The UN is slated to review progress on the MDGs "and other international development goals" during this month's high-level meeting in New York. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hopes the meeting "will not only result in a renewal of existing commitments but also can decisively galvanize coordinated action among all stakeholders and elicit the funding needed to ensure the achievement of the Goals by 2015." The issue of inefficient, inadequate funding capacity is a particularly crucial one.
Following a year-long investigation, and just weeks prior to its official release, a 600 page report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) was leaked. The report, which seeks to shed light on war crimes committed between 1993 and 2003 in the the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), suggests that the Rwandan army (RPA) and Congolese AFDL rebels carried out attacks against Hutus in the DRC which “could be classified as crimes of genocide.”
Rwandans re-elected Paul Kagame, who has been president since 2000, to lead their country for another seven-year term. In many ways, this election is about Kagame and his ruling party, the Rwanda Patriotic Front. A fascinating and complicated personality, Kagame has been hailed both as a "visionary leader" and an "iron-fisted strong man," though the latter perspective has only recently emerged in earnest.
On August 4, Kenyans went to the polls to vote on a new constitution. The vote had raised the specter of violence which marred the 2007 elections, when 1,300 people died and 300,000 were displaced. In the months leading up to the referendum, fears were again raised when a bomb killed six people at a rally in Nairobi in June. As of Wednesday night, though, the vote has been reported to have gone smoothly and without major incidents.
In Liberia's post-conflict reconstruction process and for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's government, reaching the "completion point" under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative - the stage at which full and irrevocable debt relief is won - is a milestone.
Heads of state, ministers and other dignitaries are assembling in Toronto and Huntsville, in the province of Ontario, for the G8/G20 summit. While Canada has hosted several G8 meetings in the past decades (the last one in 2002, under the leadership of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien), this year’s iteration of the political summit, with its inclusion of the G20 countries, is a first for the host country. In the lead up to the meetings, the government of Canada has had to contend with much criticism, both on the organizational side and some of the policy dimensions of the summit.
Since June 11, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks have fled their homes in Kyrgyzstan, escaping violent clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks which broke out in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh. An estimated 100,000 people - 90% of them women and children - have sought refuge in neighboring Uzbekistan, and authorities estimate that an additional 300,000 people have been internally displaced.
In a speech delivered at the 21st Annual Energy Efficiency Forum, held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C, Tim Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation, exhorted policy-makers and legislators to tackle the question of clean energy with great urgency. Mr. Wirth's remarks addressed this year's Forum theme, "Energy Efficiency: Innovative Approaches, Proven Solutions." He spoke of the necessity to address the U.S.'s clean energy needs with pragmatism: “my belief is that we have one more chance at this now. And that chance is enormously important,” said Wirth.