Privatizing Climate Protection?

With comprehensive government action on climate change stalling, the UN climate chief is meeting with business leaders to plot a new way forward.

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For Dispatch readers in New York…

Susan Rice will be speaking at NYU tomorrow evening:

Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, will deliver remarks on Wednesday, August 12 at 5:30 p.m. at NYU’s Greenberg Lounge in Vanderbilt Hall, NYU School of Law (40 Washington Square South/between Sullivan and MacDougal Streets).

The address- co-sponsored by the NYU/SCPS Center for Global Affairs and the University’s Center on International Cooperation - will focus on the Obama Administration’s work at the UN building partnerships to tackle global challenges.

Go here to RSVP in advance.

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Congo/Women in DC

Washington, DC looks at the plight of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week, in the form of a hearing tomorrow that will be held by women's rights advocate Senator Barbara Boxer.  The panels feature State Department reps, playwright and V-Day founder Eve Ensler, and Enough's John Prendergast, among others, and is aimed at addressing the staggering problems of rape and sexual violence in both DRC and Sudan.

Washingtonians can also literally see the situation faced by Congolese women in a photo exhibit on display this week called Congo/Women, featuring these stunning images of life and women in Congo.  Be sure to check it out if you're in the District.

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Stand Up!

by Anita Sharma, North America Coordinator, UN Millennium Campaign

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I admit I was a little nervous about U.S. participation in the global Stand Up and Take Action mobilization. With less than a week to go, the annual effort to join millions worldwide in the fight against global poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is happening in the shadow of the biggest financial melt-down of my lifetime. But instead of withdrawing, people are coming together to show that we care about combating global poverty. At times like this it's all the more important that we live up to our commitments and work harder to support those in need. In poor countries around the world, 50,000 children die each day of poverty-related causes, yet this crisis has not received the urgency or attention it demands. The economic crisis is having a dramatic impact on people who already struggle to survive grinding poverty and are the least able to cope with issues like high food and fuel prices.

But we know we can be the first generation to end extreme poverty. In 2000 world leaders got together at the United Nations and pledged to achieve the Millennium Development goals and outlined the shared responsibility to end poverty, disease and illiteracy and to protect our environment. We are more than half-way to 2015 and while tremendous achievements have been made, we still have a way to go. Challenges like the food and energy crisis, climate change and now the financial emergency, mean it's more important than ever that we keep our promises.

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Peace in the Midst of War

Even facing increasingly dangerous levels of violence in their country, Afghans are as vocal as ever in their desire for peace. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reports on the incredible enthusiasm with which the Afghan people are preparing for the upcoming International Day of Peace.
"The aim is to give voice to those who want peace in this country," UNAMA spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a news conference in Kabul today. "And what we are seeing is that the demand for peace is overwhelming." He said the scale of events being planned for this year's celebration of Peace Day, marked annually on 21 September, is "unprecedented" and involves citizens, educational institutions, businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as UN agencies. "In contrast to the conflict and violence around us, the peace campaign in Afghanistan in 2008 is potentially the biggest this country has seen," Mr. Edwards stated.
Celebrating peace won't change the reality on the ground by itself, of course, but this level of popular commitment is by no means insignificant, particularly when it comes to winning the "hearts and minds" campaign that Mark alluded to earlier. And it's reports like these that remind me that the goal in Afghanistan should not be so much winning a war as winning a peace.
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Kai Eide Being Courted in Washington DC

