Site Meter UN Dispatch - Page 17 of 1331 - United Nations News & Commentary Global News - ForumUN Dispatch | United Nations News & Commentary Global News – Forum | Page 17
Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size

All Posts

Screen shot 2014-07-17 at 8.55.32 AM

New AIDS Data Brings Some Positive News

Ahead of next week’s big International AIDS Conference in Australia, UNAIDS released a report demonstrating that new HIV infections and deaths were decreasing, putting in prospect the an end to the epidemic in by 2030. Key data from the report (UNAIDS

-New HIV infections have fallen by 38% since 2001.

-Worldwide, 2.1 million  people became newly infected with HIV in 2013, down from 3.4 million in 2001

-New HIV infections among children have declined by 58% since 2001.

-Worldwide, 240,000  children became newly infected with HIV in 2013, down from 580,000 in 2001.

-AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 35% since the peak in 2005.

-19 million of the 35 million people living with HIV globally do not know their HIV-positive status.

-90% of sub saharan Africans who learn they are HIV positive seek treatment.

 Want these clips delivered to your inbox everyday? Sign up here

A humanitarian pause for Gaza? Israel has agreed to a UN-brokered six hour ceasefire from 10-3pm today to allow humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza. Hamas appears to be abiding by it as well. In the meantime, Israeli officials strongly signaled that a ground invasion was likely. (NYT

 Want these clips delivered to your inbox everyday? Sign up here

…And a happy 9 month book publication anniversary to Jessica Alexander for the publication of her memoir: Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and Out of Humanitarian Aid


West Africa: Since the Ebola outbreak began last March, more than 600 people have died. This mounting death toll is presenting families and health authorities with a grim new problem: What do you do with the bodies? (NPR

Fighting in Central African Republic may have claimed more lives than previously thought because many Muslim victims were never taken to state hospitals and families buried their dead at home because of security fears, according to aid workers. (Thompson Reuters Foundation

A United Nations panel that monitors compliance with UN sanctions on Somalia has accused the country’s president, a former minister, and a U.S. law firm of conspiring to divert Somali assets recovered abroad, according to a new report. (Reuters

A Nigerian military offensive against Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram has opened up a corridor for mobile units of health workers to vaccinate children against polio in parts of the northeast. But the worsening insurgency poses a grave risk to the campaign to stamp out the crippling virus. (VOA

Worsening conflict in Darfur and an influx of people fleeing war in South Sudan helped push to almost seven million the number needing aid in Sudan, the UN said Wednesday. (AP

An estimated two million people with disabilities in Zambia face significant barriers to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. (allAfrica

Malawi’s Solicitor General told that UN that people are not being arrested in the country for same-sex acts, until the anti-gay laws are reviewed. (Nyasa Times


Four young children were killed by an Israeli mortar as they played on the beach in Gaza. The scene was witnessed by many journalists staying at a nearby hotel. (WaPo

Western consultants helping Egypt compile an economic reform plan say it needs at least $60 billion of investment to reach average GDP growth of 5 percent by 2018 and the same amount again to bolster its foreign reserves, senior officials said. (Reuters

An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced nine men accused of sexual assault to terms of 20 years to life, in an apparent sign that officials were following through on a personal promise by Egypt’s new president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, to crack down on sexual violence against women. (NYT

Two philanthropists are in the final stages of preparing what is thought to be the first privately-funded search and rescue operation for migrants in the Mediterranean. (Guardian


The Philippine government turned its focus to cleaning up after a strong typhoon cut across the northern island of Luzon Wednesday, causing flooding in the capital, killing at least 10 people and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands. (VOA

As the fiercest storm since Haiyan lands, the Philippines is keen to prove it has learned lessons from last year’s tragedy. (Guardian

The Americas

The growing vitality of the group of countries made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which is beginning to formalise its institutions even as it tries to bridge very disparate realities, seems to be partly cemented by increasing links between its companies. (IPS

Protesters and counterprotesters squared off in a small Arizona community over where to shelter a surge of unaccompanied immigrant children entering the country, becoming the second border state this month to enter the emotional controversy. (CNN

Human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean is becoming nearly as profitable as drug trafficking, for organized crime. (El Mundo


What’s the difference between immigrant and refugee? (CNN

Conflict over water rights in Ecuador (Al Jazeera English

There’s a looming political crisis for the USA should the Security Council press for a Gaza ceasefire resolution. (UN Dispatch

Top of the Morning | Leave a comment

SG; Middle East; UNAIDS

SG: The SG addressed the DR’s congress today and commended their efforts in achieving the MDGs. He also praised President Medina for his leadership surrounding the newly adopted law recognizing Dominican-born persons of foreign descent.

