U.S. In the World
This video is a few days old, but I thought folks might be interested in watching Secretary of State Clinton’s address to the Commission in the Status of Women at the United Nations last week.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum hosted an event last night with Susan Rice, which was billed as a conversation about genocide prevention and timed to the one year anniversary of a high-level report on the topic. The Q and A was not earth-shattering, but her fluid articulation of the challenges facing the United Nations and the United States in confronting genocide and mass atrocity did re-enforced every positive bias I have toward my UN
The White House nominated former
UNESCO ECOSOC Ambassador Betty King to head the United States UN office in Geneva. Among other things, this office has oversight over the Human Rights Council, of which the United States is a recent member.
Betty E. King, Nominee for Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador
President Obama announced two new additions to the U.S. Mission to the UN yesterday. He will nominate:
- Frederick “Rick” Barton to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC)
- Jide Zeitlin to be U.S. Ambassador on UN Management and Reform
Barton is an excellent choice. He’s well-versed in both the UN system and U.S. foriegn aid, is a creative thinker, and, I’ve heard, has the right demeanor to succeed in dealing with other delegates. He served as the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva from 1999 to 2001, and he worked on Obama’s transition team on foreign aid issues. The UN Peacebuilding Commission falls under his purview, which is a great fit, as he’s currently the Co-Director of the Post Conflict Reconstruction Project at CSIS and started the Office of Transition Initiatives at USAID.
Zeitlin is more of an unknown entity and, arguably, has a much tougher job, advocating reforms to a G-77 that is sceptical of any U.S. reform initiatives. He’s of Nigerian descent and has a Nigerian name, which will help assuage that skepticism, but he was also a partner at Goldman, which works in the other direction. He would do well to avoid making comparisons to the private sector. Considering that he doesn’t come from a UN background, it’s also probably a good idea that he hit the ground running, show that he’s willing to listen and learn, and be prepared to be patient with the politics of reform.
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”.