Nuclear-Test-Ban Debate Focuses on Iran and North Korea

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

VIENNA (IDN) - Iran and North Korea dominated the landmark symposium ‘Science and Diplomacy for Peace and Security’ organised by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) end of January in Vienna, the capital of Austria.

As chance would have it, ahead of the event, on January 16, U.S. President Barack Obama revoked a 20-year system of sanctions against Iran and Federica Mogherini, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, announced the lifting of EU economic blockade against Tehran.


Mugabe Claims Two Permanent Security Council Seats for Africa

By Ronald Joshua | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

ADDIS ABABA (IDN) - Africa’s veteran, though highly controversial leader, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has reiterated the call for reforms of the UN Security Council saying the continent should have the same powers as the five permanent members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

In his opening address to the 26th African Union (AU) Summit on January 30-31 – as outgoing chairperson of the bloc – he repeated the African leaders’ demand who have been pushing for the continent to have at least two permanent seats in the Security Council, with equal veto power.


UNDP Turns 50 Facing Huge Tasks Ahead

By Rita Joshi | IDN-InDepthNews Report

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) - As the UN Development Programme (UNDP) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the organisation is aware of the unfinished job, and is committed to “end poverty once and for all” – in Africa and Asia-Pacific where it has been present since the agency was created in 1966.

Reviewing its performance in Africa, UNDP says the continent has undoubtedly made “significant strides socially, politically and economically since the turn of the 21st century”.

Rapid democratic transitions are leading to more responsive and accountable governments. The frequency of armed conflicts seems to be on a downward trend. Steady economic growth and macroeconomic stability have returned. Expanded social policies are improving health and education services, including those targeting women and girls.


Ten Experts to Spark Implementation of 2030 Agenda

By J Nasranis | IDN-InDepthNewsReport

NEW YORK (IDN) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has set up a group of ten experts to provide flesh and blood to the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) that was launched at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on September 25, 2015.

The Mechanism seeks to promote science, technology and innovation to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The group consists of representatives of civil society, the private sector and the scientific community.

TFM comprises a United Nations inter-agency task team on science, technology and innovation (STI), which currently gathers 25 UN entities; an annual multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation; and an online platform that serves as a gateway for information on existing STI initiatives, mechanisms and programmes.


Sri Lanka Turning Anew into a Geopolitical Battle Ground

By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) - On January 8, 2015 when President Mahinda Rajapakse’s former Cabinet colleague Maithripala Sirisena defeated his old boss in a shock election result campaigning on heralding a non-corruptible ‘yahapalana’ (good governance) regime, people of Sri Lanka took a deep breath, some with euphoric expectations and others with fears of war and terrorism re-visiting the now peaceful island.

Mixed reviews of the anniversary in local newspapers agree that there is a better climate of freedom especially in the media. But it is another question whether democracy and media freedom could eradicate corruption from the political system.


2030 Agenda Needs a Reformed UN Development System

By Max-Otto Baumann* | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint

BONN (IDN | GDI) - The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adds new urgency to the reform of the UN Development System (UNDS). If we wish the UNDS to play a decisive role in sustainable development, it must be made fit for purpose. UN member states have recognized the need for action.

In December 2014, they launched a state dialogue in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in order to discuss the longer-term positioning of the UNDS and present concrete reform proposals by mid-2016. To date, no breakthrough has been achieved. Participating states are opting for incremental reforms within existing mandates and structures, which are unlikely to bring the necessary changes.


Addressing Climate Change and Realizing the SDGs

By Dr Palitha Kohona* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

COLOMBO (IDN) - In an unusually mild Paris in December 2015, over 195 countries agreed on a set of broad measures to address the gathering threat to human existence of global warming and climate change.

A beaming UN Secretary-General, for whom climate change has been "one of the defining priorities of his tenure", described the Paris Accord as heralding a generation with climate hope and a "monumental triumph for people and the planet".

The global web movement Avaaz, described the Paris Accord as a "brilliant and massive turning point in human history". The 79-member Africa, Carribean and Pacific Countries group (ACP), most with relatively small economies, enthusiastically welcomed the accord.


Kazakh Efforts Lead to a UN Declaration on a Nuke Free World

By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

NEW YORK (IDN) - The Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan is widely acknowledged as an unrelenting champion of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The country’s latest accomplishment is the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly along with the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.


Oligarchs Turn Moldova into a Cauldron of Corruption

By Alina Inayeh* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BUCHAREST, Romania (IDN | GMF) - History repeats itself, giving us the chance to avoid repeating our mistakes. The Ukrainian story should have taught us a lot about the short-sightedness of supporting a bad government for geopolitical reasons.

Now, as protests against Moldova’s newly formed government are drawing many thousands, is the moment for political leaders in Europe and the United States to take a deep breath and recall this lesson before showing their support to the Moldovan government, known to be controlled by the country’s most powerful oligarch and with little, if any, credible interest in promoting the reforms Moldova needs.


Next UN Chief’s Nomination Process Gathers Momentum

By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

VIENNA | NEW YORK (IDN) - The nomination process for the appointment of Ban Ki-moon’s successor this year is assuming historical dimensions. Since 1946, when Trygve Lie of Norway became the first UN Secretary-General, all seven heads of the world body have been nominated by the Security Council and rubber stamped by the General Assembly.


UN Acts To Achieve Complete Gender Equality Ahead Of 2133

By Rita Joshi | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | DAVOS (IDN) - Declaring that the empowerment of the world’s women is “a global imperative”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the first-ever High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

The establishment of the Panel, backed by the United Kingdom, the World Bank Group and UN Women, was proclaimed in Davos, Switzerland, the venue of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), on January 21.