Renewable Energy Investments Rising but ‘Not Quickly Enough’

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

FRANKFURT | NAIROBI (IDN) - Impressive strides were made on renewable energy investments amounting to $266 billion in 2015 – more than double the estimated $130 billion invested in coal and gas power stations, according to a new United Nations backed report. But UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has issued a cautious note.

In his foreword to the report titled Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016, Ban said: “In spite of these positive findings, to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees, we must immediately shift away from fossil fuels. Sustainable, renewable energy is growing, but not quickly enough to meet expected energy demand.”


UN Official Urges Israel and Palestine to Negotiate a Two-State Solution

By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

NEW YORK (IDN) - The United Nations envoy for the peace process in the Middle East has questioned the political will of both Israel and Palestine to address the main challenges blocking peace efforts.

today warned the Security Council that the prospects for an independent Palestinian state are disappearing, and questioned

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, has made an impassioned plea for both Israel and Palestine to “actively take steps that would demonstrate their commitment to, and create the conditions for, an eventual return to negotiations so as to achieve a viable Palestinian State and ensure Israel’s long-term security”.


U.S.-Kazakhstan Cooperation on Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation:

By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

TORONTO (IDN) - The Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC on March 31-April 1, to be joined by 50 world leaders, is the fourth under the leadership of President Barack Obama who stated in his speech in Prague in 2009 that nuclear terrorism is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.

Obama announced an international effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials, break up black markets, and detect and intercept illicitly trafficked materials. The first Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, DC in 2010, and was followed by Summits in Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014.


UNESCO Promotes Journalists’ Safety and Coverage of Refugees

By Guy Berger | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint

The writer is Director, IPDC Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

PARIS (IDN) - Media development matters moved ahead at the 60th anniversary meeting of the Bureau of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

The two-day (March 17-18) meeting of eight Member States, chaired by the Netherlands, focused attention on contemporary media issues, including the Sustainable Development Goals, security of journalists, gender equality, and the refugee crisis.

An evaluation report about IPDC’s contribution to the safety of journalism, discussed at the meeting, noted: “Never has the UN advanced so much on the issue of journalistic safety in so little time as in recent years.”


Call for Gender-Responsive Implementation of Agenda 2030

By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepthNews Analyisis

TORONTO | NEW YORK (IDN) - UN member states committed themselves to the gender-responsive implementation of Agenda 2030 as the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) concluded on March 24 agreeing on a set conclusions, calling for stronger laws, policies and institutions, better data and scaled-up financing.

The Commission recognized women’s vital role as agents of development. It acknowledged that progress on the Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of Agenda 2030 will not be possible without gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.


China’s Release of Mekong Waters Reflects an Environmental Crisis

By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

This article is the fifth in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

SINGAPORE (IDN | Lotus News Features**) - China would like to project the release of Mekong River waters from its dams in March to “assist” drought-stricken farmers and fisheries further downstream, especially in Vietnam, as a magnanimous gesture from a friendly neighbour. But that action is in fact the reflection of a greater environmental and political crisis that is brewing in the region.


UN Women Launches a Landmark Media Compact to Foster Gender Equality

By J Nastranis | IDN-INPS News Analysis

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN | INPS) – The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women, has launched an innovative partnership with media organizations from every region of the world that work in print and broadcast or are online news media to ensure wide reach and robust efforts towards women’s rights and gender equality.

While Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka explained the rationale behind the move.


Global Citizenship in Ecuador: The Gap Between Principle and Practice

By Nelsy Lizarazo | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

QUITO (IDN) - Universal or global citizenship is, according to the Dictionary of Humanitarian Action a principle, category or condition thanks to which anyone in any part of the world may be recognised as a subject with rights.

It’s an established and accepted concept, at least in an international sphere, which is directly linked to the universality of Human Rights. The concept of Universal citizenship fundamentally means that human rights are not related to which particular state an individual may come from and therefore must be protected and respected anywhere a person may find themselves.


Kazakhstan Proposes Ways to Implement Agenda for Global Development

By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

NEW YORK (IDN) - As the international community explores funding sources for implementing “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity”, embodied in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, attention is shifting to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s proposals for a new world order combined with a New Future concept when he addressed the UN General Assembly and the Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015.

Introducing an innovative proposal for financing development, he urged each state to transfer every year 1.0 per cent of its military budget to a Special United Nations Fund for Sustainable Development. Explaining the rationale behind his proposal he said: “Negative trends are exacerbated by conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The current immigration crisis is caused not only the war but also by the development of imbalances.”


UN Survey Finds Opiates Less Lucrative but Critical for Afghan Economy

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - Despite a decrease of 45% in 2015, opiates still constitute a sizeable share of Afghanistan’s economy, according to a socio-economic analysis of the latest Opium Survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) based in the Austrian capital.

The gross value of the country’s opiate economy was estimated at USD 1.56 billion as compared to USD 2.84 billion the precious year. Corresponding to 7% of the country’s GDP, the value of opiates is comparable to the value of the export of illicit goods and services in 2014.


Strong Plea for a Female UN Chief, Kudos for Ban Ki-moon

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) - United Nations General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have expressed their support for choosing a woman as the next UN Chief.

Speaking on ‘women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development’ at the opening of the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on March 14, Lykketoft said: “. . .the drive for Gender Equality has been the business of this Commission long before the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“And the empowerment of women and girls has been advanced by courageous feminists, women activists, government officials and others long before the 2030 Agenda was agreed.”