The Great Debate UK
- Jennifer Parmalee is senior public affairs officer and spokesperson on global issues with the United Nations World Food Programme. The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters is hosting a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.–-
A few years ago, I traveled to northern Bangladesh – a hardscrabble region forever whipsawed between drought and flood – to interview teenage girls and mothers at a maternal and child health center supported with nutritional food by the UN World Food Programme.
But 13-year-old Nazma, standing tall like a proud butterfly in her colorful salwar kameez, had a question for me first: “Please sing a song from your country.”
I hesitated, then reached for the song I had sung to my daughters as a lullaby: “Amazing Grace.” Nazma listened quietly and then, with ethereal poise and clarity of voice, surprised me by responding with the anthem of the U.S. civil rights movement: “… Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome, some day!”
-Professor Kees Vuik is a professor, and Mehfooz ur Rehman is a PhD candidate at Delft University of Technology. The opinions expressed are their own.-
The Haiti earthquake was a truly appalling tragedy and it is little wonder that the United Nations has described it as the worst humanitarian disaster it has faced in its history. The 2010 earthquake follows several earlier ones, including in 1751, 1770, 1842 and 1946, which have struck the island of Hispaniola (the tenth most populous island in the world) which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republican.
- François Grignon is Director of the Africa Program at the International Crisis Group. the opinions expressed are his own. -
Four years ago, the Sudanese people were promised a brighter future. A peace deal had finally ended the two-decades-long civil war between north and south, which killed more than two million people and devastated the south. But today, that bright future is looking decidedly tarnished, and Sudan is sliding towards violent breakup.
Ahead of a U.N. summit in Copenhagen next month, scepticism is growing that an agreement will be reached on a global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, due to expire in 2012.
The protocol set targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are believed to be responsible for the gradual rise in the Earth’s average temperature. Many scientists say that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is key to preventing climate change.
The European Union has been at the forefront in pressing for binding, internationally monitored reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and funding from industrialised countries to help developing nations switch to clean energy.
from Africa News blog:
Activists often say that the world is not paying enough attention to Sudan's Darfur crisis. But could the opposite be true -- that Darfur is actually getting too much attention, from too many organisations, all at the same time?
A rough count shows at least 10 international and local initiatives searching for a solution to the region's festering conflict. Many of them are at least nominally coordinated by the United Nation and the African Union. But with so many parallel programmes in play, the opportunities for duplication, competition and confusion are legion.
from The Great Debate:
Words of wisdom from an American leader: "The United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.
- Donald Steinberg, Deputy President for Policy of International Crisis Group, is a board member of the Women’s Refugee Commission and served on the UNIFEM executive director’s advisory council. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Preparations are now starting for the 10th anniversary of the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This groundbreaking resolution was passed unanimously in October 2000 to address abuses against women during armed conflict, including sexual violence and displacement, and to bring women more fully into conflict prevention and peacemaking.
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan once remarked that in terms of people killed and injured every day, conventional weapons are the worst weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century.
If statements of concern were enough to influence the brutal dictatorship ruling my country, then opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma would have been freed many years ago. It is impossible to count the number of statements from world leaders condemning the dictatorship, whether it be for imprisoning Aung San Suu Kyi, crushing democracy uprisings, or blocking aid after Cyclone Nargis last year.