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Senator Wirth on the UNF and UN Reform

Insight (PDF file) from the President of the United Nations Foundation on the role of the UNF: "We focus substantively on children's health, with the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Some major partners of ours in that area include Rotary on polio and the Red Cross and the Center for Disease Control on measles; and we are also working on an emerging malaria issue. We work on AIDS and reproductive health issues with UNAIDS and UNFPA, focused in particular on the ability of people to protect themselves and on women's empowerment. We work on a range of environmental issues with UNDP and UNEP, and with a special focus on energy, security, and climate issues through our own Energy Future Coalition. You all may have seen a recent initiative of Frank Gaffney, Jim Woolsey, Boyden Gray and others focused on security and energy. That is an initiative that came out of these efforts. And we have a variety of initiatives on human rights and governance."
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Blog Roundup #2

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary Chez Nadezhda: "With all the ink spilt and airwaves filled about John Bolton and UN reform, very little in the way of "what exactly do we mean by reform" has been discussed by either proponents or opponents of Bolton's nomination." Democracy Arsenal: "It's extremely healthy for the policy blogs like Democracy Arsenal to expand beyond Bolton himself to the specifics of UN reform." Fire of Liberty: "Bolton possesses the qualities that most effective diplomats need to have in order to get things accomplished." Outside the Beltway: "If Bolton's chief flaw is that he is sometimes rude to subordinates who turn in subpar performances, I don't see that as a disqualifier." War and Piece: "Perhaps not surprisingly, there's little sunlight between the Annan reform proposal and the ideas discussed by Condoleezza Rice's UN advisor." Washington Note "There is a large group of people -- liberal, conservative, and centrist -- who have each played a key role in bringing the opposition to John Bolton's nomination where it has come."
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President Bush: “The United Nations is an important body”

From President Bush's press conference, 4/28/05: "I think the United Nations is important. As a matter of fact, I'll give you an example. Today I met with the United Nations representative to Syria, Mr. Larsen. He's an impressive fellow. Now, he's delivered -- to Lebanon, excuse me -- he's delivered a very strong message to the Syrian leader, though, that the world expects President Assad to withdraw not only his military forces, but his intelligence services, completely from Lebanon. And now he is in charge of following up to make sure it happens. I think that's a very important and useful role for the United Nations to play. We have played a role. France has played a role. A lot of nations have played roles. But the United Nations has done a very good job in Syria -- with Syria in Lebanon of making sure that the world expects the Lebanese elections to be free in May, without Syrian influence. He's an impressive fellow. I applaud him for his hard work. But there's an example of why I think the United Nations is an important body."
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UNICEF Has Been Big Boost To Child Survival

"The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has reduced child mortality significantly over the past decade and has expanded its mandate to cover protecting youngsters from exploitation, the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the consequences of extreme poverty, outgoing Executive Director Carol Bellamy said today. In a farewell news Conference at UN Headquarters in New York, she summed up UNICEF's work in recent years, saying global child mortality had dropped by 16 per cent in the last 15 years - and by 34 per cent if AIDS-devastated sub-Saharan Africa's data were excluded." Read more...
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Curbing World’s Most Dangerous Pollutants

From UN News Service: "As part of a United Nations-backed effort to rid the planet of some of the worst pollutants tied to cancer, birth defects and immune system damage, 800 government officials and observers from 130 countries will gather next week in Uruguay for the first meeting of a treaty banning the world's most dangerous pesticides and chemicals."
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UN Launches Relief Operations in Horn of Africa

"UN agencies in the Horn of Africa have launched a major relief operation after days of torrential rains caused severe flooding in Ethiopia and Somalia and left more than 40 people dead, swept away entire villages and destroyed critical farmlands. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the relief agencies have been scrambling to get food and basic supplies to desperate families after crashing floodwaters from the cresting Wabe Shabelle River and driving rain had battered both Somalia and Ethiopia for the past two days." LINK
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Clinton: Tsunami Effort a Model for Handling Future Disasters

"Bill Clinton says the response to the Asian tsunami could serve as a model for future disasters if donors make sure the stricken region recovers. The former US president, who is now the United Nations envoy for tsunami relief, told a New York conference of senior American executives yesterday that the recovery stage was just beginning to diversify seafront economies and build houses." Full Story
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UN Military Team Sent to Lebanon to Verify Syrian Withdrawal

"Secretary-General Kofi Annan is dispatching a United Nations military team to Lebanon today to verify whether there has been a full and complete withdrawal of all Syrian troops, military assets and intelligence apparatus as mandated by Security Council resolution 1559. A UN spokesman said Mr. Annan had asked the mission to complete its work as soon as possible following an accord worked out earlier this month by his special envoy on this issue, under which Syria agreed to withdraw from its smaller neighbour by 30 April, ending a physical presence that began with the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war." More...
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Jackie Chan Fights AIDS for UN

UN News Service: "Taking time off from battling fictitious villains, action film superstar and United Nations ambassador Jackie Chan wrapped up a visit today to Viet Nam, joining in the real-life fight against AIDS and sending a powerful message that more must be done both for prevention and advocacy. "I may be a movie hero, but the real heroes are the people I've met in Viet Nam, among them grandparents, mothers and wives, and many young people and children, who are showing real courage in dealing with living with HIV/AIDS and who just be supported much more," said the star of such films as Rush Hour and Rumble in the Bronx. During his three-day visit, Mr. Chan, a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), travelled to Quang Ninh province, north-east of Hanoi, which has the highest HIV prevalence in the country. There he heard how stigma and discrimination continue to inflict pain and alienation and also hamper efforts to stop the spread of the disease."