All eyes are on the Covid-19 pandemic and the unfolding crisis it is causing, whose full dimensions are not yet clear. Meanwhile, there’s the climate crisis. It too has multiple, unfolding impacts about whose full details we cannot yet be sure. We should not lose sight of it, of course, and not only because it is very, very important. Some of what we are are (or should be) learning from the pandemic is relevant to the climate crisis, not least the widespread deficiency in resilience that Covid-19 is revealing.
At French initiative, the UN Security Council held what is known as an Arria Formula debate on 22 April. This is a relatively informal meeting so the Council can be briefed on and discuss major issues. The meeting was virtual and I joined Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo and International Crisis Group President, Robert Malley, to provide the initial briefings, after which some 23 representatives of member states plus the representatives of the African Union and the European Union also spoke.
Here, in more formal tones than I normally use in this blog but rather less formally than my last UNSC briefing in February, is what I said.
Today is the UN International Day of Peace and it comes at a time when many people seem to feel peace is taking a horrible worldwide kicking. Is it so bad? Continue reading
One year on from the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, the senior UN official on the issue, Zainab Bangura, has said in an interview with AFP that Yazidi and other young women abducted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq are being traded “for as little as a pack of cigarettes.” Continue reading
Each year, 21 September is the International day of Peace, declared as such by the UN. Each day, the Day gets better known. Last year on this blog I recorded a message. This year there’s a much better message to be had. It comes from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, celebrating the power of words, of simply talking peace. Please use this link to hear him:
And keep talking peace! Today and every day.
The UN’s long process of developing the post-2015 global follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals continues with the Open Working Group working on Sustainable Development Goals. Last week they released a draft. It has many plenty of goals and targets but lacks an overall concept of what progress means today. What might the wise have said about it in days gone by? Continue reading
Peace is the big, under-reported good news story of the 20-plus years since the Cold War ended. There are fewer wars than in the 1980s. There have been more peace agreements, and an increasing proportion of them endure for longer.
Good. Because the next 20 years will make the last 20 seem like a rehearsal for the real thing. Continue reading
If you want to achieve a negotiated end to violent conflict, all the parties have to first agree to talk. Seen in that light, rescinding the invitation to Iran to attend the Geneva II conference on Syria is very bad news. Continue reading
The destruction of Syrian chemical weapons (CW) has started. In a breakthrough moment in Iran-US relations, the two Presidents talked on the phone and the foreign ministers sat down to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme. Though the connection has received little comment in the western news media, these two welcome developments are deeply linked and close to inter-dependent. Continue reading
Today, 21 September, is the UN International Day of Peace. It’s a day to think about how peace is achieved, safeguarded and built. It is, of course, not the work of a day. Think of Syria, and how much rebuilding of all kinds will be needed when the opportunity of peace arrives. Or think of Rwanda, 19 years on from the genocide, and how it is still recovering and building a peaceful society. Here’s a brief video of (some of) my thoughts about it.
The UN High Level Panel (HLP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has reported. Compared to the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the big change is that peace and good governance have been brought in front and centre where they belong. The HLP’s report is far from the last word in a continuing debate on international development but it marks an important moment and has a lot – though not everything – to offer. Continue reading