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Bankok Update

The Bankok Post offers a good summary of the issues at stake in this week’s climate change summit.

At the core of the talks in Bangkok, are fears among developed countries that their commitments to cut their own carbon emissions will not be matched by similar commitments by the developing world to introduce new technologies that will lead to fewer emissions in the future but will have higher production costs.

That is a fear also expressed by European industries.

“What you hear at the moment is European companies saying that minus 20 per cent that EU governments have committed to is all well and good if we get a climate change policy that does not engage developing countries and the results of this is expensive policies in the north lead to more economic activities in the south, with no emission reduction benefit, but a lot of job movement, what’s the good of that?” noted [UN top climate change negotiator Yvo] de Boer.

How to handle that issue, by a fair trade off between developed countries agreeing to reduce their emissions and provide technology and finance to help the developing countries to improve their own green industries, is what the debate is largely about in Bangkok.

The Bangkok talks must provide a work programme by the end of the week leading towards an agreement in Copenhagen in 2009.

Read more.

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Tuesday Morning Coffee

The longest ever Olympic torch relay began in Beijing yesterday under massive security. India’s football captain, Baichung Bhutia, in solitary with Tibetan demonstrators, has declined an invitation to carry the torch.

Starting 5

>>Zimbabwe – After three days the winners of 109 of the 210 parliamentary seats have been named, and, according to the count of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has pulled two seats ahead of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Many consider the vote to be rigged. Mugabe’s security cabinet met on Sunday night to discuss how to react to the election — impose a state of emergency, unilaterally declare victory, or rely on the ZEC to falsify the results. They reportedly chose the latter. There is a heavy police presence on the streets of Harare. The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network has MDC standard bearer Morgan Tsvangirai besting Mugabe by almost 8 points.

>>NATO – Germany has declared that it will veto the U.S. plan to allow Georgia and the Ukraine to join NATO’s membership action plan (MAP), the path to eventual entry into NATO. This is a blow to President Bush, who received a mixed reception in Kiev today as he voiced his strong support for both Georgia and the Ukraine’s NATO bids. He will travel to the Romania for the opening of the NATO summit tomorrow. Russia has voiced strong opposition to the candidacy of both nations, but Germany has denied the existence of a “Russian veto.” France has also announced it won’t back the plan.

>>Iraq – A tenuous peace appears to be holding in Baghdad and Basra following a call on Sunday by Moqtada al-Sadr for his followers to stand down.  Shops and schools have reopened.  A New York Times reporter details his personal experience in Basra.  Meanwhile, the deathtoll in Iraq for March was 50 percent higher than in February.

>>Somalia – Two UN Food and Agriculture Organization workers, a Kenyan and a Briton, were captured by gunmen on the road between Bu’aale and Sikow in southern Somalia.

>>Uganda – LRA leader Joseph Kony has delayed signing a peace agreement with the government of Uganda until April 10. Two different reasons have been given for the delay: 1) he just needs more time to reach the meeting place (he was walking to the Congo-Sudan border), and 2) he is sick.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

The Rest of the Story


Africa

  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261367045/AR2008033100899.html">Tanzania
    - Detainee Is Charged With Capital Murder in Embassy Bombing
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261612630/idUSL2350258020080401">Cameroon
    - Hungry crowds spell trouble for world leaders
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/france.internationalaidanddevelopment?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Chad
    - Chad president pardons French charity workers

Americas

  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7324000.stm">Brazil
    - Brazil army aids Rio dengue fight
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725289/AR2008033100703.html">Cuba
    - Cuba Repeals Ban on Its Citizens Staying in Hotels on Island
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7323715.stm">Ecuador
    - ‘Ecuador incursion’ into Colombia
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/internationalcrime?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Jamaica
    - Jamaica slums locked in violence, report says
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261405483/idUSN3141011820080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Ecuador - Ecuador
    sues Colombia over anti-drug spraying
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/ac547f4e-ff49-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Argentina
    - Argentina unveils plan to end farm strike
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/f0db67d2-ff48-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Venezuela
    - Caracas eyes ‘dual currency’
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261467191/idUSN3132492920080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Columbia - Colombia
    intercepts Ecuadorean military helicopter