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Visiting Washington a little over a month into his new job as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide -- whose candidacy only emerged after renowned British negotiator Paddy Ashdown's was shot down by the Afghan government -- is being received with wide open arms here in the U.S. After speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace today -- where he cited the confidence that the "highest authorities of the U.S. administration" have in him -- Eide will be meeting with the top levels of the U.S. foreign policy brass: Secretary of State Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and even President Bush. The red carpet being rolled out for Eide is indicative of the importance that the administration has recognized in an increased role for the United Nations in Afghanistan. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad testified to this importance himself, in a New York Times op-ed last month, in which he praised the nomination of Eide and outlined the roles that the UN should be fulfilling in Afghanistan. The expanded responsibilities that Khalilzad envisioned for the UN in Afghanistan line up closely with those identified by Eide: coordinating civilian and military efforts, ensuring that resources for aid are spent effectively and with appropriate oversight, combating corruption in the Afghan government, and strengthening the country's police and justice systems. Eide has consistently emphasized that international involvement in Afghanistan must be seen not solely through a military lens, but as a broader political project; while he expressed confidence that the U.S. has increasingly adopted this perspective, it remains crucial for the U.S. to see beyond the military situation of the country. The U.S. will also need to back up its warm reception for Mr. Eide with concrete support for the UN mission that he leads. For the administration to saddle Eide with increasing responsibilities, yet fail to provide the necessary resources, would be both hypocritical and counterproductive. To demonstrate its commitment to the UN's role in Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress should begin by approving the $53 million in the FY 2008 supplemental funding bill designated to fund the UN's political missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and could follow by paying up on its long-standing back dues to the UN regular budget, out of which missions like the one in Afghanistan are funded.
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Kai Eide Being Courted in Washington DC

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Eide.jpg_tn.jpg
Visiting Washington a little over a month into his new job as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide -- whose candidacy only emerged after renowned British negotiator Paddy Ashdown's was shot down by the Afghan government -- is being received with wide open arms here in the U.S. After speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace today -- where he cited the confidence that the "highest authorities of the U.S. administration" have in him -- Eide will be meeting with the top levels of the U.S. foreign policy brass: Secretary of State Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and even President Bush. The red carpet being rolled out for Eide is indicative of the importance that the administration has recognized in an increased role for the United Nations in Afghanistan. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad testified to this importance himself, in a New York Times op-ed last month, in which he praised the nomination of Eide and outlined the roles that the UN should be fulfilling in Afghanistan. The expanded responsibilities that Khalilzad envisioned for the UN in Afghanistan line up closely with those identified by Eide: coordinating civilian and military efforts, ensuring that resources for aid are spent effectively and with appropriate oversight, combating corruption in the Afghan government, and strengthening the country's police and justice systems. Eide has consistently emphasized that international involvement in Afghanistan must be seen not solely through a military lens, but as a broader political project; while he expressed confidence that the U.S. has increasingly adopted this perspective, it remains crucial for the U.S. to see beyond the military situation of the country. The U.S. will also need to back up its warm reception for Mr. Eide with concrete support for the UN mission that he leads. For the administration to saddle Eide with increasing responsibilities, yet fail to provide the necessary resources, would be both hypocritical and counterproductive. To demonstrate its commitment to the UN's role in Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress should begin by approving the $53 million in the FY 2008 supplemental funding bill designated to fund the UN's political missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and could follow by paying up on its long-standing back dues to the UN regular budget, out of which missions like the one in Afghanistan are funded.
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Emmanuel Jal

It seems that CNN was also at the child soldier-turned-rapper Emmanuel Jal charity show in D.C. a couple weeks back. Remember, you heard it here first.
That night, a spotlight fell on the stage where Jal rapped. The darkened hall was full of young, successful-looking Washingtonians. It was a fascinating scene and one couldn't help but wonder: How can this audience possibly understand where he's coming from?
"My dreams are like torment My every moment Voices of my brain Of friends that were slain, Friends who died by my side of starvation In the burning jungle and the desert plain. But Jesus heard my cry. I was tempted to eat the rotten flesh of my comrade."
Jal was born in southern Sudan. He thinks the year was 1980. He's not sure of the exact date. The region was engulfed in a civil war as rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) began fighting for independence and control of the country's oil. His father became a rebel. His mother was killed. He says government soldiers raped his sister three times. Jal ended up in a United Nations refugee camp.
Read more.
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New York’s Finest

Midtown Manhattan is a madhouse this week. Both the opening session of the 62nd UN General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative are in town and bring with them both an unprecedented group of world leaders and a complex security situation. As I shuttle back and forth between the two events, I am struck by the competence of the New York Police Department. I can't even imagine the intricacies involved in securing an area this large and vulnerable, but they have every appearance of having it under control. I'm confident at least. This is an apropos moment to bring up the UN's Capital Master Plan, a plan to renovate the UN Headquarters in New York City, which has not happened since the complex was built in 1950, and bring the building up to current safety and security codes.