The Beginning of the End for Nuclear Weapons?

By Daisaku Ikeda * | IDN-INPS Viewpoint

TOKYO (IDN | INPS) - Last year’s NPT Review Conference closed without bridging the chasm between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states. It was deeply regrettable that no consensus was reached at this significant juncture marking the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hope still remains, however, thanks to a number of important developments. These include: the growing number of countries endorsing the Humanitarian Pledge, a commitment to work together for the resolution of the nuclear arms issue; the adoption in December 2015 by the UN General Assembly of several ambitious resolutions calling for a breakthrough; and rising calls from civil society for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. READ in JAPANESE


Educate UK Public on the History and Ideals of Europe

By Jonathan Power | IDN-INPS Viewpoint

LONDON (IDN | INPS) - The British have a problem. A referendum on continuing membership of the European Union scheduled for June may lead to Brexit- Britain heading for the exit. Anybody with any knowledge of Europe’s war-like history knows this would be totally self-defeating.

Writing in 1751 Voltaire described Europe as “a kind of great republic, divided into several states, some monarchical, the others mixed but all corresponding with one another. They all have the same religious foundation, even if divided into several confessions. They all have the same principles of public law and politics unknown in other parts of the world.” But they also had a lot of war.


The Fates of Vultures and Elephants Go Hand in Hand

Dr Bradnee Chambers* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BONN (IDN) - World Wildlife Day, being celebrated on March 3 for the third time – this year under the slogan ‘The Future of Wildlife is in our hands’ – is focusing on the plight of African and Asian elephants, which are being slaughtered in their thousands for their tusks to supply the ivory trade. But other species, such as vultures, are also in serious decline because of human actions.

Organized crime rings are often the masterminds behind the illegal trade in ivory. That elephants might go extinct does not cause them any pangs of conscience. And woe betide anyone who stands in their way; the poachers are often better equipped than the park wardens opposing them.


UN Initiates a Historic Process to Select New Secretary-General

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) -  Forthcoming April 12 and 14 promise to go down in the annals of history of the United Nations. For the first time, 193 member states of the UN and some selected sections of the general public will be given the opportunity of “an informal dialogue” with potential candidates for the prestigious post of the Secretary-General.

While this by itself is a historic development in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General, the final decision on who will succeed Ban Ki-moon will lie with the five permanent members of the Security Council each of whom wields the power of veto: USA, Russia, China, Britain and France. Ban’s successor will be the person acceptable to all Five (P5).


Despite Hurdles Nuclear-Weapons-Free World Not a Lost Cause

By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

GENEVA (IDN) - The stalemate on nuclear weapons disarmament needs to be resolved amid increasing concern about the "prodigious" number of warheads still in circulation, said former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan addressing a Working Group at the UN in Geneva.

But the first session of the Open Ended Working Group on Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations (OEWG) did not come close to breaking the stalemate. The nuclear armed states did not participate in the deliberations February 22-26, though several countries relying on nuclear weapons joined. These included many NATO countries as well as Japan, South Korea and Australia.


New Tools to Assess Implementation of Global Development Goals

By Jaya bin Izzati | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

KUALA LUMPUR (IDN) - The United Nations and policymakers around the world now have new scientific tools to measure progress towards meeting commitments under the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity of the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, endorsed by 193 UN member nations in September 2015.

The 124-nation Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) adopted at the close of a week-long meeting on February 28, the report, titled The Methodological Assessment of Scenarios and Models of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. IPBES was established in April 2012.


Kudos and Criticism on Human Rights Council’s 10th Anniversary

By Fabíola Ortiz | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

GENEVA (IDN) – “What we are doing to improve human rights situation around the world is not enough,” stated the American attorney and diplomat Alfred Moses in a critical reflection on the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) stressing that the state of human rights has broadly deteriorated with atrocities being committed worldwide.

“What we need is action. We must ask ourselves why is it that the UNHRC has done so little,” noted the Ambassador speaking on a panel at the Geneva Summit on Human Rights and Democracy in Switzerland on February 23.


UN Debates Persistent ‘Stigma on the Conscience of the World’

By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

NEW YORK (IDN) - Over half a century after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the decolonization process has not yet concluded and colonialism has yet to be eradicated.

Against this backdrop, as the UN Special Committee on Decolonization began its 2016 Session on February 25, several speakers stressed the need to establish a road map to concluding the decolonization process before 2020,


IFAD Showcases Agricultural Research for Development

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

ROME (IDN) - The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has joined hands with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) linking research to development impacts in the  Near East, North Africa and Europe.

A joint seminar held during IFAD’s 39th Governing Council meeting that concluded in Rome on February 18, showcased results from IFAD investments in agricultural research for development through Beirut-based ICARDA which proved effective in raising the incomes of smallholder farmers and helping them adapt to new climate-related challenges.


South Korea Set to Make Rapid Strides in Global Arena

By Valentina Ieri | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

NEW YORK (IDN | INPS) - North Korea's nuclear ambition has not been checked effectively even though there were four resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. And North Korea's alleged hydrogen bomb test and a successive rocket launch early February culminated their die-hard ambition to have a substantial nuclear capability together with delivery means.

Against this backdrop, the Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea) is certainly putting its foot down and stepping up as a key player in the global arena, particularly on North Korean issue.

Since 2006, North Korea has conducted four rounds of nuclear tests and six rounds of missile launches, making it an unprecedented precarious situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula.


Ukraine’s Future Between Grim and Grimmer

By Jonathan Power | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint

LONDON (IDN) - It’s two years since a mass of demonstrators brought down the centrist government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

We don’t hear much about Ukraine these days, mainly because the foreign journalists, not having too much to do – and often being freelance and therefore only paid by the number of lines they get printed – have gone home or to other hot spots.