Asia

  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261843450/idUSPEK640820080401">China
    - China says has evidence linking Lhasa riots to foreign groups
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7324155.stm">China
    - IOC warns China over web access
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/korea?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Korea
    - Pyongyang lambasts new South Korean president
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7323895.stm">Russia
    - Russian cultists ‘leave cave’
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7323791.stm">Afghanistan
    - Top Taleban leader ‘is arrested’
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/28d3e6e6-ffa3-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Russia
    - Asian exports shifting to new markets
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261834119/idUSSP532420080401">China
    - China makes security top priority
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/tennis/7323230.stm">Russia
    - Sharapova to miss Fed Cup semis
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725286/AR2008033102691.html">Russia
    - Bin Laden Took Part in 1986 Arms Deal, Book Says
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261720672/idUST707120080401">Japan
    - Japan opposition threatens to censure minister

Europe

  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/apr/01/theairlineindustry?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">France
    - French authorities find evidence of EADS insider trading
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261751232/idUSL0130611620080401">Finland
    - Texting scandal forces Finland foreign minister out
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/entertainment/7323746.stm">Greece
    - Film director Jules Dassin dies
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/world/europe/01cats.html?ex=1364702400&en=5fbaf64081b743f6&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Switzerland
    - Lucerne Journal: A Push to Stop Swiss Cats From Being Turned Into
    Coats and Hats
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3655976.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Germany
    - The Red Baron flies back into role of the hero in Germany
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3656349.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">France
    - Jean Sarkozy promoted to party chief of UMP, Neuilly-sur-Seine
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261383701/idUSMAT00802620080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Italy – Italian
    city of Milan to host 2015 Expo
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261326794/idUSL3120426920080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Serbia – Serbia
    says will hold May elections in Kosovo

Middle East

  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/7323910.stm">Iraq
    - Iraq UK troop reduction delayed
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725287/AR2008033102330.html">Iraq
    - SEAL Killed in Iraq To Get Medal of Honor
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725290/AR2008033102375.html">Israel
    - Israel Planning to Build Hundreds of New Homes
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261619358/idUSL3164657920080401">Israel
    - Rice says Mideast talks on track, despite settlements
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/israelandthepalestinians1?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Israel
    - Nomadic bedouin fight to survive in the village which does not exist
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/world/middleeast/01diplo.html?ex=1364702400&en=91e4a68fad59d54c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
    - Pressed by Rice, Palestinian Leader Agrees to Return to Peace Talks
    With Israeli
1 Comment

Tuesday Morning Coffee

The longest ever Olympic torch relay began in Beijing yesterday under massive security. India’s football captain, Baichung Bhutia, in solitary with Tibetan demonstrators, has declined an invitation to carry the torch.

Starting 5

>>Zimbabwe – After three days the winners of 109 of the 210 parliamentary seats have been named, and, according to the count of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has pulled two seats ahead of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Many consider the vote to be rigged. Mugabe’s security cabinet met on Sunday night to discuss how to react to the election — impose a state of emergency, unilaterally declare victory, or rely on the ZEC to falsify the results. They reportedly chose the latter. There is a heavy police presence on the streets of Harare. The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network has MDC standard bearer Morgan Tsvangirai besting Mugabe by almost 8 points.

>>NATO – Germany has declared that it will veto the U.S. plan to allow Georgia and the Ukraine to join NATO’s membership action plan (MAP), the path to eventual entry into NATO. This is a blow to President Bush, who received a mixed reception in Kiev today as he voiced his strong support for both Georgia and the Ukraine’s NATO bids. He will travel to the Romania for the opening of the NATO summit tomorrow. Russia has voiced strong opposition to the candidacy of both nations, but Germany has denied the existence of a “Russian veto.” France has also announced it won’t back the plan.

