For those unable to attend Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh earlier this month, here is the video of the UN Dispatch panel: Global Solutions for Global Poverty. I moderated, with commentary from OXFAM’s Ray Offenheiser, Anita Sharma of the UN Millennium Campaign, Ginny Simmons from ONE and Matthew Yglesias. Let us know what you think.
When Refugees International visited the Nyabiheke camp for Congolese refugees in Rwanda, we asked a doctor there to describe the camp’s biggest health problem and her most urgent need. Without hesitation, Dr. Ann Kao said the biggest problem in the camp was malaria, and her biggest need was bed nets to protect families from mosquito bites in their sleep.
We would have gotten the same answer in almost any refugee camp in Africa. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 90% of all malaria infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is the leading killer of children. Refugees are particularly vulnerable because they often live in hastily constructed camps which can have poor drainage and sanitary facilities and few medical resources.
The 2009 MDG Report (pdf), leading into the 2010 MDG review conference that represents the last major recommitment before 2015, is both promising and disturbing. Actual progress has been made, but the economic crisis is cutting severely into those gains, and, at this pace, the world will fall far short of achieving the Goals.
Overall, the number of people living in poverty (under $1.25 a day) had dropped by 400 million from 1990 to 2005 (1.4 billion) despite the growth in world population, an astounding number that, on its own, is proof that the Goals are achievable. However, the economic crisis chiseled away at that progress, and 90 million more people are expected to be added back to those rolls this year. Success in reducing hunger worldwide is likewise being reversed.
In this edition of UN Plaza, I interview Peter Hakim of the Inter-American Dialogue. Peter discusses the origins of the coup in Honduras, the status of the negotiations to return the deposed President and what the United States and international community can do to keep the peace. In the segment below, Peter offers his thoughts on what the coup in Honduras may say about the stability of other countries in Latin America.
Eriposte is a regular contributor to The Left Coaster, where he frequently writes on issues pertaining to the Indian sub-continent. In his previous contribution to UN Dispatch, eriposte wrote about the link betweem rural poverty and extremism in Pakistan.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in India from July 17 through July 21, visiting both Mumbai and New Delhi. This is a trip aimed at laying a foundation for a deeper and more strategic engagement with India. Interestingly, one of the leading Indian newspapers The Hindu reports that in Mumbai, “she will be staying at the Taj Mahal Hotel in an act of solidarity with the 26/11 victims” – a reference to one of the major sites targeted in the coordinated terrorist attacks last year (26/11).
Clinton will not visit Pakistan during this trip, implicitly sending a message that the United States no longer views India merely “through the Pakistan lens” – a message that was also indirectly conveyed earlier by eliminating India from the charter of Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke. In a recent speech, Secretary Clinton said “We see India as one of a few key partners worldwide who will help us shape the 21st century” and characterized this period as “a third era…U.S.-India 3.0“. Some of topics that are expected to be discussed during her trip include global security, nuclear energy, climate change, trade and human development. Given the significance of this trip to US-India relations, this might be an appropriate moment to highlight some of the key players in India when it comes to foreign policy.
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”.