Middle East: The SG supports Egypt’s ceasefire initiative as the fighting continues between Israel and Hamas. He continues to make calls to world leaders to encourage parties to stop fighting and negotiate. Referencing civilian casualties, a New York Times article reported the first Israeli fatality and nearly 200 Palestinian deaths.

UNAIDS: UNAIDS reported that more than half of the 35 million people living with HIV are unaware they have the virus. UNAIDS Executive Director stressed that smarter scale-up is needed to increase the amount of people with access to HIV tests.

Afghanistan: UNAMA supported the Federation of Afghanistan Civil Societies call for a ceasefire during Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr as families should be able to celebrate in peace without fear of violence.

Iraq: Iraq’s Council of Representatives elected a new Speaker and Deputy Speakers. The SRSG for Iraq congratulated the Council and urged them to agree on key legislation as a key step toward restarting the democratic process. The SRSG on Sexual Violence in Iraq voiced concern over reports of rape near Mosul.

Sudan: OCHA reported that Sudan requires $982 million to assist the 20% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance as 85,000 people have sought refuge in Sudan without access to basic humanitarian services.

Surveillance: High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay expressed concern over a lack of transparency regarding government surveillance policies. OHCHR issued a report  today stressing the need for procedural safeguards against governmental surveillance programs.

Central America: The SG stated today that unaccompanied child migrants from Central America is an urgent humanitarian situation. He called on Governments of countries of origin, transit and destination to protect the human rights of migrant children.

Cambodia: A peaceful protest in opposition of the Cambodia National Rescue Party turned to violence yesterday leaving 40 people injured. UN expert on the situation of human rights in Cambodia urged all sides to exercise restraint and called for an end to the official ban on demonstrations.

UNIOGBIS: The SG appointed Mr. Miguel Trovoada of São Tomé and Príncipe as the new Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau.

UN Direct | Leave a comment
Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 12.03.43 PM

The Security Council and the Conflict in Gaza

The statistics are alarming: As of 3 PM local time yesterday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that at least 149 of the 194 people killed thus far have been civilians. That included 38 children. Over 1,300 people have been injured, and 18,000 seeking shelter in UNRWA school. There is also a brewing humanitarian emergency as 600,000 people risk losing access to safe drinking water. Meanwhile,  Israel has warned 100,000 people to flee their homes in northern Gaza or risk being bombed.

And just today, there is word that four Palestinian kids were killed when an Israeli mortar struck a beach. 

If this drags on much longer without a ceasefire brokered regionally, it is very likely that many members of the Security Council, including key American allies like France and the UK, will try to impose a ceasefire through a legally binding resolution. Such a move would put the Obama administration in a tough spot. In general, permanent members of the Security Council are loathe to caste lone vetoes; on this particular issue vetoing a ceasefire resolution would be deeply unpopular internationally and perhaps even jeopardize other foreign policy priorities. On the other hand, backing a ceasefire resolution without Israeli support could pose political problems domestically for the Obama administration.

A  Security Council vote to impose a ceasefire would be a no-win situation from an American political standpoint. This means that the closer the Security Council comes to voting on the matter, the more urgently the USA would want to do what it can to obviate the need for this kind of resolution by directly or indirectly brokering a ceasefire that Israel and Hamas can accept. But the USA does not have much time.  As the humanitarian situation in Gaza gets worse, there will be growing pressure by other Security Council members to move quickly on a legally binding ceasefire resolution.

The USA would not benefit from a showdown at the Security Council. But the only way to avoid that is to swiftly broker a ceasefire.

photo credit:  Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives

Security | | Leave a comment
Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 9.32.10 AM

Why This One UN Report on Sustainable Development is Different from the Rest

Amid growing numbers of internally displaced peoples and environmental crises, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs officially released the “prototype” of the Global Sustainable Development Report last week. Practitioners and spectators in the international development field might be tempted to file this away with the myriad of development policy briefs that are released any given week. — but this draft does something unique.

This report comes at a pivotal moment, as the Millennium Development Goals  near their set completion date of 2015. There has been significant progress made in pursuit of these goals. According to the report, 1.1 billion people have been  fed, nurtured, housed, educated, and employed since 2000, building on the 800 million from 1970 to 2000. However, poverty and hunger still plague the global community at significant rates, despite advances in technology and science. As such, the report in its current form seeks to build on the progress of the MDGs, while galvanizing more collective action to pick up the slack.