>>Iraq – A tenuous peace appears to be holding in Baghdad and Basra following a call on Sunday by Moqtada al-Sadr for his followers to stand down.  Shops and schools have reopened.  A New York Times reporter details his personal experience in Basra.  Meanwhile, the deathtoll in Iraq for March was 50 percent higher than in February.

>>Somalia – Two UN Food and Agriculture Organization workers, a Kenyan and a Briton, were captured by gunmen on the road between Bu’aale and Sikow in southern Somalia.

>>Uganda – LRA leader Joseph Kony has delayed signing a peace agreement with the government of Uganda until April 10. Two different reasons have been given for the delay: 1) he just needs more time to reach the meeting place (he was walking to the Congo-Sudan border), and 2) he is sick.

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

The Rest of the Story


Africa

  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261367045/AR2008033100899.html">Tanzania
    - Detainee Is Charged With Capital Murder in Embassy Bombing
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261612630/idUSL2350258020080401">Cameroon
    - Hungry crowds spell trouble for world leaders
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/france.internationalaidanddevelopment?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Chad
    - Chad president pardons French charity workers

Americas

  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7324000.stm">Brazil
    - Brazil army aids Rio dengue fight
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725289/AR2008033100703.html">Cuba
    - Cuba Repeals Ban on Its Citizens Staying in Hotels on Island
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/americas/7323715.stm">Ecuador
    - ‘Ecuador incursion’ into Colombia
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/internationalcrime?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Jamaica
    - Jamaica slums locked in violence, report says
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261405483/idUSN3141011820080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Ecuador - Ecuador
    sues Colombia over anti-drug spraying
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/ac547f4e-ff49-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Argentina
    - Argentina unveils plan to end farm strike
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/f0db67d2-ff48-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Venezuela
    - Caracas eyes ‘dual currency’
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261467191/idUSN3132492920080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Columbia - Colombia
    intercepts Ecuadorean military helicopter

Asia

  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261843450/idUSPEK640820080401">China
    - China says has evidence linking Lhasa riots to foreign groups
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7324155.stm">China
    - IOC warns China over web access
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/korea?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Korea
    - Pyongyang lambasts new South Korean president
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/europe/7323895.stm">Russia
    - Russian cultists ‘leave cave’
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/7323791.stm">Afghanistan
    - Top Taleban leader ‘is arrested’
  • href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/28d3e6e6-ffa3-11dc-b556-000077b07658.html">Russia
    - Asian exports shifting to new markets
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261834119/idUSSP532420080401">China
    - China makes security top priority
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/tennis/7323230.stm">Russia
    - Sharapova to miss Fed Cup semis
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725286/AR2008033102691.html">Russia
    - Bin Laden Took Part in 1986 Arms Deal, Book Says
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261720672/idUST707120080401">Japan
    - Japan opposition threatens to censure minister

Europe

  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/apr/01/theairlineindustry?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">France
    - French authorities find evidence of EADS insider trading
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261751232/idUSL0130611620080401">Finland
    - Texting scandal forces Finland foreign minister out
  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/entertainment/7323746.stm">Greece
    - Film director Jules Dassin dies
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/world/europe/01cats.html?ex=1364702400&en=5fbaf64081b743f6&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Switzerland
    - Lucerne Journal: A Push to Stop Swiss Cats From Being Turned Into
    Coats and Hats
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3655976.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">Germany
    - The Red Baron flies back into role of the hero in Germany
  • href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3656349.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093">France
    - Jean Sarkozy promoted to party chief of UMP, Neuilly-sur-Seine
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261383701/idUSMAT00802620080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Italy – Italian
    city of Milan to host 2015 Expo
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261326794/idUSL3120426920080331"> style="font-weight: bold;">Serbia – Serbia
    says will hold May elections in Kosovo

