Showing posts from May, 2017

Is Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on his way to the UN?

blogged in January that:
"it seems that there is to be a new Under Secretary General (USG) for Counter Intelligence and according to my sources it will go to a Russian candidate - yet to be named."
On this front news had been quiet. After all there were other the stories around who would head UNDP, WHO and UNESCO so its not surprising that this went a little quiet for a while.
The Washington Post is now reporting:
"Russian media recently suggested that Kislyak, about to leave Washington after serving as ambassador since 2008, may be proposed by the Kremlin to head a new position as U.N. undersecretary general for counter-terrorism."
CNN have alleged that US intelligence officials claimed that Kislyak is a top Russian spy and spy recruiter. According to ABC News former US ambassadors and analysts have "strong skepticism" to the claim that Kislyak is a spy. 
There has been much speculation around his role in the Russian interference in the US election and meeti…

Summary of article on the Emergence of Environment as a Security Imperative

This is a summary of a larger article I wrote for Oxford University Press. The full article can be viewed here.  The emergence of the environment as a security imperative is something that could have been avoided. Early indications showed that if governments did not pay attention to critical environmental issues, these would move up the security agenda. As far back as the Club of Rome 1972 report, Limits to Growth, variables highlighted for policy makers included world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion, all of which impact how we live on this planet. The term environmental security didn’t come into general use until the 2000s. It had its first substantive framing in 1977, with the Lester Brown Worldwatch Paper 14, “Redefining Security.” Brown argued that the traditional view of national security was based on the “assumption that the principal threat to security comes from other nations.” He went on to argue that future security “may now…

Forty-Five Years Since Stockholm, Twenty-Five Years Since the Earth Summit and Five Years Since Rio+20

Reproduced from Inter Service Press 
UNITED NATIONS, May 30 2017 (IPS) - Over the past five years, I have written with a number of co-authors the history of the sustainable development movement at the global level prior to the first UN Conference on Human Environment held in 1972 through the 1992 Earth Summit and Rio+20 to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. I like to think of these books as the ‘Vienna Café Trilogy’ after the café in the basement of the United Nations headquarters in New York, where many deals are done over coffee. Also, with deference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts, this trilogy may also have future books.

In light of the anniversaries and the political landscape in which we currently find ourselves, I thought it would a good time to review where we are and the state of the discourse on sustainable development.

Writing these books did give me a broader perspective than that of living in…

Rogue CNN Chapter 4: Has the US government become a reality show?

((Rogue CNN exists in a parallel universe to ours where a property developer and reality TV star gets elected President))
This was perhaps the most difficult press conference to date for new White Press Secretary Michael Strauss. Not only was he dealing with the Trump nine-day trip overseas and the fall out there but also the continued fall out of the Russia Affair. At today’s press briefing in the White House he fielded a number of difficult questions but as always was honest with the press. Rogue CNN: “Is it true at the NATO meeting that the President pushed or shoved Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic of Montenegro? And is it true that the Prime Minister contacted the police over what he called “an assault”? Strauss: “Look guys what’s a little pushing and shoving among friends? We all do it when we are out for a beer…the President had been missing a little personal contact as Bette Midler said so -so he took it where he could.”
Rogue Washington Post: “Yes we ALL noticed the lack of warmth …

BLOG 3: Possible Additions to Enhance Guidance and Oversight for MSPs

Blog Mini Series on MSPs for Sustainable Development By Dr. Minu Hemmati and Felix Dodds
We are producing a series of blogs around the issue of Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) for Sustainable Development to help increase understanding about them:
Blog 1 Definitions of MSPs and Related Issues Blog 2 Principles and Guidance Enshrined in Existing UN Decisions on MSPs Blog 3 Possible Additions to Enhance Guidance and Oversight for MSPs This blog mini series is based on a paper we prepared for a workshop held by the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development group in April this year: “Principles and Practices of Multi-stakeholder Partnerships for Sustainable Development – Guidance and Oversight from UN Decisions
BLOG 3: Possible Additions to Enhance Guidance and Oversight for MSPs
Updating Existing Decisions Much has happened since 2003, when ECOSOC passed the decision 61 on partnerships, and and we have gained a lot of experience with multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable de…

New Executive Director of UNESCO: A Three Horse Race?