Unlike the yearly check-ups on the progress of the MDGs, the Global Development Report focuses on the big picture, combining existing resources and highlighting the connection between scientific and policy components of development. The report includes a comprehensive view of the past three generations of development initiatives, a unified collection of existing measures of development from the science and policy worlds, and scenarios based on how the economic, environmental, and political parts of development influence each other. These components highlight the trade-offs between the business-as-usual path and the sustainable alternative route. The former is filled with increased global environmental disasters, prompted by unrestrained consumption of finite resources and wasteful production. Our journey down this path will be accelerated by isolated thinking, with policymakers and academics working in insular groups instead of working together to sustain vital global public goods, such as air and water.

These chapters and other parts of the report show a good faith effort on behalf of the United Nations to think differently about sustainable development. The overarching themes of consolidation and interdependence serve the report’s secondary, but vital, objectives: bridging the gap between the science and policy communities. The data in the report were collected by a platform capable of understanding multiple languages to generate greater input from both communities, especially young scientists from developing countries. The platform currently uses English, Spanish, and Chinese, but improvements are being made to allow input in more languages. The report also includes an estimated range of investments and technologies needed to create the sustainable path outlined in the alternative to current levels of consumption and production.

The report features an improved framework in which to create and inspire collective action in international development, but it is too soon to declare a new era of global sustainable development. The report is being finalized while the convening body that will analyze and discuss it, the High Level Political Forum that was created following the Rio+20 Summit, continues to meet. However, this draft shows promise, providing the data-driven narrative needed to spur the global community to think and act boldly on our path to a more sustainable world.


Development | | Leave a comment
Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 8.43.40 AM

BRICS Launch New Development Bank

Sign up here to receive these clips directly to your inbox. 

The BRICS have finally launched their much-anticipated new international development bank …”The leaders of the five Brics countries have signed a deal to create a new $100bn (£583m) development bank and emergency reserve fund. The Brics group is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.The capital for the bank will be split equally among the five participating countries. The bank will have a headquarters in Shanghai, China and the first president for the bank will come from India.” (BBC

Horrific bombing in Afghanistan…At least 89 people were killed in a car bomb attack in a remote town in eastern Afghanistan. This was the worst since attack since the toppling of the Taliban in 2001.It comes as the USA helped broker a deal to end Afghanistan’s election stand-off. “There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, and the Taliban issued a statement denying involvement, saying they “strongly condemn attacks on local people.” Several other insurgent groups operate in Afghanistan. The U.N. mission in Afghanistan said initial reports “suggest that the attacker prematurely detonated after police detected the explosives in his vehicle.” (AP


At least 26 people were killed when suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants stormed a village in northeast Nigeria and a government warplane opened fire to repel the attackers, local residents and a security source said. (Reuters

The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 603 since February, with at least 68 deaths reported from three countries in the region in the last week alone, the World Health Organisation said. (Reuters

Militant group Al-Shabab has lived up to its promise to step up attacks in Somalia, mainly against government installations and personnel, during the holy month of Ramadan, which began on 29 June. Over 30 people have been killed in Mogadishu alone. (IRIN

The UK’s Department for International Development is to face a full judicial review over its alleged funding of rights abuses in Ethiopia. (Guardian

Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram militants have killed more than 2,000 civilians in Nigeria this year, nearly three-fourths of them in the northern state of Borno. (VOA

The EU is about to launch its first ever multi-donor development trust fund, in support of the Central African Republic. With an initial amount of €64 million the fund creates an effective and coordinated international instrument to help the population of the country and contribute to its stabilisation. (EC

The Kenyan government’s continued failure to properly investigate crimes committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence and to provide justice and reparation for its victims is having a devastating impact on their lives and livelihoods. (Amnesty International

The presence of armed groups and continued fighting causing displacement across the Central African Republic has led to an escalation of insecurity leaving women and girls vulnerable to forced marriage and extreme violence, including rape. (IRIN

At least 750,000 people are stateless in West Africa, according to UNHCR, which is calling for governments to do more to give or restore the nationality of stateless individuals, and improve national laws to prevent statelessness. (IRIN


The first Israeli was killed by a Hamas rocket attack since the crisis began eight days ago. Some 200 Gazans are believed to have been killed. (NYT

A militia shelled Tripoli airport, destroying 90 percent of planes parked there, a Libyan government spokesman said, as heavy fighting between armed groups prompted the United Nations to pull its staff. (Reuters