Middle East

  • href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/1/hi/world/7323910.stm">Iraq
    - Iraq UK troop reduction delayed
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725287/AR2008033102330.html">Iraq
    - SEAL Killed in Iraq To Get Medal of Honor
  • href="http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/%7Er/wp-dyn/rss/world/index_xml/%7E3/261725290/AR2008033102375.html">Israel
    - Israel Planning to Build Hundreds of New Homes
  • href="http://feeds.reuters.com/%7Er/reuters/worldNews/%7E3/261619358/idUSL3164657920080401">Israel
    - Rice says Mideast talks on track, despite settlements
  • href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/01/israelandthepalestinians1?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews">Israel
    - Nomadic bedouin fight to survive in the village which does not exist
  • href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/world/middleeast/01diplo.html?ex=1364702400&en=91e4a68fad59d54c&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss">Israel
    - Pressed by Rice, Palestinian Leader Agrees to Return to Peace Talks
    With Israeli
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Next Round of Climate Change Talks Underway in Thailand

From the UN News Center:

The Secretary-General urged attendees to build on the momentum generated by the breakthrough in Bali, Indonesia, in last December’s landmark UN Climate Change Conference, where 187 countries agreed on the so-called “Bali Roadmap” — including bolstered action on mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance — to tackle global warming.

The Bangkok meeting is expected to lay out a work plan for the negotiations which will conclude in 2009 at a major summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Mr. Ban has emphasized in the past that a successor pact must be ready for ratification three years before the Kyoto Protocol expires to allow countries to make it law in time.

It is also anticipated that this gathering — attended by delegates from 163 nations — will further efforts regarding emission reduction targets for developed countries.

Also speaking at the opening of the talks, the top UN climate change official pointed out that three months have already elapsed since the close of the Bali conference.

“This leaves us with around one and a half years — a very short time-frame within which to complete negotiations on one of the most complex international agreements that history has ever seen,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Read more.

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Next Round of Climate Change Talks Underway in Thailand

From the UN News Center:

The Secretary-General urged attendees to build on the momentum generated by the breakthrough in Bali, Indonesia, in last December’s landmark UN Climate Change Conference, where 187 countries agreed on the so-called “Bali Roadmap” — including bolstered action on mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance — to tackle global warming.

The Bangkok meeting is expected to lay out a work plan for the negotiations which will conclude in 2009 at a major summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Mr. Ban has emphasized in the past that a successor pact must be ready for ratification three years before the Kyoto Protocol expires to allow countries to make it law in time.

It is also anticipated that this gathering — attended by delegates from 163 nations — will further efforts regarding emission reduction targets for developed countries.

Also speaking at the opening of the talks, the top UN climate change official pointed out that three months have already elapsed since the close of the Bali conference.

“This leaves us with around one and a half years — a very short time-frame within which to complete negotiations on one of the most complex international agreements that history has ever seen,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Read more.

| Leave a comment

For the Record

The Undersecretary General for Management responds to last week’s front page Washington Post article on rising costs at the U.N.

The March 21 front-page story “Expenses at U.N. Balloon 25 Percent; U.S. Demands on Body Help Drive Up Budget” suggested that the United Nations recently “presented its top donors with a request for nearly $1.1 billion in additional funds.” The implication is that spending is out of control and member states are saddled with the consequences.

But the General Assembly approved the $4.1 billion budget. All additional costs reflect new demands from members, notably the United States, particularly in peace and security. The United Nations does not “present” bills to its members; it acts upon their instructions.

A “doubling” of “administrative costs” is stated as part of the problem. The budget includes mounting costs of special political missions, including Iraq and Afghanistan. By no stretch can these be considered “administrative costs.”

The costs of U.N. operations are spiraling upward because they have never been more in demand.

ALICIA BARCENA
Undersecretary General
Department of Management
United Nations
New York

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