The United Nations is starting to take shape with the new team which will work with Secretary General António Guterres. The next decision will be who will be the Executive Director of UNESCO as Irina Bokova completed her second term. She has by all accounts done a good job as Executive Director having during her term had to deal with the withdrawal of US funding. She managed to do this without too much disruption to the work of UNESCO. She may find herself on speed dial to the new UN chiefs as they deal with what she has already had to deal with.
 The Director-General of UNESCO is the Organization’s Chief Administrative Officer. The Director-General may be appointed initially for a period of four years, and may be appointed for a further term of four years, but shall not be eligible for reappointment for a subsequent term. Nine candidates have gone through the interview process.
Mr Polad BÜLBÜLOGLU (Azerbaijan)
Mr PHAM Sanh Chau (Viet Nam)
Ms Moushira KHATTAB (Egypt)
Mr Hamad bin Abd…

New Director General of WHO: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister of health,and foreign affairs he's also chaired the Global Fund, which mobilizes and invests about $4bn a year to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.  He is the first non-medical doctor and the first African to lead an influential agency that helps set health priorities worldwide. WHO's annual World Health Assembly elected Tedros over Dr. David Nabarro of Britain, a U.N. veteran who has been the man to go to for health emergencies in the UN. In a third and final round of voting. Tedros received 133 votes to Nabarro's 50, with two abstentions. The third candidate, Pakistan's Dr Sania Nishtar, was eliminated in the first round of voting. All three of the final candidates would have been great choices for WHO. Mr Ghebreyesus top five priorities in his new job are: Advancing universal health coverageEnsuring WHO responds rapidly and effectively to disease outbreaks and emergenciesPutting the wellbeing of women, children…

Guest blog: Africans are rising – we can hold our leaders to account and build a better kind of future

Guest Blog from Kumi Naidoo. Kumi is the launch director of Africans Rising. He is a South African human rights activist and previously the International Executive Director of international environmentalist group Greenpeace. After battling apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s through the Helping Hands Youth Organisation, Naidoo led global campaigns to end poverty and protect human rights. He has served as the secretary-general of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. He was Secretary General of Civicus, an international alliance for citizen participation, from 1998 to 2008. This is republished from the Guardian

Red is the colour of the launch, primarily to commemorate the blood that was spilt for the freedom of the peoples of Africa (and reminding our leaders that what is asked of them today is much less than what was asked from leaders in our anti-colonial struggles). Secondly, red signifies that Africa is bleeding its wealth on a daily basis through illicit financia…

Rogue CNN Chapter 3: The storm clouds gather

((Rogue CNN exists in a parallel universe to ours where a property developer and reality TV star gets elected President))
While the President is abroad on his nine-day trip Washington is a whirlwind with so many stories that broke in the days before he left. It was for the media and the general public exhausting. At the top of the mountain of stories was “had the President obstructed justice with comments about former FBI Director to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador and assumed Russian spy chief in Washington”. And if it wasn’t bizarre enough that his administration is being investigated for potential collusion with Russia he is seemingly telling the Russians: "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to the Times. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."  Well that prompted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert S. Mueller III, a former prosecutor who served as the…

Message from Erik Solheim Executive Director of UNEP

A shorter form can be found here  on facebook.

Dear colleagues,

I am just back from the first Chief Executive Board meeting since António Guterres took office. Nearly all United Nations leaders were present, including the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed. Our very own Achim Steiner also took part as incoming head of the Development Programme.

One thing is very clear – this is a new era for the United Nations. So, I want to share this positive news with you. It was a completely new atmosphere with incredible energy and much less formality.

The Secretary-General insisted that, within the family, we call him Antonio and not Mr. Secretary-General. He wants to see fewer ties and more efficiency; he wants people to challenge him more; and he wants tangible results.

To make the point he even wore a sweater. The group responded by reminding António that he may be Secretary-General, but he still is not the most famous from Portugal (Ronaldo is way ahead)!