep to the UN, and George Mitchell, former Senator Majority Leader.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named four new top officials to his cabinet last week.
“Mr. Ban named a United States diplomat as chief political officer, a Chinese veteran of international organizations to head economic and social affairs, a Japanese international civil servant to manage public information and an Egyptian diplomat to oversee General Assembly management.” More
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.