As Israel continues to bomb hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip, hospitals are facing a shortage of medical supplies. Pre-existing shortages are being exacerbated by heightened need and by the border policies of the Egyptian government. (IRIN

John Kerry warned that the escalating violence by Libyan militias was alarming and said Washington was working through its envoys to restore peace to the North African nation. (Reuters

Aid agencies said Tuesday they were ready to truck desperately-needed supplies to 2.9 million more Syrians after the UN Security Council finally passed a resolution backing cross-border convoys. (AP

Preliminary findings of a UN survey show that while food security has improved in some areas, over 10 million Yemenis – more than 40 percent of the population – don’t know where their next meal will come from. (WFP


Warnings as another typhoon hits the Philippines there are insufficient evacuation centers available to keep people safe. (Oxfam

Bangladesh’s anti-graft agency will file charges against the owner of a building that collapsed last year killing more than 1,130 people, most of them garment workers, in a construction violation case, an agency spokesman said. (AP

The World Bank said that it and its private sector arm have committed concessional loans of up to $4.2 billion to the Philippines to help the country reduce poverty, create jobs and sustain growth as it recovers from the impact of a devastating typhoon and separatist rebellion. (AP

The Americas

During a visit to Haiti, the UN Secretary General promises to help fight the cholera epidemic which has killed more than 8,500 people since 2010. (BBC

Pope Francis calls for moves to protect thousands of unaccompanied children found migrating from Central America to the US every month. (BBC

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales will run for re-election in October to press on with his promise of expanding social reforms in the Andean nation, the vice president of the ruling party said. (Reuters

Honduran President Juan Hernandez blamed U.S. drug policy for sparking violence in Central American countries and driving a surge of migration to the United States, according to an interview published on Monday. (VOA

Brazil’s sluggish economy faces substantial risk of falling into a light recession in 2014, and may already have done so, providing opposition candidates with extra ammunition in the run-up to October’s presidential election. (Reuters


How flawed are current aid responses? (IRIN

South Sudanese Debate: Should We Leave or Stay? (VOA

Why A Village Leader Ordered The Rape Of A 14-Year-Old In India (NPR

No School, No Handshakes: Reporting On Ebola From Sierra Leone (NPR

The Caribbean: A Clean Energy Revolution on the Front Lines of Climate Change (IPS

Who Aids Whom? Exposing the True Story of Africa’s $192 Billion Losses (Think Africa Press

Much Hangs in the Balance in Indonesia’s Election (CGD


Attacks on teachers and other educators are a disturbingly common tactic of war and a serious threat to education, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack said in a new study. (GCPEA

Jens Martens, director of the Global Policy Forum, says that in general, the current list of proposed goals and targets that will follow the MDGs is not an adequate response to the global social, economic and environmental crises and the need for fundamental change. (IPS

Top of the Morning | Leave a comment

SG; Afghanistan; Middle East

SG: After meeting with a Haitian family affected by cholera, the SG expressed the UN’s commitment to ending the epidemic through projects such as the “Total Sanitation Campaign” launched yesterday to scale up sanitation and hygiene in rural areas.

Afghanistan: The SG condemned today’s two attacks in Kabul and Paktika. The Taliban denied involvement in the suicide attack in Paktika killing 43 civilians, but claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul killing two people on a shuttle bus. UNAMA called on the Taliban to cease attacks on civilians.

Middle East: Referencing Egypt’s proposed ceasefire for Israel and Gaza, the SG called on Hamas to follow Israel’s willingness to accept the proposal and cooperate with the Egyptian initiative.

Syria: UN agencies and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent reached Madamiyet Elsham in Rural Damascus for the first time in two years. Food, household items and hygiene supplies reached 5,000 people on the first of four days of deliveries and is expected to reach 20,000.

Yemen: WFP reported that more than 40% of Yemen’s population remains acutely malnourished despite food security improvements in some regions of the country.

West Africa: WHO reported that nearly 1,000 cases of Ebola have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. A new Sub-Regional Coordination Centre is being set-up to help coordinate response efforts in the three countries.

Philippines: OCHA warned that Typhoon Rammasum is expected to reach the Philippines this evening. Flooding and landslides could affect 43 million people in the capital by noon tomorrow.

Peacekeeping: The SG expressed his gratitude for Ameerah Haq following her announcement to step down as the USG for Field Support.

UN Direct | Leave a comment

Diplo Tweets