Every year for the past fourteen years Taiwan has applied for membership to the United Nations. Each time the application is denied by China. But now, those seeking to block Taiwain’s national aspirations will have rocker Ozzy Osbourne to contend with. The Taiwanese government has teamed with an Ozzy-backed band, ChthoniC, to promote Taiwan joining the 192 other countries in the United Nations General Assembly. In an 80 city, four country tour the Taiwanese goth band will literally sing the virtues of UN membership.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged action on climate change and other concerns in an address to the Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva.
“This Summit is an important opportunity to take our partnership forward – in learning as well as action,” Ban said. “Over these two days, we must make an honest appraisal of what the Global Compact has achieved, renew our commitments, and chart a courageous course for the next three years.”
The Secretary-General stressed the importance of joint actions to address climate change and announced the planned launch of a Business Leadership Platform on “Caring for Climate” – a joint project with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
A report leaked to the Associated Press suggests that the IAEA and North Korea have formally reached an agreement on the containment and surveillance of North Korean nuclear facilities. From the AP:
The confidential four-page report said North Korea has agreed to provide International Atomic Energy Agency experts with needed technical information, access and other help needed to shut down North Korea’s plutonium-producing Yongbyon nuclear facility.
The report will be discussed by the agency’s 35-nation board and is expected to be approved as early as Monday, paving the way for the beginning of the IAEA mission overseeing the shutdown and eventual dismantling of the Yongbyon facility.
This report from Vienna, plus news stemming from a meeting between Kim Jong Ill and China’s foreign minister, seems to confirm a newfound willingness among the North Korean government to cooperate with the international community on nuclear disarmament. Obviously, it is too early to declare victory. But we do seem to be closer to North Korean disarmament than anytime time since 2002, when DPRK withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and booted IAEA inspectors from North Korea.
It may be opportune, therefore, to recall comments made by detractors of the diplomacy that has led us to this moment. AEI Senior Fellow John Bolton, for example, took to the airwaves last February to excoriate his old bosses for agreeing to a package of incentives to coax North Korea away from its nuclear ambitions. This, said Bolton, was “a very bad deal” that rewarded the reclusive regime. Bolton also took to the Wall Street Journal op-ed page to criticize the release of $25 million of DPRK frozen assets held in a Macau bank.
If we followed Bolton’s advice and continued to refuse to engage directly with North Korea, it is almost certain that we would not have reached this important moment. (In fact, we tried that strategy from 2002 to February 2007. And in that time period, the North withdrew from the NPT, kicked weapons inspectors out of the country and successfully detonated a nuclear weapon.)
The great progress we have seen since the February breakthrough seems to prove that constructive engagement with Pyonyang is not only possible, but in fact, is a wise way to reduce the North’s nuclear arsenal.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that the world’s goals for fighting poverty remain achievable in most countries, but only if urgent and concerted action is taken.
Addressing the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva, Mr. Ban said the mid-point progress report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which was released today – contained encouraging messages.
“Countries in Africa and elsewhere are demonstrating that rapid and large-scale progress on the MDGs is possible,” Mr. Ban said, referring to the set of eight development objectives which world leaders have agreed to work towards by the target date of 2015.
In a new edition of Blogging Heads TV, Matthew Lee and I discuss a week’s worth of news at the United Nations. We have it all covered, from UN peacekeeping funding, to the tragic UNIFIL fatalities, to Somalia. Matthew offers an interesting perspective — he’s someone “on the ground,” blogging from the fourth floor of the UN Secretariat every day. While we certainly don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, he is an excellent sparring partner. Particularly enlightening to me was our discussion on equipment shortages at UN peacekeeping. Apparently, says Matthew, the truck carrying the Spanish peacekeepers in Lebanon was not equiped with a so-called “frequency inhibitor” which can prevent roadside bombs from detonating. As Matthew says, this is considered a “national issue” and Spain, not the UN, is responsible for providing their soldiers’ equipment. Watch the entire dicussion.
According to a new report on the Millennium Development Goals, Asian countries have experienced a significant drop in extreme poverty.
Rapid economic growth has spurred progress in the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger in Asia, where the proportion of people living on a dollar a day has been cut by half, but inequality is also growing in parts of the region, says a United Nations report released today in Bangkok.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report 2007 comes at the midpoint of a 15-year effort to reach those key development objectives that world leaders set at a 2000 UN summit.
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.